FO Friday: Knit Jasper

Please say hi to Knit Jasper!

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Project: Knit Jasper

Pattern: Siberian Husky, highly modified

Designer: Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir

Available: in Knit Your Own Dog

Yarn: Palette

A friend of mine from agility lost her dog Jasper to a sudden accident.  Before he died, she incurred some serious vet bills, and the agility community held some raffles to raise money to help her out. I donated a “custom knit mini dog” for the raffle.  Someone mentioned that they hoped the winner would give the prize to Kathy … so I decided to make her a Jasper up front, so the winner wouldn’t have to give up their prize.  (The winner, by the way, has a mini poodle — look for that project soon!)

It was hard to get started on Knit Jasper, because I wanted so badly for it to be as close to perfect as possible.  This was extra hard, because the original Jasper is not any particular breed — so there wasn’t a pattern in Knit Your Own Dog that was exactly right. Eventually I decided that the Siberian Husky was closest in shape, especially the ears and head.

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I charted out the written pattern for the Husky, and colored in Jasper’s signature tri-color markings. I made the legs and body just a smidge shorter to better match Jasper’s sturdy frame. Slowly he came together … I couldn’t figure out how to put a ruff around his neck without making it look like a lion’s mane, but overall I am satisfied with the doppelganger. After I took photos, I decided to tip the right ear — I soaked it in water, pinched it in a chip clip, and let it dry overnight.  The tipped ear really helps the look!

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jasper at Kathy

Here’s another pair of knit vs. original photos — it’s important to get rears right too!

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So long Jasper, happy trails to you.

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FO Friday: C-ATCH William

As promised, here’s William!

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Or, as he will now officially titled:

C-ATCH Hawkhaven Sweet William O’Mine

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Project: C-ATCH William

Pattern: Scottish Terrier

Designer: Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir

Available: in Knit Your Own Dog (currently $10.17 on Amazon!)

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in …. mmmm… a heathered black, a ruddy brown, and a true red (my labels have come off)

William is a present for my friend Julie, who is a fellow dog-agility competitor.  The real-life William was up for a big title last weekend: he needed one more qualifying run (“Q”) in Jackpot to earn his C-ATCH.  This title represents 40 Q’s in seven different classes, all at Level 5 of difficulty.  It’s a big deal for us agility heads! 🙂  I decided on the spur of the moment to channel some castonitis into making a cute little dog for her.  I knit for about 10 hours on Friday and Saturday, and finished!  I showed a few people, but decided not to tell her until after the Jackpot run … it was a tricky run, a non-traditional Jackpot with complex rules for gathering points.  Julie planned a conservative path, getting exactly the 44 points needed to Q.  Everyone cheered and cheered!

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This is my second “Knit Your Own Dog” project — I made a Border Collie a while ago. I found the pattern to be similar in many ways, but tailored to the breed.  He really looks like a proper little Scottie!  The legs are knit flat, then joining via some cast-on stitches to make a left and right body.  The neck and tail are worked from held body stitches.  The head does use those crazy PULT short-rows that have stymied more than a few knitters!  I’m especially proud of the tail — Julie said it was very close to correct to breed standard!  She also said the wild beard on the knit-Scottie was perfect because William’s beard is always looks like he’s been partying it up.

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Congrats Julie and William! 🙂

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Cast-On Monday: C-ATCH William

On Friday night, I realized I really, really wanted to make my friend Julie an itty bitty knitted Scottie dog from “Knit Your Own Dog.”  Her (real) Scottie, William, was up for a big agility title this weekend.  I cast on late Friday, and after a busy day at agility on Saturday I knit for about 8 hours to finish.  William earned his C-ATCH on Sunday — hooray! — and I was able to give Julie a mini-Scottie to celebrate the accomplishment.  I’ll give more details in another post, but here’s a little preview:

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FO Friday: Coats for Gizmo and Golly

1153 Golly and Gizmo coats

One of my agility friends asked me to knit custom coats for her charming mini poodles, Gizmo (left) and Golly (right).  She wanted durable, washable yarn that was also soft and cozy, and came in her dogs’ signature colors. In terms of structure, the coats needed to have turtlenecks, front leg sleeves, and a high belly cut to allow pottying without soiling the coats.  We looked at a couple different patterns before settling on the attractive and versatile “Biscuits & Bones” pattern, sized from XS to XL. The modified “X’s and O’s” cable pattern resembles circular biscuits and long bones–very clever!

(This week’s FO is a re-wind — I’ve been working like mad all week on a design sample that I can’t share just yet.)

1122 Golly's Purple Coat

Project: Gizmo’s Red Coat and Golly’s Purple Coat

Pattern: Biscuits & Bones Dog Coat

Designer: Patons

Available: FREE! at patonsyarns.com

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Eggplant and Red (3 balls per coat)

1157 Golly's coat

Don’t you just love Golly’s grin??

I made Golly’s coat first (purple!) and made very few modifications.  The neck to tail is worked flat to the leg holes, where the work is split into three parts and worked separately for a few rows.  Then flat work across the entire piece resumes, continuing through the butt decreases.  Ribbing is picked up and knit in the round for the leg holes and around the belly/back (after the chest is seamed). My only serious modification was to keep edge stitches in stockinette, to make the picking up and seaming easier.

