Tag Archives: Elizabeth Zimmerman

Finished: Adult Surprise Jacket

It takes a lot longer to knit the adult-sized sweater. Then the finish takes longer than expected after the false-finish feeling once the “blob” is finished. Especially the I-cord bind off.

But I like the look of the finish and would do it again. The buttons are pottery, which my daughter got me from Japan quite a while ago. Since they require hand washing, I’d always thought their best use was on a wool knitted sweater. However, I don’t make sweaters very often. These buttons are decorative only because I didn’t make buttonholes.

I got the I-cord instructions from this handy book.

But it didn’t give any hints for a smooth join. I wish I hadn’t made the join in the front.

I suppose it’s one of those flaws that will be visible mostly to me and other experienced knitters.

And here is the end product.

Jacket history.

Begun https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/take-two-already/

In process 1 https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2021/01/24/adult-surprise-2-3-finished/

In process 2 https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2021/02/10/major-piece-finished/

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Major Piece Finished

Two weeks to the day. My time estimates aren’t usually so accurate. The main, irregular piece is finished.

The yardstick is there for perspective. I do not recommend this as a summer project. It is quite a lap warmer.

As with the Baby Surprise, the lower right corner gets turned up to the center top.

The armhole is 2-4 inches deeper than it needs to be. Remembering batwing sleeves of an earlier fashion, I had decided to err on too big.

I have ends to weave in, shoulder seams to sew, and sleeves to lengthen. Then finish with an I-cord binding. Maybe I’ll get to wear it yet this winter.

There is an alternative finish where I would lengthen sleeves while the piece is flat then attach the shoulders with three-needle I-cord attachment as I bind off. Sewing the shoulder/sleeve seam seems easier.

In case I have nothing new to show in the next 5 days, I’ll mention Scrap Happy and Kate’s blog for links to more scrappy goodies after the 15. https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/ Of course it’s fun to see any time. And, yes, all the yarn is scrap, and there is more for yet another project.

Here’s the source of instructions for anyone ready to make one.

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Adult Surprise 2/3 Finished

I was not prepared for how much more unwieldy the Adult Surprise would be than the Baby Surprise. It didn’t take long to shift from a 24-inch loop to 60. But I have made progress from the bit in my earlier post: https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/take-two-already/

I’d not noticed when planning the pattern that the increase “half” is 9 rows fewer than the decrease portion. While I hadn’t planned an exact mirror image on the second part, I’d intended the blues to be the same size and the “other” stripes to be about the same size. The plan was in my head, not drawn. Luckily I started to make reverse color notes and saw what was happening. So I didn’t just run out of space, but began several truncated stripes. I don’t think it will be noticeable in the finished product.

I’m a bit concerned that the finished product will be gaudy. I’d wanted stripes for two reasons: to use up leftover yarns and to accent the right angles. It will do that.

At the rate I’m knitting, and if there are no squirrels, it should be finished in a week or two.

The Stretching Art and Tradition project that I sketched here ( https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/another-beginning/ ) has been postponed a year. So that won’t intrude.

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Back to Hats and Books

I followed up on Maribeth’s comment in the last post and ordered The Complete Surprise.

While I waited for it to arrive I turned the failed baby sweater into a hat.

And I finished reading Marc Lamont Hill’s Nobody, an important introductory survey of systemic harm done to black people. Hill covers mostly the criminal justice system but also includes the lead in Flint,MI, water. (Longer review here).

The knitting book finally arrived.

I think I learned the problem. I’d placed markers before the three stitches to be decreased, causing one side to decrease the sleeve and the other side the body. The marker needed to go in the middle stitch, which would decrease more evenly. When I have used up more yarn scraps, I’ll buy the right size yarn and try again. It actually sounds like worsted would work, just making a sweater for a bigger baby, as I had hoped.

Meanwhile, the book starts with a scarf that uses all the same stitches as the baby surprise jacket. Why not play?

Even with markers placed correctly, it took a while to find the right spot for decreases and increases. I really hate counting stitches, so I worked on “reading” my knitting, just counting as a quick double check. I got pretty accurate on the decreases, not so trustworthy on the increases. I may have to make another scarf because it is easier to count 18 stitches than 130 or so.

