Monday, June 16, 2014

Baby Surprise Jacket Revisited Again

As I've been thinking a lot about the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern lately - teaching a class, knitting for a friend and writing a blog post - I dug into my knitting memories and pulled out one of my favorite projects of all time.

A little back story: when I worked on the project I ultimately title "You Are My Sunshine," I was going through a phase where I was experimenting with mosaic knitting, a technique of color work using two colors but only knitting with one at a time. Alternately knit two rows with each color and, with well-placed stitches, you'll have a colorwork pattern that looks far more complicated than it is. My Clendenin cowl pattern is made with mosaic knitting.

Many years ago, after knitting several Baby Surprise Jackets, I experimented with marrying the two -- jacket and mosaic knitting -- together into one pattern. The Baby Surprise Jacket is all garter stitch and so, I thought, perfect for mosaic knitting. I think it was successful.

Mosaic knitting on the back
Mosaic knitting from the front
I love how the front looks conservative with a little flair at the bottom but the back is a riot of color and beams of light. I used a mosaic pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns (Volume 1 or Volume 2, not sure I remember which one) and expanded it to fill the sides. There's also some intarsia at the decrease and increase points so the coral color is solid at the ends and the mosaic knitting is only in the middle.

I haven't written the pattern, Elizabeth Zimmermann did the best version, but I have made my spreadsheet available if you'd like to copy my "You Are My Sunshine" Baby Surprise Jacket. Some basic notes: the chart only shows the sections between increases/decreases (marked by an "x" on the spreadsheet) and the white squares in the color section shows slipped stitches. And though it doesn't make any sense now, Color B is the main color (coral in my version).

I'd love to know if you try it!