Friday, August 24, 2007

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket in Stockinette Stitch

After testing my notes by making another of these wonderful little sweaters, I found that a few things needed some editing. I wanted to be sure everything was as accurate as possible so that nobody would have any trouble following along! :o) Now that I'm sure these Notes are correct, I feel more confident in sharing them with all of you! I hope you Enjoy making this and PLEASE consider making one for a charity of your choice! :o)

Specifics of sweater shown in photo:
Finished Chest Measurement - 19½" (buttoned)
Length - 11½" from shoulder seam to bottom of waistband
Gauge - 5 sts & 6½ rows per inch
Yarn used - Worsted Weight; about 5 ozs (143 g), 282 yds (258 m)

These NOTES are posted here with permission of Meg Swansen of School House Press, holder of the Copyright of the Original pattern by Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Original Pattern Copyright © 1968 by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Stockinette Version NOTES Copyright © 2007 by James G. Davis

Materials: Original BSJ pattern available from Schoolhouse Press; any yarn and needles* you require for desired size; 2 split-ring markers (or coilless safety pins); 2 large stitch holders or waste yarn.

*I normally use either 24" or 32" circular needles

The beauty of the original pattern is that you can use any size needles and yarn to adjust the desired/needed finished size without making ANY changes to the pattern. This should work for the stockinette version also.

Stitches I used:

Knit Row Double Decrease (kdd):
knit to within one st of marker, slip next 2 sts together knitwise, knit next st, pass the 2 slipped sts over last st made

Purl Row Double Decrease (pdd): purl to within one st of marker, slip next 2 sts together purlwise through back loops, purl next st, pass the 2 slipped sts over last st made

Make 1 Left-leaning (M1L): make e-loop on Right Hand needle in such a way that the Front strand leans to the left

Make 1 Right-leaning (M1R): make e-loop on Right Hand needle in such a way that the Front strand leans to the right

Notes on Stitches used:
Since the decreases will be on the back part of the sleeve, you can make your double decreases any way you like. I worked them as described because I wanted to keep the center stitch on the top - and I like the effect! :o)

When working into the M1L on the following row (whether knit or purl), you will need to work into the back of the stitch so that it will twist properly and avoid any "hole" that will spoil the continuity of the stockinette stitch.

The theory here was to work 4 stockinette rows for every 6 garter rows. Therefore, in order to keep the proper angles needed, you will work 3 decrease (or increase) rows, then a "plain" purl row (except as indicated) - up to the "extension" part. When the extension is complete you will finish in Garter stitch as for the Original pattern.

Cast on number of sts required using long-tail cast-on and mark sts as stated with split-ring markers (place markers Around sts indicated).

Start by working decrease rows:
Knit Row 1 (Right Side) making kdd as described at each of the 2 markers
Purl Row 2 (Wrong Side) making pdd as described at each of the 2 markers
Knit Row 3 same as Row 1
Purl Row 4 without making decreases

Repeat these 4 Rows (making sleeve fullness increases on Row 7) until you have decreased to number of sts stated in pattern (you will have just finished a knit row), then work 1 more "plain" purl row. You now have 30 rows.

Now begin working increases:
Row 31: *Knit to marked st, M1R, k1, M1L, Repeat from * once, knit to end
Row 32: *Purl to marked st, M1L, p1, M1R, Repeat from * once, purl to end
Row 33: same as Row 31
Row 34: purl across without making increases

Repeat last 4 rows (making back fullness increases on Row 37) until you have increased to number of sts stated in pattern (you will have just finished a knit row), then Bind Off for neck edges at beginning of next 2 rows while also continuing increases. Again, you've just finished a knit row. You now have 49 rows.

Work 5 more rows as follows:
Work 1 "plain" purl row, *work 1 Knit row increasing at marked sts, work 1 "plain" purl row, repeat from * once. Make sure you have number of sts stated in pattern. Do Not Cut Yarn!! Leave it "dangling"! :o) You now have 54 rows.

