Adult Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Adult Surprise Jacket

Errata available:

Available in The Opinionated Knitter, or as an updated pattern from Schoolhouse Press.

Print version comes in a 3-hole, archival quality sheet protector. Available also as digital download at schoolhousepress.

From Schoolhouse Press:

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket has become near legendary since its conception in 1968. The jacket is knitted back and forth in Garter stitch, then cleverly folded and completed by weaving the shoulder seams. This updated pattern includes Elizabeth’s original Baby Surprise Jacket instructions, original Adult Surprise instructions (with added sizing help), and instructions for a Child’s Surprise jacket. We include row by row instructions for the Baby Surprise Jacket. Cully has added numbers to knit the original size jacket with different gauges. Includes notes on color placement, options for hood, collar and more - plus instructions for EZ’s Afterthought Pocket, One-Row buttonhole and more. The Surprise pattern is part of an exciting project, upcoming by 2016. For now, the pattern is available only in Print.

From Knitter’s 60: “The BSJ grows up. Directions for 5 sizes from S 36” to XXL 55”, knitted in garter stitch stripes in rich fall colors. All of the math has been done for you in this version of the classic pattern.”

Also needed: Seven 1” buttons.

Note: Yardage includes the total amount required. Five colors of yarn were used in the original garment.

  • Color A: 600-900 yds. MC

  • Color B : 400-600 yds.

  • Colors C & D : 300-500 yds. each

  • Color E : 200-400 yds.

The Adult Surprise Jacket is based on the Baby Surprise Jacket. Meg Swansen recommends that you knit the BSJ first in order to understand the construction. The hardest part is keeping the double increase and double decrease diagonals straight and true. There are two options for casting on - invisibly, or to use long-tail cast-on. Elizabeth’s After-Thought-Pockets may also be added if desired.

Recommended yarns are 2-ply Sheepswool, 2-ply Unspun Icelandic and Canadian Regal; substitutions can be made since measurements are based on the gauge of your swatch. The recommended yarn, needles & gauge listed were used in the Revisited Project from Knitter’s 60, Fall 2000.

This pattern appears in Spun Out #1 and may be purchased for $3 from the Schoolhouse Press website. It cannot be downloaded directly but an order for a hard copy may be placed online.

Spin Out #1 also includes instructions for hood.