April 9, 2010
And now, the truth can be revealed. By “truth”, I mean the knitting projects I worked on in semi-secret starting late last year and finished in February (and which I teased in this entry). I got confirmation today that they reached the intended recipient, namely, my first grand-niece, so I can write about them without fear of ruining the surprise.
Knitting these was actually Joan’s idea (Mr. Karen’s mom, and the baby’s grandmother); we discussed it over Thanksgiving, and I printed out some ideas for styles of jackets and hats for her to look at. We settled on the Baby Surprise Jacket, which many, many people have made (right now Ravelry shows 11802 projects using this pattern), so I knew I’d be able to get lots of help if I needed it, never having made a baby jacket before, particularly one with such unusual construction. I ordered the latest and greatest version of the pattern and while waiting for it to arrive, went yarn shopping, finding some Sirdar Crofter DK I thought would be perfectâ€”machine washable, with high cotton content so this California baby wouldn’t get overheated.
I started the jacket first, since it would take the longest and also if I was going to run out of yarn, I wanted to do that after I had the biggest item done. Booties or a hat in a coordinating color would be easier to live with than part of a jacket, especially since I didn’t understand how it went togetherâ€”it’s knitted in one piece and nothing resembling sleeves shows up until it’s sewn together. With a lot of consulting the Ravelry BSJ group, by the end of December I had created the lump you see in the picture at left. I really struggled with parts of itâ€”I was increasing and decreasing per the pattern but having trouble visualizing where the various sections would end up in the finished product. Once I bound off, I could fold it up and see how it workedâ€”pretty clever, actuallyâ€”but left the actual sewing up for later and started on the other pieces.
To pick the hat and booties patterns, I again turned to the Ravelry group, which has a whole thread on accessories which go well with the BSJ. I chose the Baby Cable Cap by Judy Gibson and the Oh! Baby Booties by Judy Nemish, both of which share the garter stitch and sewing up method with the BSJ (rather than being worked in the round like every other bit of head- and footwear I’ve ever knitted has been). Since they were small, I was able to finish both hat and booties pretty quicklyâ€”I did the booties two at a time, since that works so well for me with grown up socks.
Once the knitting was all finished, I tackled the sewing up. The Yarn Harlot has a good tutorial on finishing the seams on a BSJ, which I found only after I was unhappy with how my first efforts looked. I’d made three buttonholes on the jacket while knitting (down from the five called for in the patternâ€”I didn’t think that many was really called for), but ended up using only the top one and sewing the others shutâ€”I felt the buttonholes were too far from the edge and wasn’t happy with how the front of the jacket would looked when buttoned if I used them all. Sewing up the hat and booties was easy in contrast to the jacket. I took some pictures and bundled the set up to send to Joan for her to deliver on her first visit to her first grandchild, which happened last week.