Surprise, Baby!

The Baby Surprise Jacket in Happy Fuzzy Yarn Superwash Sport

The Baby Surprise Jacket was the most fun thing I knit all year.  Bold statement considering we have three more months to go, but I’m sticking by it.

This is probably one of the world’s most famous knitting patterns, first published by Elizabeth Zimmermann in 1968. The knitter just knits along, tracking some not-complicated increases and decreases, and when you bind off, you are left with an odd blob, but with a quick fold here and there, the garment’s shape is revealed. A couple quick seams later and you have a really cute jacket.

This pattern has spawn child and adult versions and is a favorite for those who want to use scraps and handspun because the geometry of this pattern shows off stripes and multicolored yarns to great effect.

I was able to see all this for myself in Ravelry under the projects tab for this pattern. Armed with that knowledge, I chose a gender-neutral green and yellow multicolor from Happy Fuzzy Yarn called “Colorado River” in the Superwash Sport base. This yarn is incredibly squishy and dyes up vibrantly thanks to the superwash quality.

It knit up quickly and when I was near the end, I puzzled out the folding just to see what it look like.

The Baby Surprise Jacket in Happy Fuzzy Yarn Superwash Sport

It took my breath away, it was soooo adorable. I think the Baby Surprise Jacket, done up in a sportweight yarn, makes a sweater that fits a 3-6 month old — well, based on standard clothing sizes for babies. YMMV.

If the pattern weren’t awesome enough by itself, my son FINALLY learned to knit one night on a weekend trip by working a couple rows on this sweater.  Yes, I left them in.  His stitches were fine! (Those are his hands in the action shot above.)

The Baby Surprise Jacket in Happy Fuzzy Yarn Superwash Sport

This sweater was a gift for our newest nephew, born at the end of August.  He’s a little bean now; we can’t wait to play with him when he gets a little older!

I can’t recommend this pattern highly enough. It kind of makes me want to go on an EZ pattern bender. Have you made any of her patterns? I’ve knit a few and enjoyed them also; I think it’s time to discover others by her.

Proof that Dr. G’s Memory Vest Makes People Happy

Mission accomplished!

Being a goal-oriented person, I am pleased to have not only finished my husband’s Dr G’s Memory Vest (pattern by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops), but also to have accomplished my goal of knitting a sweater for each person in my immediate family this season.

Except myself.  I am not neglecting myself.  I do not buy into the Martyr Mother role!  And winter is not over yet.  I will cast on for my new sweater any day now.  I just have to make a decision on which pattern…  Isn’t sifting Ravelry for a pattern the best part anyway?

Back to the vest.  On a friend’s suggestion, I went with Aslan Trends Del Cerro yarn.  It was one of those yarns that seemed like it would work, but so did not – at first.  I wanted to make a medium, which would have given Matt some negative ease in the fit, but after casting on and knitting for a few inches, it was clear that it was coming out way too small.  So I threw my naughty knitting into the corner for a few days ripped it out and knit the vest in the extra-large size.

 

Well hallelujah and all that jazz because it ended being a great fit!  It’s approximately 43” around the chest, which is about what size the medium was supposed to be.  I’d like to claim awesome knitting ninja powers, but I suspect I just got lucky.  The false start made for a good gauge swatch as well.  The one tricky spot was the v-neck; I had to rewrite the decreases because of the difference in my row gauge.  Row gauge didn’t give me a problem in the other parts of the sweater.

Don’t get me wrong about the Del Cerro, either.  It’s a great yarn.  It is comprised of many small plies and it is very bouncy and squishy.  It was just a bit splitty in the knitting up, but not so much that I am put off using it in the future.  The important feature of this yarn: It has GREAT stitch definition for all those cables.  I hope down the road that it doesn’t fuzz over so much that the cables become blurred, but if it does, oh well – there are more vests to be knit and there is a life-cycle to all these knitted goods.

Coincidentally, Matt’s first opportunity to wear this was on his birthday last week.  We had to go out and get a new white button down and everything.

 

Donut Mondae at Zingerman’s Roadhouse ~ what more could a person ask for?!

Dah-ling, you look mah-velous!  Happy Birthday!

Piedra Del Sol / Sunstone

In observance of Brigit, a poem (actually, part of a poem because this is a very long poem):

Piedra del sol (Sunstone) by Octavio Paz

I want to go on, to go further, and cannot:

as each moment was dropping into another

I dreamt the dreams of dreamless stones,

and there at the end of the years like stones

I heard my blood, singing in its prison,

and the sea sang with a murmur of light,

one by one the walls gave way,

all of the doors were broken down,

and the sun came bursting through my forehead,

it tore apart my closed lids,

cut loose my being from its wrappers,

and pulled me out of myself to wake me

from this animal sleep and its centuries of stone,

and the sun’s magic of mirrors revived

a crystal willow, a poplar of water,

a tall fountain the wind arches over,

a tree deep-rooted yet dancing still,

a course of a river that turns, moves on,

doubles back, and comes full circle,

forever arriving:

New sweater just in time for spring!

Mental Note: Remember this Forever

This morning my almost-three-year-old daughter climbed into our bed, vaulting herself into that much coveted nook between mom and dad.  As she snuggled in deeper, she beamed at both of us and said: “You guys are my BEST FRIENDS … ever!”

Goooooood morning!

What a nice way to wake up in the morning!

If you’re here for the knitting, rest assured I have good news.  Spiral Yoke is DONE, has been donned and found worthy, and took a trip to the spa.  After a lavender-scented bubble bath, she is now resting (and drying) on the dining room table.  Photos to follow.

Swirly

I am now into the yoke of the Spiral Yoke Sweater.

Spiral Yoke detail
my stitches are a travelin'
another crappy, "oops, where went my daylight?" photo

I could be done (this is a theme, no?) if I weren’t distracted with some quickie knits here and there.

For example, I made warmish socks for my skinny boy:

worsted weight on little feet makes quick work

These are knit in leftover bits of Lion Brand Wool-Ease for washability and warmth.  They may be only 20% wool but that’s 20% more than all of his other socks.  The couple of handknit pair he has are in intense rotation so I decided to help a boy out.  These made a good traveling project for the month of December now that I am done knitting sleeves (ahem) for my sweater.  I think I could make a pair in 2-3 evenings of knitting if I weren’t busy with a sweater.  And I don’t sit still much while I knit.

I have been abstaining from resolutions and major project declarations so far this new year.  Not because I think it’s a useless exercise.  I am seeking clarity.  December was too busy for inward reflection.  I am a gal who appreciates a little naval-gazing, so I am at least glad to have finished December and begun January.

Now, back to my sweater and my Harry Potter movie marathon. (I’m halfway through.  The movies, that is.)