In one of the knitting classes I’ve taken, I remember the instructor saying, “We often learn more from our failures than we do from our successes.” Well, that pretty much sums up what I’ve experienced over the last two months.
In February, I wrote a post entitled, “The Ultimate Dog Sweater: Take 1,” in which I admitted to wanting to design a “universally flattering, customizable for all-shapes-and-sizes” dog sweater pattern, and I showed off my first project. For that first sweater, I simply wanted to learn how to knit for a dog’s body using an already proven pattern. After a bit of research in the Ravelry forums, I plugged my dog’s measurements into a recommended dog sweater pattern generator and started knitting. Though I didn’t love how the finished sweater fit my dog, Kona, it fit my friend’s dog, Miss Jazzy B, quite well! Take 1, complete.
Now, if you’re a knitter and a dog person, you likely know how wildly popular yoke sweaters are for dogs. You’ve probably seen Dana Williams-Johnson’s (@callmedwj) pups Jelly Bean and Cher (below, left)or the Hong Sisters’ (@craftyhongsisters) Mochi, Macho Jerome, and Marshmallow (below, right)wearing their Tecumseh sweaters. So, after reading Dana’s blog post about how she adapted the Tecumseh people-pattern to fit her fur-children, I felt I was ready to give it a try!
Take 2: Slipped-stitch, top-down yoke sweater
Just as Dana started with a proven pattern, I thought it best to do so as well. I downloaded Jennifer Steingass’ Fern & Feather pattern (which I hope to knit for myself someday), did some very rudimentary math based on Kona’s measurements, and started knitting.
Things started out really well. I got the math on the collar just right, so it fit my fur-child, Kona, perfectly (below, left). I loved the colors I chose and the small bit of slipped-stitch that I did around the collar. But then, things went awry. Instead of adjusting the number of increases for Kona’s width, I simply increased as directed in the written pattern, and the yoke got really big! When I tried it on Kona after knitting a few inches, it was way too baggy (below, right). Time to frog and start over.
Take 2B: Slipped-stitch, bottom-up sweater
Honesty check. What happened next is due to the fact that I just REALLY wanted to do some slipped stitch knitting. I had just purchased Barbara Walker’s book entitled Mosaic Knittingand really wanted to knit one of her charts. But since I didn’t know exactly how to adapt her chart to a yoke which required regular increases, I opted for a bottom-up sweater instead. Take 2-2 was knit flat for the first six inches, after which I cast on belly stitches and knit in the round until I split the work for the forelegs, and then rejoined in the round, decreasing toward the neck.
So, what lessons did I learn this time around? First, If I don’t pay attention, I knit too far, resulting in a sweater that’s too long! Second, I’m not a fan of the square bottom. The back end of the sweater rolls in on the sides because the mosaic portion was knit flat in stockinette. If there were ribbing connecting the belly to the bottom, it would keep its intended shape. Third, I prefer sleeves, but I got bored so didn’t knit them, knowing this was not my “ultimate dog sweater.” Finally, it was at this point that I realized that the tube shape is not the best shape for my dog. It may look great on chihuahuas, pugs, and Cher (a chihuahua pug mix), but not on my schnoodle, and I’m guessing, many other dogs as well.
So, it’s back to the drawing board, but I’ve got an idea in mind! Stayed tuned to see what I come up with for Take 3.