Intro: A Belated Christmas Gift for Valentino
Valentino has quite a few sweaters that I have made for him since he came into my life back in 2007, but many of them are almost ten years old at this point, and they are beginning to look their age.
I was planning to make him a new one for Christmas, but never found the time before the holidays came and went. Last weekend I decided it was time to gift my little guy with some swanky new clothes.
And I just happened to have all of the needed materials on hand!
Step 1: Finding a Use for All of That Scrap Yarn
Stashed away in a bin are the remnants of many, many old knitting projects. Most of the yarn is not much good for any actual projects because so little of any one color is left, but I have a difficult time throwing it away because it seems like such a waste. But then I have that bin full of scraps of yarn making me feel guilty for not doing anything with it . . .
But I finally came up with a solution - sweaters for Valentino.
A sweater for a seven pound dog does not take much yarn to begin with, and if I am not too picky about using multiple colors and/or types of yarn in the same sweater, those scraps can finally be put to use.
I found this pattern on Ravelry and thought it looked like a good starting point.
Step 2: Refining a Sweater Pattern
As adorable as my little guy looks in a hoodie, he is not thrilled about wearing something that covers his head. He will tolerate it in the rain, but often shakes himself until the hood falls off of his ears. This sweater will mostly be worn with the hood pulled back. It's a cute detail, but does not serve much purpose.
So I decided to make another version, this time without the hood. And, quite frankly, the weather has been horrible lately, and I wanted another knitting project to work on.
Step 3: Alterations
Once I started using up those scraps of yarn, I really did not want to stop! I thought Tino would look rather cute in stripes, which makes it even easier to use up small balls of yarn.
Instead of a hood, I added rows of ribbing to the neck edge that get folded over to create a turtleneck detail.
Now that I had a better understanding of how this pattern is put together, I also knew where to put a small hole to accommodate his harness/leash ring. This is accomplished by casting off two stitches on a right side row and then casting those two stitches back on while working the following wrong side row. Tino's particular harness has a small d-ring that sits slightly back from his front legs. Since he a small dog, the ring is quite small, and it does fit through a stretched out stitch in this aran weight yarn, but I prefer having a hole that is easy to find and is not going to potentially break the yarn at some point.
I changed the bottom band to ribbing (the pattern suggests using a garter stitch) and widened the band. To make sure the sweater allows Tino to use the facilities without making a mess on his new sweater, I left the center seam unstitched for the lower ribbed portion, and folded back the edges and stitched in place. This keeps more of his belly warm on a cold day and the ribbing hugs him nicely, but still keeps everything clear when he has to lift a leg!
Step 4: Time for a Walk!
Tino is a rather reluctant model, but he sure does love to prance along while we are out on our walk. I think he likes all the extra attention he gets while wearing his cute new sweaters!