This is a collection my ramblings on trying to create a preemie sized baby sweater based on the Baby Surprise Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman. The original was published in Knitter's Magazine (first in issue 14, then reprinted in issue 41, both of which I own), as well as in Knitters Workshop, and The Opinionated Knitter. This is an origami type of knitting pattern--knit all in one piece, with only the shoulder seams to sew.
I played with the proportions using the desired guage, desired size, and the adult version, published in The Opinionated Knitter, to get a preemie size sweater that would be easy to knit and not have any seams in any uncomfortable places. The magic is in the folding; to discover how to fold it, please purchase one of the patterns. An inexpensive reprint of the original is available from Schoolhouse Press; or, you can go the more fun way and purchase The Opinionated Knitter that contains both the adult and baby versions, along with a lot more interesting stuff that is worth owning. (Both Knitters magazines are out of print, sad to say.) I can say that, without the pattern, I could not figure out how to fold it! Really, please respect the copyright issues and purchase a copy of the original. You won't regret it!
A note: this was developed as a charity knitting pattern, and cannot be sold for profit; the original copyright for the concept belongs to Schoolhouse Press, and Elizabeth Zimmerman; this pattern is copyrighted to me. If you do use my pattern variation, your 'cost' of use is a sweater knit for charity.
Baby Surprise, Preemie size
guage 6sts, 6 ridges to 1 inch (although, as EZ says, babies come smaller and larger, so play with it) using baby sport weight/sport weight wool and 3.5 mm needles. This makes roughly a 3-5 lb preemie sized sweater, about 11" in circumference.
The sweater is knit first from cuffs to elbows in two pieces, and then joined by the cast on that runs across the top of the shoulder. Markers are placed at each point; these become the decrease points, that run from elbow to the underarm along the back of the sleeve, and then the increase points that run from underarm to about belly button across the front. Length is added by knitting back and forth along this center section, and then the entire outer edge is knit up with a garter st border. In keeping with EZ's original idea, button holes are placed on both outside edges. This sweater is more fun when you change colours with abandon, and is a good way to use up your stash.
Sleeves: (make 2) Cast on 22 sts. Knit 3 ridges (6 rows).
Increase row: k3, *m1, k4 * end m1 k3
Knit until there are 8 ridges, in total.
Join: knit across first sleeve (rs), pm, cast on 55 sts, pm, knit across second sleeve.
next row (and all wrong side rows) knit.
(rs) Knit, decrease 1 st on each side of marker, knit, decrease 1 st on each side of marker, knit. (In the original, this is an sk2, which I found harder to keep in a straight line).
Next row, (and all ws rows): knit.
Repeat for 11 decreases. There should be 33 sts between markers, which is roughly the width of the back.
(rs): knit to marker, m1, sm, k1, m1, knit to second marker and m1, sm, k1, m1, knit to end.
next row (ws): knit across.
Repeat increase rows until 9 ridges have been worked.
Note: EZ added increases about the 3rd ridge down across the back to provide fullness for the diaper, about every 7th sts.
Neck: Next two rows, while maintaining the increases on the public side, bind off 4 sts at each neck edge.
Next 4 rows, while maintaining increases on the public side, bind off 2 sts at each neck edge.
Work until there are 64 sts between markers.
To lengthen the sweater, work on the center 64 sts only until 8 ridges have been worked.
Border: (rs), work across center 64 sts, pm, pick up 8 sts along the lengthened edge (1 between each ridge), work sts placed on hold (center front).
Next row: (ws): work back, sm, work across center 64 sts, pm, pick up 8 sts along lengthened edge (1 between each ridge), work sts placed on hold for center front.
Work for 2 ridges total.
(ws): K3, *yo, k2tog, k5*, end yo, k2 tog, k3, m1, sm, k1, m1, knit to marker, m1, sm, k1, m1, k3, *k2 tog, yo, k5*, end k2 tog, yo, k3.
K2 more ridges. Bind off.
Fold and sew shoulder seams with a flat seam. (This is most amazing form of knitting orgami I have seen!). Sew buttons on left for a girl, or buttons on right for a boy.
Any texture that has a 'square' ratio for knitting will work for this pattern. I have used a variation of two colour knitting, varying garter, seed st. and double seed st. in the stripes, with colour changes on both the public and private sides. As long as you maintain the decreases in the correct placement, and end the final edges with garter st, it looks very cool.
Enjoy, and knit a couple for a preemie near you!