2017 Knit Along

Santa Cruz Knitting Guild

2017 Knit Along

Fingerless Gloves

This year’s Knit-Along will be a little different than in the past. We will be knitting four pairs of fingerless gloves and you will be able to choose three of those pairs. The fourth, and first one that we knit, will be one that we will knit. It is so flexible that we will learn several knitting techniques to start you on your way.

Why Fingerless Gloves?

  1. They are fast
  2. Use up leftover stash
  3. Portable
  4. We get exposed to many knitting techniques
  5. We get a head start on Christmas presents
  6. Knit things for the fair
  7. Knit gloves for the Homeless Garden Project Holiday Store and other charities
  8. Knit them over a period of time, yet since they are short projects, we get a sense of accomplishment

Outline of the Knit Along

  1. Begins in February
  2. First Project is Camp Out Fingerless Mitts
  3. After that one, knit any three or more other different patterns you wish, remembering that the idea is to challenge yourself to learn new techniques.
  4. Ideas on where to look
    1. Check out bundles in Ravelry’s Fingerless Gloves Fanatics Group for patterns.
      1. There are 30 Bundles of different styles
      2. There are over 2,200 patterns in these bundles from simple to difficult, including crochet
    2. Use the leg design on a sock pattern
    3. Make up your own pattern
    4. Find some in books
    5. Use this year’s Program and Workshop topics in your gloves
    6. Need inspiration? Select categories put together by the Fingerless Gloves Fanatics Annual Challenge (see chart on next page) – Choose one from each column. How many can you check off?
  5. Ideally knit one pair per quarter or one pair per month
  6. Ends in November

First Project

Camp Out Fingerless Mitts

  • The first fingerless mitts are worked in two directions.
  • The hand portion is provisionally cast on and worked flat in garter stitch.
  • The two ends are joined using a 3-needle bind off.
  • Stitches are then picked up and the thumb is worked.
  • The rest of the glove is worked in rounds.
  • The pattern has directions for aran, worsted and sport weight yarns (bulky, worsted, sock).
  • You may use either double points or magic loop.

Where do I get help?

  1. Knit meet-ups on last Friday of the month
  2. Call another member and get together
  3. You-tube
  4. Knitty
  5. Ask for help in a meeting
  6. Library books
  7. Attend the workshop in April
  8. Attend the retreat in September
  9. For beginners, please sign up for a class at my house
    1. Choose your needles – DP or magic loop (24”)
    2. Learn helpful techniques

Chinese Menu of Knit Along Categoriesmenu-kal

Categories: Knit-A-Long, Santa Cruz

BSJ Stage 5

Stage 5:  Rows 82-End

Almost done!

This section is the last 12 rows (6 ridges) of the sweater.

You’ll be doing double increases again, where the ‘pick up 10’ and the ‘center 90’ meet.

If you don’t have the buttons yet, you may want to pick them out before you do the buttonhole row. That way you can be sure the buttonholes are big (or small) enough. And you can lay out the buttons on the sweater to see where to put the buttonholes.

Knit 2 ridges (4 rows) – The increases should be done on the same side (WS vs. RS, odd vs. even, whatever) as they were done on the earlier rows.

Button hole row – The BSJ Wiki has information here:

You can do the button holes on an earlier row if the buttons are large and you don’t want them too close to the edge of the sweater.

On the last row with increases, if you don’t do the increases, you’ll get a curved corner on the left & right bottom fronts of the sweater.

Once you finish the 12 rows (6 ridges) of the sweater, bind off.  Tips from BSJ Wiki here:

And all that’s left is weaving in the ends,  folding up the sweater, and seaming the wrist to shoulder.

Here are tips on folding the sweater:

Congratulations on finishing your Baby Surprise Jacket!  Bring it to the next Guild meeting!

Categories: Knit-A-Long, Santa Cruz

BSJ Stage 4

Stage 4:  Rows 80-81 and the Center 90

This part starts with row 80 – it’s the row where the center 90 starts – and ends when you have done both sets of pickups.

