I’ve been distracted lately by a ball of fluff. No, it isn’t a new skein of angora or merino yarn or fiber for spinning – it’s Tiger, our new puppy!
It has been many years since I had a dog. After my last dog died, I simply couldn’t go through that heartbreak again. Also, my son had mild episodes of asthma and I didn’t want to complicate things for him. So the years went by until we became empty-nesters. Then the obsession for a dog intensified.
At first, I causally perused pictures of puppies online. Then I started “liking” all those I ❤️ Dogs posts and heart-wrenching dog survival stories on Facebook. I started dropping in at our local SPCA. Then I started earnestly searching for dogs on Pet Finder and online rescue organizations and on Craigslist. That’s how I found Tiger. One day after work, I took a detour and visited a litter of four male Maltishipoos (part Maltese, Shih Tzu and Poodle). And there was Tiger.
We call him Tiger because he pounces on everything. He pounces on his squeaky toys, my slippers and the light bugs when he’s outside at night. But mostly, he likes to sit at my feet while I’m on the computer. If I shift over a few inches, eventually he does too. And he loves tummy rubs.
Now, I venture into pet shops looking for knit and crochet puppy toys like these:
Of course, I had to knit something for him. I went through my stash and gathered enough leftover yarn for a small blanket.
It’s a simple stockinette stitch pattern using doubled up yarn for thickness and a seed stitch border.
I think he likes it.
Now to start on knit doggie sweaters and crochet toys. Any pattern suggestions?
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:
- While I blocked some of the body parts, I didn’t block them all. I should have. It would have made joining the pieces easier.
- I under-stuffed the legs. I will probably open him up a bit so that I can add more stuffing to the legs. They can’t quite hold up his weight. Even that may not be enough though. I’m toying around with inserting some popsicle sticks into the legs to help him stand. We’ll see.
- He’s a bit thin. I was wary of overstuffing him to make sure I could get the accordion look but may have under done it. I may fatten him up a bit when I go in to stuff the legs.
- To keep that accordion look, the pattern suggests tying a piece of yarn from the head to the tail inside the body. I sort of did that but I let the yarn exit under the tail. Then I sewed a very small clear button just underneath, barely visible. When I feel he needs some scrunching up, I tighten the yarn and wind it around the button to hold it in place.
- I’m satisfied with the face except that I may move the nose up closer below his eyes. He has more of the bulldog look when I move the nose a little higher.
I like this little fella’. No fleas, muddy paws, picking up poop with a plastic baggie, no shedding. Perfect.