My current work in progress:

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


More on the BSJ

There were some questions in the comments to yesterday’s post on the Baby Surprise Jacket.

Bonney asked:

Some people have said this sweater has a bit of challenge to it. Is there any truth in that?

I think the only challenge in this design is to follow the instructions to the letter. I had a hard time visualizing how the blog of knitting was going to morph itself into a jacket until I was well over halfway done with it. So you just have to trust the the instructions are right and plow on. After you’ve knit one of them, I can imagine it would be a lot easier to knit another with mods, since you’ll have the concept down.

Heather T commented:

I have a couple of questions – what gauge did you get and what are the finished dimensions (chest circumference, sleeves, etc)?

My gauge was about 6 sts/inch using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport. The chest circumference is 20″, the length of the sleeve measured from underarm down to cuff is 4.5″, and the length of the jacket from neck to hem is 20″.

Kittything asked

As a knitter who is usually doing color, or cables, or lace, was a garter stitch project boring for you?

No, it went by too quickly to be boring, really. And there is a lot going on in the pattern by way of shaping, so that keeps it entertaining. Also, I’ve been knitting stealth projects while I do the projects that appear on my blog, so there is some entertainment in variety.

Karen asked

Are there buttonholes on both sides of the front?

Yes there are! That’s the way it is designed. I think this is so you can knit the sweater ahead of time and then after the baby is born, when you find out if it is a girl or a boy, you can sew the buttons over the holes on the appropriate side. Clever, no?

While I know that the baby is going to be a boy, I decided to go ahead and knit it as written for 2 reasons. Reason number 1 — it’ll be easy to place the buttons on it because the holes show exactly where to put them. Reason number 2, while I was knitting I couldn’t remember which side you put the buttons for a boy and was too lazy to find out. It’s the right side for boys, right?

Danielle asked:

Can the BSJ be made for an older child easily? I’m thinking about getting a couple of EZ books and have a few 2nd cousins that are wee ones (from 6mo to 2 yrs) that I could make some of this for πŸ™‚

The pattern is written so that you can change the size of the sweater depending on the weight of yarn and needle size. So yes, it can be sized up!

I did suck it up and make a little hat to go with it.

No pattern, just do 2×2 ribbing for 2 inches, then knit for 3 inches, then decrease down for the top. I started with 72 stitches on a 3.25mm needle for the ribbing and switched to a 3.5mm needle for the plain stockinette.

I did start a project in my lovely handspun laceweight merino/tencel blend laceweight (purchased from The Opalescence).

But I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Of course I had to go and do this:

Lucy sez:

“I know where you sleep. Be afraid.”


  1. One of these days I’ll make the adult version of the Surprise Jacket. And whether she wants to admit it or not, Miss Lucy makes a beautiful model.

  2. I adore that picture of Lucy, but I do think you should sleep with one eye open!

  3. needleglyphs says:

    All cats should wear hats!!!

  4. Poor little Lucy! She’s going to get you! I love the way you post questions and your answers-it really helps VERY novice knitters (like me) LOL!

  5. anne marie in philly says:

    lucy, that smirk of disapproval is priceless!

    just remember, though, that momma is the one who feeds you…no momma, no wildside salmon…no treats…no toys…no clean litter box…

    I think you get the picture…

  6. Your sweater and hat are just adorable! It’s enough to make me want to knit a jacket for my brand new nephew – I hadn’t really intended to, since the fam lives overseas and anything I send will definitely be destroyed by the heat and humidity. Lucy is such a good (albeit unwilling) model – I think you should put that picture in the “Knitted Furmiliation” group on Ravelry!

  7. Since babies don’t exactly dress themselves, I wouldn’t worry so much about the boy/girl thing when choosing sides, but what side the parents would prefer it on. When I made mine, I asked the mom how she’d rather do up the buttons. I think it’s more of a lefty/righty thing in that case.

    turtlegirl76s last blog post..Doo doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo-doo doo

  8. I love how this sweater looks. Lucky baby boy!

  9. Cats really do not appreciate hats, but they are a good way to get an idea of the size of the hat. When I put the hat I was making on Max, my big tuxedo cat, and it fit, I decided it was probably a little too small for my coworker, even if she does think she has a small head.

  10. I’ll have to compare your BSJ measurements with mine to see if I should do a version with that yarn weight. What size do you think it turned out to be? I’ll have you know that the Loopy Ewe is completely out of those cute little bags–in all of the colors! Better the hat on Lucy than the jacket…lol.

  11. Where to put the buttonholes? “Girls are always right!” (Of course this is meaning to put buttonholes on the right for females.)

    Nancys last blog post..Part of a Prototype

  12. Thanks for answering my question. Lucy looks so cute in the hat. I love the idea of stealth projects; I can’t wait!!

  13. The hat style leaves something to be desired, but the color is flattering to you, Lucy

    I’ve done one bsj- you’re right- follow the directions. Andlet your mind relax and think like EZ.

  14. I always put buttonholes on both sides of the sweater. That way if they have another child of a different sex, they can just change the side the button goes on. Maybe double the wear. This is not my original idea, I read it somewhere. Good idea though. Love the picture of Lucy in the adorable hat.

  15. I couldn’t agree more with what you said about this project. It’s kind of a leap of faith in a way. And that whole thing about girls and boys having buttons on different sides, yeah, I had *no* idea about that until I knit this sweater and was trying to figure out the double button hole issue. LOL!

    And I’d say sleep with one eye open tonight if ya know what’s good for ya! πŸ˜‰

  16. Even though it DOES look adorable on her, I can’t imagine Lucy is too pleased about the photo with the hat! I think the eye open suggestion just might be a good one!