What you’re doing in this section is knitting the 90 stitches that are between the 2 increase points – NOT the 34 stitches at the two ends, which is why this section is called the Center 90. Once you’ve finished the 20 rows (or 10 ridges, however you want to count) you’ll do full rows again including knitting the 34 end stitches, picking up 10 stitches along the edge of the 10 ridges in the center 90.  (See Details below for more information.)

Slip or not slip the first stitch of each row? It’s up to you. Some find it easier to pick up when the first stitch of the row is knit. Other people find it easier to pick up when the first stitch is slipped. Both ways work perfectly fine, so do whichever is more comfortable for you.

Something to think about before you start this section 
The way EZ originally wrote the pattern, the pickup stitches were done on both sides – 10 stitches from the ‘right’ side and 10 from the ‘wrong’ side. Depending how you do the pickups, they can end up looking very different on the left & right fronts of the finished sweater. And depending on your striping pattern, you might notice a difference in the stripes. And depending how fussy you are about the garter ridge pattern not getting ‘messed up’, you might notice a difference in the ridges. If you don’t notice or care about these, then do the center 90 and the pickups as the pattern is written.

If the difference will bother you, then try one of the alternatives in the wiki -

The link also has a picture of what’s going on with the ‘center 90’ and the pick up stitches that might help clarify things too.

Details for knitting this section 

Knit 124 stitches (first 34 end section, and center 90). Do NOT knit the last 34 stitches. Turn and knit 90. Do NOT knit the remaining 34 stitches. This is one ridge (2 rows) of the 10 ridges (20 rows) of the knit 90 section. * Turn and knit 90. Repeat from * until you’ve finished 20 rows (10 ridges)

When you’ve finished the last “knit 90”, continue by picking up 10 stitches along the side of the 20 rows (10 ridges) you just finished, and knit the 34 stitches to the end of the row.

Turn. Knit 134 stitches (34 + 10 pickup + center 90), pickup 10 stitches along the side of the 20 rows (10 ridges), and the knit 34 stitches to the end of the row.

Turn, and you’re ready for Stage 5.

Categories: Knit-A-Long, Santa Cruz

BSJ Stage 3

Stage 3: Rows 47-79

This stage begins with the mitered increasing portion, the back fullness increasing, and the neck shaping. This stage stops right before the ‘knit the center-90 stitches only’ part of the pattern.


  • If you aren’t sure which increases you want to use insert a lifeline into Row 46 before you start Row 47. If you change your mind later about your increases you can rip back to Row 46 and redo your increases a different way. Any thin smooth (strong) yarn or ribbon can be used as a lifeline.
  • If you put in stripes in this section, they’ll show up as vertical lines on the front of the sweater and then going straight across the back.
  • There are 3 ROWS (NOT RIDGES) ‘knit even’ between the last decrease and the first increase. If you’re doing the decreases/increases on the odd rows, the last decrease was row 43, then rows 44, 45, and 46 are “knit even” (just knit every stitches), and row 47 is the first increase.

Let’s talk about those double increases, or miter increases. Near the end of Stage 2 you finished working double decreases. You worked two decreases surrounding a ‘marked’ or ‘mitered’ stitch, then repeated the two decreases later in the row. Now in stage 3 you will work an increase before and after the same ‘marked’ stitch, and repeat these double increases later in the row. Basically the double increases will be substituted in for the double decreases. The double increasing continues throughout Stage 3.

The increases are done on the same side as the decreases were. (If you decreased on the odd rows, then you increase on the odd rows. If you decreased on the ‘right’ side, you increase on the ‘right’ side. Etc.)

A resource for which increase to use is, of course, the BSJ Wiki:
Whichever increase method (or pair of increase methods) you use make sure you stick with the same one because it’s noticeable if you switch.

