I resolved this year that I would knit more. My family assumed such a statement meant that I would be churning out hand knit socks for them, along with the occasional set of smart-gloves (i.e., gloves you can wear while using your smartphone) and hats.
I made no promises. No matter what they tell you.
So the first hand knit of 2013 belongs to Louie the Wonder Pup. Since he’s so small and I’ve never made a dog sweater before, I thought I should first knit a quick mock-up, a technique similar to a sewer making up a muslin to check for size, fit and drape before cutting her “good” material.
I did what I was supposed to — I knit a gauge swatch, measured him as best I could (seriously — you try measuring a dog without being licked to death. Impossible!), and did all my calculations. I knit the back and then attached a little neckband like so:
Then I knit the underside to stretch across his belly in 2×2 ribbing and attached it like so:
The space you see between the neckband and the underside is an opening for his “no-pull” harness, which has a little ring (to connect to the leash) that sits atop his breastbone. The idea is that he can’t pull on it like a sled dog and damage his throat — a very real possibility in a pup so little. However, the whole “no-pull” idea falls completely apart when he sees a squirrel. Or food. Or another dog. Or one of the kids.
And yes, if you’re being extra picky about it, I didn’t measure to make sure I was sewing the underside on squarely. Eh, it’s a mock-up dog sweater, not couture.
“But Joan,” you venture, in that gently hesitant tone of one trying hard not to pop my enthusiastic bubble by pointing out the obvious. “Where are the openings for his front paws?”
A good question.
Poor Lou. I started to put this thing on him when I realized that I hadn’t left any holes for his paws. Oops. I guess I got caught up in seaming such a tiny garment — it’s as small as a baby sweater — that I just… forgot. Ah, the foibles of improvising as you go. I grabbed my scissors, hacked a couple of armholes for him and then slid it over his head.
For a mock-up — not bad. I was thrilled with it.
I think Lou was less impressed.
Based on what I learned from making this one, I’ve started Lou’s Sweater 2.0. It’s a little longer on top, a little looser on the belly and it’s knit in the round as opposed to piecemeal. And it has armholes. It’s definitely quick — I’m rating the time to knit as “1.5 episodes of ‘Downton Abbey.’”
Have you seen any dog sweaters that you’re crazy about or do you think dog fashion has gotten completely out of control? I have to say, as much as I’ve enjoyed making this sweater for the pup, I’m not really sure I could disagree with the latter….