A sweater for Louie — sort of

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:

Dog cape

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….

About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
This entry was posted in Crafts, Family, Knitting, Puppy love and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to A sweater for Louie — sort of

  1. Northern Narratives says:

    Many times I have had to revise my designs of something I thought was “perfect” πŸ™‚

    • But I’m guessing you’ve probably always remembered armholes, right? πŸ™‚ Besides that, the real-life, 3-D version of his sweater is different than the one in my head. Good thing it’s just v.1.0!

      • Northern Narratives says:

        I must admit I made a collar too small and sweater would not go over my head – lol

      • I love it! That’s exactly the sort of thing I would do. πŸ™‚

        I have the worst time making myself sweaters — I never seem to get the fit right. Ever. So I signed up for Stefanie Japel’s class on Craftsy about fitting a sweater properly. I’m hoping her class can shed a little light on exactly what I’m doing wrong. Otherwise I’ll stick to knitting socks — they’re small enough not to make me feel horrible if I mess up!

  2. I like it and I think it looks great on Zou πŸ™‚ (you know, what I do for my two tiny dogs: I put them on my baby’s “newborn” shirts, I think they look great πŸ˜‰ ) ha!ha!

  3. Cul de Sac says:

    Aha! It was my first thought when i saw the picture of the completed vest… Were will the dog put up its paw??! I think it was real wise of you to make a mock up before going for the real thing πŸ™‚ i hate doing swatches and all the gauge thing so for now i’m sticking with mitts, shawls and mittens lol! Can’t wait to see the 2.0 version!

  4. Oh, he looks adorable! I love that you forgot to put an opening for the paws…totally sounds like something I would do! And I really don’t think you can go overboard with the dog get-up…knit away my dear…the flashier the better in my opinion!!!

    • It was like a little doggie straight-jacket… so sad! And I know he was less than amused.

      I’ve promised the boys in my family that I won’t bedazzle anything that Louie has to wear. However, I never promised any such thing to my daughter E who would prefer that every single thing have a little extra “something-something.” Poor Lou. Wonder what the other dogs in the neighborhood will think.

  5. I’m amazed that you can knit a whole sweater in 1.5 episodes of downton abbey!! I am obsessed with the show! Louie looks very smart in his sweater, the color suits him very well πŸ™‚

  6. timewiththea says:

    This is so adorable! I am not much of a knitter. Just your basic knit and purl stitches. I am also thinking my 85 lb yellow lab would not be impressed. Isn’t it fun figuring things out? Nicely done! ~Thea

    • Thanks, Thea. It was a fun knit, especially since it went so quickly. But man, he really looked like a sullen child with the thought bubble above his head reading, “Really? This is what you’ve been doing with your time? I’m not wearing this out; I have a reputation.” But I gave him a couple beef liver treats and he forgave me. πŸ™‚

  7. jgann22 says:

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  8. amyp22 says:

    Very cool! Wishing I were brave enough to crochet pattern free.

    • I think the fact that it was a dog sweater helped my courage about free-forming my knitting. As much as I love Lou, it’s really not like his doggie friends are going to make fun of his “homemade” sweater. Or if they do, I certainly don’t understand what they’re saying. πŸ™‚

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