When you do the increases across the center section for the “diaper bump,” don’t worry about getting them exactly spaced evenly with exactly 4 stitches or 5 stitches or whatever between each increase. Just space them out enough so they’re not all bunched together, and don’t forget to do the usual double increases!

Let’s talk about the Neck shaping for a minute. This involves two rows in which the pattern will tell you to BO a few stitches.

Some knitters like to work the first row of neck shaping Bind Off in Purl and to Bind Off the second row of neck shaping in Knit. Because one set of BO’s is worked on a RS row and the matching set is worked on a WS row, working one set of BOs in purl and one in knit helps those two notches match each other.

Tip: If you know you will be adding a collar or hood, or an applied I-cord around the neck opening you could also consider knitting the stitches instead of Binding Off, then putting the live stitches on a stitch holder or length of waste yarn then knitting the rest of the row, repeat with the next BO row.

Categories: Knit-A-Long, Santa Cruz

BSJ Stage 1

Welcome to the Baby Surprise Jacket Knit-Along! STAGE ONE

This is one of the most famous knitting patterns ever written.  Most knitters find Elizabeth Zimmermann’s original pattern interesting, challenging, and, above all, charming.  Remember:  Thousands have knit this sweater and you can, too! For an overview including materials, BSJ Welcome.

We are using a modified version of the BSJ Perpetual Knit-Along on Ravelry:

For lots of tips, see the BSJ Wiki:

Stage 1:  Rows 1-12

Information on different yarns and sizes:

IMG_0076 Source:  BSJ Wiki on Ravelry

IMPORTANT: Row counters are your friends. As are different stitch markers so you can tell the right side from the wrong side of the knitting.  Or put a safety in on the right side.  It’s really critical that you can tell which side of the garment you’re working on!

Be sure you have a way to know these two things

if you’re on a decrease row (usually the RS) or a knit-across row (usually the WS).

where the decreases are

Remember that a ridge is made up of two rows in garter stitch. For example 10 ridges is 20 rows. In the original pattern sometimes EZ refers to ridges and sometimes she refers to rows. Make sure you understand which one she’s referring to.

Slip or knit the first stitch? One thing to consider is that the shoulder seams (running wrist-to-neck along the top of the sleeves) is the cast-on joined to the 1st stitch of each row. If you slip the first stitch of each row, you’ll be seaming one slipped stitch to 2 cast-on stitches. If you knit the first stitch of each row, you’ll be seaming one stitch to one cast-on stitch.  Probably easier to simply knit the first stitch.

Cast On and follow the pattern for first 12 rows.

The 5th DECREASE row is different.  Inc 9 st evenly before marked stitch, do double decrease, knit to marked stitch, do double decrease, inc 9 st evenly to end.

It doesn’t matter if you have 2 stitches between increases, or 3 stitches, or if the increases are in exactly the same place on both ends of the row. You want to do 9 increases, and the usual decreases at both ends of the row. Do not squash all increases right next to each other because it’ll make the sleeve flare out funny. 

Need help?  Have any comments or suggestions?  Simply enter your comments or questions below.  There are several guild knitters monitoring this KAL to help with questions.

Categories: Knit-A-Long, Santa Cruz

BSJ Stage 2

Beginning of Stage 2Stage 2: Rows 13-46

Stage 2 is deceptively easy.
It alternates between one row of knitting across, and one row of doing the decreases.
The 23rd ridge (rows 45 and 46) does NOT have any decreases. These are 2 of the 3 “knit even” rows in the original pattern writeup.
That’s it.
For tips on how to do the decreases, see the BSJ Wiki on Decreases:

When you finish the last decrease, DO NOT remove the markers!!! You’ll need them in the next section.
If you put stripes in this stage, you’ll have a band around the arm and across the upper back. Doing the stripes at the beginning of the stage will put the stripes down near the elbow/wrist, and at the end of the stage, the stripes will be near the armhole.
Don’t forget that color changes in garter stitch look different on WS vs. RS sides.
A couple of tips…

