February 15, 2013

Boz's Doggie Sweater

Boz belongs to some good friends of mine. He get shaved on the body since that is the grooming standard for the miniature schnauzer mix that he is. Guess that can be cold sometimes. After I put out a call for projects on facebook, they asked for a sweater for him. They had been having trouble finding a sweater that fit him right in stores, so hopefully this will work.

I found this dog sweater pattern from Bernat, it is free, but you have to make an account with them to download any of their free patterns online. It is a v-neck pattern with ribbed sleeves and a striped body. I decided to nix the stripes for my own sanity. I chose to use Vanna's Choice Lion Brand Yarn in Grey Marble. It is a very handsome gray yarn that had a little wooly texture with gray and brown and black flecks. It should hide dirt well and is both machine washable and dry-able which is a HUGE feature since dogs are not really known to walk around a nice pile of dirt that needs digging in.

Here is an important thing to know: What you might think is the right way to do something, even though it seems logical, look it up to be sure. I was wrong about which is the correct way to measure a dog's chest. Here is an excellent page which shows how to measure your dog, for the purposes of making clothes that fit. The measurements for Boz are in between two sizes, but much closer to the large size than the medium, so I am using a slightly smaller hook than recommended, which gets me really, really close to their gauge after testing a swatch. Maybe that will help make it a bit smaller but still have enough room to get him in and out.

I was a little hesitant about this pattern because when I read it over, I had a hard time visualizing in my head what it would look like. So I took pictures along the way in case I ever need to make this again. It is actually pretty simple and the entire thing is pretty much one big piece that you then seam up along the bottom.  That first hanging piece is just like the rows before it except you don't go all the way across or do any increasing.

This is the neck ribbing, body section and "shape leg opening: first side" (pattern terms)
To get the center section and "second side" you just attach your yarn in the stitch indicated and keep going like before.

Outside edges will get seamed together and be on the underside of the body.
 Then you have a row to join all the pieces back together to keep going down the back.
At this point I kind of had to stop, because if it did not fit around the body right, then there was no point to keep going on the back part or finish the holes to be sleeves. So I had to wait until Boz came to visit to give him a test fitting. At the test fitting I was unable to really keep him still long enough to try it on properly, but I did think that it would fit around his chest nicely.

After that I kept going through the pattern and soon realized that if I followed the pattern as stated, the sweater would end up being 22 inches long. When the measurement I had for his length was 14 inches. That is a pretty darn large difference. So where it said to continue in even rows from this join row on for another 10 inches, I cut that to 6 inches. Then I followed the next set of instructions for decreasing over 12 rows (6 inches) for the back covering portion as stated. Then where it said to keep increasing to 22 inches long, I just stopped after 4 rows (2 inches). That put my measurement from the arm holes back at the 14 inches that I was given.

12 rows from arm holes, plus 12 rows of decreasing and 4 rows at the end. Should be 14" or so.
 I then made the two arm sleeves and sewed them onto the body. I turned my work inside out to do the seam up the bottom of the neck and body part, that way it looked cleaner when turned right side out again. The finishing touch was to put a row of single crochet around the back side of the belly covering up and around the back covering. That cleans up that back edge nicely.

The row of sc around the back opening really makes it look finished.
Done. This project, due to stopping and trying to figure out fitting and starting again took maybe 20 hours. It took three full skeins of the yarn, which also bogged me down, because I had only bought two and then of course all the stores around stop carrying that color.

I still think it is going to be way too long, but I will have to wait and see until Boz gets a chance to try it on again. 

UPDATE: Finally got to give it to them to try on him finished. The fit around the chest was fine, but like I thought, it was pretty long. I almost did not need to do that whole back part after the belly. Hopefully it might shrink a little if they wash it.