Baby Surprise Jacket: Getting to the Flap of 90 Stitches

 From Elizabeth DeHority:

Look at your pattern.  You've done the little cast offs for the neck, and depending on your version, it tells you how many stitches you have and then to continue knitting on the center 90.  Or it tells you to knit 124 stitches and then just turn around!  Either way might be confusing, so let's do it one step at a time.
I am a slow knitter, so I had to fudge a bit to get to 158 stitches to do this part.


That tangled mess is actually the start and the middle of the same BSJ, just not connected.  You can see it better here:


I knew I'd not finish the decreases and then get back up wtih the increases in time.  So I did a provisional cast on for 158 stitches, knit a row up (BLUE), then unraveled the cast on and put the stitches going the other way on another LONG circ (GREEN).  when I knit on the green, I'm going to be knitting in the opposite direction from the instructions, back to meet up with the first piece.  Then I can do a garter stitch kitchener to stick the two parts seamlessly together. 

I actually did this only to be able to show you that tricky line, but it's actually let me get lots more knitting done.  The individual parts are lighter than the whole big mess, and since I'm awfully weak and in bed today, having a light little piece of knitting to rest in my lap was better than that whole big tangle.

You have two choices for tools for this row.  You can use two spare circular needles, any size, any length

or you can use a tapestry needle and smooth waste yarn or string.
So anyway, you are knitting along, doing these increases, and then you run into a confusing line about working the middle 90.  First thing is to count your stitches.  If you are a little off from 34-90-34, don't stress.  Just do what we do and we'll fix it later.  If you're WAY off, email me at esdehority at aol dot com and we'll work it out.
Here goes.  Start your row, and knit until you get to stitch 124.  This should be right around the end of your diagonal line, where your stitch marker might be :-) 

"Now what?  I'm just supposed to turn around?  what about those leftover stitches???? "
Well, you actually could.  But my way is easier, and ends up giving you fewer pulled edges and a tidier finish.  Plus less stress.
Before you turn your knitting around, take those remaining 34 or so stitches, and move them onto a spare circular needle or a Knitpicks cable with a screw-on top.

Now they are happily waiting for you to get back to them. 
Your yarn should be in just the right place behind stitch 124, so turn your work over and go.
OK, so you knit back 90 stitches or so… until you run into that other diagonal.  Now what???


This side I did our other option… I slipped the stitches onto waste yarn to keep them safely out of the way.  I might need to use a spare needle to scoop up those little live ones when I'm ready to work with them again, but for now, waste yarn is their home.
But of course you left your working yarn back at the last stitch in the 90 section, so as soon as those end stitches are safely out of the way, you can turn your work and go.  back and forth, back and forth.
NOTE!!!  If you are making your sweater for a toddler and you want the body longer, you should add extra rows to this 90s section.  We need to talk about this more on our next post, I promise!
So here's what we have:
Click on it to make it bigger.  You have your knitting, which looks nothing like mine, because yours has the back and sleeves all on it.  So use your imagination. (The pink and white example at the end of the post is an actual jacket at this stage.) You have the sides on hold, and are going to knit back and forth on the middle 90 to lengthen the whole body of the sweater. 
Once we are done with this part, we get to pick up those patiently waiting stitches AND pick up stitches from the sides of the flap we're making.  This really stresses people out… they see sloppy pick up rows on Ravelry sweaters and worry that theirs won't be tidy.  Don't worry.  There are lots of ways to pick up stitches, none of them are irreversible so you can try it until it's perfect… and I think that section definitely deserves a video :-)
Transferring stitches:

Both sides on cables:

The 90 flaps all stitched up:




  1. says

    For the cast-off to shape the neck, do you just do a regular bind off to bind off the stitches? I wanted to make sure I’m not supposed to do anything fancier than what I usually do, which is to make two stitches, then pass the first stitch over the 2nd stitch and drop it off the right-hand needle, then make another stitch and repeat the pass-over-drop-off procedure until I’ve bound off the appropriate number of stitches.
    I posted an update this morning:

  2. says

    Thanks, Elizabeth! I will forge ahead, then, and go ahead and cast off those stitches with my usual bind-off strategy. Thanks, too, for the kind words on my progress so far. I never would have tacked this pattern without the encouragement of you, Elizabeth D., and the rest of the folks doing this knit-along. This has been such a great experience.
    I also have the yarn to knit the same sweater for a niece (due in September) using a dark purple heather with lighter purple and a very pale cornmeal yellow stripe. I think both will be attractive — it’s very exciting to be an auntie again twice in the same year!

  3. says

    I wanted to thank both Elizabeth’s also for hosting and being such WONDERFUL teachers. I finally sat down yesterday morning determined to understand this pattern. As I was starting that pesky increase row 10 I was religiously chanting to myself “In, Around, Through …” :)
    I am now up to where I will be increasing again and am ready to take a break for a few hours.
    Thank you so much again!

  4. Alicia in New Zealand says

    Hello just wanted to say that I have received my pattern and will be looking through my stash to see what I will use. I am a fairly new knitter, just started when we moved here. I would like to do the Child-SJ but am a little worried. I am gratefully waiting on Elizabeth’s next post on different sizing.
    Blessings to your home, both Elizabeths and all other knitters and lurkers :)
    Alicia in New Zealand

  5. Lara says

    Elizabeth & Elizabeth–
    How many rows of 90 do you suggest for a Toddler Surprise Jacket? I have my 20, but thought I’d wait to see if I need to add more….and I have no idea how to “knit up the stitches” as the pattern says.
    Thank you so much for your encouragement and expert guidance! I’m having so much fun!
    Bless you both,

  6. says

    Have you tried it on him? Fold it up and have someone hold the shoulders and see where it falls. I don’t think I’m going to need to add any to Karoline’s body. I will probably have to lengthen the sleeves, though.

  7. Lara says

    Yes–so exciting! I think I’ll add a few more rows just in case, and finish off the striping sequence. Let me know about lengthening the sleeves a bit when we get to that part.

  8. MamaSongbird says

    Hi! This is great and so helpful! Did you ever do a post on how to add length to that center flap? I was wondering what I should do, I added some rows but now don’t know how to finish pattern. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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