Monday, November 12, 2007

Blah-Blah-Secret-Project-Blah-Blah UNVEILED!

(Actually only the first of my two current blah-blah-secret-projects-blah-blah, but a boy's got to have some secrets right?)

Now that I have given this to my blogging and knitting buddy, the oh so preggers Disco Knitter (aka Lara), it's time to post some pictures. I wanted it to be a surprise for Lara, which is why I hadn't posted any pics of this as a work in progress.



If you haven't already, go check out Disco Knitter's blog and then come right back. I'll wait... [think music] ...so, the bright colours and the sparkles make sense now?

This pattern is the "Baby Surplice" variation on the famous "Baby Surprise Jacket" by Elizabeth Zimmermann, which was published posthumously by her daughter Meg Swanson in Vogue Knitting a few issues ago. I won't bore you non-knitters with the technical details, but Zimmermann was the queen of cunning construction and patterns that were really more like formulas. Designed to be interpreted any way you see fit.



The 'surprise' in the "Baby Surprise Jacket" comes from the fact that you knit it flat, and when it's a work in progress it looks... well it doesn't look like much of anything. When you cast off and it's finally off the needles, a couple of quick folds and voila! it becomes a jacket. It's like a small scale miracle or something.

I've been knitting a bunch of things at the same time, so I actually started this just after Lara announced her pregnancy and it was my first shot at following a pattern. It's been a nice little project and fun to knit.

It has sweet features like a row of small buttonholes all around the bottom edge of the jacket (which you can't really see in this pic) so you can shrink or expand the jacket to fit a growing bub, and even flip the way it's buttoned (right over left or left over right).



The sort of piped edge along the jacket is another fun thing, i-cord trim. It's like a braid that is knitted right onto the garment, and I'm so in love with the cunning construction of it that I want to apply i-cord to everything! Even things that aren't knitted! Sit still long enough and I'll try and neaten your edges with i-cord!

Also, I was about as excited as a grown man can be about buttons when I found the glitter star buttons. Seriously.

So I was finishing this off at knitting with The Sydney Sity Klickers on Saturday afternoon, when Lara arrived and I decided to give it to her on the spot. Fini. (Oh, and she loved it thankfully.)

[Updated: Pattern info! This pattern was in the Spring/Summer 2007 issue of Vogue Knitting, but you can buy the pattern (teamed with a baby blanket pattern) direct for US$1 from Elizabeth Zimmermann/Meg Swansen's publishing company "Schoolhouse Press" here. Scroll down and it's #43 "Baby Surplice Jacket & Blanket"]

27 comments:

yani said...

That it SO teh CUTENESS!

And I think possibly there's an inspiration hidden somewhere in there about something for me to paint... talk about your mixed media inspirations...

:)

I wonder if anybody has tried to make something in i-cord for the iPod... :P

thombeau said...

OMG, that is absolutely darling!!!

Hooray for you, and congrats to the fabulous Disco Knitter!

The Other Andrew said...

The funny thing about i-cord is that it was originally called Idiot Cord, because it's so cunning and yet so darn easy to do. Zimmermann then had a change of heart about using the word 'idiot' and so i-cord it became. She died in 1999, and did most of her knitting writing from the early 1950s (I think) so i-cord predates the iPod by about 40 years!

I think the name Idiot Pod applies though. :)

The Other Andrew said...

Oh, and thanks for the compliments boys!

freakgirl said...

OMG, it's lovely. Really lovely. Congratulations!

How much seaming is involved? I hate seaming.

I'm working on a shawl right now and my hands are about to fall off. I can't wait to get it off the needles and see what it looks like. Right now it's all squished up.

Mindy said...

Absolutely gorgeous. That baby will be admired and envied by all in their knitted finery. What a fabulous secret surprise.

The Other Andrew said...

FG, the only seams are along the top of the arms, but because of the cunning construction you have live stitches along the top of the arm, the end of the arm, and all the way around to the other side. (Does that description make your head hurt?) So you can put the stitches you need to keep live on holders (the arm ends and the back of the neckline) and then use a three needle bind off (which I LOVE) to seam the arms.

I can't wait to see your shawl finished. I'm going to try knitting lace sometime soon, and that amazes me how it lookes like nothing until you block it.

Mindy, thanks! Lara has scored a huge pile of knitted stuff! Inigo is going to be the warmest baby EVER.

Michael said...

I love you.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

delightful, absolutely delightful TOA :-) and the buttons... ohhh the buttons...

is there an essential Zimmerman treatise on knitting I could buy The Delightful Nanna(TM)? I love the idea of the i-cord and I reckon she will too!

Anonymous said...

That is **so** cute!!
I'm glad we are in agreement about the i-cord. I too am happy to put icord trims on any and everything.
And the buttons and color choices are perfect!

Cecilia

The Other Andrew said...

Michael, thanks pet!

Speedy, "Knitting Without Tears" is the only EZ book I own so far. This jacket was in Vogue Knitting, but "Knitting Without Tears" has an uber cute hoodie jacket in it called the Tomten (who is a Swedish elf apparently) that can be scaled up or down for any size. (BTW - One of the best things about EZ are her pithy instructions.) There are mudular designs for adult jumpers, mittens etc in there too. I can show it to you sometime if your interested in maybe getting it.

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks Cecilia!

John C said...

Aww, that's a work of art. Really.

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks John! You're too kind!

Jodie Sorrell said...

It's beautiful...does it come in big persons size too?

One lucky baby!

mrpeenee said...

Sweetie
It's dazzling, a work of genius. I think it just disco fabulous.

Edna B said...

It's just gorgeous. You are very, very clever.

freakgirl said...

Three needle bindoff for seaming? Genius.

Where can I get the pattern?

Michael Guy said...

Ditto. What they all said!

I love the COLORS and wear an adult size M...

:)

Quatrefoil said...

That's gorgeous! It's turned out beautifully - well done! I'd like to borrow this pattern if I could - I have a lot of baby knitting coming up.

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks everyone! Wow, I should do MORE KNITTING. :)

FG, it was in the Spring/Summer 2007 Vogue Knitting, but if you don't have it you can buy it direct from EZs publishing company for US$1 www.schoolhousepress.com/spunout.htm. There's a lot of other patterns by EZ there as well, inlcuding an adult sized 'Surprise' jacket!

jason said...

Too cute!
and that's pretty genius, that whole button-holes thing

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks Jason!

ARJ said...

I am teh slow, but this looks fantastically great! Excellent workmanship.

freakgirl said...

p.s. Andrew, I finished my shawl!

The Other Andrew said...

FG, very nice! It's amazing how you block those suckers and voila! suddenly it's lace! Lovely.

Lara said...

I love, love, LOVE it!

Thank you so much. Inigo is the luckiest baby in the world, even before he is born. And if I have to crank up the air con just so I can dress him in fab hand knits, you can be damn sure that my green principles are going straight out the window!