Nordic Pup

If you know me at all, you know that knitting for my sweet puppy is probably my favorite thing in the world. I particularly like themed knits — like her Thanksgiving bandana, or Halloween bee costume — but I am also hyper aware that the line between cute and tacky is easily blurred when it comes to dog wearables. 

This year was Raii's first Christmas in Colorado, and while I wanted to make her a holiday sweater, I didn't want it to be so *obviously* Christmas themed that she would only be able to wear it once (like this elf-dog costume from Petsmart — although can I admit I would go nuts if I saw a pooch in this thing?). Lately, I have been obsessed with Spincycle's Dyed in the Wool, and their Tell-Tale Heart colorway happens to be rather Christmasy, if you find the right skein (or part of a skein). This yarn is amazing — subtle, slow, variable color changes that can give you the best Fair Isle of your life with minimal effort. 

The basic idea behind this sweater is the same as my Harness-Friendly Dog Sweater — I've just added a Fair Isle pattern to the cowl, changed the increases slightly, and modified the numbers for a smaller gauge. I also added some Fair Isle to the edge of the body.

PATTERN


Gauge: 26 stitches and 38 rounds = 4 inches
Yarn: Main Color (MC): about 140 yards of a sport weight yarn; Contrast Color (CC): about 70 yards of sport weight yarn — I highly recommend Spincycle's gorgeous Dyed in the Wool, and I estimate one skein would be exactly enough for 3 dog sweaters, or one dog sweater and a matching pair of mitts for dog mom.
Needles: US 4 DPNS and 16" circular needle
Sizes: One size only* — fits dogs with a girth of 15-17" 

*For now, I have only written the pattern as I knit it, for a dog the same size as my Raii. If there is a great deal of interest, I may write it up for sale in other sizes.

See pattern on Ravelry here.


This sweater is knit in the round from the neck down. The neck and shoulders piece is knit seperately first from the colorwork chart. The body is picked up and knit in the round from the cast-off edge of the neck and shoulders piece.

NECK AND SHOULDERS

With US 4 DPNs, Cast on 76 stitches in MC. Place marker for BOR.
Round 1: Purl all stitches.
Round 2: Knit all stitches.
Round 3: Purl all stitches.
Round 4-41: Join CC and knit according to colorwork chart for 38 rounds. Switch to 16" circular whenever number of stitches seems sufficient. You should have 110 stitches around when you finish the chart.

Using only MC, work 3 rounds in garter stitch, beginning with a purl round. Bind off knitwise.

See pattern on Stitch Fiddle here. Download the PDF here.

BODY

On the inside of the shoulder piece, find the third round of purl bumps from the bind-off edge. It should be the round right after the second knit round from your garter stitch edging.

Pick up and knit 20 purl bumps, cast on 13 stitches using cable cast-on, skip 15 purl bumps, pick up and knit 25 purl bumps, cast on 8 stitches using cable cast-on, skip 10 purl bumps, pick up and knit 25 purl bumps, cast on 13 stitches using cable cast-on, skip 15 purl bumps. Place marker for BOR. You should have 104 total stitches around.

Work in stockinette stitch, slipping BOR marker, until piece measures 2” (or until it is the length you want it for your dog*).

*Note about sizing: You should feel free to adjust the pattern for the length you want for your dog. Try it on your dog as you go, and stop knitting or keep knitting according to what you think is a good length for your dog (rather than whatever I say in the pattern). Keep in mind that the decreases and edging will add about 3".

The following rows are worked as short rows to increase the top of the body:
Row 1 (RS): 100, W&T
Row 2 (WS): 74, W&T
Row 3: K to one stitch before wrapped stitch, W&T
Row 4: P to one stitch before wrapped stitch, W&T
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until 44 stitches remain unwrapped. Ending on a RS row, knit to marker, knitting each wrap with the stitch as you come to it.

Continue working in the round once again:
Round 1: Rejoin CC and knit all stitches, knitting each wrap with the stitch as you come to it.
Round 2: Knit all stitches in CC.
Round 3: Knit all stitches in MC.
Round 4: Knit all stitches in CC.
Round 5: Knit all stitches in MC.
Round 6: Knit all stitches in CC.
Round: 7: *K1 CC, K1 MC* Repeat around.
Round 8: *K1 MC, K1 CC* Repeat around.
Round 9: *K1 CC, K1 MC* Repeat around.
Round 10-14: Work as for Rounds 2-6.
Round 15: Knit all stitches in CC.

Using only MC, work 3 rounds in garter stitch, beginning with a purl round. Bind off knitwise.


Tips on technique:

  1. A knitter's colorwork gauge is almost always tighter than her single-color knitting gauge. Be aware of this tendency when working this pattern, and go down a smaller needle size on the body if necessary.
  2. There are a few rows in the middle of the chart (on the top and bottom edges of the snowflake pattern) that require you to carry the MC yarn over many stitches. I highly recommend picking up your floats when you have to carry the yarn over 6 or more stitches — see Julie Williams's incredibly helpful blog entry for this technique here.