With Right Side facing and starting at beginning of row, place sts up to (but NOT including) marked st onto holder or waste yarn. With new yarn, knit marked st and all sts across to and including next marked st and remove markers. Place remaining sts on holder or waste yarn. You've just worked Row 1 of the "extension" (or lengthening) of the BSJ. Continuing in Stockinette stitch, work 13 more rows ending with a purl row and cut yarn. You now have 14 rows of extension.

(Quick Note: I like to use waste yarn and just knit the sts directly from it when I need to, rather than transferring them to a spare needle then knitting them. However, feel free to work the next part however you wish!)

With Right Side facing, return to "dangling" yarn and knit across sts on holder or waste yarn. Pick up 10 sts from side of extension just made (3 sts for every 4 rows), placing marker around Last st picked up. Knit across extension sts and pick up 10 sts along other side of extension, placing marker around First st picked up. Knit remaining sts from holder or waste yarn. Make sure you have number of sts stated in pattern!! :o)

Next Row (Wrong Side): Knit across.

Finish in Garter stitch according to Original pattern, working increases at markers on Right Side rows ONLY and making buttonholes where indicated. Bind Off as pattern states.

For Sleeve Cuffs:
With Right Side facing, pick up sts along cuff edge (from end of row to the "point" made by the decreases) and work in Garter st until you have a total of 3 or 4 ridges on the Right Side (Including the ridge created by the long-tail cast on) and Bind Off in purl on the Right Side. Repeat for other sleeve cuff.

Sew up sleeve/shoulder seam as shown in Original pattern.


For Crew Neck (quickest and easiest):
With Right Side facing, pick up sts around entire neck edge and work in Garter stitch (decreasing in "corners" as needed to keep work flat) until you have 3 or 4 ridges on the Right Side. Bind Off in purl on the Right Side.

For Shirt Collar (I LOVE this one!):
(NOTE: Keep in mind that this collar will be folded over, therefore the Right Side of the BSJ is the Wrong Side of the collar!)

With Wrong Side of BSJ facing and starting from 2nd ridge (after stockinette), pick up sts around neck edge ending at 2nd ridge on other side of neck.

Row 1 (Wrong Side of collar): Knit across
Row 2 (Right Side of collar): k1, M1, knit across to last st, M1, k1

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you have 2 or 3 ridges on Right Side of collar. On next Right Side row, work as for Row 2, increasing 5 or 6 sts evenly spaced across back of neck area only. Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until collar is desired length. Bind Off in purl on the Right Side.


Pooch said...

Thanks so much for sharing this adaptation. I prefer the look of stockinette to garter, so I do very much appreciate your work on this.


Jan in CA said...

I've printed out the directions and can't wait to give it a try! Thanks so much for doing this!


Mariella said...

Thanks! I searching my stash for the right yarn now! So excited to try this :)

Carol Ann said...

Thanks so much for sharing your notes!

Shelly said...

Thanks so much for all the work you put into your notes so that we could all be successful without trial and error!


Anonymous said...

I was just recently bitten by the bsj bug. I think this is going to make the addiction worse! It is very generous of you to share the instructions for this very cool version. Sincere thanks!


Desiree said...

I'm confused about the increases before the cuff. Is it 9 per side (18 total)? The "math" on the original pattern just doesn't work out. I can't get how you get from 160 stitches to 90 within 27 decreases. Thanks!

Pandaman said...

Hi Desiree,

Yes, you will increase 9 sts on each side (total of 18 sts) for the sleeve fullness above the cuff. The math really does work out when you consider that there are actually 22 decrease rows with 4 sts being decreased on each. 22 rows X 4 decrease sts each = 88 sts decreased. Now, add the additional 18 sts to the original cast on and you have 178 sts. 178 - 88 = 90. Hope this helps! :o)

Desiree said...

