Tuesday, March 9, 2010

most popular sweater, ever

Big words, I know, but Elizabeth Zimmerman's Surprise Baby Jacket must be one of the most knitted patterns ever. On ravelry alone there's a surprise baby jacket group with over 3500 members with topics on classes, buttons, help, and yes, finished projects complete with photos. And that last group alone has over 2400 postings. Holy cow folks, that's a lot of babies being kept warm with this one design. But the best thing about it is that each one is unique. And almost everyone puts their own touch to it. One of my favorites was posted by BUZZKNITTER who used a cherry red yarn and only one oversized button on the top giving the jacket a 60s couture look.

For the nonknitters reading along or for the new knitter who hasn't discovered this right of passage, the Zimmerman surprise baby jacket is wonderful puzzle to knit. Done in one piece with strategically placed decreases and increases (to form corners), the finished "flat" garmet is folded origami style with only two short seams to sew at the top shoulders. And voila (did I actually read that someone wrote Walla recently in their blog???), a beautiful jacket.

Since you're working in one piece and you've made corners, part of a single row goes down the front around the back, and back up the front. This allows for wonderful color work that baffles the average admirer.

The pattern only comes in one size, and by changing the yarn gauge you can make it fit a new born or a 7-year old. Zimmerman says to put button holes on both sides, assuming you don't know the sex of the child upfront. But if you do, just make them on the appropriate side. Left of boys, right for girls. Ah sexist conventions.

This one is for my friend Denise's baby - due any week now. I used Berocco Comfort so when the kid throws up on it (as kids are wont to do) it can go from washer to dryer and back to baby in no time.


  1. Nice! I've been meaning to make one in my handspun...just haven't gotten around to it...maybe i'll do that now!

  2. I adore the notion of making a garment without seams. Now I just have to find me a baby... :D

  3. Oh darn (knit?), I just reread this and there is a shoulder seam. Still, the corner shaping sounds intriguing.

  4. I just wanted to say that I got your book about 45 minutes ago and I love it already and my fiancee' already picked out 2 things he wants!!! Thank you!

  5. I am so glad the book arrived already, and a week early!!!!
    enjoy and please share your projects here on my site as you go along.

  6. I love this sweater! any chance you could make a pattern for adults? If so, It just may get me knitting again!!!

  7. actually, rain, zimmerman did design an adult version. i'll bring you the pattern on wednesday!

  8. your divine sweater appears to be just as divine for an adult as it would be for a "babe" or a young child! I can't wait to finish what I'm working on so I can make this one for myself! (or even as a gift for my dear, dear friend)

    thank YOU for sharing,
    elle wendy

  9. I just finished making my second Surprise baby jacket. I think it is wonderful how popular the pattern is. It is a great puzzle that comes together in the end. For the first time around, I ended up watching a 6 part youtube how to video. It was very helpful to see it come together. The black and white photo on the pattern doesn't do it justice.

  10. It's a great little project.
    and always fills up in classes.
    you should try the adult size some time.
    it's pretty much the same, but you pick up the sleeve cuffs afterwards and knit down to make them longer otherwise it looks like you outgrew the sweater!


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