This past Thursday Toronto broke a record.  The temperature was 33.8 C. This gave the June weather official heat-wave status, with three successive days of heat over 32C.  The last time this occurred was 1949. 
I thought it might be safe to put away the last of the woolies.  It was actually quite pleasant to splash around in some cold water as I washed them clean.  I was squeezing out the water when I thought of Elizabeth Zimmermann.

I know some folks take umbrage with wrapping the woolens in a towel and pressing with all ones might to rid them of moisture.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps they think it is too rough, but then I think of EZ. She describes stuffing her sodden sweaters into pillow cases and then whipping them around – a kind of spin-dry. So I think, if that is acceptable, then a certain amount of stomping with a towel must be alright too.  I look to Elizabeth Zimmerman for guidance in all things knit.  She is the gold standard.

EZ is a brilliant author of several fantastic knitting books.  She is also a genius knitter! She is the designer of the above sweater called “The Baby Surprise Jacket”.  It appears in her book the Knitting Workshop.  You can also buy the pattern separately.  We have both at the shop.
The Baby Surprise pattern shows off EZ’s super-brain.  Made all in one piece with just decreases and increases for shaping and only one seam.  Making this sweater was a joy.  I had memorized the pattern in no time giving me occasion to concentrate on how fantastic it is to knit with Noro.  This sweater was made with Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn.  All the beautiful colour work you see here is pure  Noro genius. Genius+Genius=Double Genius. It’s the new math!

I was so excited about making the baby surprise jacket, I had to make another.  This one was made with soft Casbah from Handmaiden Yarn.  This sweater was made for my friend and her newborn who are living expat style in the USA. I chose the coloured details to be reminiscent of the Hudson Bay Blanket and Canadiana. It subtly whispers remember your roots.
I added on the hood to the pattern.  It was improvised.  The pompom on top is actual a needle felted ball.

 One day (and it will be soon) I hope to have read every word Elizabeth Zimmermann ever wrote.  I have been schooled heaps from what I have so far digested, I have been tickled by her turns of phrase, bolstered by her creativity and many a time laughed right out loud.

The baby surprise jacket is not necessarily for beginner knitters, although there are great video tutorials on the subject if you search them out.  The time is ripe however, to make baby sweaters.  As the city heats up, small projects are more comfortable to knit.  If you have never knit a baby sweater before (or any kind of sweater for that matter) you might want to have a look into the Knit Cafe’s Baby Sweater Class that is coming up soon.  This sweater is a basic construction that will teach you about making simple sweaters of all sizes. Here are the details:

Baby Sweater Class
Monday July 2, 9, 16, 23, 7-9pm
$96, materials not included
to register call 416 533 5648

Craftily yours


5 responses to “Surprise!

  1. Can you share the pattern for the hat portion? Really adorable with it!

    • kristinledgett

      I love to share! In this case however, I can only offer my scant recollections. I improvised the hood on this jacket and did not keep notes. This is what I remember: I picked up stitches along the edge of the collar. I think I did an immediate and sizable increase row, maybe every other stitch (this is a shot in the dark guess). I then made regular double increases down the back of the hood, probably every other row, till I decided it was big enough. I remember thinking that it was huge but them babies have big heads don’t they? I then knit straight some more. When I felt the hood was full sized I did a three needle bind off. I hope this was helpful.

  2. Just finishing this cuddly jacket now. I love your Casbah version–very sweet. I believe setting out to read every word EZ ever wrote is a very wonderful idea. I love her tips for knitting in the dark!

  3. Do you share instructions for that great hood addition?

    • I would love to, but I really don’t remember. I picked up stitches and then increases and possibly other shaping techniques. My advice would be to look at another pattern with a hood and use that as a template. Good luck!

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