29 December 2006

True Love

Today has been a lovely knitterly day, and Brendon gets just about all the credit.

I shall preface by saying that my eBay score of Recycled Sari Silk came today. Yay! Look how lovely!

An entire kilogram of the stuff for $30 - that's with shipping included. I definitely couldn't get that price anywhere but eBay. Rock. It is a little smelly... musty, I guess... it kind of reminds me of my grandma's house. B says it smells horrible but I don't really mind it. Particularly since I don't intend to wear the stuff, it's going towards my upcoming dream-bag project. The colors are completely unmatching, but that's to be expected. I haven't gotten my needles into it yet, but that will happen in the very near future, I can promise.

Brendon gets some thanks for this, since he let me buy it with his credit card (since I'm, you know, currently unemployed) and he drove me to the post office to pick it up. But that is only a mere fraction of his spousal selflessness today. You may remember this unfortunate photo:

After finding out that this happened amidst a gift for him, and that it happened because of his unannounced early arrival, he felt bad and decided he was going to replace them as a belated Christmas gift. So after he checked in with his Navy people this morning, he went over to the LYS all by himself to search for a pair. No luck there, but the owner told him where the next closest store was - a bigger store with larger inventory that I had not come across anywhere on the internet. Rather than think, "Hm, that might be dangerous for our household budget if she discovered that store," he came home and told me what he'd found out.

We went out for a late-ish breakfast, and then, since it was so close by the diner, we stopped at Michael's. I'd been thinking of getting some polymer clay to make and bake some buttons for the sari silk bag, so I took the opportunity to pick up a handful of squares of "Sculpey." The B&N is in the same strip as the Michael's and it was time for a new Car magazine, so we popped in. Of course I got distracted in the craft section - I've been wanting to make hubby a pair of argyle socks - and I came out with Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 3: Color Knitting. What a beautiful book. Again, paid for out of B's bank account.

And then, THEN, as if this was not enough, he was kind enough (or bored enough - nothing else planned today, after all) to agree to seek out the new yarn store. Which was easily found, and awesome. A super helpful woman was working there, she had a great selection... I touched and caressed and sniffed many many lovely yarns. I even picked up an angora blend that truly smelled like rabbits. (I had a roommate with bunnies in college, I know what rabbits smell like. Mostly like cedar shavings.)

I got a skein of hand dyed superwash J. Knits sock yarn for a new secret project, AND I got my new rosewoods! Reynolds brand, size 6. LOVE 'em. They are beauties. Here's the sum total of the day's treasures:

You know, B teases me all the time about my hobby/obsession, but in the end he goes far beyond what would be expected of any average man to support my knitting addiction. Not just with his money, or time, or willingness to be embarrassed at being seen in a yarn store - he doesn't just humor me, but actually seems to take interest. He is starting to learn to identify garter vs. stockinette stitch even in storebought items, I believe he knows the difference between Fair Isle and Intarsia, he understands the process behind cables. He recognizes and can translate many of the acronyms. He'll take pictures of me holding or wearing yarn with no questions asked. He likes to go to my blog's counter to see where the hits are coming from. He even knows several of the blogs I read regularly, if not by bloggers' first names, then by a nickname or notable project or featured pet. What more could I ask for?

He does, on occasion, benefit from my knitting, too. It's a reciprocal sort of thing, after all. For instance, this morning I bound off the front section of his Leo sweater.

Front and back are done. As you can see, the ends are still dangling all over the front, but that's next on my to-do list. Maybe by the end of the evening the two will be seamed together. And then, bring on Sleeve Hell. I think I'm ready.

27 December 2006

Gift Knitting, Revealed

Since all presents have been opened, I can now take a moment to show off this year's gift projects!

You already saw my brother's socks. They were accompanied by two other pairs.

Gramma Belle's

My Mother-In-Law's

Detail shot.

Gramma's (I'm from the South, okay? I can spell it that way if I want.) socks are based on the stitch pattern from Hello Yarn's Cable Twist Socks, and the construction from Knitty's Socks 101 Tutorial. My mother-in-law's socks are, strangely enough, the Mother-In-Law's Socks from Knitaddicted, with slight modification to the pattern: after the stitch pattern given, I flipped it around so the zig-zags are twice as wide. Both are made of Classic Worsted LP from Universal Yarn Inc., and both were made two at a time on two size 3 circular needles.

Then there was the scarf. The Ferrari Scarf.

Think he likes it? Alright, it needs to be lengthened. Here's the whole thing.

See, I hadn't fully planned it out before purchasing yarn, and I ran out. I would have had enough for the length, but the intarsia parts are double-sided.

I knit one intarsia panel, with the border, then turned it around, picked up stitches, and knit a second one, then seamed together at the top and sides. You can see why I wanted to cover this reverse side up as best I could.