1159 Gizmo's coat

Gizmo is such a handsome fellow!

With Gizmo’s coat, I wanted to try knitting the chest in the round, to avoid seaming later on.  At the leg holes I worked just two sections (back and belly) flat, then rejoined for more work in the round, then worked flat for the back after casting off for the belly. This ended up being trickier than I anticipated … if I ever make another coat from this pattern, I will probably just make it flat and deal with the seam.

1152 Golly and Gizmo coats

Overall, the pattern is clear and well-written.  The cable patterns were written, so of course I charted them to avoid going insane.  (I work much better from a visual representation of a pattern.) I really appreciate that it came in so many sizes, and also that it accounted for the real chest shape of a dog (many dog sweater patterns seem to think dogs are shaped like humans, oops).  Swish Worsted was, as expected, perfect for the job at hand. The boys look great and are cozy too!

Ravelry Monday: Wren’s Trio of Properties, Dog Tea Cozy

First Pick: Wren’s Trio of Properties, by Faye Kennington ($4.95)

At first glance, I thought this was a pattern for eyeball ornaments — maybe something Cthulu-esque?  But instead, they are felted birdhouses: at once more mundane and much more interesting. The designer based them on something she’d seen in a garden magazine, and that birds actually like them — so they are useful and decorative.

Second Pick: Dog Tea Cozy, by Rian Anderson ($4.00)

He may call this a “dog” tea cozy, but we all know which wonderful claymation dog he means: Gromit!!

I named my Border Collie “Gromit” because I love the show so much.  If only I drank tea out of pots, I would be making up this tea cozy in a heartbeat!  Maybe I will get the pattern anyway, and see if I can transform it into a soft toy …

Third Pick: Persinette, by Erica Lynne ($1.50)

Two clever headband patterns, knit icord-style over elastic! The flower is a perfect place to show off a beloved singleton button, too.

FO Friday: Toy Gromit

1541 toy Gromit

Introducing …. my very own toy Gromit!  I stayed up (too) late Friday night to finish, even though I had an agility trial the next day (which means rising at ungodly early in order to drive two hours to the trial, arriving there by 7 AM). The satisfaction of leaving this sweet little toy dog completed instead of in parts was well worth the delayed bedtime.

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Pattern: Border Collie

Designer: Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir

Available: in Knit Your Own Dog (available for $8.49 on Amazon)

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette (leftover Cream, Merlot Heather (I think), plus tiny scraps of Semolina, Edamame, and Ash)

As I mentioned in my review of Knit Your Own Dog, the pattern is made up of a billion tiny pieces, all worked flat.  After I seamed and stuffed the first leg, I thought it would be fun to show the bits that go into a toy Border Collie.  Right next to the penny is the left rear leg.  Above the leg, you can the top of the head.  The rest is just a big muddle!

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In this photo, the legs and body are all seamed and stuffed. I used pipe cleaners chenille stems to provide structure for the legs.  (I learned from making some cool amigurumi last year that this is absolutely necessary.) The ears are still waiting to be sewn on, and the original tail is looking awfully big … I ended up chucking it and making a smaller version than called for in the pattern, to better match my dog. I’m very impressed with how the designers achieved a very dog-like shape.  Often knit toys approximate real shapes with blobby shapes and imagination — but this one looks like the real thing!

1536 KYOD Border Collie (in progress)

For the eyes I pulled apart two strands of Edamame and Semolina, and re-plied some of each into a single strand of greeny-gold yarn to match Gromit’s eye color.  Simple French knots make surprisingly convincing eyes.  I embroidered the nose with satin stitch … I’m still not 100% satisfied, but I have decided to call it done after cutting out the stitches once or twice and starting over. The collar is made out of Ash — again, to match the real Gromit’s awesome collar (a D Dogs Designs original).

1546 toy Gromit

1547 toy Gromit

1545 toy Gromit

FO Friday: Loopy the Sheep

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My friend Donna took some glamor shots of the samples for my Aviator scarves (up for publication through Knit Picks IDP).  She is a professional photographer, specializing in dogs and dog sports, and I suspect she found the (inanimate) knitted items rather not a challenge in comparison.  I had asked her to do the shoot in exchange for “something knitted.” I offered her a choice of the two sample scarves, but she thought they were “too nice.”  Later on, she joked that I should knit her a new dog (her Border Collie is sometimes a bit naughty!), and it occurred to me that I could knit up a little sheep for her!

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Pattern: Loopy the Sheep

Designer: Amanda Berry

Available: for $3.25 on Ravelry

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted (about half a ball each of black and white)

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The pattern is easy to read and complete — I found no errors of any kind.  The designer did a great job with photos showing how the pieces go together.  The directions to make the loopy fleece were clear. I did modify the pattern to make almost all the parts in the round instead of flat, because I didn’t want to seam those little hands and feet.  Conversely, I chose not to seam the ears — I liked how the stockinette curled.

1376 Loopy (profile)