Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Opinionated Knitter was one of the first books I bought as a knitter. I loved the photos, stories about the various school houses she lived in and more specifically, the story behind her Baby Surprise Jacket. At the time, I was a lone knitter. I didn’t know anyone else who knitted, even by six degrees of separation and was in the middle of teaching myself all the basics. I had no idea how popular and famous Zimmerman’s work was/is but I did recognize the genius behind her designs as I read and re-read that “Baby Surprise Jacket” pattern. Fast forward six years and I had still not knit a single thing out of The Opinionated Knitter.
I love structure and straight forward everything-spelled-out patterns and Zimmerman’s instructions, while inspirational and full of encouragement to experiment, hadn’t been what I was looking for. Now, as a more experienced knitter I feel far more confident substituting yarn, ripping back work and filling in some of the blanks in the pattern. So, after years of gazing longingly at my favorite pattern book, I was finally able to rally my courage and make my own “Baby Surprise Jacket”. I used a combination of Mesa and Urban in Chroma Worsted for this lovely, squishy little jacket. I wanted stripes but I didn’t want the repeats to be too obvious so I took bits from each ball to break things up. In hindsight, I suppose I jumped right into the deep end with both feet!
Like my first pair of socks, I stopped trying to use logic on the pattern on my first try. Instead, I relaxed, sat back and followed the instructions to the letter, hoping I would come away with the perfect wee jacket just like I came away with my very first sock heel. And I did! I love how it turned out… the colors look wonderful and the whole project looks like it would be great for a 6-10 month old boy or girl. Kerin even dug up some of our new Crimson Glazed Buttons to finish it off! I’m pleased as punch and can’t wait to try more patterns from the same book… maybe even a pair of those “Nether Garments”!