So I ran out of red. And the LYS here doesn't carry this stuff - I actually bought it in CA while visiting my parents in November. Still, I went ahead and false-finished it, because I wanted to have something decent to present on Christmas morning. By the way, it is pretty difficult to knit a surprise for somebody who lives in the same house. That's actually how I snapped that Rosewood needle - he came home from school early and I tried too hard to make everything disappear. (Sorry I wasn't forthcoming about this earlier, but B actually does read my blog. On a regular basis. And goes through my counter to investigate where my hits are coming from. It's kind of funny.)

So, anyway, specs: Intarsia chart is found here. Obviously, I did the prancing horse only - no shield/crest. It's slightly puffy around the pony's edges but since this is my first *real* intarsia project, I'd say it went pretty well. The length of the scarf is done in seed stitch, and there's a bit of ribbing traveling up the sides to keep it from curling. Yarn is Berroco Pure Merino, knit on size 6 straights. By the way, I really really dig this yarn. Very soft, machine washable, and amazing stitch definition. And now it's serving as an excuse to get in the car with another of my Christmas presents - our new Garmin GPS - and go seek out all the yarn stores in the state. Brendon's lucky Rhode Island is a small state.

Yeah, I could order another ball of the red online, but I have some other projects I'm hunting up yarn for as well. I bought some recycled Sari Silk on eBay a couple days ago, and as soon as that arrives, the trip is on. I can't wait!

24 December 2006

Christmas Eve In Newport

Just got in from an afternoon at Brenton Point State Park, just down the peninsula from downtown Newport. What a gorgeous place. Windy, but gorgeous.

Riley, 10 years old and an East Coast dweller all his life, had never before seen the ocean. You may recall that he's not a big fan of water, plus he's pretty neurotic and easily distressed in general. But he was awesome today. Perhaps his adventurous attitude was stirred by the wind, the nip in the air, the smell of the salt water, the Christmas spirit... who knows.

But there he was, off leash, eagerly hopping rocks, dipping his toes in the tidepools, ears perky and eyes shining. Made me proud, I tell ya. He could have passed for a young and agile doggy.

Newport sure is pretty, though I'm a little disappointed there's no chance of a white Christmas. After all, we're only here one winter, and then it's down to Florida where people live their whole lives without ever seeing snow.

B and I are spending the entire holiday season just the two of us, since he burned up all of his leave in between Norfolk and here. That's alright, though. Low stress that way. Besides, I'll be seeing my parents in mid-January, when me and my mom head to Jacksonville for house hunting (booked the trip yesterday). We'll have a good time on our own anyhow. We sure won't be skimping on the Christmas dinner part. Brendon's making a salt and mustard encrusted prime rib with horseradish sauce, and I'm making sides and dessert - marinated portabellas, sweet potato casserole, and Paula Deen's chocolate bread pudding. Yummy! And I'm sure wine will be involved. Fantabulous.

Oh, and since this is a knitting blog, I guess I should mention my current WIPs. Actually there's just one - I finished all my (very limited amount of) Christmas knitting pretty early this year, at least by my standards. And by Tuesday I'll be able to post pictures. Since then, I've been plugging away on Brendon's Leo. I've got about 14-15" of the front. 16.5" and I can start the armhole shaping. Whee. No pictures right now. It looks like a big cinnamon colored rectangle, okay? (I will be so happy when this sweater is done. It's The Project That Never Ends.)

23 December 2006


Sorry, I just had to point out how awesome/hilarious it is that today Google is using an image of kangaroos knitting to portray their holiday festiveness. That's creative right there.

22 December 2006

Decidedly UN-Eye Candy Friday

That would be a broken Lantern Moon rosewood needle, US 6/4 mm. A tragedy. Those were my favorites.

I'm not even sure exactly what happened. I feel pretty confident, though, placing blame on my knitting storage situation, which looks like this:

One Rubbermaid tub, jammed full of everything: yarn, needles, tools, books, project bags, etc, etc. I've probably mentioned that most of our stuff is in storage in Florida; what we have in Rhode Island is pretty much confined to tubs like these. So when digging through there to find a specific yarn or stitch marker or whatever, well, you can imagine what might happen if a delicate wooden needle got loose amongst the mess, got one end jammed securely in a corner behind a book, got the other end through a loop of yarn, and was pulled or pushed too hard... Or maybe you don't have to imagine - just refer to the first picture.

When I get to Jacksonville, I will be organized, and things like this should not happen anymore. Then again, I am a gigantic klutz, so in reality these little accidental tragedies will probably continue the rest of my life. Sigh.

18 December 2006

Encouraging Words

Hey all you knitters out there: the final countdown to the big X is on. One week to go. And you have to ask yourself... Is your knitting finished yet?

Because everyone knows this is the busiest week of the year for UPS, FedEx, the USPS, and the Honey Baked Ham people. But what non-knitters don't realize is, this is also the most frenzied, hand-cramped, extra-tight-gauged week of the year for knitters, too!

