I love dogs … but no one in my family does. Well that might be extreme. The teen always wanted a dog but he has allergies and he sneezes up a fit when around pets. The husband likes outdoor dogs, like labradors. I like smaller pets indoors but don’t like the doggy smell. So, I knit my own dog.
The pattern came from Knit Your Own Dog by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. This is the English Bulldog. I think bulldogs are adorable, sort of ugly-cute with their long jowls, large shoulders and short legs. Apparently they are known to drool and snore. What’s not to like?
Knitting up the body was easy. Just follow the pattern, and be sure to label the parts.
The tough part was putting him together. The instructions have shortcomings. The book could be much improved with diagrams showing how all the parts fit together, especially for the head. It was hard to visualize what he would look like from staring at the knit head pieces. I even thought of taking pictures of my bulldog in progress but most of the time, I was making it up as I went.
Overall, I am quite pleased with how he came out.
In retrospect, I have a few lessons learned to share with anyone who might knit their own best friend:
I like this little fella’. No fleas, muddy paws, picking up poop with a plastic baggie, no shedding. Perfect.
No one in my immediate household drinks coffee, except for me. So rather than making a whole pot, I make a cup at a time using instant coffee. Over time, I have accumulated a few empty glass coffee jars. The shape of these jars fit perfectly in my hand and I hated to simply throw them away. It seemed like such a waste. So, I found ways to reuse the jars.
They turned out to be perfect for spices like cinnamon sticks and leftover sesame seeds. I reduced the clutter in my pantry by saving smaller items in these jars rather than keeping bulky cardboard boxes or using plastic baggies. They also look very nice lined up in my pantry.
When I spin my own fiber, I use an old ball of acrylic yarn to tie up my skeins for storage or before dyeing. This little strawberry jam jar was just the right size. My son punched a hole in the lid and presto, I had a yarn pull jar.
Leftover candle jars are also great for storing items in plain sight. When the candle burned out in this thick glass, it became a repository for my double-pointed needles and other knitting doodads.
These empty candle jars collect my leftover yarns. From time to time, these leftovers become useful – like for wrapping packages, adding a hint of color to another knit piece, or for anything where a piece of string is needed. The lids keep the dirt and moths out and they display nicely.
My yarn jars make me happy and I feel like I am contributing just a little bit to making the earth greener.
Another knit hat is off the needles. Simple pattern with reliable results. This hat is intended for a gentleman my husband met on his trip to Spain last year.
On his walk along the Way of St. James, he stopped for the night in León in northern Spain. There, he befriended the owner of the Taller de Grabado y Estampa. He spent a few hours talking with the owner and artisan, José Holguera, in his engraving and stamping studio. My husband came home with these beautiful limited edition lithographs of the Catedral de León and a pilgrim’s staff imprinted by Holguera on his lithographic press.
Over the holidays, an envelope stamped with Correos España arrived. It contained a beautiful lithograph of a modernist starry night.
As a token of appreciation, my husband wanted to send his friend a gift – so he asked me if I would hand knit a hat. The hat needed to be special, even in its simplicity. I went through my stash and selected the yarn I brought back from my trip to Colombia. It is 100% hand-spun wool in natural, undyed hues.
I used the darker brown. The photo of the finished hat was taken under different outdoor lighting conditions so the richness of the brown does not come through as in this photograph.
I was concerned it would be a bit scratchy but it is soft and warm. I doubled the yarn as I knitted to make it especially cushiony. It seems fitting somehow – 100% undyed, hand-spun wool from Bogotá, Colombia, hand-knit in Texas, for a friend in León, Spain.
During a trip to Germany, we had almost a two-hour visit with the owner of Atelier Zitrón who after talking about the quality fibers they used, walked us into a showroom full of yarn spun especially for hand-knitting. Three skeins of Opus 1 yarn have been in my stash since. The skeins come infused with aloe vera and jojoba.
When I came across the Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf pattern, I knew it would showcase the vibrant colors of the yarn.
The brioche pattern creates a nice loft and the cabling adds layers and depth.
The rich colors add yet another element of interest.
This one might be a knit gift to me.