My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.



Those of you who guessed “Baby Surprise Jacket” were correct — that’s what my current knitting is.

Would you believe I’ve never made a Baby Surprise Jacket before? I’ve admired Elizabeth Zimmermann’s feat of engineering from afar, but my opportunities for baby knitting are not frequent. I do, however, have such an opportunity coming up, as there will be a baby born in my family in a few months.

I’m using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in the “Georgetown” colorway and a US 3 (3.25mm) needle to knit this. The recipient will be a boy, I am told, so I chose what I thought was a baby boy-appropriate colorway.

Now I need buttons. I’ve googled around a bit, but if anyone knows of a good online source of cute buttons for baby clothes, feel free to plug ’em in the comments.

I brought my DC Sunrise shawl to work this morning and hung it over the back of my chair. It certainly brightens up my otherwise dreary office.

There was a question in the comments about the finished dimensions of my shawl: it’s about 70 inches across the top and 35 inches down the center back.

Another question about lace knitting:

Do you have any advice for keeping the center back yarn overs from wandering. I put in a stitch marker but the darn thing ducks under the yarn overs and six rows later I see my center holes have taken a jog to the left by one stitch. All kinds of frustrating!

I gave this some thought — I’ve never actually had that happen. My stitch marker stays put. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the size of the stitchmarker? I use the little rubber ring-type stitch markers most of the time. They stay put pretty well.  They are also large enough so that the yarnover isn’t really able to climb over the marker.

The only other advice I have is to remain vigilant. Look at your center stitch every row when you get to it to make sure nothing wonky is going on!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Lucy relaxes. For a change.


  1. The BSJ colorway should be perfect for a baby boy. He’ll be very lucky.

  2. I thought maybe that’s what you were knitting! What fun. I’m actually teaching a class on the BSJ (my first one) on my LYS this Sunday. I’m hoping others will find it as infectious of a pattern as I have.

    Mandis last blog post..Pattern Addiction

  3. A lovely piece of knitting! Congrats on the newcomer! Lucy also looks as if she is doing kitty yoga to relax! luv.m.

  4. The BSJ is one of my favorite little people knits, so is the Wonderful Wallaby. SO glad to see that you have decided to do one! They are so fun, and quick!

    Susans last blog post..Eric do you see me, eric do you hear me?

  5. I’ve been wanting to do one for quite a while now, but it doesn’t seem to be on the list just yet. I don’t know how many more babies we’ll be having/getting in the family, but maybe for t he next one!
    I’ve found really cute buttons on eBay–the ones called “housedress buttons” are especially charming!

    mehitabels last blog post..Hot Finish

  6. I love ceramic buttons… Because the baby will be a little person for a while, I also wouldn’t be afraid to use ceramic, wee bitty ones can’t exactly climb trees and break them. Muddy Mouse Pottery on Etsy has a rather large selection. It might be a good place to start and get some ideas for buttons for baby – although I would have to indulge myself as well!

    I love the colors. Even if the doctors are wrong and it’s a girl, it will still be lovely for baby!

    Megan S.s last blog post..Pass The Cheese Please!

  7. Can this lurker offers some advise about marking center stitches? I mark the actual center stitch with a cute plastic colored coiless pin and not the yarn overs. This works better for me. I just move it up every row or two. Since it hangs you can see it coming.

    Wendy, you are my inspiration! Your sunrise shawl is simply gorgeous!

    And, hey Lucy, do I have a guy for you to meet!

  8. Oooh! very pretty yarn!

    I love the BSJ. I’ve made two of them this year and plan on making an adult version for myself.

  9. I think that sweater is going to be beautiful. Love the color. You could try Zecca buttons they’re really pretty and you can get them online I think. I mark my center stitch the same way that Linda does, works for me.

  10. Good luck with buttons. I’ve made 2 BSJs and cute buttons add so much to this jacket. First one, I found some Teddy Bear buttons at WalMart. I bought 2 cards and had 3 left for second jacket but when I returned WalMart had changed all their buttons so no bears. I’ll be interested in reading where others have found them. Buttons are a problem in small town USA.

    Timmie Bs last blog post..Birthday Loot and Last SoS 08 Socks

  11. Lucy looks like a contortionist! A beautiful one, of course!

  12. What a pretty sweater for a very lucky boy. I have found varius items, purse handles and buttons at M&J Timming. I think the website is www. Good luck!

  13. Opps! That is

  14. You might want to do an Etsy search for “children’s buttons” or “cute buttons” or some such and see what comes up. I’m always amazed at the creativity of the folks selling their wares up on Etsy. I’m still patiently collecting patterns for the day when I’ll be able to knit baby things for my future grandbabies. So far, all I’ve been called upon to knit are cat toys. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course.

    Dee P.s last blog post..May the Circle Be Unbroken

  15. Hi just a thought re stitch markers. I tend to “lose” them when knitting as they end up flying around the room when I get to them. Must be how I knit, so I use coiless safety pins and pin into the row or so below. I just move it up every so often. I find that my fingers feel it ok when I get to that point.

    Hm I must admit to “not” using anything at all most times. And having to frog 5 inches of the border of a shetland shawl I was knitting in the round as I had started a 5th corner on the train! Sigh!

    Love the colour of your baby surprise. I haven’t knitted one yet either. Will have to one day.

    knit on >^..^<

    Beverleys last blog post.."Manifesto"

  16. For buttons…try No minimum! Enough button choices to make you crazy…

    Are you going to take the origami of BSJ to work to see who can figure it out and who can’t????