I know you're all out there trying to weave in a thousand ends on Fair Isle mittens for your cousins, and a stockinette stocking for your cat, and a big ol' cable motif sweater for your bestest friend or your dad or your hubby - or, more likely, frantically trying to reach that weaving-in stage, because then you'd be practically finished, when in reality, you still haven't started that first sleeve! And I know that in the next seven days you'll drive yourself loony-tunes, staying up into the wee hours of the morning, cursing your fingers for not moving faster, cursing the yarn for not cooperating, cursing the pattern designers for, well, all the things they do... Just cursing in general, I imagine, because you didn't start early enough, or you're trying to cram too many projects into too little time, or because you forgot about getting a gift for your great aunt Margo until too late so you have to turn to your stash and try to remember what her favorite color is... I believe the illustrious Harlot refers to this Chrismastime knitting madness in The Secret Life of a Knitter as, simply, "It," because it's too terrible to try to name.

Whoa. Okay guys (er, gals), take a minute and step back. Breathe.

Before you give yourself carpal tunnel and use so many under-your-breath obscenities that Santa will no longer be stopping by your house this year, let's try and think for a second just exactly what knitting (or crocheting) Christmas presents is all about. Aren't you doing it out of love? Isn't the point of a hand made gift to show that you care about the recipient so much that you wanted to give not only from your wallet, but from your talent, creativity, time, and heart?

Not to be cliche about it, but every stitch ought to be made with love, not with expletives. Your giftknitting projects shouldn't be marred by frustration and anger, because then that frustration and anger is worked into the object, and in a way stays embedded within it - in the tight stitches, uneven edges, and other symptoms of knitting that was rushed rather than enjoyed - and that would be a tragedy. So stop stressing out about it. Calm down. Take it easy. Relax. Remember why you wanted to make this person something in the first place. I'm sure if you care enough about them to want to hand knit a gift for them, they probably care enough about you that it's no big deal if you aren't done until after New Years.

(At least, this is what I've been trying to tell myself, as I breathe the fragrant odor of orange juice blended with wool - see previous post - and develop a permanent squint.)

15 December 2006


I wasn't going to talk much about my gift knitting until after Xmas, for a couple reasons. First, I don't know if any of the people who I'm knitting for might happen to read my blog, which would then spoil the surprise. By the way, yes my brother's socks are a Xmas present, but he knew about them in advance, hence no qualms about that. Second, though, if I talk about Xmas knitting then I worry friends or family reading the blog might get their hopes up that I'm knitting for them when I'm actually not. I'm really only making a handful of gifts this year, okay? And referring back to issue #1, I think only one of my recipients even possibly reads my blog, and that person not frequently, so odds are high that if you know me and are reading this, I'm not making you anything for Xmas. Sorry. I love you though.

HOWEVER, I feel compelled to write this post about gift knitting where I own up to an Act of Extreme Stupidity.

This morning, I fixed myself breakfast - oatmeal and orange juice. I carried said breakfast into the living room, whereupon I sat down on the couch and placed my bowl and glass on the coffee table, right next to one of my gift projects. Then I picked up my computer, situated it on my lap - and in the midst of checking email, I apparently forgot where I was and I put my feet up on the coffee table. (You may see where this is going.)

That's when I kicked the glass of OJ and sent it gushing all over my knitting. IDIOT! Oh my god. I. Suck. The best, most stupidest part of all, is that when I was rinsing my big ol' orange handled scissors in the sink, I sliced my pinky finger open. I tell ya, I'm feeling like a winner.

The good news is that the OJ was the pulp-free variety, plus the yarn is washable, and it's variegated so even if the orangeness doesn't come out 100% - which it should, it's already most of the way out thanks to my Tide To Go pen, though a little fuzzed up because of it - it shouldn't be noticeable. So a quick spin in the laundry, and the recipient will hopefully never know. Because I won't say which gift it is. Ha.

Just wanted to let everybody in KnitBlogLand know, I am a complete dumbass.

11 December 2006

Will's Socks

I've officially completed my knitting initiation - I've made my first pair of socks. I admit, for a while there, I was doubtful about knitting socks. Like non-knitters say, why spend all that time and extra money to hand knit socks, when you can buy a perfectly good pair that will probably last a lot longer for less? But I've been converted.

They're on my feet now, but these socks are headed off to warm my bro's toes.

I used Knitty's Socks 101 Tutorial and a basic 4x2 ribbing for the leg. Really basic, and in a solid color, but my brother is a basic sock guy, and it let me focus on the sock construction. My next pair will be more visually interesting. But these turned out nice, I think.

Even the heel went smoothly.

The yarn is something anonymous (okay, I accidentally threw away the label, but it was something from my LYS that I hadn't heard of before), navy and washable, with much less wool content than I'd like. Or, any. Still, they're warm, stretchy yet snug, and comfy. On me. Hopefully they are on him too.

Size 3 needles - 2 circulars. Took me about a week, including a few false starts.

And now, off they go.

All wrapped up.

And ready to go.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like..

Yes indeedy. On Saturday B and I headed to Portsmouth RI to a really nice family owned nursery, to pick up some festiveness.

Door adornment.