    Either that – or maybe double up on the Salmon for a few days??

    (thanks for the Q&A’s they were very helpful!)

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

  17. oh that poor, abused little kitty *grin*

    mias last blog post..Time to make the HONEY!

  18. Lucy looks great, but you should be afraid. Be very afraid.

    The one problem I had with the BSJ was that there was a set of picked up stitches, one on the right side and one on the wrong side, and they didn’t look the same. This was many years ago, so I think I may have to try it again.

    MicheleLBs last blog post..February Lady: Encore!

  19. That picture of Lucy totally cracks me up!! I have knit preemie hats for an annual charity knitting project for a local women’s hospital for 4 years in a row, and I simply cannot resist putting one of those hats promptly on my Tonkinese Max’s little head. He is colored a lot like Lucy and always looks like he enjoys it as much as Lucy appears to. Just makes me smile knowing I’m not the only one…. how could you resist??

  20. Hi Wendy,

    Boys: Left over right.

    Girls: Right over left.

    If you forget pretend you are a ballerina and do a beautiful spin throwing your right arm across your body: girls way. As we are girls.
    Boys is opposite.

    P.S. When you forget it is sometimes fun to be the ballerina. Makes me smile.


  21. That photo of Lucy is simply the best … I laughed out loud:) Kudos to Lucy for being a good sport. Looking forward to seeing what the pretty laceweight becomes.

  22. That Lucy is such a lovely little lady! Blue is definitely her color – it matches her eyes! (Sometimes we must suffer for fashion!)

    Can’t wait to see what’s going on inside the polka-dot bag!!

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

  23. Lucy looks so cute in that hat. I didn’t have any trouble following EZ’s “pithy” instructions. I have a friend who used some notes that someone made on it that were posted on the ‘net. She had problems. I took one look at what she had and suggested she return to EZ’s instructions. When she did, it was clear knitting.

    Timmie Bs last blog post..Folk Festival and New Guild

  24. Poor Lucy! I *would* watch your back, though.

    Saras last blog post..I’d Like to Thank the Academy

  25. That hat is definitely Lucy! πŸ˜‰

    jannas last blog post..L is for….

  26. thanks, wendy!

    heather ts last blog post..New Project OTN

  27. My guess is that it is MS4. I see a bunch of markers, I see a lot of stitches, I see horizontal progress (not triangular), I think I see the glimmer of beads…. Or I could be hallucinating because I am supposed to be knitting on mine!

    Lisa js last blog post..Knitting the Night Away

  28. Ann Carpenter says:

    Hi Wendy,
    I have knit five of the SBJs. The first one I knit was big enough for my three year old great-nephew. The next one, same yarn, same needles, fit his one year old brother. Of course it was knit at home with my mother fussing at me so it was quite a bit tighter! My tip is to write down each and every line you will knit then mark them off as you do. Include every increase and every decrease and every other extra move you make. It makes knitting SOOOOOO much easier. And, after several, it does get a bit easier. At least you know how to fold them before you get to the top so you can see how it is looking. And, everyone I made them for liked them, I think. They are great little sweaters. The older great nephew looked at his and screamed “OH. A SWEATER!!!!!” I was so thrilled! BTW, Lucy does look adorable in the hat. Mine hate them too and pull them off and try to eat them!
    Ann Carpenter in Dallas, Texas

  29. In the remembering where to put the buttons department…

    I see your ‘girls are always right’…but…heck, was that buttons or buttonholes? and your twirling ballerinas (Fantasia, anyone?) and raise you…

    “Boys (men, males of any variety) are left-over.”

    I win. πŸ™‚

    Lovely jacket. Cutest, most perfect buttons ever. But I confess, I look at the line-by-line Olde Typewriter Font instructions for the BSJ and…quickly close the book again before my brain explodes. Wish garter stitch were chart-able. Um, it isn’t, is it?

    Poor Lucy. hehehehe…

  30. Cats in hats make me laugh.

    Sarahs last blog post..The Votes Are In

  31. Thanks for the sizing answer!!
    And I have a message for you from my DH…following up on the “sleep with one eye open comment” and also in Chain Mail πŸ™‚
    Miss Lucy is very cute in her hat, wonder how she’d look in the jacket too? HEHE

    Danielle from SW MOs last blog post..Interview Away My dearie!!

  32. Lucy should wear hats more often, she looks great in them!!

    Jewels last blog post..Catapillar socks are off the needles

  33. In response to Danielle’s question, I made a BSJ for my two-year-old. Although the pattern would adjust to fit a bigger child by knitting at a bigger gauge, I made some modifications in order for the sweater to fit better. It’s all outlined in a blog post that you can see by clicking on my name above. Hope this helps!

    Mandys last blog post..It’s all their fault.

  34. I would be very afraid to sleep in the house with Lucy after that look!

    Jennifers last blog post..Planning for fall, and beyond

  35. Fastest camera in Baltimore!

    miss sandras last blog post..And Not a Word More

  36. OH! OH! Poor Lucy! The indignity of it all…
    That’s a terrific shot, if a tad on the unfocused side…I’m sure the hat didn’t stay on long!

    Knitnanas last blog post..I’m BA-ACK…Time for a Meme!

  37. I’m so glad that I just ordered The Opinionated Knitter. Besides having all of the wonderful things to read it in, I’ll have this lovely pattern too. Thanks for sharing all of your notes. Now I just have to wait patiently by the mailbox….

    Lucy thinks the hat should be pink for a girlie cat. πŸ™‚

    Danieles last blog post..Coffee Creamer … and the Jogless Jog