I first discovered the knitting patterns and philosophies of Elizabeth Zimmerman when I was pregnant with my first child.  I had purchased The Knitter’s Almanac and was won over by her entertaining writing style and the cosy world of knitting in an old schoolhouse in the woods, as well as a demystifying approach to the knitting process.  The baby sweater on two needles, or February Baby Sweater, became my standard baby knit.  I later discovered the Baby Surprise Jacket, but by this time Rex was too old for one.  When I was expecting the twins, one of my first thoughts was that now I could knit the BSJ!  Two of them …

This pattern is such an iconic one amongst knitters, and it is universally marvelled at how EZ came up with it.  Kind of like knitting origami, a single piece folds into a sweet little cardigan.  Due to the changing direction of the knitting due to the placement of decreases and increases, this pattern works particularly well with stripes, or irregularly dyed or variegated yarns.

I liked the idea of knitting a special garment for the girls, I had made a special soft hooded jacket for Rex of the softest angora/wool blend that I purchased in New Zealand when I was pregnant.  Similarly I bought four skeins of hand-spun, hand-dyed wool from the local Handweavers and Spinners Guild with BSJs in mind.

Despite pregnancy-induced reduced brain capacity, and with the aid of row by row notes on a scrappy piece of paper, I fairly easily achieved the desired piece of fabric.  I enjoyed the adventure of following directions and trusting in EZ, as I had no idea what I was doing, so untraditional was the construction of this garment.  If I had known better (or done my homework) I wouldn’t have used my most variegated skein first, as this part of the knitting turned out to be the back, and the stripes would have looked particularly effective on the mitred fronts.

The above unfinished piece sat around for over a year, amusing me it its cleverness, as I knew it would not fit the girls during their first winter.  More recent cold spells provided the impetus to sew those two seams and get it finished.  My only modification was to pick up and knit 1 1/2 inch garter stitch cuffs to lengthen the sleeves.

The finished garment is so sweet and cosy.  Next time I’ll be sure to cast off much more loosely, but I think it will do the job of warming one of my little ones this winter. 

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