I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I currently have FIVE pregnant friends. These are not acquaintances, these are really good rock solid friends who I feel the need to provide a gift for. Of course my first "go to" skill is knitting. So here is number 1 of 5 baby gifts that are going to be blogged about in the next few months:- The February Baby Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (Rav Link).
For those that don't know, Elizabeth Zimmermann is one of the most talked about knitters on the internet. In the 1960s she started writing essays and articles, books and patterns. If she were alive today she would definitely be a blogger, as this is her writing style. She is informal, friendly and adventurous.
I never used to understand the popularity of this great lady until I finally caved and bought The Knitter's Almanac.
I bought this book because there were a couple of patterns in the book that I really wanted to have. The first of these patterns was the Baby Jacket from February's entry. I have always loved the look of this jacket.
Isn't it sweet? I love the stitch pattern and was amazed to find it really easy to memorise. It looks much more complicated than it is. The yarn that I used - Rico Baby Classic DK is a lovely soft acrylic yarn that should wash pretty easily. You will be seeing this yarn again, but in different colours, as I bought enough to make a blanket too.
The jacket is knit from the top down on two needles and the only seams are on the arms. I think if I was to do this again, I might even do the arms in the round to prevent having to sew up the edges of the lace pattern., not that the seam is that obvious.
I think this jacket is probably big enough to last a baby for a good few months and the jacket will probably stretch quite easily too. I only have a couple of comments about the lovely Ms Zimmermann. The first being that though the writing is fun and entertaining, the patterns are self described as "pithy". This means if you are a beginner knitter, you probably won't have a clue what she is going on about. This book is really for someone who has been knitting at least a couple of years. In a couple of places this pattern was a little unclear as to where the buttonholes should start and where the sleeve should end.
These unclear parts of the pattern are a result of the ethos of Elizabeth Zimmermann. She encourages knitter's to try and let loose from the boundaries of the pattern and try experimenting and making choices for themselves. It isn't the end of the world if my button holes are higher or lower than was intended by the pattern writer. It also doesn't matter how long or short the sleeves are (so long as they aren't ridiculous), but it is worth pointing out that you may want to check other projects on Ravelry to see what other knitter's have done. If you are not an adventurous knitter and like your patterns to be crystal clear then this is not the book for you, but I am looking forward to trying more patterns from it in the future, and maybe having a go at being a little more adventurous.