  • Repeating from stage 1 – make sure you know where the decreases go, and you know if you’re on a “knit across” row or “do decreases” row.
  • Look at the diagonal lines forming where the decreases are. Are they nice and straight? Good. Are they wobbly? Stop and count and adjust your stitches. You might not have to rip back (see the next tip counting stitches) but definitely stop & figure out what’s going on.
  • Unless you’re counting stitches as you knit, counting stitches every few rows is enough to check you’re doing ok. I check before starting a “knit across” row – the center section should always be an even number (started with 90, and always decreases 2 stitches). The 2 end sections should have the same number of stitches. If those counts are both correct, then you’re right on track. If not…
  • If a section is off by 1 stitch, then I do a decrease in that section on the “knit across” row I’m about to start.
  • If a section is off by 2, sometimes I’ll do 2 decreases (one at the decrease point and the other one someplace else in the same section). And sometimes I rip back.
  • If it’s more than that, rip back a few rows, and see if your count is better. Then continue.
Categories: Knit-A-Long, Santa Cruz

Elizabeth Zimmeerman Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ)

The Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket

  1. Stage One
  2. Stage Two
  3. Stage Three
  4. Stage Four
  5. Stage Five

Baby Surprise Jacket Knit-Along

Hosted by the Knitting Guild of Santa Cruz

What is a Knit-Along?

A Knit-Along (or KAL) is a community knitting project organized around making a common project, in this case, the Baby Surprise Jacket.

What is a Baby Surprise Jacket?

The Baby Surprise Jacket (or BSJ) is a famous and very popular sweater pattern designed by knitting icon Elizabeth Zimmerman (EZ) in 1968.  EZ herself describes the BSJ in her book Knitting Workshop, “I call it the SURPRISE JACKET because it looks like nothing on earth when you have finished knitting it.  Sew up two seams, and you find you have the nicest little garter-stitch baby-sweater or adult mind boggler.”

How will we manage our KAL?

First, you will have to obtain the pattern and gather your supplies (see below for more information).  No need to sign up to participate.  We will launch the KAL on April 1, 2014 on the Knitting Guild website:  Note the KAL tab in the upper right corner of the home page.  The KAL is organized in 5 stages and one will be posted each week telling you how far to knit in the pattern.  If you have questions or comments, you can simply post them in the comments section right on the website.  Volunteer moderators will be keeping an eye on questions and will answer as they come up.  In five  weeks we’ll all have finished our BSJs!  Don’t have a baby in your family who can wear your BSJ?  Not to worry…The Layette Project will happily take our surplus sweaters for distribution to needy mothers right here in Santa Cruz.

What do you need to participate?

Access to the Internet and the Guild’s website;

The BSJ pattern, available from the following sources:

Schoolhouse Press,, pattern #05 (A-B-C-SJ Adult, Baby,   Child Surprise Jacket)

Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket DVD, available from Schoolhouse Press

Knitting Workshop (book), by Elizabeth Zimmerman

The Opinionated Knitter (book), by Elizabeth Zimmerman

Knitter’s Magazine 14, Spring 1989

Knitter’s Magazine 56, Fall 1999

3 oz. baby wool, 6 sts to 1”, sport-weight to DK (300-450 yards)

Or 2 skeins Fisherman’s wool, 5 sts to 1”, DK to worsted (350-450 yards)

Or any appropriate yarn (e.g. acrylic, cotton, etc.) that gives this gauge

One pair of knitting needles  that gives you this gauge

Regular and/or removable stitch markers or coiless safety pins, and row counter

Need help with supplies?  Check with our business members, The Swift Stitch or SueDee’s, or any other local yarn shop.

Need more information?

Check out the BSJ Wiki (of compiled information) on Ravelry at

Or the Baby Surprise Jacket Group on Ravelry at

We’re adapting their Perpetual KAL for use in our KAL (with thanks!).

Categories: Knit-A-Long, Santa Cruz

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