Monday, May 26, 2008

Not So Slow Knitting

Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Sweater/Jacket is a legend. Clever construction means it's pretty hard to make it look ugly. Recently, a member of the Yahoo group Knitbabysurprise (Meg Swansen is in this group, so it's THE group to be in, LOL), converted the original garter stitch version to stockinette. This changes the ratio of the increasing/decreasing, because garter stitches are nearly square, and stockinette stitches are not. He did a super job, and if you have the original pattern and would like to try this version, email me/leave a comment, and I'll direct you to his blog where he gives his version.

I originally cast on for this in the middle of 'big project boredom' in February or so...oh, just checked....the KAL started in early January and I was determined to actually 'knit along' this time! But I came to my senses and realized I had to finish that big afghan, so this sat in my basket for awhile. When I finally got it out (early May?) I counted the sts to find out what row I was on, and nothing was adding up. So I frogged it, and started over.

It's James Brett Marble, totally acrylic, but still a very nice yarn. This little sweater took slightly less than one (100g) skein. The garter stitch version took more than one skein which is why it got matching hat and bootees. It went surprisingly quick. Baby sweaters always surprise me at how quickly they knit up, it's just the button buying that gets me down.

Just as I got to the button band, the sweater decided it would be a pullover. Okay, I said, no buttons to buy! However, I'm not sure the neck is big enough to go over a baby's head, LOL!

When I did the casting off, I was sure I had figured out how to stitch up the bottom to make it even, but something went wonky, and there's a big scallop at the front middle. Also, I'm not too sure about the section that looks like a buttonband in the middle. I knew I didn't have that result when I made the first version, but not until I got it out did I realize that I hadn't done the extension section, but to make it longer, after I grafted the front middle, I joined the bottom and worked in the round. I'd do that again next time.
(It still needs buttons on the shoulders, and I think I made this one July 2007).

As mentioned, the inc/dec sequence changes for stockinette, and you end up increasing in the same spot for three rows at a time. Usually I do a 'Make 1' by knitting in to the back of the strand, but when you do that for more than one row, it gets too tight (upper right part of the increase line). What I changed to instead was to increase (M1), yarn over, knit center st, yarn over, M1. In the next row, the increase is made in the yarn over (and you do another yarn over). This gives a little more slack for the make one on the next row. For the last inc row, and the next plain row, you don't have to do the yarn overs, as the first of the three inc rows can just use the strand between sts as normal.

I have big issues with seaming up the sleeves of these jackets. I thought, this time, because you're seaming rows to stitches, it'd be like sewing in a sleeve to the body of a regular sweater---three sts to four rows. But that didn't work out, and it ended up almost st to row. And the seam rolls (?) towards the back. But, maybe once on it's okay; I've never seen one actually on a real live baby, LOL.

I'll definately do this vesion again. It shows the colours of self striping yarns better than garter stitch (I think that's why he worked out this version). And it takes less yarn than the garter st version, LOL!!


smariek said...

Since you frogged early May, you basically finished this in under one month! That's pretty fast in my book.

Kathy said...

I really like the looks of your BSJ. Is it possible to get the link to the blog with conversion to stockinette.

Anonymous said...

Your sweatewr is soooo sweet! I've just finished my 2nd BSJ and would love to try one in SS. Thanks in advance for the link to the tutorial.

Pandaman said...

WOW! Your SS BSJ looks Great - Love It! :o) I like how you turned it into a pullover - Kewl Idea! :o)

BIG {{Panda Hugs}},

James - Panda Man :o)

CatBookMom said...

I keep meaning to make one of these, and yours is really cute. I've made several things with the JB Marble yarn, all for charity, and it's very nice to knit with! I floundered through EZ's Ribwarmer vest, which was an exercise in faith that it would look like a vest, and of course there's nothing about what size it comes out. How do you tell what size with the BSJ?

BTW, I tagged you for a meme; see today's post.