Monday, June 7, 2010

Victory and an unappreciative model

Last week (or maybe it was 2 weeks ago...I don't remember) I told you I wanted to make my dog Moose this knitted sweater.

3 days at the lake and I've finally done it. (Follow this link for the pattern.) I have to apologize in advance that my pictures are horrible.  I made the mistake of using the digital camera instead of the camera on my cell phone, so they turned up really dark. Also, while he is cute, Moose doesn't really understand how to sit still, even for treats.  I'm pretty sure he continues to wiggle even when he's sleeping, so everything looks a little fuzzy from the movement too.'s how it turned out.

I think it turned out great despite a few flaws, and it is still very wearable. It also made for an excellent intermediate project because I learned a lot from it.  I now know how to do an increase, how to work in the round, how to make ribbing, and I've gotten a lot better at being able to read my knitting so I can tell right away when I make a mistake.  I also taught myself a couple of tricks for fixing those mistakes without ripping out rows and rows of stitching (even though I did have to do that once for this project...but there were no tears this time, so HUZZAH!)

In addition to all the knitting stuff I learned, it also helped me figure out the fit that Moose needs for his sweaters, which is precisely the reason I need to make him one.  Because he's so broad chested and his body is so long, store bought sweaters and dog coats don't fit him properly. They either won't fit around his chest, or there's so much fabric around his front legs (because we had to get the next size up) that he trips over them. Here's an example:

See the front part of the sweater where his tags are? (And yes, the little brat is sticking his tongue out at me.  He also does a lip curl trick that makes him look like Elvis.) This pattern is leaving about half of his chest exposed which is a bit troublesome in the winter when he's walking through snow deeper than he is. I can fix this if I knit a larger space between the top edge and the leg holes.  The pattern called for 4" of knitting, but I think 6" would be better for Moose.  Also, the length from the leg holes to the base of the sweater is perfect for his under-side but he's still got a good 3" or so along his back that needs to be covered.  If I were to cast off around the under-side of the sweater and continue back and forth along the top it would give him the coverage he needs. 

I also know that I need to do better at binding off loosely.  The first time I tried there wasn't enough stretch to the bottom edge and it didn't fit around his chest.  Thankfully, I left a long enough tail on the yarn when I cut it that I just untied the knot and stretched it out along the knitting.  Now it fits just right, even if it does look a little funny on the underside.

Moose is also smaller than what this pattern is designed for, so I made a few adjustments and prayed they'd be some where close.  It came out just how I needed it to, so it was a pretty good guess. Moose weighs about 9 pounds and is 11 and 1/2 inches long from his shoulders to the base of his tail if that helps you gauge the pattern for your dog. I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease yarn in taupe and with my alterations I used roughly half of a skein.  For the hooded section I used US size 9 straight needles, and for the body I used US size 10- 16" circulars. I knitted the hood section for 7", the body section in stockinette for 4" and the ribbing along the bottom for another 3".  Give it a try!  The trickiest part is the leg openings, but if I could manage them, so can you.  Good luck and let me know how it turns out!


Sarah G said...

Looks great! I'm glad you were able to follow the pattern and make all the necessary adjustments for Moose. I always find I knit items twice just to get the perfect fit - my Maltese is short and chubby and my poodle has a super large chest and tiny around the lower belly. So each dog needs their own adjustments. If you're interested in making the back longer (but shorter underneath on the belly), take a look at my "snuggy" sweater pattern. It has a longer back. Thanks again for sharing your pics!

Celestya22 said...

Adorable! I love the little hood on it. I bet you could make it larger in real wool and felt it, for a warmer coat if he's jumping thru snowbanks. Well done indeed! Modifications on your first clothing pattern is impressive! And they worked too! That's amazing! :)