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Dogs on Sweaters

When you see a knitting book called Dogs on Sweaters: Knitting Patterns for 18 Different Breeds (Trafalgar Square Books) you are not going to wonder how you feel about it. If you are a dog person, you will grab it and say, “awwwwwwww!” If you are not a dog person, you will … not.

I am a dog person.

If you are still reading, you probably are a dog person and of course you would like to see a picture of my dog and of course I would like to show you a picture of my dog and by happy chance I just happen to have one handy. Here is my dog.

I make a lot of sweaters for Rosamund, since our Chicago winters are terribly cold and I have more hair on my chest than she does.

But Dogs on Sweaters is not about dogs in sweaters, it’s about dogs on sweaters. As in, you knit a sweater and also you knit a dog on it.

The authors, Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, are the team behind six previous titles, including the delightful Knit Your Own Dog and its sequel, Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter. They know what they’re doing.

The book takes pains to allow for personal preferences and modifications. After all, if you have bought a book called Dogs on Sweaters, you likely have in mind a certain person to put the sweater on, and a certain dog to put on the sweater. One dog does not fit all.

So you are given three adult silhouettes (women’s raglan, women’s long and loose pullover, man’s pullover) and three pullovers for the short set (two for babies, one for toddlers). Each of these has been designed to display your dog of choice.

We’re in the realm of intarsia and duplicate stitch here. The charts for the dogs are given separately, with eighteen breeds represented. There’s advice on how to place your dog on your sweater, and how to modify the chart to better represent your dog. There’s also a full alphabet, for spelling out “dog names and dog slogans.” There are no numbers, so if your dog is named “15” or “263” you’re on your own, and also what the hell is wrong with you?

What else can I say? By now, you have either decided this book is exactly what you need to make life complete; or you’re only reading because it’s three in the afternoon and you will do anything to avoid your spreadsheets.

But there is more. I guess Muir and Osborne thought including only sweaters with dogs on them wasn’t sufficient for a book called Dogs on Sweaters, because they provide patterns for Jack Russell, Pug, and Dachshund booties; a Dalmatian-spotted baby onesie; a multi-breed patchwork blanket; a sweater with CAVE CANEM (“beware of the dog,” in Latin) across the chest; and an adult scarf and hat, in case having your dog on your sweater is either too much or not enough for you.

Muir & Osborne also wrote Knit Your Own Cat, so if you’re dreaming of a Cats on Sweaters sequel, you might get it.

Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary

I am a sucker for a good stitch dictionary, but tragically limited shelf space means that few will earn a permanent post in my workroom.

I plan on keeping Dora Ohrenstein’s Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary: 125 Essential Stitches to Crochet in Three Ways (Abrams).

My crochet skills are growing, slowly but surely. I’ve reached a point where I’d like to try doing more of my own thing, with less following of patterns. However, shaping gracefully in crochet, particularly when using fancier stitches, has eluded me. I must not be alone, because the point of this book is to show us how it’s done.

Each of the 125 stitches is given in its basic state. And then Ohrenstein gives it again with two methods for shaping: at the edges, by adding or subtracting stitches at the ends of a row; and internally, by adding or subtracting stitches within a row.

The stitches themselves seem to me well worth knowing. They’re arranged by type (closed, mesh/filet, textures, exploding shells, classic laces, ripples and waves) and I found myself hankering to try out a bunch of them, either because they look useful or attractive, or because they look like they’d be fun to make.

Her V-Stitch Ripple motif even made me consider whether it might be fun to make a ripple afghan, which made me question who I have become. (I am a child of the 1970s, and was exposed in infancy to far too many ripple stitch afghans knit with colors the universe never intended to be seen side by side. I have scars. You cannot see them, but they are there.)

This is an Abrams book, and keeps to their usual high standards for book design. The sections of the book are color coded, making it easy to find the section you want. The charts and row-by-row instructions are clearly set out, and the photography by Zach & Buj, even though it’s all swatches-on-backgrounds, is notably well done.

Ripple stitch, though. Should I?

I gotta go call my therapist.

MDK receives a commission for books purchased through affiliate links in this article.

About The Author

Franklin Habit has been sharing his brainy and hilarious writing and illustrations with the knitting world since 2005.

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  • Rosamund is beautiful! She soooo needs a Franklin sweater.

    (The dog sweaters are very cute, too.)

