Baby Surprise Jacket Knit Along: Ready, Set...

As we get ready to knit together a Baby Surprise Jacket, Elizabeth has put together some answers to frequently asked questions. I've posted those below. Even if you are a new knitter, come and knit with us. If I can do it, anyone can--with Elizabeth to help along.

Let's take a look at questions you may be pondering and see if we can get you off and knitting.

From Elizabeth:

1.  Do I need the whole ABCSJ pattern or will just the Baby Surprise Jacket one do?
The BSJ one is fine, the one from the video (also available at Amazon here) or The Opinionated Knitter or from But you have to have a pattern.  Meg Swansen, who is Elizabeth Zimmermann's daughter and owner of the copyright, has graciously agreed to support our knitalong, but we can only blog the specific instructions for a couple of tricky little spots... so you need your own pattern.  If you order it from them, and tell them you're doing this knitalong, they are going to do their very best to get your pattern out as fast as they can. We've also just learned that Schoolhouse Press will offer a discount. If you order the DVD for the Baby Surprise Jacket along with the A-B-C-SJ pattern, you will receive a 20% discount (the discount happens when they process your order, not on the order form). 
2.  How much yarn do I need?  For what size?
Your mileage may vary, but I looked through my notebooks and got out George's sweaters from the past two years
Sock weight using size 1 needles:  Preemie to very small newborn size (fit Danny at 4 to 5 lbs)  Less than 400 yards
Sock weight using size 3 needles:  newborn size, needed about 400 yards.
DK weight using size 6 needles:  6 - 9 month size, needed 400 yards
Worsted weight using size 8 needles 12 - 18 month size, needed 440 yards
Bulky weight using size 10.5 needles makes toddler size.  Yarn requirement highly variable depending on length of body and sleeves, I dyed 600 yards for mine just in case.
For more information about sizes and yarns, there is a wiki on Ravelry with TONS of info on the BSJ.
I was reminded yesterday when talking to Mrs. Foss that new knitters might not realize how different life was pre-Ravelry.  It used to be that you had to get on a LONG waiting list to get a spot on Ravelry, and we all checked our numbers every day.  The only place to get comprehensive information on this sweater was the files from the closed knitbabysurprise yahoo group... 
3.  What kind of needles do you use? 
It would be darn near impossible to knit this sweater on straight needles.  I use knitpicks harmony interchangeable needles.  For this sweater, it will make life easier near the end if you have a cable 40 inches long or so... otherwise picking up stitches along the fronts gets sort of tight. 
4a.  I am a truly beginner knitter.  Can I do this?
YES.  The only two things you really need to know how to do before we start are how to cast on and how to do the knit stitch.  Every other tricky part we will walk you through.  Emily is helping me make youtube videos of things like double decreases and yarnovers.  They are NOT fancy videos.  For example, if you've read the instructions and doing a SKPSSO makes you nervous, here's our  video of how to do that.
4b.  To Nancy:  A baby surprise jacket is EASIER than your dishcloths, because to knit the BSJ, you don't even need to know how to purl.  It's also easier because it's bigger, so you don't have to turn your work around so often.  I pray while I knit, and long stretches of uninterrupted knitting are so conducive to peaceful prayer time...
5.  What else do I need?
Pattern, yarn, and knitting needles are essential to getting started.  You will also need at least four stitch markers (I use the little solid plastic circle kind), a different color of yarn to mark your right side and your decreases, as well as to hold stitches you're not working on, and a tapestry needle to sew it all up when you're done. 
6.  What else?
I have a favor.  Who lives near Ellie at  ?  She has been unable to knit since her brain tumor surgery, but it sounds from her note in the comments the other day that she thinks she might be able to pick it back up again with some hands on help.  What a blessing that would be!  Can we help her?

Button, button, we've got a button! If you're knitting with us, you are welcome to post this button to your blog.

Baby Surprise Jacket KnitAlong

Here are codes:

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If you're going to join us, please leave a comment, and then leave a link as well, so we can find you. (If you don't have a blog, join anyway. You can post pictures to the Flickr group.)

Finally, Elizabeth says that she prays when she knits. When I knit, I pray for Elizabeth. If you're going to knit along with me, won't you please pray along with me, too? I'd be ever so grateful.