Posts Tagged 'fair isle'

The Puppy Dogs’ Picnic

Check out my latest creation: Sunday Picnic, a gingham check sweater that’s perfect for a sunny day and a big blanket in the park.

Knit in two shades of sport-weight yarn — I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Ocean Blue and Fresh Cream — this sweater is a great project for practicing your stranded color work and learning how to STEEK. 

Yes, steek.

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If you have not heard this term before, a steek is a series of extra knitted stitches that enable the knitter to continue knitting in the round, so you can knit an entire fair isle garment from the right side.  That means no more purling from the back. Steeking is an old method that many knitters are afraid to try, because it involves cutting your knitting after it is done.  BUT IT WORKS!  I promise!  And a tiny dog sweater is the ideal place to try steeking, as it isn’t as frightening as cutting, say, a full-size fair isle cardigan down the center.

Full steeking instructions are included
in the pattern, as well as a chart for the gingham pattern, of course.

Try it. The pattern is available on my PATTERNS FOR SALE page here on the blog. More info on Ravelry, under My Savannah Cottage.

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!

A Special Visitor

ABSENTEEISM …

Yes, I’ve been away, working working working on the dog sweater design I’m about to share with you.  But let’s face it ~ I could’ve checked in with you.  It was Spring Fever.  It was the 20th anniversary trip to Charleston (last week).  It was the 20th anniversary (this past Wednesday).    It was the daughter’s 16th birthday (yesterday).

It was just … I didn’t have anything to say, and what I had to say took too long to say in the time I had to say it.  Oh, well ~ forgive, ‘kay?

THE BIG DAY

Yesterday was April’s 16th birthday, and it was a wonderful day.  

My sweet, lovely daughter has been with us since April 5, 1994, when we went to China to adopt her.  She turned 2 and took her first steps while we were there, and the ensuing years have been a wonderful, sometimes painful whirl of two, ahem, older people trying to raise and handle a quirky, talented, intelligent little girl.  Now our baby is almost grown! (The Savannah Morning News told April’s story at age 6.)

I believe April had her best birthday ever.  She had a date with a special boy to have sushi lunch ~ he brought her chocolates and white tulips ~ and go on to the movies.  Since many of today’s teenagers seem to feel no need to learn to drive, these two included, Poppa chauffeured them around and brought them back here for birthday cake. 

Isn’t she cute ~ all 4’11” of her?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t met the boy before, and there was much advance cleaning and fixing up to get ready for his visit.  Here’s a picture of April’s room clean ~ take a good look, because you’re not likely to find it that tidy again soon.

That’s a reproduction of a Gee’s Bend quilt that I bought from Anthropologie several years ago.  The Jim Dine heart poster was in my Pepto Bismol pink studio apartment in New York before I moved to Savannah and got married.  The stick thingie propped on top of the bookcase is a voodoo doll from New Orleans.  And you can’t see the big birthday gift, a Nintendo Wii, on a dresser to the right.

 

THE LATEST PROJECT

It’s in the low 80s here, but I realize it’s still cold elsewhere, and there are plenty of little ones who stay cold year ’round.  So, here’s the latest installment in the puppy finery parade, pattern available by clicking on the thumbnail to your right under “My Patterns for Sale on Etsy”.

Fido’s Flower Garden 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your pup can welcome spring in this beautiful, intricately detailed embroidered fair isle beauty. Knit partly in the round with an off-center lace-trimmed “henley” neck, decorative button faux closure, and pearl-beaded highlights, this sweater will keep your pup warm while temperatures are still cool outside, and pretty as a posy.

For the intermediate to advanced knitter who enjoys detail work. Some embroidery, hand-stitching, beading and crochet required.

The sweater uses 10 shades of light worsted-weight yarn.  This one is knitted in Cascade 220 wool.

 

     

 

My boy is extra sweet when he wears this one!