Christmas tree substitute.

That second picture was taken Saturday, and after a couple deliveries and a bit of shopping yesterday, there are several more presents under there. Many of them will be shipped away, though, since B and I have already "opened" our big presents to each other.

As indicated by my post on Friday, my Mac is here!

I'm getting used to it. I've been a PC gal up until now so it's a little alien, but I'm figuring it all out. The only thing bothering me now is that when I power it down and back up, it isn't saving my settings. I'm working on that one.

And UPS brought Brendon's today:

Anybody into cooking might recognize this big guy - it's a Ken Onion chef's knife by Shun. It's dangerous, I tell ya, but it's pretty awesome. I mean, there will be no minor injuries with this baby. The littlest slip could end up as a severed digit.

And I'm about to do a separate finished project post for my bro's socks - yay!

07 December 2006

I Am An Internet-Shopping-Hermit

I love the internet. I can hardly imagine trying to function without it. One symptom of my internet addiction is the fact that the vast majority of the Christmas presents I'm giving this year - pretty much all the gifts that aren't hand knitted! - have been or will be purchased online.

This is mighty convenient, yes, as far as the actual shopping and comparing right from home to find exactly what I want to get. However.. now I'm stuck here. At home. Waiting for deliveries! Right now I'm expecting MY Christmas present, which looks a lot like this:


As well as a rather large order (that I then have to divvy up and reship to assorted people), PLUS a package my mom told me she sent out last week. (I got my 2 skeins of Pure Merino in the mail yesterday, so at least I'm not worried about that any more.) Now, the doorbell at my condo doesn't actually work, and since the place is a rental we can't exactly go out and buy a new one and then screw around with the wiring in this 100+ year old house. Complicating this fact is that the house is set up so that it's split into two condos, with an entryway leading out to the front door, meaning that unless somebody knocks REALLY HARD on the outside door I'm likely not going to hear it. Fortunately at the moment nobody is renting the second floor condo, so I can leave my door open to increase the chances that I'll hear a knock. It's great and all, except that it ruins that extra bit of insulation keeping the heat in... nevermind.

On top of that, though, is the feeling that I can't leave the house at all during the day - at least until I've seen the UPS truck and the FedEx truck both drive by without stopping at least a couple times. I panic a little at the thought of even being in the shower for longer than it takes to wash my hair. I'm reluctant to turn the tv volume up too loud. It's a psychosis, I tell you.

I know that if I don't answer the door, they'll redeliver the next day. But I'm so eager to get the Mac, in particular, that I don't want to miss the first chance. Besides, our UPS guy doesn't fill in the part on the redelivery slip that says what approximate time their next attempt will be, so that next day I'll be even more on edge all day long.

Add to all this delivery anticipation the fact that I'm still waiting on my last paycheck from work to come (it's been almost 6 weeks since I left!) plus the Netflix dvd that was supposed to come yesterday did not come yesterday OR today - and I really hate having to call customer service about anything - it makes me rather neurotic. Much more so than usual.

Perhaps it's this obsessive tendency that makes me a good candidate for knitting.

Speaking of which, I still have 4 projects on the needles at the moment, and that's not helping my stress level.

05 December 2006

Jolly Holly

This picture, taken right outside my front door a half hour ago, totally puts me in the holiday spirit!

I know the novelty of spending a whole winter filled with real live genuine snow may wear off before too long.. But for right now it makes me want to drink hot tea and knit Christmas presents. So that's what I'm doing!

04 December 2006

Answer: Very Little

What is, "What I have to show for a week's worth of knitting," Alex?

Ding ding ding!


In my blog-before-last, I sort of promised that my next post was going to be the dog sweater pattern, and that ended up taking even longer than I ever imagined to write out. (By the way, I wrote that pattern out using Word before copy & pasting to Blogger, and on Word, WITHOUT PICTURES, it was 6 pages long. Eech.) I've had things to say since that blog-before-last, but I knew that if I posted non-pattern blog entries, that would reduce my pattern writing motivation even further.

By the way, if you want to make the dog sweater, don't be deterred by the lengthy instructions or the frustrations I've had throughout pattern writing. The knitting, for the most part, isn't hard at all. There are a couple parts where you have to think, but mostly, once you get your measurements and plans hammered out, it's pretty simple stuff. About 5 of the 6 pages are about planning. And they're really long winded. I tried to err on the side of TOO thorough.

So catch everybody up on what I've been doing BESIDES composing an annoyingly long pattern, well, there's been about as many setbacks as there's been progress.

As you may recall, I've been planning to make my brother some socks for Christmas. And yes, he already knows about those plans, so even if he wanted to read my knitting blog I would not have just ruined the surprise. I showed off the yarn I meant to use in a post last week, some nice soft navy merino with just a little touch of nylon...

