Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ravelympic Knitting - Part 2

BSJ - With Buttons
Originally uploaded by Project Pictures
For some odd reason I always feel guilty not committing myself to a full size sweater or monstrously complicated shawl. Although to be honest, just completing a child's sweater is more than enough challenge for me!

Still, just to make absolutely sure I'm challenged, I sign up for two (or three) projects to get done. My second project this year (not counting the doll scarf) was this Baby Surprise Jacket.

I picked a little something to knit for a soon-to-be arriving baby in the family, and hunted quite thoroughly through my entire stash for some yarn that could go "either way" since the gender of the child in question is still.. in question.

One of my good friends (thank you!) lent me her copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's "The Opinionated Knitter" (I must purchase myself a copy some time soon). And I was able to work this very simple pattern from its pages.

The Baby Surprise Jacket is a fun, fast knit! It's knit flat, and the entire project is worked in garter-stitch (so no purling!). Even beyond that, you need to know how to increase and decrease and that's about it! I managed to complete the entire thing (sans buttons) in two days of frantic knitting and got in just under the wire for the finish of the Olympics. I counted myself done without buttons because I wanted to pick something that would be more gender specific, but we didn't know the gender of the baby yet!

I cast on for this sweater with a crochet provisional cast on in a contrasting color of yarn. I almost left it in at the end because it looked quite nice, but instead opted to use Jenny's Surprisingly Stretch Bind Off to finish the cuffs AND to bind the shoulders together at the same time. I used the same cast-off on the fronts of the sweater so it gave the entire piece a nice, cohesive edging. Anyway, to finish things, I freed up my provisional stitches onto my circular needle, and then started binding off one cuff. As I got to the sleeve/shoulder, I picked up my slipped stitch from the edge of the other side and bound it together with each live stitch from my cast-on and this joined the seam neatly. At the neck I simply went back to binding off the live stitches (taking time to count and make sure I'd have the right amount of stitches left on the other side). The second cuff was a bit of a tight area to work, but long, flexible KnitPicks cables came to the rescue and I just pulled some of the stitches onto a "magic loop" while I worked the other side of the cuff.

After that the sweater sat around for a couple of days and I couldn't restrain myself any longer. I went button shopping.

Sadly the selection at our local store did not immediately yield up obvious possibilities. In fact, it forced me to rule out several ideas I had originally planned upon. I had wanted to get some little cars for a boy, or some ladybugs for a girl. Unfortunately, the bronze color of the yarn clashed with everything terribly. Even silver didn't work.

BSJ - With Buttons
Then I lucked upon these sunny buttons. They don't scream boy or girl, but at this point I'm just thrilled to have something that looks as lovely as these do! I'm extremely pleased and amazed at how this final touch makes the whole project come together.


Araignee said...

Even though I have no reason to make one at the moment your great post has really inspired me to try one. I bought all the materials and Zimmerman's BSJ DVD ages ago and promptly forgot about it. I think it is time to start knitting for my imaginary grand kids again. Quick to knit baby items are a good cure for the knitting blues!

Geek Knitter said...

You're welcome! :)

Those buttons are perfect with that color.