  17. I knit one in the exact same colorway about a year ago this time. The recipient (or better stated, his parents) loved it. Why not try a local yarn store for buttons? Why online? The LYS in our area have great baby buttons.

  18. I just knitted my first BSJ too – I loved it. EZ really is a genius!

  19. I’ve wanted to make a BSJ for a while, but none of my friends or family are having babies anymore, sob! Well, the family had our first wedding this summer in a while, so that’s a good sign. We can all start bugging the happy couple to start thinking about babies. They’ll love that.

    I know this sounds lame, but I actually get buttons at our local Joann’s Fabrics–they always seem to have a really nice and varies selection. However, the Yarn Harlot once mentioned a store called the Button Emporium which has a website ( I thought it looked pretty good at the time and bookmarked it for future reference.

    sydney in njs last blog post..More Socks before Maine

  20. Sorry, I messed up the coding in my link. It was supposed to be a link to The Button Drawer. Let me know if you find something you like!

    TrishD in MDs last blog post..New on the Needles: Instant Gratification Hat

  21. Your EZ Baby Surprise Jacket looks soooooo much better than mine… this is my first one.

    Love the color of yours as well..

    Beautiful, I can’t wait to see it when it is all done.

  22. Buttons Galore (etsy) has all sorts of great buttons.. I always go there when I need some!

    Vickis last blog post..fall knittings

  23. anne marie in philly says:

    until this year, I too had never knitted a BSJ. I have done 4 of them now; I lerve it!

    plus I learned some new tricks; I confess I purchased the BSJ DVD from schoolhouse press. worth the $18!

    PS – my first BSJ sucked on toast and was donated to charity. it DOES take practice…

  24. when you have a free minute to put some miles on that car, you really should check out Accessories of Old in Bethesda at 4822 St. Elmo’s Ave. tier online store is sparse, but the shop is to die for. amazing vintage buttons, trims, ribbon. just a sensory feast!

    kittythings last blog mer

  25. Thank you for sharing the finished dimensions of your Shetland Triangle. I knit my first BSJ this year, too. My tip for keeping stitch markers from migrating under a yarn-over is to tie a bit of #10 crochet cotton to the stitch marker.

    Sarahs last blog post..Ravelympic Wrap-Up

  26. CONGRATULATIONS on the baby news! There is nothing quite like a newborn to give life some excitement 🙂

    Love the color choice for the BSJ – I am pretty sure I know the answer to this question — but do you find the directions at all confusing?

    TheSockKnitters last blog post..A THIEF IN OUR MIDST???

  27. Zecca makes great polymer clay buttons. At my lys they have Zecca Buttons on a Baby Surprise Jacket and it looks fantastic. Here’s the website:

    Pams last blog post..Pointy Sticks

  28. Oh! Thanks for reminding me about the Baby Surprise Jacket. I’ve always wanted to make one too, and now my friend is having a baby! YAY!

    I love it when kitties twist around like Lucy is doing. 🙂

    Danieles last blog post..My Purple Passion

  29. I agree with Linda–marking the actual center stitch works well. While I admit that I just look for the center, I just had a fairly new-knitter student who was trying to duplicate a simple shawl I made, whose stitch markers kept migrating to the other side of her YOs. A smaller stitch marker did help, but marking the center stitch worked way better. She now has a shawl with a nice, straight back. And is much less frustrated.

    Sunas last blog post..Minty Leaves and Maelstrom

  30. I’ve had occasion to knit my first two BSJ’s this year…. such fun!

  31. I’ve just about given up on finding cute and affordable buttons. I don’t want to spend more for buttons than what I spent on the yarn! I’m seriously considering making my own out of polymer clay for my two BSJs.

    Katrinas last blog post..Ice Cream Mitts

  32. Love the color on your BSJ. I knit one this year and got my buttons at MJ Trimming in NYC. I think they have a website.

    Pic of the shawl in your office?! 😉

  33. Love the BSJ – I’ve got to make one someday. It looks like so much fun!

    I’m another believer in coil-less safety pins instead of stitch markers in most cases. Also, they make great markers when you’re counting endless rows of stockinette. I place one every 20 rows on the socks I knit and then don’t have to start counting all the way from the beginning, again. Yes, I count rows rather than measure. I don’t know why…it just makes be happy!

  34. Sites I bookmarked for buttons are and I’ve never bought from them though. Love the BSJ–so pretty. Maybe you’ll inspire me to seam mine up. It was a first for me too. I’m thinking about making a second one as the first would fit a 2 year old! I’m curious how big yours comes out-I have some Lorna’s Laces that I could use to make another one. Keep us posted!

  35. this is a really cool site for buttons,
    they have lots & lots of choices. Love your site, I read it every day.

  36. Ruth Martin says:

    Re: marking the centre stitch of a shawl when there are yo’s on either side – I use one of those plastic safety-pin type markers and actually attach it around the centre stitch one or two rows below the one being knit, and shift it up every 10 or so rows. It stays put and clearly marks the crucial centre stitch. You could use a coilless safety pin the same way, of course – or a scrap of contrasting waste yarn tied loosely.

  37. RE: jumping stitch markers, I have found that a loop made of cotton yarn works really well. It provides just enough friction that the YO’s don’t slip over, and the little tail hangs down enough to keep everything in place.

    Cute sweater, by the way!

    Carries last blog post..Olivia’s Socks