26 May 2008

The Well-Traveled Surprise (Jacket)

So, my sister's having a baby. It's due on my birthday, actually, but we all know how well babies stick to their due dates. The sex of the child is not yet known, but we do know that it's healthy, dammit. There was some significant concern in this area, and lots of scary genetic testing both before and after my sister became pregnant. So we know for certain that the baby is a-okay. Hallelujah!

I've had my eye on the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern (Ravelry link) for a long time. I think I probably discovered it through Brooklyn Tweed like everyone else on the planet, and marveled vicariously online at the genius of the construction. Then I saw an un-seamed sample of it at Woolcott and Company in Cambridge and marveled in person at the genius of the construction. I put the BSJ in my Ravelry queue -- which doesn't necessarily mean anything for me, but in this case I really was serious. And then my friend Aubrey (who hasn't updated her blog in so long that she might as well be blogless) lent me the pattern. And I was confused by it at first, like everyone else on the planet, so I can attest that I probably would not have made it through this pattern if I didn't have Dawn Adcock's row-by-row guide. Use it! Thank you, Dawn!

Now, I just happen to have had this awesome skein of Mountain Colors Weavers Wool Quarters (colorway "steelhead," perfect for fall/winter, and nicely free of gendered-color constraints) marinating in my stash, rescued from the sale basket at Cast-On Cottage, like, four years ago. Back when they were under snotty "we will only acknowledge your presence if you've already been through menopause" ownership. (I hear the new owner is really nice. But now I've moved.) I dug out this skein of Mountain Colors, and my size 7 circs, and cast-on.

And then I went to California to officiate a wedding. Husband and the BSJ came along for the ride. We flew in to San Francisco (there is SO MUCH time for knitting when you're flying from Burlington, VT, to SF, CA!), rented a convertible, went to Chinatown for some dim sum, hit up Artfibers, and then took two days to drive down the coast to LA. We stopped and saw friends and family along the way. We went to the street market in San Luis Obispo. We saw the elephant seals molting on the beach. I did my best Jackie O impersonation (imagine the scarf up over my hair). I drove most of the way, which means I did not knit. Not on the Big Sur Highway! And then we made it to LA, where Husband promptly got food poisoning and was laid up in bed for about 48 hours. I had to eat both his entree and mine at the wedding. And I had lots of time for knitting.

It turns out that MC's Weavers Wool Quarters is pretty much the perfect yarn for the BSJ. Perfect, as if EZ herself had special-ordered the yarn just for this project. It's very evenly dyed, and the math worked out nicely so there's pretty much no pooling. The yarn itself felt amazing as it sliped through my fingers onto the needles. And after it was over, there was maybe 10 yards left of a 350-yard skein. Impressive. I knitted up the sweater in about three days, discovered I'd made a mistake and ripped back a few inches, reknit it on the plane to Seattle -- we flew on buddy passes and had to be rerouted, which turned out to be awesome because neither of us had ever been to Seattle, and a favorite-but-rarely-seen branch of my family lives up there, so we got to see them and tour the city and eat amazing seafood at Fisherman's Terminal -- and finished seaming the shoulders at my Sunday afternoon knitting group the next weekend.

And I was totally ready to cast-on for the next one. But that's all the Mountain Colors yarn I had. I do have a couple of green (superwash) balls of Laines du Nord Giunco that might work well, but... it's not Mountain Colors.

Fortunately, at the Kaleidoscope Yarns Anniversary Sale last week, I snagged a random skein of MC's 4/8s Wool in the "sagebrush" colorway (very springy, and also conveniently genderless). For $6. It's not enough yarn for a full BSJ, since it's only a 250-yard skein, but I found someone on Ravelry who's going to sell me another skein of the same stuff. So I may cast-on for BSJ #2 (on size 8 needles this time, because Sister's Baby needs something to wear in the springtime when it's grown a little bit) pretty soon. I may never get tired of this pattern. Or this yarn. Hooray!

My sister doesn't yet know about the BSJs she's got coming to her. She will when she reads this, though. Surprise! It's a jacket!