EZ Baby Surprise Jacket using ABD US Organic Cotton yarn
“Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises”
—Elizabeth Zimmerman, 1910-1999.
Elizabeth Zimmerman, known throughout the knitting world as EZ, was the beloved knitting instructor that revolutionized knitting techniques through her relaxed, yet clear approach to the craft. She and her husband converted an old schoolhouse to their home, and she set up “School House Press” a direct marketing knitting business that her daughter, Meg Swanson, still operates.
Her Baby Surprise Jacket has become a classic and is a go-to design for knitting a keepsake baby gift. It is knit flat in garter stitch, folded together, origami style, then attached at the shoulder seams. Our U.S. Organic Cotton is just the right weight for knitting this sweater.
There have been reams of books, blogs, and notes shared about this design.
Our friend and professional knitter Linda Gavaldon knit a striped version of the EZ Jacket. Here are some pictures she took and her notes about her experience doing it for the first time
I would not recommend this pattern for beginners. It includes lots of options, techniques, and customizations that can be over whelming if you are a new knitter.
What I did:
1. I used a size 6 needle with this yarn. Using a 5 would work, and make a slightly smaller jacket.
2. For the most part, I work the pattern from the line by line written instruction on page 4, but referred to other sections for techniques.
3. The pattern suggested in one place to slip the first stitch purlwise, and in a second place to slip it knitwise. I choose to slip knitwise. Since the edge stitches will be either in the shoulder seams or the neckline, I would not do the slip stitch. With all the color changes at the beginning of the right side rows, the stitches are a lot looser on that edge when doing the slip stitch and harder to match up when seaming.
4. Striping is difficult because its hard to get a sense of where they will end up. As you begin, the colors start on the back of the neck and the ends of the sleeves, and then they work down the back and inward toward the front opening. Row 80 is where you do the tab (extra rows in the center), and the colors in the tab carry over to the front. I did not realize this, so I have a larger section in natural than I thought I would have. You can stripe in this section if you want.
I found this link with lots of pictures which helped me with the striping. It also has a section on the collar/hood placement.
5. I striped my sweater as follows, working off page 4 of the pattern:
- Rows 1-8 silver
- Rows 9-10 natural
- Rows 11-14 doe
- Rows 15-22 doe
- Rows 23-24 natural
- Rows 25-28 silver
- Rows 29-30 doe
- Rows 31-34 silver
- Rows 35-36 natural
- Rows 37-40 doe
- Rows 41-42 silver
- Rows 43-44 doe
- Rows 45-54 silver
- Rows 55-56 natural
- Rows 57-62 doe
- Rows 63-748 silver
- Rows 79-82 natural
- Rows 83-86 silver
- Rows 87-90 doe
- Rows 91-94 silver
- Rows 95-96 natural
6. Row 89 is the row where the button holes are made. The instruction have you make button holes on both sides, assuming you will stitch up one side when you add the buttons. If you know which side you want the button holes before you start, then for button holes on the left side of the opening (when wearing it), work the "yarn over, knit 2 together" stitches at the beginning of row 89 and just knit all the stitches at the end of row 89. If you want the button holes on the right side, work all knit stitches at the beginning of the row, and work the yo's at the end of the row.
7. The pattern says to cast off using the purl stitch. I did this at first and it looked fine. However, since I did not do a collar or hood, I wanted the same edging around the neck, so I reworked the cast off in a 2 stitch I-cord. When I got to the neck edging, I did not cut the yarn. I seamed the shoulder seams at this point, then continued the I-cord around the neck line.
8. Seaming the shoulders: Because you are seaming 2 sections that were knit at right angles to each other, the front section is 'stretchier' than the back section. To make sure I had the correct positioning of the seam, I counted the number of ridges in the front section (37). Then I counted 37 edge stitches on the back of the sleeve from the end of the sleeve inward towards the center of the neck, and pinned the front to the back at this point. This kept the neck opening the correct size.