And then, gradually, the little voice inside my head saying "It doesn't matter how nice the yarn is, your 21-year-old skater punk brother is NOT going to hand wash socks!" finally convinced me. So I put that yarn into the as-yet-undetermined part of the stash, and decided it was a good excuse to seek out the LYS in the next town over, Middletown (because I'd already checked out Newport's LYS, and it's nice, but it's a little small). Mind you, I found the address for this store in the Wool Works listings. Besides, even though I've never actually knitted any socks before (I know, how can I even call myself a knitter??), I wanted to try out the 2 socks on 2 circs method, because I like a good challenge; and to do so I needed to get an additional size 3 circular needle. So I hopped in the truck and set out... only to find that there is, in fact, no store there at all. I found the address, I found the building, but I found no trace of fiber anywhere. Alas.

On the way back from where the LYS should have been, there's a craft store which I will not name... but it's a popular boy's name. I figured, since I'm looking for a simple washable yarn and a pair of needles, I might as well go in. That's pretty straightforward stuff... No dice. No circs smaller than size 8!! Can you believe it??

So I went home, parked the truck, and walked to the Newport LYS, "Knitting Needles." There is, apparently, no web site. Like I said, it's a little small, and the selection is likewise; but it's well laid out, organized, and the staff is friendly. The only circular option was Susan Bates, which aren't my favorite, but they'll do. I was able to find some yarn for the socks, though there's a much higher nylon content than I'd like, as well as some fun stuff for a project I won't mention just yet. And it was less than 10 minutes' walk from my front door. Not so bad, I guess.

I went home and cast on, which was tricky enough in itself, having never tried this 2 needle trick. Finally I got both socks pointed in the same direction, knit about an inch, and then remembered my brother is not in fact 9 feet tall with a size 23 shoe. Rather, he's only a little taller than I am. So I had to frog and start over. Casting on went better this time, and the size was good, but I didn't like the way the ribbing looked. And when you're doing a basic ribbed sock, for a basic-ribbed-sock-kind of guy, the ribbing is pretty important. So I frogged again.

Here's what I have now. I'm pleased with how it's going, except that it isn't going faster.

Needless to say, the whole project is taking a LOT more effort than a couple of plain ribbed socks ought to. But then, just when I needed it most, an attitude boost showed up in the mail:

After seeing Carrieoke's Central Park, I've decided I have to have one. I'm not sure I can live without it... Well, I mean, I'll have to for a little while since I've got too many other projects going on, and December is not really a knitting-for-oneself month... But it will be the next big thing I make for ME. So I had to get the Fall 06 Knitscene from Interweave.

...And while I was at it, I had to order the Spring issue too! Supposedly - according to the website - it doesn't even hit newsstands until Dec. 12. But there it is on my coffee table!

There are several things I may make. We'll see. This post is not about showing you everything the magazine has inside.

I'm still waiting on my black Berroco Pure Merino to come. I ordered it at the same time... Not that I'm ready to start on that project now. First I need to finish this.

The Leo. The front is now 5 whole inches long. My goal on it is a minimum of 8 rows a day, which isn't much, I know. A single inch. But that's 8 rows across 145 sts with size 4 needles.. 8 rows a day is still just about enough to give me carpal tunnel.

Once again though, these 5 inches are not the whole story. I've been having trouble keeping my stitches even on this project. Particularly the stitches along the left side of the ribs. They've been puffing up a little. What the heck is that about?? After three inches, I got frustrated and frogged it and started over, only to have the same thing happen again. This is not something I usually have trouble with. I generally have very consistent stitches! It's usually my edges I hate, or my sizing, or.. or.. or.. not my stitch evenness. Raaarrr. But I pulled out the back of the sweater, you know, the one that I finished in.. like.. September - and it looks the same way. I think I'll chalk it up to the yarn and just deal with it. It makes it look so much less storebought. And somehow, I'll convince B that's a good thing.

And then there's this little bastard. Crochet a row, frog half. Crochet 2 rows, frog 3. I said I wasn't going to post any pictures of this bag while it looks like a doily, but now it has moved past looking like a doily and just looks like a mess.

So this weekend, to cheer me up, I needed a quickie project that I could accomplish with no problems. I found it in that Spring Knitscene. What is it?

Why, it's a retro looking headband!

Okay, I couldn't seem to take a picture that would both flatter me and show off the headband, so here's one that does neither. I look like a hospital patient. I'm perfectly healthy, I promise - just pale!

So there it is, a whole week. This week I knitted (and crocheted) many, many inches - dare I say feet - and what do I have to show for it?

Very little.

...But I did get that dog sweater pattern posted!!

03 December 2006

"Doggy's Got Style" Sweater

I designed this sweater for my Pembroke Corgi, Riley, when we moved from Virginia to Rhode Island in November. Riley’s getting older now, and the New England winter could be harsh on his arthritis. So he needed a little added warmth to protect him from the cold and snow.

The Corgi is a classy dog, very “British” in style – so I wanted to create a sweater that would reflect that innate quality. This dog sweater is knit in a modified Mosaic Garter Stitch, giving it a classic look, with a background of understated dark colors accented by a bright blue, adding cheerfulness on dreary days. It is knit in machine washable wool, for utmost warmth combined with easy care.