You are awesome. For some reason, my brain was dead yesterday. I kept figuring 22 x 4 to be 44. Wow..and that was with absolutely no wine in my system. I must have been tremendously tired.

I'm so glad I did it correctly! Thanks so much for your help!

Desiree Scales

Anonymous said...

What size needles did you use with your worsted weight yarn?

Thank you for these adaptations. I have tried and frogged several times to do a stockinette BSJ and now I will try again and hopefully not have to frog it.

Kathryn Morris said...

This is a wonderful sweater.
So many sweaters only look good for a girl. This one is "boyish" as you said, but I also think it would be fine for a girl in the right colors/yarns.
You are very talented. Thanks for sharing.
Kathy Morris "toklatkate"

Knitcrazy said...

Hi ,
Your BSJ looks terrific.. Thanks for your notes...
The sweater in My Blog
Baby Albert from The Knit Stitch Book by Sally Melville..
Thanks for your comment!!

Sheila said...

That is wonderful! and you so thoughtfully included the directions!

Anonymous said...

You're a genius! Your talent shines through on this adaptation of a classic. Thank you for your hard work and being generous enough to share your notes. Now I must go cast-on...

I am known by many names...Zel is fine said...

This is stunning...I love it and want to try it asap!

Anonymous said...

James! you are so so talented! Cant wait to find out how you like your spindle! I refuse to spin that fiber till i know you love your spindle! Hope to hear soon. Huggs Marion

Toni said...

That is wonderful! As much as I love the BSJ, I'm still more of a stockinette fan than garter. Thanks so much for posting this!

Tina - omme i London aka teeweewonders said...

Pandaman, you're a bit of a find! I love your version of the BSJ; the colours and the striping is perfect!

Knitroglycerin said...

Thank you sooo much for posting this! I haven't gotten around to knitting a BSJ yet but thought I would have to give one a try in garter stitch before figuring out how to do it in stockinette; you saved me a ton of work!!

Thank you for your work and for sharing so generously.

Andrea said...

I just knit my first BSJ out of handspun and thought a stockinette BSJ using my handspun would be great! And then today, I found this blog!!!
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is my first ever joining an online group and i thought i would find it boring and confusing and be better off just knitting another BSJ instead... Finding these instructions and all the encouraging comments is way cool. i look forward to sharing this with my knitting daughters. Thank you, Panda Man.

Anonymous said...

Yea! Thank you for sharing your expertise! I'm off to cast-on :-)

Anonymous said...

Yea! Thank you for sharing your expertise!

And thanks to Meg Swansen for allowing you to publish this. I have the original pattern but prefer stocking stitch.

I'll be happy to knit one for charity too. In fact that's about all I knit for these days.

Janet said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I too have become addicted to trying the BSJ in different yarns and sizes. Now here's another version to try.


Andy's Crafts said...

YOU did your homework Buddy, great Job. Thanks for this outstanding work.

Yvette said...

I loved making this - I have a pic in my projects on Ravelry - No1grandma - I just realised I had never said thank you for the notes!
I am planning another one any tick of the clock!

love from the land of OZ

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Hi I'd love to thank you for such a terrific quality forum!
Just thought this is a perfect way to make my first post!

Edwyn Sammy
if you're ever bored check out my site!
[url=]shrek Party Supplies[/url].

N. Maria said...

Meg and EZ are amazing and generous people. I love all their smart.
Your BSJ is beautiful!

Beverly said...

I just found this knitted version of EZ's BSJ and have started making it because I'm not a garter stitch fan. Is it possible to post the your comments/corrections on the "making sleeve fullness increases on Row 7" in your original pattern? It would be most helpful there rather than searching through your blog,


Valerie said...

Thank you so much for this -- I do not like doing garter stitch (even though I like the look), and I am so much faster at stockinette. I'm going to try it right away!

Becky said...