  • So, you realize that if Rosamund’s sweater (on your sweater) has a picture of you on it, while wearing your dog sweater, you will be knitting infinity!!!!!!!!! It hurts my brain to think about it.

  • OMG, I do so love Franklin’s articles!

  • These are both wonderful books, thanks so much for sharing them! It helps that I am a dog person. I have a kiddo starting art school in Chicago this fall and have started to knit her lots of sweaters!

  • I occasionally dip a toe into crochet waters and I can testify: making a ripple afghan really is fun. For the first foot or so. At least you get to pick your own colors.

  • I love dogs. I love Franklin and all his posts, I love Rosamund and I too have scars from colors of crocheted afghans of the 1970’s. Thanks, Franklin, for making my day.

  • In my similar childhood it was crocheted ripple afghans. Made with acrylic yarn so they are never, ever going to wear out. And avocado green wasn’t just a color for kitchen appliances.

    • Ha! And neither was Harvest Gold. Our mothers must be related – at least in spirit!

  • Just an FYI – if you’re looking up the book on Ravelry, it’s called “Dogs on Jumpers”

    • Rosamund is beautiful in her sweater!

  • I Rosamund. Webster and Brinkley send licks.

  • Is there a chart for a long-haired dachshund? Because my husband will have to have that sweater.

  • I am not a knit a dog on a sweater person, but I am a huge Franklin fan. Therefore, anything you write is alright by me.

  • I ❤️Franklin and now Rosamund as well. She’s a beauty. I don’t think I’m up to a sweater with three Irish Wolfhounds and a rescued St Dane. Maybe a sweater for the St Dane would do. She has Dane fur not St Bernard. But I will check out this book.

  • OMG Franklin. You are a joy! And make me want to like dogs.

  • Rosamund is beautiful! I love her sweater, too. We live in Leadville, Colorado (highest city in the U.S. with the longest winter and only 2 weeks of summer) and I need to knit some sweaters for our dogs–a Staffy/Golden Retriever Mix and an American Foxhound. This article has inspired me!

  • I think Rosamund might be getting a crocheted ripple afghan for the holidays. . .;)!

  • Thanks for the big laughs. Your writing is a balm after a long week!

  • Rosamund’s sweater is absolutely adorable! If you don’t mind my asking, where could I find a pattern for it? My dog is a pitty mix and I have trouble finding sweater patterns that accommodate her broad chest and tiny waist. (Also, I adore the rainbow stripes!)

  • Would it open another dimension if I knit a sweater with my Aussie on it out of yarn spun from the piles of hair I brush off her every week?

    • That is a brilliant idea, (although that might be my ‘70s ripple-crochet trauma speaking)
      I once read about a woman who spun fur from her dog and made toys for her cats from the yarn. I always wondered how the dog felt about that.

  • Do it! Crochet that ripple afghan! I must be the only child of the 70s who wasn’t inundated with those or granny square afghans. The women in my family were sewers and embroiderers not crocheters or knitters.

  • I think in Ravelry the book is listed as Dogs in Jumpers.

  • I love this! The world needs more animal sweaters.

    I’m a cat person and did knit myself a vest with my cat on it. And when I commissioned an artist to do a portrait of my cat, she decided to draw her wearing a vest with me on it. I couldn’t believe it when the portrait arrived! And, naturally, I had to post pictures of me wearing my cat vest holding the portrait of cat while my actual cat looked on. Because there’s nothing crazy about that at all!

  • I am an avid knitter but I have to confess I read your reviews for your amazing humor. You are always saying exactly what I am thinking. Thank you because if I said what I was thinking I would have to visit my therapist.

  • Rosamund looks so classy in her sweater! Your crocheted patterns are so intricate and unique. I’m definitely getting this for Christmas! I want to try learning how to crochet for my Pebbles!

  • I made several dogs from Knit Your Own Dog, and was amazed at how accurate they were, even knitted by me, first try at 3D knitting.

    I think you could do a picture in picture thing, Rosamund wearing a sweater with her on it wearing a sweater with her on it, etc. I’d like to see that.

  • What a joy to read such a fantastic and charming writer! I need a look at the cat book.

  • What i do not understood is in fact how you are not actually a lot more neatly-appreciated than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. You recognize therefore considerably on the subject of this topic, produced me for my part imagine it from so many various angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated unless it’s something to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs excellent. Always handle it up!

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