Because dogs come in all sizes and shapes, the following is much more of a formula than a pattern, per se. In fact, I’m not even going to give any of the numbers I used, because a corgi is a very strangely shaped dog – and even if you’re making this for another corgi, well, Riley’s a bit of a “chunky” little guy, so his dimensions likely won’t match your corgi’s. So, while this sweater is a cinch to knit, it can be a bit of a chore to plan. Don’t worry, though; I’m including a few diagrams and (hopefully) pretty detailed instructions to help guide you along. I’ll break down the math parts as much as I can, for those knitters who aren’t mathematically inclined.

Update 1/31/10: This pattern is available as a Ravelry download, if you prefer PDFs. The download includes the pattern instructions minus the photos seen in this blog post, as well as a second PDF that is a worksheet where you can enter your calculations.

- KnitPicks Swish Superwash (worsted weight, 100% superwash wool, 110 yds/50 g ball)
*any worsted weight washable wool should work just fine, but KnitPicks is both soft and inexpensive*
- 2 skeins “Capri” = CC
- 2 skeins “Truffle” = C1
- 2 skeins “Dark Navy” = C2
- 3 skeins “Dublin” = C3
(The number of skeins of each color suggested in the pattern is the amount used for a medium sized dog of about 50 lbs. If you have a much larger or much smaller dog, your required amounts of total yarn will vary.)

- 4 buttons, at least 1” diameter, to match your colors and style. Make sure they are washable!
- Size 7 needles, preferably circular. (Note: For the trim, which is added at the end, I used several circular needle cords from an interchangeable set, connected together, PLUS an additional size 7 circular, but alternatively the trim may be worked in sections and seamed together.)
- Large-eyed needle for sewing up ends.
- Sewing needle & thread for attaching buttons.
- Measuring tape.
- Calculator.
- The following diagrams: feel free to print them out, or, draw your own:

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Basic Construction:

The sweater is worked in two pieces – back (in pattern with contrasting color) and belly (in modified pattern without contrasting color).

These two panels are joined around the neck, then a ribbed trim is picked up first around the body (in one piece if you have several pairs of circular needles, or in several sections and joined if you prefer to work with straight), then a matching trim is worked separately around the neck.

Note that around the legs, the trim is meant to stick out and sit along the front and sides of the legs, but to lie flat against the body behind the legs (so as not to irritate armpits when walking).

Buttonholes are added when working the trim, and buttons are sewn on at the end. Therefore the trim pieces overlap along the ribs.

Stitch Pattern:

This pattern, adapted from Sarah Bradberry’s “Mosaic Garter Stitch” pattern, is very thick and warm, and sturdy enough to hold up to lots of doggy romping. The back and belly differ slightly, in the color changes and the right/wrong side.

Back – Odd rows are RS, even rows are WS.
Rows 1 & 2: w/ C1, k across
Rows 3 & 4: w/ CC, *k1, sl 1 p-wise* rep across
Rows 5 & 6: w/ C2, k across
Rows 7 & 8: rep rows 3 & 4
Rows 9 & 10: w/ C3, k across
Rows 11 & 12: rep rows 3 & 4

(Back Detail)

Belly – Odd rows are WS, even rows are RS. (Colors are in reverse order because belly section is worked neck to tail instead of tail to neck, as in back section.)
Row 1: w/ C3, *k1, sl 1 p-wise* rep across
Rows 2 & 3: w/ C3, k across
Row 4: w/ C3, *k1, sl 1 p-wise* rep across
Rows 5-8: rep rows 1-4 w/ C2
Rows 9-12: rep rows 1-4 w/ C1

(Belly Detail)

*Yarn may be carried/stranded along WS of work when not in use to reduce the number of ends to weave in; just be mindful of corners when stranding.*


It is VERY important that you CHECK YOUR GAUGE. I cannot stress this enough. This from a knitter notoriously bad about swatching. This pattern will NOT work if you guess! Calculate your stitches per inch (from now on, this number will be referred to as “X”) and your rows per inch (“Y”) in the stitch pattern given.

Next, get out your measuring tape and MEASURE YOUR DOG. Figure 1, above, will help with this stage. The measurements you need (i.e. write this down), which correspond with the numbers on the diagram, are as follows:

1 = Length along back, base of neck to base of tail – where you want the sweater ends to lie. Measurement 1 is divided into 2, 3, 4, and 5:

2 = Distance between base of neck and front of leg.

3 = Length front to back of leg.

4 = Distance from back of leg to navel.

5 = Distance from navel to base of tail.

6 = Circumference around dog at chest or widest part. Measurement 6 is divided into 7, 8, and 9:

7 = Distance across shoulders from outside of one front leg to outside of the other.

8 = (Times 2) Width of each front leg, from frontal view.

9 = Distance between front legs, armpit to armpit.

10 = Circumference around neck below collar, where you wish the neck of the sweater to lie.