I've made several (3) BSJ's in garter st and decided to give your pattern a try since I prefer stockinette st. I've had to rip it out 4 times, and have finally given up. I cannot get the st count and decreases to come out correctly. I think I must be placing the markers incorrectly after I do the decreases. Your patter does not address when, how or where to move the markers when doing the decreases and increases, so I'm guessing that is where I'm messing up. Any help would be much appreciated!!! TIA!
Kindest Regards, OM girl

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this version. I do have a question, How many sts do you cast on to begin? Is it the same number as in the original BSJ, or have i missed the instructions here?

Tarja said...

Thank you so much for sharing this pattern! I discovered it on Ravelry and now it's also in stockinette. Can't wait to start!


Harrow Knitter said...

I have the original pattern and have become confused regarding the neck shaping where it says 'at 152 sts decrease by 5 next 2 rws,when there are 158 work on centre 90. But if you are taking 10 away from 152 would you not have 142sts?

KraftyAnne said...

Harrow Knitter - yes you will end up with 142 sts after the decrease at the neck, but you will continue to increase in the rows to come till you get to 158 sts.
Hope this helped.

Anonymous said...

I just finished my first BSJ from the original pattern, and I really struggled with it. I did find a row counter on the web, which helped me tremendously.

On my BSJ, I added a 1x1 rib collar and a 1x1 rib cuff on the sleeves in a contrasting color. I made the cuffs about 3 inches long, so they can be folded up or down, depending on the length of the baby's arms. It's for charity, so I wasn't too concerned about gauge & used up yarn from my stash.

I like the look of the stockinette version much better. I think the addition of the collar really finishes it off. I'm really looking forward to trying your instructions.

Cat24 said...

How many stitches did u cast on?

Doesn't say any number at all?

Please help

Pandaman said...

Hi Cat24,

In order to work this adaptation of the BSJ, one must have the original pattern. Because the original is still under copyright (and per my agreement with the copyright holder), I cannot post any of that pattern. However, you can purchase the pattern at Hope this helps.

Cat24 said...

Will this be a crocheted version or the knitted kind.

Pandaman said...

Hi Cat24,

This is for the knit pattern. As far as I'm aware, there is no "official" crochet version. However, a Google search yielded this page: This seems to be a very good crochet adaptation, though there are quite a few. Hope this helps. :)

Cat24 said...

Thanks for answering my query.

Happy hooking

Florencia said...

Great!! Thanks a lot!

Maxine said...

Amazing...This is an artful retake on a classic! Thank you for your generosity in posting this... Looks like I'm not the first to say this, but heartfelt nonetheless ❤️

Anonymous said...

I prefer the crochet pattern, as I don't knit a lot, but I do know how to though!

applebart said...

I love the BSJ, but am not confident about the stockinette directions. Math is NOT my forte. Do you know if anyone has done a line by line version, as in found in the booklet for the BSJ?

Thanks ever so much.

Veronica from Wales said...

I've only just discovered Elizabeth Zimmermann's marvellous pattern. I've already done two jackets in garter stitch and they are beautiful. This version is terrific Pandaman, I get sore wrists with the repetition of garter stitch so doing the purl rows in between helps ease the strain. Thank you so much.

Rita Colombo said...

Esiste una traduzione? Grazie 😍

Anonymous said...

Just reading through your instructions with Schoolhouse Press pattern in front of me. You say to repeat rows 1-4 [with decreases] until 'You now have 30 rows'. On my instructions the decreases finish at row 44 not 30. Am I misreading something? Apart front this hiccup I can't wait to start!

Anonymous said...

I've sorted out my mistake - 4 stockinette to every 6 garter stitches. Can't wait to start. Thanks for pattern.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks so much for adding a classy touch to this much loved pattern.

Anonymous said...

I've made a bunch of these since I discovered the classic BSJ in 2018. When it comes time to work the extension, I just slip (purlwise) the front stitches to the other tip of the circular needle and only work the center stitches. Upon completion of the extension, I reslip the front stitches back and continue knitting as per the pattern. Also, I use a slender dpn to help pick up the side stitches.