It was easy after all

Body view

Yes, my dears. That up there, looking so familiar, is the crocheted version of the Baby Surprise Jacket. I did it. The entire credit goes to James G Davis (Pandaman) who worked out a stockinette version, upon which mine is totally based. The stockinette gauge is closer to the sc gauge than garter, so Mr Davis’ version was perfect for this. I don’t know why I didn’t do it this way the first time. All I had to do was use sc for every stitch and decide how I wanted to make my increases and decreases. I chose to increase by doing 2 sc in two stitches (an increase of 2), and my decreases by sc3tog (hook through next stitch, yo, pull loop through 3 times, yo and pull loop through all 4 loops on hook). Next time I might change my increases to 3 sc in one stitch. And use some interesting colours instead of this pale pink.

I don’t know why, but I always seem to gravitate towards the same colours for babies. Sigh. It could also be that these are the only colours there are, so it’s not as if I’m faced with a wide choice, not if I don’t want to produce glow-in-the-dark baby clothes. Which I don’t.

Here are the particulars (here’s my Ravelry page):

Yarn: Standard issue baby acrylic, about 150gm or so.

Hook: Size 5.00mm (US H). I went up a size or two from my first attempt, in order to conquer the obvious gauge problem. I made a conscious effort to make the starting chain loose (mine usually tends to be tight) and was immediately rewarded by a gratifyingly right-angled beginning.

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket (link to knitwiki article), aided and abetted by Pandaman’s Stockinette modifications.

Time: I began my first attempt a while ago, as you will remember, and actually started this one a few days ago. Then I got caught up in testing a couple of patterns, doing some work (my job) and distracted by other things, so the project languished a bit. I finally told myself off and picked it up again and resolved not to be distracted this time. The endless rows of sc do begin to pall after a while, which sort of explains why I’d like to do it in a different sort of yarn the next time. And when I grow up, I’d like to try manipulating the gauge for other stitches, starting with dc perhaps. A couple of evenings to finish this normally.

Size: 22″ around.

Extra #1 What can I say? It’s a bit anti-climactic, realising the solution was easy after all, I just had been overthinking things a bit.

#2 I must have counted every stitch on every inc/dec row. I didn’t use markers (because I find stitch markers in crochet to be tedious) and spreading the increases out over 2 stitches made it a bit more tiresome than it needed to be. I don’t know why, when I’d been sc3tog-ing for a decrease, it didn’t occur to me to do 3sc in 1 for an increase! I was fooled by the knitting, where it’s usual to only increase one stitch at a time (unless you’re yo-ing or casting on, and end up with holes). Took me until I was writing down my notes to realise it doesn’t have to be that way, crochet is so much more flexible in that sense.

#3 I added some length to the sleeves after finishing the main part, because they were looking really stubby. I went to the edges and did a few rows of sc on the other side of the starting chain, then decreased stitches twice before ending off.

#4 Not entirely happy with the collar (it could still be added to, but I don’t think I will).

#5 There isn’t a girl baby in sight who’d require warm clothing, but I do have one earlier victim who’s a bit small despite being a year old. She’ll do.

I’m not resting on my laurels, having begun two other projects-one of them is yet again a baby sweater, and the other a dishcloth. And yes, I’ll name them among my FOs. That’s for Sara. If I didn’t count my small projects, I’d have no projects at all.

Back of sleeve


  1. It’s very pretty! I love this pattern and have made it twice, and might actually try it with crochet someday. I also didn’t like the neck on one and had crocheted a border, I think, and on the other I added a small hood (which was too small for the baby, but was good for ish-tyle.

  2. Congratulations on job well done. I loved the EZ version and love your crocheted version too! You had better write down that pattern…we are interested , you bet!

  3. I would pay you for this pattern. I have the original EZ BSJ but I am not much of a knitter so have been afraid to even attempt this. I am a whiz kid at crochet as have been crocheting for 30+ years now but would still have a problem trying to substitute SC with knit directions. Help me!!!! I hope you do write this down… if so please let me know… I’ll keep checking!

  4. If you’re not already, you should sell a PDF version of the pattern on A quick review of Etsy will reveal plenty of patterns for sale for amigurumi, baby booties, etc. I’d buy a copy of this for sure!

  5. I have a question for mrs Fife, I chained 160 chains, now how many stitches to my first decrease? Do I half the 160 chains, but when would the next decrease? I’m not sure what the number would be. Do I divide by 4?

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