Now that your dog is sufficiently concerned about what exactly you have planned, use the diagrams and a calculator if necessary to plan your sweater’s dimensions, beginning with the belly in Figure 2. The letters below correspond to the letters in the diagram; numbers refer to your measurements from Figure 1, except when an inch indication (”) is given, in which case numbers refer to actual inches. (Inches are given to account for an inch-wide trim.)

A = #2 + #3 + #4 – 2”
B = #4 – 1.5”
C = #3 – 0.5”
D = #2 – 1”
E = #9
F = #8 + #9 – 2”
G = #8 + #9

Use these calculations in addition to your Figure 1 measurements to help you find the dimensions for the back of the sweater, Figure 3. Letters refer to the above calculations; numbers are the same as before.

H = #1 – 2”
I = D (or #2 – 1”)
J = C (or #3 – 0.5”)
K = #4 – 0.5”
L = #5 – 3”
M = 2”
N = #7
O = #6 – G (or #8 + #9)

*From now on, any time in the instructions I mention a letter A-O, it refers to these calculations. If I mention X, that’s stitches per inch (remember?) and Y, that’s rows per inch.*

Once you have all of this worked out and written down on your printed-out diagrams or your own drawings, you are JUST ABOUT ready to start knitting! All you have to do now is calculate stitches.


Knitting begins with the sweater back, at the tail. First you need to calculate stitches for the widest part – multiply O x X (rounded up to the nearest whole number). That gives you the number of stitches you need for the K section – I’ll call this the Target Number. Write it down somewhere. Now you have to work backward a little bit to get your CO number. You’ll notice that the L section of the sweater is an increasing section. Increasing is done by 2 stitches per row on knitted rows, with no increases on the sl st rows – averaging an increase of 4 stitches every 4 rows, which works out to one stitch per row. Your calculation Y will therefore tell you how many stitches you’ll increase per inch. Multiply Y x L to get the total number of stitches you’ll be increasing in the L section. Then subtract this number from your Target Number, and you find your cast on number! Yay.

Cast on this number of stitches in CC.

Work even in pattern (as given for the back) for 2 inches or Y x 2 rows, ending with a WS row. (M section)

Increasing: (L section)

Increases are worked on knitted rows (with C1, 2, 3) only – not on CC sl st rows.

Increase rows are as follows: k2, k2 in same st, k across to last 3 sts, k2 in same st, k2.

Work increase rows in pattern for L inches or Y x L rows, until you have reached your Target Number of stitches, ending with a WS row.

Work even in pattern for K inches or Y x K rows, ending with a WS row. (K section)

Leg holes:

To calculate the number of stitches to bind off, first multiply X x N, then subtract this number from your Target Number.

At the beg of the next row, BO ½ of the number you just calculated.

At beg of the following row, BO the same number – you should now have X x N sts.

Work even in pattern for J inches or Y x J rows, ending with a WS row.

At the end of the next row, CO the same number of sts that you bound off at the beginning of the leg hole.

At end of the following row, CO that number of sts again – you should be back to your Target Number of sts.


The neck involves decreasing; decreasing, like increasing, is worked only on knitted rows, not the CC sl st rows, decreasing 2 sts per row. You can work all your decreases as k2tog, since the stitch pattern will obscure the slant.

Decrease rows are as follows: k2, k2tog, k across to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.

Work decrease rows in pattern for I inches, or Y x I rows.

With CC, BO.

The back is done! Rock on.


Not as much calculation needed to cast on here. The belly section is worked from the neck down, in the opposite direction of the back, for a change of pace. Just multiply F x X to get your stitch number.

W/ CC, CO this number of sts.

Work even in pattern (as given for the belly) for D inches or D x Y rows, ending with a WS row.

Leg holes:

Works just like before. To calculate the number of stitches to bind off, first multiply X x E, then subtract this number from the number of sts you worked in F.

At the beg of the next row, BO ½ of the number you just calculated.

At beg of the following row, BO the same number – you should now have X x E sts.

Work even in pattern for C inches or C x Y rows, ending with a WS row.

Section B is 2” wider then section D, because a little added tightness before the front legs will help keep the sweater in place. Therefore you cast on an additional inch on each side when you switch from section C to B.

In other words, at the end of the next row, CO the number of sts you bound off at the beg of leg hole PLUS X.

At the end of following row, CO this number of sts once more.

Work even in pattern for B inches or B x Y rows.

W/ CC, BO.

Seam together the two pieces around the neck, joining D to I.


The trim will require patience and some inventiveness. Basically, I picked up sts evenly around all edges in CC with as many circular needles as it took, then switched to C3 and worked in a 4x2 rib for an inch all the way around, and then w/ C2, BO. (You don’t have to do the crazy color changes if you don’t want, I really did that to conserve yarn more than anything.) I did the body first, then the neck.

There are a few twists though. First, you may not have enough length of circular needle cords to get all the way around. In that case, rather than run out and buy more needles, you may choose to work the trim in sections and then seam together. Good luck.

