FO Friday: Poodle for Hire

Some time ago, I donated a custom-knit dog to a raffle to benefit a friend (sad details here).  The lucky winner was the family of Zacharia the mini poodle.  Everyone say, “Aw, what a cutie!”

This project turned out to be harder than I initially anticipated.  It was hard to find the right fiber to make the poodle’s fur look right.  I ended up with Bernat Pipsqueak … which was WAY WAY to large a yarn.  So, I un-plied it, and knit with individual strands — this took a lot of time, but it gave me the look I was going for. Eventually.

Project: Poodle for Hire

Pattern: Poodle

Designer: Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir

Available: in Knit Your Own Dog: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 25 Pedigree Pooches

Yarn: Bernat Pipsqueak and Swish DK

As I have come to expect from the KYOD series, this toy poodle was constructed in multiple flat pieces, then sewn together. I used Swish DK for the toes and face, and the Pipsqueak every else. I ended up modding the ears and tail, but other than that this was knit as-written. Doing the PULT stitch is Pipsqueak was especially exciting.

I’m not completely happy with how the legs came together with the body, but I think Knit Zacharia is recognizably a poodle … so I am satisfied.

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!

jasper face

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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Book Review: Knit Your Own Dog by Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne

This book caught my eye a few weeks ago, when patterns and projects from the UK edition started popping up on Ravelry. A quick perusal revealed that there was in fact a Border Collie pattern included in the book, and it was charming! I pre-ordered the US edition on Amazon and was delighted when it arrived this week.

Of course, I immediately cast on for my very own Border Collie, using left-over Palette (a heathered dark brown, and cream) and Size 1 Addi Turbos.  In one evening, I was able to finish all four legs, both halves of the body, and begin on the neck and head.  As you can surmise from this list of parts, the Border Collie (and is worked in a series of bitty parts, worked flat. Some intarsia work creates the classic Border Collie markings — as with all amigurumi knitting, it is vital to knit tightly to ensure the finished toy keeps it shape and does not reveal too much of the stuffing.

The listing for this book on Ravelry is incomplete.  For this reason, I’ll provide a comprehensive list of the breed patterns here.

Hounds: Afghan Hound, Whippet, Dachshund, Basset Hound

Terriers: Wire-haired Fox Terrier, Jack Russell, Scottish Terrier, West Highland Terrier, English Bull Terrier

Sporting: Cocker Spaniel, Red Setter, Labrador, Portuguese Water Dog

Non-sporting: Dalmatian, Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, French Bulldog, English Bulldog, Pug

Working: Rough Collie, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Corgi, Siberian Husky

I’m especially impressed with the clever shaping at the beginning of each leg to create a proper foot.  I’ve only just begun the head, and already I can tell some thoughtful shaping will make a very pretty head there as well. The selection of breeds is fantastic — a smattering from across the spectrum, including many of my personal favorites. The details that make each breed unique are fantastic: the Afghan’s flowing coat, the Basset’s floppy garter-stitch ears and jowls, the Scotty’s fringe and beard, the upright stance of the Poodle, the smooshed face of the Bulldog, the Collie’s exuberant mane … all will ring true to lovers of each breed. The authors provide helpful tips in selecting yarns that will best create the coat of each breed (boucle for the Porty! genious!), in addition to all the detailed shaping and design.

I do have a few minor quibbles.  Because the directions are written line-by-line, the knitter must follow along and trust that the color changes and shaping will lead them to the finished product.  It reminds me a bit of the first time I made a Baby Surprise Jacket — take a deep breath, dive in, be precise in following directions, and it will all turn out all right in the end.  That said, I find myself wanting to make charts, especially with the color changes, so I can more easily adapt the pattern to match my own dog. It would have been lovely to have a bit more explanation about the purpose of each shaping section, and charts to make customization easier.

1151 Gromit CL3After I make a toy Gromit, I’ll probably make toy versions of some of my agility-friends’ dogs.  I’m thinking a Scottie or two would be well-received, and I think I could adapt the Dalmatian pattern to make a big brown-spotted Pointer mix. After that … we shall see.