Yesterday's mail brought an anxiously-awaited package. A copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Circular Stranded Surprise Jacket.
Stranded Surprise Jacket on ravelry - in both adult and child sizes. I was captivated.
I saw colour work. And a second look had me saying the "Oh Yea. This version is not garter stitch." I was Captivated. A must-have pattern for me that just might take the rude approach and jump the queue.
The adaptation from Elizabeth's garter stitch version was done by her grand son Cully. Meg Swansen's son. Isn't that every knitter's dream? Not only a daughter following in your footsteps but a grand son as well?
But how did he do it? We all know that garter stitch produces a square stitch and it is the squareness of it that enabled Elizabeth to create the Surprise Jacket. As Cully says on the pattern front, garter stitch, with it's squareness was 'an enabler of EZ's most recognized design, the Baby Surprise Jacket.'
Cully goes on to explain how he and Meg played with the square feature to enable the pattern to evolve into a design that could be knit in stranded, stockinette stitch. He says
'Meg Swansen discovered that the use of a square, diagonal colour pattern in Stocking stitch will produce a fabric with equal stitch and row gauge. I was inspired - why not apply this to EZ's Surprise jacket? It seemed obvious to me that the initial cast-on row of the BSJ could be joined with a steek and worked in the round, and I soon saw that the neck edge and lower flap could be handled in the same way. ...... With steeks and the square nature of a biased ( diagonal) stranded pattern, the circular adaptation of the BSJ can retain the shape, construction, and mystery of the Garter stitch version."