In my last blog post, The Ultimate Dog Sweater: Take 2, I realized that the tube shape that is so commonly found used in dog sweater patterns is not the best shape for my dog. It seems to work great for some dogs—pugs in particular—but it’s not a good fit for a schnoodle (half schnauzer, half poodle). Based on the wide variety of dog shapes and sizes out there, I’m guessing it’s probably not a good fit for most of them, particularly the larger breeds. So, with that in mind, I launched into a new design.
Solving the Fit Issue
With Take 3, I went back knitting a top-down sweater, as I preferred that method (which I did for Take 1) compared to bottom-up (which I did for Take 2). But the big change here was that I added short rows for the chest area.
With short rows, I was able to add rows below Kona’s neck to cover the chest (see diagram, B), without adding rows above her neck (A). This served to eliminate some of the excess fabric that I didn’t like bunching up on Kona’s back in previous versions. This was exactly the solution I’d been looking for!
Of course, this being my first try at this technique, I made a few mistakes. I’m not happy with where I put the increases in the short-row portion of the neck because, once I started working in-the-round again, the short row section kind of popped out like a little bubble beneath Kona’s chin. But no worries. I’ve already figured out where the increases should have been, so that will be an easy fix. Not to mention, I should have started my short rows earlier and done more of them, so I’ll do that too, next time around.
Improving the Edge
Another big improvement in Take 3 is the ribbing at the bottom.
In Take 2, I had ribbing under the tummy and along the bottom, but I didn’t join the two with ribbing along the sides. Big mistake! This time, I left the tummy stitches live so that I could knit the ribbing in-the-round, all the way around. I also finished the ribbing around the legs, which, in my opinion, makes the sweater look more finished than when it’s left sleeveless.
Paying Attention to Detail
Have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s all in the details.” Well, I couldn’t agree more. Each time I change my design or try a new technique, I see things in the finished product that I want to perfect in the next version. It’s these little things, I believe, that will eventually take my work from good to great…resulting in the ultimate dog sweater. (It’s also what drives me crazy, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist!)
So, as I prepare to knit Take 4, I have a list of things I still have to work on. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned above, I want to adjust the size of the leg holes and possibly even change their orientation. I’d like to smooth out the transition from the tummy ribbing to the side ribbing. And in the future, if I do stripes, I will carefully consider they’re position in relation to other components, like the sleeves. In this sweater, for example, I’d move the thin white stripe that hits in the middle of the sleeve to join at the very end of the sleeve. That would be a more thoughtful placement. Or instead, perhaps the sleeves should have been knit in the golden brown? Then the stripes would have been completely separate from the sleeves. Something to think about.
I’m excited to get started on the next one, which I’m going to knit without a motif so I can focus on construction. Stay tuned! I really think Take 4 might be “the one.”