Posts Tagged 'dogs knit knitting stitching crochet sweaters south'

Revised and Reissued: ‘Christmas Trees’

Notes and Changes

My most popular for-sale sweater design is the “Christmas Trees” fair isle dog sweater seen here on Willie.  I made the original sample back in 2007 before releasing the pattern, and it worked out fine for me.  Recently, I was commissioned to make the sweater again, this time for a little Yorkie in Germany.  I have discovered a few errors, and also have come up with some solutioxmas fair isle 4ns to make the sweater easier to knit, so I have revised the pattern. It includes a new chart and some differences in sizing and stitch counts.  The new pdf has been e-mailed to everyone who has purchased the pattern from me this year.  I do not have e-mail addresses for previous buyers, but if you’ll e-mail me (kaygraves@comcast.net) or message me here with your Etsy transaction number or a cut-and-paste excerpt from your original pattern, I will be happy to send you a new version of the pattern.

In knitting the pattern the second time around, I have knitted in the round as much as possible, except for the area where the leg openings go and the tail shaping section.  So much easier!  (I’m not brave enough with the fair isle to go straight across those leg openings and steek, but if you are, I want to know how it turns out so I can congratulate you!) You will have to use short, short needles for this if you try it.  I am using size 7’s in about a 16″ length.

This is a pattern that’s already quite elaborate, but you can dress it up even more.  I didn’t start knitting in the round until after the neck ribbing so I could leave that open and add a small button and loop to help with getting the sweater over puppy’s head.  I’ll also line the neck of the new sweater to prevent stretching as it is worn over time.  You can use a seasonal fabric or even a wide piece of ribbon or seam binding to line the neck.  Make a facing, just as you would when you’re sewing a garment, press the edges under, and tack it to the inside of the neckline.  A piece of ready-made lace trim peeking over the top would be lovely, especially for a little girl dog.

The small black dots on the first line of the pattern chart represent bobbles, while the multicolored dots later on indicate beads, bobbles or embroidered French knots to make “berries” for the holly.  Try cross-stitching over some of the stitches to add more interest.

About the beading:  The first time I made the sweater I just sewed on the beads with sewing thread, kind of randomly wherever I wanted them.  Some have started to come off  Willie’s sweater (though another sweater with pearl trim is intact), so this time I am knitting the beads on as I knit the sweater.  I got the smallest beads with the largest eyes I could find, plus something called a “big eye” needle for stringing the beads onto the yarn. (Even then, about half the beads will not go onto the yarn.) I cut the yarn in workable lengths to do the design and strung the beads directly onto the lime green yarn as I went along making the Christmas trees, pulling them up to place wherever I wanted.  This gives a much more secure beading for an active little dog.  I will probably go back and dot a few more beads around just to make the sweater really glitzy, but if you do this be sure to knot each bead on individually ~ if not, when one goes, they all go.

 The chest size listed on the pattern has changed.  There are three sizes: 10-12″, 13-14″, and 17-18″, and these are approximate.  It’s hard to be really exact what with people’s different gauges and the way the fair isle is done by different knitters.  Also, the sweater is stretchy when worn. 

My dog, for example, has a 16″ chest, but the sweater I made him is the middle size and it fits perfectly.  Don’t be worried, as the sweater looks good whether it’s stretchy and fitted or a bit loose, and don’t be afraid to go up or down with needle size as you knit to get a good fit.  For the sweater I am making now, I cast on with size 5’s, then started knitting the neck with 6’s and changed to 7’s for the body.

 This sweater is a challenge to make, but it’s worth the trouble.  A definite Christmas card picture and conversation starter.  My pup knows how darling he is when holiday season comes around!   Once you knit the sweater, you’ll want to take special care of it so it will last from one Christmas to the next.  Soak it briefly in a cold-water wash such as Woollite, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo or a wool soak such as Eucalan.  Rinse and gently squeeze, then roll the sweater in a towel to remove excess water.  Hang or lay flat to dry, then store the sweater in a safe place away from moths!

The Cherry on Top

I can’t lie: I was so excited this summer to get my hands on some Spud & Chloe, Blue Sky Alpacas’ new yarn line.  I’m a BSA addict from way back, so what could be better than more yarns from this outstanding company?  Finally got to see ~ and touch ~ some S&C at Knitting Addiction when I was in Nag’s Head, N.C., in early August.  TO. DIE. FOR.  The colors are splendid, and the yarn, which comes in three weights ~ fine, sweater and outer ~ is divine.  S&C Fine is a sock-weight superwash yarn, 80% wool/20% silk; Outer is super bulky weight, superwash 65% wool/35% organic cotton; and Sweater is worsted weight, superwash 55% wool/45% organic cotton.

For my first project, I was inspired by two shades of Spud & Chloe Sweater: Rootbeer, a dark, rich brown, and Ice Cream, a soft vanilla tone. 
The result is a little dog sweater I’ve created called “Root Beer Float,” a sweet treat for your best friend.  It’s an easy ribbed pattern with a simple but striking loop-stitch collar and yummy cherry on top (made of Spud & Chloe Sweater in Popsicle).  I must say this is my favorite dog sweater design ever!  It turned out exactly as I’d envisioned it, and the yarn behaved … know what I mean?    

The sweater is designed to fit dogs with 12, 16 or 20″ chest and is suitable for an intermediate-level knitter.  Gauge is 5 stitches to the inch in K2P2 rib on a US 7 needle.  For the medium size, the sweater requires approximately 140 yards of the main color, 100 yards of the collar color, and just a smidgeon for the pompom. The pattern is available in my Etsy store (click on the link to your right).  I love this little sweater, and so does my dog.  Hope you do, too!

        

Living, Stitching and Dog-wrangling in the Deep South

When Huckleberry Finn flees from his brutal father, he meets up with an old friend, the slave Jim, who is also running away.  Together, they travel by raft down the Mississippi, tumbling in and out of amazing adventures … and experience some of the strange ways of people in the Deep South.

~ Puffin Classics, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    I’ve always thought blogs were so self-indulgent, but I guess I can blab about myself on the web as easily as anybody else.  Who am I, and why should you care what I have to say?  I’m an ex-hippie (though it might be said that, as there’s no such thing as an ex-Marine, there’s no such thing as an ex-hippie) who grew up on the front steps of the Civil Rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama; a wild child who’s grown into the spit ‘n’ image of my paternal grandmother; a former journalist and editor; a wife, mother and dog-lover; a dyed-redhead; and a rabid knitter and crocheter.

My grandmother Rose, the one I look like, always had a deep freeze full of cakes and pies, and even in the days before microwaves she could lay out a full spread if you dropped in on a moment’s notice.  Her little house was filled with all sorts of ticky-tacky ~ ceramics, hooked rugs and doilies ~ oh, the doilies.  They were everywhere.  Little Rose (she was only about 4’10) crocheted all the time\, and when she died in her early 90s, she was buried in a pink metallic child’s casket, wearing a pink dress and holding her crochet hook and a bit of work she hadn’t finished.

Now that I look like my grandmother, I’ve taken up her hobby along with knitting, and ~ like everything else I do ~ I overdo.  My daughter said to me recently, “Mom, do you knit all the time?”  Well, I wouldn’t knit during a funeral or in church, but I have made the doctor wait while I finish a row.

Among other things, I love to knit dog sweaters, so I’ll be posting a few free patterns as well as some more you can buy.  Even some finished sweaters if you’re not on the needle yourself.  There’ll be more, too, since the dog sweater thing isn’t all I do. Stay tuned.