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The Skeptics Win the First Round

So the Baby Surprise Jacket (begun here) didn’t turn out to be a pleasant surprise. But the “blob” is completed.

And though it doesn’t end up a usable jacket, the jacket potential is there.

I knew knitting when I couldn’t make gauge was risky. The pattern hadn’t indicated a row gauge, so I didn’t know if it would turn out proportionally larger. One way to see is to try.

And I was not surprised to see the sleeves end up different lengths. Early on I could see a possible problem: I was decreasing stitches in the left sleeve but the second decrease came in the area before the right sleeve. I looked for errata, but didn’t find any. I looked at posts on Ravelry but that issue wasn’t mentioned.

I reread the directions but couldn’t see any way to read it other than the way I had.

Pictures of finished jackets show short sleeves, so the left one is closer to correct. But it is too small at the shoulder. And the left front corner was nowhere near correct. So simply changing where I did the right decrease wasn’t going to solve it.

EZ’s directions are cryptic. Meg Swenson’s elaborations are also cryptic. There may be another book where they get clarified.

So next move is to buy the right size yarn and to explore other EZ books. But that won’t be this summer because the goal for this year is using up yarn scraps, not buying new yarn. So don’t hold your breath.

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A Hat and a New Plan

I tried another approach to hat design. This time I tried one stripe pattern that would go with two colors.

The blue yarn determined the distance before stripes began and size of stripes because it was in several small balls.

And the hat versions.

While I was knitting this one I remembered Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket. It has always fascinated me, and I saw one finished once in a knitting group. I found the book.

And it seemed I had enough yarn.

Well maybe not enough. I am almost halfway and have used more than half. Directions said 3 oz. Shetland wool. I assumed it was worsted, and I have 5oz. I went down to size 6 needles and still was one stitch short of gauge. There is no way I could knit any denser. I decided to give it a try.

The surprise is that after knitting a one piece blob, with a few folds and two seams it turns into a sweater. Like I said, I have seen a finished one that indeed looked like a sweater. I did not get to see the the folding process. We’ll see.

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Zimmerman seamless sweater–take 2

Okay, having misread the directions on sweater 1, the blue one of a couple posts ago, I am trying my new reading on this one.

Seamless sweater nearly finished

seamless sweater

I am up to where I have ten stitches on the sleeve and have to start front and back separately.

So far the “seam” looks good to me; but then it looked good on the blue one too until I got to the top, where front and back meet at the shoulder seam.

sleeve "seam"

close up of sleeve

So I’ll not be sure till I get the next 10 rows finished and the decreasing ready to meet.

Actually this is called seamless, but there is a short shoulder seam on the “set in” sleeve; I think raglan sleeves do not have any seam except the bit under the arms that doesn’t count because it doesn’t show.

I do hope I can master this because it sure beats getting various pieces knit to the same size and seamed nicely!

I plan to finish the neck with what Elizabeth Zimmerman (Knitting Workshop) calls a Norwegian neck.  If it turns out well, you will see it again.

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Process more than Product

I have been mostly knitting on a sweater that has been started twice.

blue sweater three quarters finishedThe second try was to avoid seams.  I have combined the instructions for the sweater (from The Best of Interweave Knits) with Elizabeth Zimmerman’s instructions for seamless knitting.

I am hoping it fits when finished!  I think the first thing I should have made with fit should have been for me so I could try it on frequently. But I didn’t think that far ahead. So this one waits between trips from Lafayette to Chicago for try ons.

The cold weather is right for knitting things that get big and are warm on the lap!  But the time is always right for knitting.  It is so relaxing.

In two weeks I will have retired.  Then I will have more time for quilting and knitting, and hopefully I will have more progress to report.

Some of my friends are promising to post process as well as finished product.  That fits my style–I tend to be more process oriented than product.  I guess that is why I didn’t flinch at ripping a back and a front and starting over in one piece.  Though I must admit  it is nice to have a product occasionally!

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