Tuesday, June 15, 2010

MORE Pet Pattern Book Reviews

I've got two more pet related knitting books to share with you. (I didn't realize how many I had requested from the Library. Inter-library loaning ROCKS.) Enjoy!

Doggy Knits: Over 20 Coat Designs for Handsome Hounds And Perfect Pooches by Anna Tillman

First off, I want the buttons on the cover photo. Sometimes the details just really make the project. I have reviewed one of Tillman's books in the past,Knitted Socks, and had found the book absolutely delightful and the patterns incredibly creative and inspired. I was very excited to look at another one of her books.

The "how to knit" instructions are towards the end of the book, including a helpful "how to read from a chart" page. There are 7 sizes that you can use for dog coats, ranging from 16 inch - 28 inch chest. I am not sure what kinds of breeds that this would fit, but I have a feeling I won't be making one of these coats for a Newfie! There is also an interesting comment... you should not leave your dog wearing the coat unsupervised. You would not want the dog to start eating it (for the safety of the dog, not for your hard work!)

Before I start talking about the patterns, I want to applaud Tillmann for her innovative shape use and the variety that she gives in the patterns. The 20 coats are not simply variations on one another. The way they are finished makes them look classy and expensive. If I had a dog of my own, I would buy this book. Since there are 20 coats in this book, I'm not going to list them, since you know you're getting 20 coats. I will therefore give descriptions of my favorites.

My Favorite Patterns:
  • Frogged and Formal - This cape reminds me of royalty. Do you know someone who treats their dog like a princess? Elevate that dog to a queen. Burgundy cape with gold trim... now you just need a crown!
  • Button-up sweater (cover) - This sweater has a turtleneck, and buttons that go down one side to fasten it. It is ribbed, and looks simple to craft. Tillman's eye for detail (the buttons) elevate this pattern to a superb status.
  • Raingear for Rover - This coat has buckles to fasten it. This would make a great idea for a pup that still has some room to grow as the fit can be adjusted. The model is a larger dog (maybe a lab?). This cotton coat has a large pointed collar. There are belt holes for the belt going around the middle to hold the coat on. (Haven't I already said how these details are fabulous?)
  • Stripy Coat and Legwarmers - The fair isle coat is beautiful, but the leg warmers made me giggle.
  • Herringbone Bones - The herringbone bone pattern is only near the tail. If you can find tiny bone buttons to close the front as is shown in the photo that would make it all the more fun. This is funkier, but still has an elegance.
  • Paws for thought - a simple silhouette, but with a paw print design to work in.
  • Mesh Coat - It looks beautiful on a black dog. I cannot see this providing any warmth, but if you like to dress up your pet it would not over-heat your pooch in warmer weather.
  • Pucker Up - The design looks incredibly complex, there are stripes running vertical and horizontal up the coat. However, the author states "it's actually a very easy slip-stitch pattern" This is yet another design that will make people impressed with your skill. I love it!
I am not disappointed reading this book. In fact, this is my favorite dog knitting book that I've found yet!

Vogue Knitting on the Go! Knits for Pets edited by Trisha Malcolm.

So I am now a proud subscriber to Vogue Knitting, and I love the patterns for humans. What do they have in store for us in this pet book?

The intro briefly introduces different colorwork and blocking techniques. There are good illustration for different embroidery stitches that will be in the patterns.

The Patterns:
  • Dog Toys (1) : Felted Dog Toy (hot dog that I at first thought was a striped bone)
  • Cat Toys (4): Cat Collar (fluffy), Felted Catnip toys (fish shaped), Cat Toy (looks like a ball of yarn with a loop at the end for you to have control), Felted Mice
  • Dog Clothes (9): 2-toned dog sweater (hound's tooth), Fair Isle Sweater, Dog sweater (with long arms in the front), Striped Dog Poncho, Icelandic Sweater (cover),Dog Booties (they look almost like clogs), Tartan Cape, Horseshoe Cable, Dog coat (embroidered flower on the back)
  • Sleeping Places (2): Cat Mat (with fish bone design in the center), Fair Isle Dog Bed
  • Misc (3): Dog bag (Caption: Kate spayed. haha. Meant to carry your dog in), Pet Pillows (decorated with a large dog/cat face), Dog first aid kit
  • Human Items (2): Dog Hat (a child's hat with floppy ears), Kid's dog purse (shaped like a Scottish Terrier)
I would re-title this book, Knits for the Pet Lover. 5 of the 20 items are intended more for human, rather than pet use. There is a lot of variety in the items, but I feel that it is too much. There is a child's hat, a first aid kit, a kid's purse AND then the expected pet toys, beds and clothes. I was not overly impressed by any of the items. There is some beautiful work in this book, but I think that since I didn't know what to expect on the next page, I wasn't appreciating each pattern for itself. I felt almost as though some of the items were filler... Read the Tillman book instead!

(Random Comment: I haven't exactly come across many books for cat owners, but I also haven't really looked. In the books that are for generic "Pets" usually the cat items are little catnip toys or beds. I wouldn't fancy trying to put a coat on a cat, myself!)