December 22, 2010 § 7 Comments
Perhaps you have heard of my dog. This is a picture of her. She is named Karla.
I am writing in short sentences because I am very excited.
Karla is half pit bull, half Labrador, and, being what she is, has very short fur (technical term: “pig fur”). She gets very cold during our frigid North-Carolinian winters (we frequently do make her go outside), and, so, she needs a sweater*.
Look at it!
My self-pleased contentedness is just pealing out in short, staccato sentences! Look at that dog! look at that sweater!
So, this is a made-to-measure, modular pattern that really could not be more simple– or, for that matter, more adaptable (“measure your swatch. measure your dog. knit until your sweater is as big as your dog.”)– that came out as a perfect fit.
I admit I had my doubts.
There were also serious doubts about yarn choice: to wool or not to wool? This is the same choice that the newly be-babied face: a superior fabric and feel, plus environmental unimpeachability, or, well, washability. Karla, unfortunately, smells like a dog, and so I chose superwash wool– KnitPicks Swish– so as not to give my mom too hard of a time.
The other bad thing about superwash is that it is particularly unsuited for steeking– and this sweater has three of them (I guess no more than a human sweater, come to think of it). So, below, you see the foldy-undery bits– those have been cut apart to make room for the dog’s stomach/freedom-of-movement/annoyance-factor/etc. They would, were this wool, just stick there, and eventually irreversibly fuse themselves in place! (Wow! I think that is the coolest!) However, because the entire function of superwash wool is to resist this fusion– the scales are stripped off the wool with chlorine, then any scales remaining are slicked down with plastic (Hercosett 125)– one must sew down the steeked sections by hand, then live in eternal fear that one day the sewn/reinforced steeks will unravel and the sweater will fall to pieces. No problem. That’s what I did. Am doing.
I picked the pattern from Shelia McGregor’s Traditional Scandinavian Knitting (a true source of endless joy & fascination. I read this tiny book all the time, and still meet things I do not understand (and, truly, cannot! You should be grateful, dear reader, that this blog will never devolve into account of my forays into Nålbinding). Anyway, she notes:
Eighteenth-century Iceland pattern for a man’s knitted waistcoat from a pattern book dated 1776 in the National Museum in Iceland, which was probably intended to be knitted in a purl-and-plain as in the contemporary silk and wool jackets in Denmark, Norway, and elsewhere.
So, that about covers it. Fantastic dog, fantastic sweater. Really happy. These are my simple dog-thoughts.
*really, she does. she shivers. I am not a knitting-sweaters-for-any-old-dogs kind of girl, believe me!