Saturday was Knitters Study Group, and as usual we started a new project, this time a variation on Elizabeth Zimmerman's baby surprise jacket or the BSJ, The Baby Surplice Jacket. I guess that makes it the BSJ? The class announcement always gives the project details - which allows for before class homework. My homework was to browse completed projects on Ravelry. I loved the projects that used stripes, and even more than that I loved those with stripes that faded from one colour to another. Like the BSJ, the BSJ uses mitered increases and decreases to form the garment shape - and shifts in colour tend to make that shaping detail more obvious.
Based on what I saw and liked I chose a ball of Kauni to make my BSJ. In class I cast on and began knitting - and I began to feel a little uneasy about my choice. The Kauni was crunchy - not scratchy but crunchy. When stroked in the ball the yarn is soft - when knit into garter stitch the yarn is more springy and feels less soft. After the hem band I went up a needle size in the hope that the scratchy was a result of a firm gauge. Nope - ten rows past the needle change it was still crunchy.
This bothered me, I don't have a newborn anymore of my own so this will be a gift. Any parent of a newborn seems struck by how delicate babies are, soft, and so new, with tender skin. I couldn't help but think that if given, this BSJ would be admired for its colours, and I would be thanked, but it would always be pushed passed when reaching for something soft and warm and cuddly to dress the baby in. Of course it could be worn over something - be an outdoor layer, but honestly newborns are not typically in need of outdoor wear, and if they are outdoors they should be wrapped in warm soft blankets. So I knit some more last night before finally giving in and deciding to use other yarn. I thought in really needed to pick softer yarn and start again. I've chosen a pink and cream and green Schoppelwolle. Should give me the colour changes I want and the softness a newborn needs.
There is a whole lot of garter knitting right now, as my Enchanted Mesa seems languising in a sea of garter short rows as I continue to straighten up the hem, The shorter side is at 9", the longer side at 11". But the great thing about short rows is they get shorter ....so each row takes less knit time. I should be at that 11" mark in no time as long as I don't get distracted.
And the other baby knitting is done, a small striped hat, and a pair of slightly modified Hodge booties. The hat is from Purl Soho, heirloom hats for newborns. Hodge is one of my free patterns, and the modification is to make the sides plain and then work a knitted tuck 9 rows deep just before working the sole. It makes for a cute wee bumper around the bootie. I've not idea of this baby will be a girl or boy - the green feels more boy like but if worn with pink will easily swing into a girly look. I wonder if it is done to provide dressing advice along with a gift?
So -I'm now off to frog the BSJ and begin again, knowing it will be newborn soft not crunchy.