While drafting my list of must-knit items for the Fricklet, I stumbled upon this Baby Surprise and may have shorted out a few neurons in my excitement. Here's something I can do with all of this lovely multicolored sock yarn I accumulated before I realized that it doesn't jive with most sock patterns! So I started my own sock yarn BSJ and posted a photo on Flickr, only to have a very astute observer (with some lovely stash) point me over here. So you can look at my photo, but really, I'm just a big copycat, apparently.
Knit in STR Mediumweight in the colorway "Fairgrounds," which came as part of the first year of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts sock club. One hank is plenty- I got an additional pair of booties out of it. I used size four 24" circular Addi Turbos, and it looks as if it will fit the average 0-2 month old.
Tweaks and mods: I have made this jacket before, and two things bothered me about it. One was my complete inability to visualize how it "worked." This was largely my own fault, as I knit it on straight needles. Please, if you value your sanity, use circs when you make this little item, as they will allow you to fold it as you go and understand where you are (see Adrian's for a good demonstration of this phenomenon, and the KnitWiki she pointed out yesterday helps, too). The second thing that bothered me had to do with the sleeves. While I realize it's practical to have the sleeves blouse out from the cuff, I didn't quite like the way it looked, especially on a short sleeve. I cast on an extra 18 stitches, moved my decrease markers in nine stitches each toward the center, and then ignored the instructions to increase 9 stitches across each cuff section later in the pattern. This gave me a straight sleeve, which pleases my eye, though I could end up kicking myself later when all this fabric keeps bopping a baby in the face. On this jacket I used paired m1R and M1L increases instead of EZ's backward loops. In addition, I emailed the color experts over at Blue Moon Fiber Arts asking for advice on the right contrast trim, and they dyed me up a hank of Boysenberry, with which I executed an i-cord cast-off and applied i-cord trim around the neck. Buttons from mom's stash completed it and there she is! And me with enough Boysenberry Mediumweight left over for a pair of socks- pattern suggestions, anyone? (Also of note- somehow I managed to only make four buttonholes instead of the called-for five. I think it works on this small size, but between you and me, it was an oversight.)
In my research, I found and also absolutely love Brooke's long-sleeved version, so that was my next goal. I made this one slightly larger, using two hanks of Adrian's fat sock in the color "Gentle." Well, two and a bit, but that was due to a needle size mistake- use 5's instead of 6's that you mistake for 5's until you're halfway through, as I did, and you'll get away with two hanks. This one will fit a slightly older baby- 2-4 months on average, I'd say.
Tweaks and mods: There are a few ways to make this jacket with long sleeves. If you follow the link above to Brooke's, you'll find she used a provisional cast-on. The KnitWiki linked above suggests picking up stitches once you're finished and knitting the cuffs down from the cast-on edge. I cast on for two cuffs on the same circular needle, adding nine stitches to each as above in order to avoid puff-cuff, and knit up a little over an inch before casting on the stitches across the center and knitting the pattern as written. On this jacket I used EZ's suggested backward loop increases, which are a bit looser than the ones I used on the Fairgrounds jacket, but less fuss. These sleeves may be a tad bit long- I can see how Brooke and the KnitWiki have one over on me, as they can see exactly how long their sleeves will be- but I can always cuff 'em up. More fabric to bop baby in the face! Because babies whacking themselves repeatedly is fine new-mama amusement, right? I left the cast-off as is, as I'm saving my last hank of fat sock for a top-down bonnet.
Feel free to email me if you'd like to try one of these mods and my explanation above isn't clear enough!
I know I may have let some of you down with the color choices for these jackets. Here I am, railing against the HNGF's of the world, and what do we see here? Pink and blue. Yep, you got me. But I have to say that I'm not sure I agree with Lady Z that babies don't look good in pink and blue. They do- as long as it's a strong pink or blue. They look great in brown and red and grey. They look doughy-zombie HORRID in the standard "neutral" light green and yellow, unless they're blessed with cocoa skin. So I've laid out a few new possibilities for Mr. Frick to choose from, because this baby needs another BSJ. These colors may be more to your liking:
So now for the big surprise, right? What will the well-dressed Fricklet be sporting come September? Well, color me thrilled.
Thanks for all of the support and sweetness and light you've poured through the cables and phone lines to this little laptop. It's meant so much to all of us.