Recently I bought a book on knitting dog sweaters, glanced at it, and set it aside.

When you live in the South — and it’s the middle of summer — it’s hard to get excited about knitting sweaters, even for dogs! 😉

Then I learned a dear friend recently became suddenly critically ill. It was quite a shock to learn of her crisis, even after she’d started her recovery.  I knew she had a dog that she calls her “baby.”  So, I casually asked her if her baby could use a new sweater.  The answer was a very excited “Yes!”

Well, I figured that was as good a reason as any to try out a new knitting pattern. Not that I need to look that hard for an excuse to knit — or to try out knitting instructions. So, after she sent me her color preferences and her baby’s measurements, I started looking at the patterns.

The book, Dogs in Knits: 17 Projects for Our Best Friends had good reviews. This book, unlike some others, gives different sizes and gauges for each pattern.  That’s a big help when you need patterns that actually fit a variety of dog breeds and sizes.

Surprisingly, the sizes of the sweaters seem large. The smallest is for a dog with a 14 inch chest. No sweaters for tiny dogs!

If you’re expecting 17 sweaters, though, you’ll be disappointed. There’s an afghan, a blanket, a pillow topper, and a Christmas stocking. The book provides lots of ideas, and I think I’ll get use out of the book.

As I was looking at patterns, I decided to try the Peruvian-inspired coat. Of course my friend’s baby is shorter than the smallest pattern, although the chest circumference was right. And my knitting gauge, as usual, is okay for the stitches per inch but I have fewer rows per inch. If I followed the pattern as written, it would be way too long.

I decided to start knitting anyway, and figure out how to adjust the pattern along the way.

Starting the dog sweater

Starting the dog sweater

The original pattern has alternating large stripes with dogs and narrow stripes of color.

So, how easy was my solution?

  • Very easy: just take out the narrow stripes!

Still, I wouldn’t recommend starting out trying to customize a three dimensional sweater for a dog. Because I’ve knit sweaters for people — as well as for a few dogs — I had no problem sizing the pattern to fit my friend’s baby.  However, this sweater is definitely not for a beginner, although others in the book are. The color stranding is at least intermediate, and it’s knit on circular needles.

As my sister — the dog expert — suggested, I also put the ties on the top of the sweater not underneath the chin as the pattern shows. Why? Because on the dog’s back they’re less likely to drag on the ground and are harder for the dog to chew.

Here’s my final version:

Peruvian sweater after customizing knitting instructions

Peruvian sweater after customizing knitting instructions

Epilogue: After my friend and her baby received the sweater, she called to thank me.  Even her baby said his thank you over the phone!

It’s very rewarding to have people (and pets) truly love something you had fun designing. I can hardly wait for a picture and to share it! 😉

Ready for inspiration? Check out Dogs in Knits: 17 Projects for Our Best Friends by Judith L. Swartz and click here to buy now!



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