Second, the corners require increases or decreases in order for the trim to lie flat. My corners aren’t perfect, and if you would prefer to use a different method, that’s fine, but at each corner I used 2 M1 increases, or 2 k2tog decreases, 1 st away from the corner on either side, doing my best to keep up the ribbing. EXCEPT – I worked even around the corners at the top and bottom of the front of the leg (not the back, I decreased at the back of the leg) so that the trim would stick out and act like a little bit of a sleeve.

Third, the buttonholes. Determine where you want the buttons – I suggest right behind the leg and at the end corners of the sweater belly. On the 2nd row of the trim, BO 1 or 2 sts fewer than you think you need to (depending on the tightness of your gauge and the give of your yarn) to accommodate your button. Do this 4 times, since you have 4 buttons. On the next row, CO that many sts again. Ta da, button holes.

Fourth, you will probably have to work decreases in the neck trim to accommodate the shape of your dog (unless your dog has a really thick neck!). Eventually you’re trying to achieve that #10 measurement you took of the doggy’s neck. I recommend you actually measure the neck of the sweater as it is before you begin the trim, and subtract the #10 measurement of your dog’s neck where you want the trim to end. You may want to go back and double check how many sts and rows the body trim took to get to 1” because it will likely be different from your original X & Y measurements, since the stitch pattern is different. Multiply the sts per inch by the difference in neck measurements to get the number of sts you need to decrease total, then divide that number by the rows per inch to get the number of sts you need to decrease per row. (Sound complicated? It is, a little, but you can do it - you're a knitter!) Anyway, you will likely want to do 2/3 to 3/4 of your decreases on the lower half of the neck, since most dogs’ bodies vary more sharply between chest and neck than between back and neck. Otherwise work them as evenly as possible, keeping in pattern as much as you can.


Once you’ve fought your way through the trim, you’re practically done – you just have to weave in any leftover ends and sew on those buttons with a needle and thread.

Then stuff your dog into the sweater and tease him/her to pieces.

(This is Riley unappreciative of all the teasing.)

(And this is how relieved you'll feel when it's over!)

***By the way, if you ever make this or any other pattern that may appear on my blog - send me pictures and I'll post them here!***

28 November 2006

Project Catchup & On the Horizon

Lest readers think that I have been remiss in my knitting as of late... Well, I hadn't been doing quite as much as usual due to the overload of real-world stresses that were going on, I'll admit, but there was SOME knitting happening. And now those stresses are behind me so let the deluge of yarn commence!

First and foremost, proof that I have, in fact, finished Riley's sweater, despite the fact that I keep talking about putting the pattern up and it hasn't happened yet.

That facial expression is what we call "grumpy." But perhaps he will not feel quite so grumpy about wearing the sweater when it's 20 degrees F outside and he has to go tinkle. It kinda makes him look extra fat (or at least emphasizes just how fat he is), so I may decide to break it up with embroidery or a patch of some kind or a pocket... Something. Anyway, there it is, I did make it. It's just that I've been attempting to design diagrams for the pattern, and all I have is Paintbrush, which is extremely frustrating to try to work with. I will be working on the pattern today, but don't expect it to show up here until tomorrow at the earliest.

In the "Current Projects" department, 2 items.

I have actually cast on the front of Brendon's Leo sweater.

Ta da. He griped and griped about how he can't just wear the BACK of a sweater - a sweater that was promised to him back in August - so I finally took some action on it. And remembered why it was such a pain. TEENY NEEDLES - AAAGGHHH. But it will be done. By Christmas. Really.

Also, this little crochet bag.

This purse, which may look like it's all-but-finished, is actually less than halfway done. That's because it is intended to be a versatile purse/mesh market bag engineering phenomenon.
How will it all work together? You'll have to wait and see. The part you see here was done on the plane home from California, I just hadn't gotten around to taking pictures of it until now. And I actually have begun the mesh bag part, but currently it looks like a doily, and I can't have the world thinking I'm sitting here crocheting doilies, so - no pictures of that.

Upcoming projects: there are also two of those.

My brother's big fuzzy snowboard socks.

This yarn is very soft. And there's barely a word of English on the labels.

Also, B's Ferrari scarf.

There will also be black in there, but I had a helluva time finding this stuff in black - I went to FOUR LYS's without success and finally ordered it on eBay. I found a chart of the Ferrari prancing pony, and... well, he has a thing for Ferrari. What can I say.

By the way, this blanket may creep into some of these or future pictures, and I thought I would give it a formal introduction.

This was among my earliest crochet projects, and it is a HOSS. The weight is spectacular. I made it for B long long ago (like 2 and 1/2 years!), and it has been living on the ship making his icky ship bed feel a little more like home - but now he has no ship, therefore no ship bed, so for the time being it's on our couch and I get to enjoy it too. I don't even remember what I made it out of, something I bought at A.C. Moore, but it's rather soft.

Hopefully there will be a dog sweater pattern in the next post. Wish me luck.