Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Knitting For Your Dog

Today, we have a guest blogger, Corinne Niessner, the author of Doggie Knits, Sweaters and Accessories for Your Best Friend. Knitting for your furry friend is not only relaxing, but a nice way to make your pooch a Happy Dog. Although the temperature has been soaring here in Chicago, it's never early to start preparing for the cold weather that's just around the corner. So take it away Corinne!

Knitting has been a big part of my life, since I was in grade school. The rhythmic movements of my hands are now ingrained. I love the tactile aspect of it, watching my work grow in my hands, and even the smell of sheep and vinegar as I work with wool.

When I adopted my first dog, it was natural and inevitable that I would knit for her. I knit for the dogs that followed too. The dog sweater soon became my favorite garment to knit. I worked on getting the fit to be just right, and I loved to combine color in an unexpected way. Now, whenever I meet a dog, I imagine what the dog would look like in something knitted.

Instead of just knitting for my dog, I have a business, Lucky Penny Hand Made, where I make custom fit dog sweaters to order. In 2008, my book, Doggie Knits, Sweaters and Accessories for Your Best Friend hit the shelves, so now a knitter can create the Lucky Penny look at home.

Why should your dog wear a sweater?

People with long-haired dogs often scoff at the thought. Just because your dog is covered with hair doesn’t mean that they won’t feel the cold. Think of it this way--most of us have heads covered with hair, and in winter, we would very likely be wearing a wool hat. I also have found that in inclement weather, the sweater offers a layer of protection. My dog stays a lot cleaner because she has worn a sweater outside too.

People often tell me that their dog won’t wear a sweater. I am convinced that if the sweater is comfortable, and is knit of a fiber that feels good and keeps warm, a dog will want to wear it.

Why would you want to knit a dog sweater?

You can choose color and fiber and custom fit the sweater for your dog’s unique shape. If you love luxury fibers, making a dog sweater is a relatively inexpensive way to indulge. Yes, I’m talking cashmere for a dog sweater! Over my many years of knitting, I’ve found that quality fibers elevate the end product.

For beginners, a dog sweater is an excellent first project. Most new knitters begin with a scarf, which ends up to be a long, tedious project that many give up on. By the time your get tired of knitting a dog sweater, you’re probably done! If you’re a new knitter, it’s a way to learn technique that would prepare you for the big project that’s next on your list.

My book Doggie Knits, Sweaters and Accessories for Your Best Friend is new knitter-friendly. It has a detailed "how to" section, and drawings and photographs that take you through the maneuvers needed to complete your projects. If you need more than a book to get started, consider enrolling in a class at your local knit shop, park district, or public library.

Once mastered, knitting is a skill that will stay with you for life. It’s even more satisfying when you can share it with your dog!

You can see the Lucky Penny Hand Made collection on line. If you're in Chicago this fall, visit Corinne at Yarn Con on October 17th and the DIY Trunk show on November 21. Both events are at Pulaski Park, 1415 W. Blackhawk Street. Copies of Doggie Knits, Sweaters and Accessories for Your Best Friend, will be available at both events.

Corinne Niessner lives in Chicago with her best friend and muse, Piccolo. Read all about Corrine's crafty adventures on her blog: Lucky Penny Hand Made.


  1. I've been a fan of Corinne since her pattern "Lucky Penny" was published at knitty.com. I belong to United Yorkie Rescue Organization and got permission from Corinne to use her patterns to knit sweaters to raise funds for UYR. I love her book; I never would have thought of combining the colors she uses!

  2. I agree -- Corinne's sweaters are beautiful! When Billy and I go on tour I'm taking my knitting and making Shadow a sweater from her book.