Friday, June 11, 2010

Pet Patterns Book Reviews

In my quest for patterns meant for large dogs, I borrowed some pet books from the library to see what I could find.

PuppyKnits: 12 QuickKnit Fashions for Your Best Friend by Jil Eaton

I cannot imagine knitting a sweater for a puppy when the puppy will grow into a 120 lb dog... but rather than just for puppies these are meant for small dogs. Of course, the author is the owner of a 106 lb Great Dane mix (cute dog!) I think her intro comment "easy to knit but with delightful details" fits the patterns exactly.

There are good instructions for checking your gauge and how to measure your dog, since we all know that different breeds come in many shapes and sizes!

The Patterns (given with the breed they were made to fit)
  • Sweaters: Cabled Delight (Yorkshire Terrier), Popcorn Pupp (Bichon Frise), Jester (cover pattern, Long-haired miniature Dachshund), Fringe Benefits (Jack Russell Terrier), Soutache (Maltese), Ruffles Galore (Pomeranian), Button Up! (Toy Poodle), Puppy Profile (Jack Russel Terrier), Pom Pom (Miniture Short-haired Dachshund), Boss Tweed (Chihuahua)
  • Other: Puppy Fez (Pug), Collar Cuff (Pug)
The Puppy Fez could be adapted for a larger dog, not that an excitable dog would keep it on his/her head! The Popcorn Pupp sweater has a little hoodie on it, which is adorable even if it wouldn't fit over the dog's head. The one I'd love to mkae is Jester, made for a dachshund. Have you ever seen The Ugly Dachshund? I seem to recall a scene with yarn and the mischievous dachshunds who get the Dane in trouble... but I digress. The Collar Cuff would attract attention, but it looks very uncomfortable to wear. I am also a fan of the Fringe Benefits sweater, I think it is dashing.

I wouldn't buy this book for the learn to knit section, there are books that are better teaching tools. Some of these patterns are super darling, and it would make a good present for any dog lover/knitter. The patterns in this book are primarily sweaters, and as you can see by the breeds of the models, the patterns are all designed for small dogs. Unfortunately each pattern is only given for 1 size.

Knits for Dogs & Cats by Tina Barrett

I was intreagued to see how patterns for dogs and cats would be in one book. Many people I know like one or the other, but there are plenty of people out there who have both. This book has two main sections of knitting projects "Knitwear for Dogs" and "Accessories for All." I did have difficulty imagining trying to fit a sweater onto a cat...

The Patterns for Dogs
  • Sweaters (17)
The Patterns for All (Cats I suppose)
  • Dogs - Fur Bone, Shoe Chew, Bandanas, Doggie Bag, Cable Twist Scarf, Blanket* (Could work for both)
  • Cats - Princess Pussycat Throne, Kitten Mitten (Lots of toys attached to the fingers for you to dangle in front of you cat), Fish Cushion
There is a great doggie sizing chart, so that you can make something for a "Large" dog (being a Greyhound type size, a length of 23 inches). I do appreciate the author considering that there are such a range of doggie sizes out there!

This book has pictures of the projects, but all of the animals are shown as cartoons. For every single sweater, there is a cartoon dog in some crazy pose wearing it. I prefer to see real animal models, because then you get a sense of how the garments really work and fit. Would you show a human sweater without someone wearing it? I don't think so! With so many pictures, you get a sense of what the garmet should look like, but how do you know about how it would fit? What sections you may need to modify? For this reason, this is my least favorite of the three books I am reviewing in this post.

Men Who Knit & The Dogs Who Love Them: 30 Great-Looking Designs for Man & His Best Friend by Annie Modesitt and Drew Emborsky

When I saw the title of this book, I thought the concept was great. You frequently think of women dressing to match their dogs, but I find is way more dashing to make matching pup and dad outfits!

The Pattern Pairs:
  • Men's Raglan Mock Soy Silk Turtleneck & Doggie's Soy Silk Sweater
  • Variegated Yoke Pullover & Variegated Dog Kercheif
  • Easy Toe-Up Socks & Superwash Mutt-Lukes
  • Men's Knit Zip Front Pullover (no matching pup item)
  • Shades of Gray Sweater & Boy Toy (person shaped dog toy)
  • Garter Ridge Stripe Pullover (no matching pup item)
  • Pet Box Sofa (no matching human item)
  • Three-Color Handpaint Anorak & Three-Color Doggie Anorak
  • Plaid Zip Front Jacket & Striped Treat Bag
  • Cotton Cabled Pullover with Color & Fido Muscle Shirt
  • Faupi Lopi Cardigan & Mitered Dog Blanket
  • Fair Isle Hat & Doggie Fair Isle Sweater
  • Diagonal Colorblock Pullover & Doggie Saddlebags & Double-Knit Hemp Leash
  • Garter Rib Scarf and Hat & Dog Garter Rib Jacket
  • Double Roll-Neck Simple Sweater & Double Roll-Neck Doggie Jacket
  • Gray Cabled Vest & Gray Cabled Dog Vest
  • Man's Dreadlock Hat & Rasta Dog Jacket (cover items)
  • Fluffy Handpain Dog Bed (no human item in the pair)

I am happy that not all of the dog items are sweaters. The shapes of the sweaters have a lot of variation, so this is not just the same pattern done with different embellishments. It is a book that could provide the perfect gift ideas for almost anyone.

This is also a Men's knitting book. It is nice to see a non-general Men's knitting book. I encourage all men to learn how to knit. (I'll give lessons.... achem pals!) This book also has some great tips for working from charts, and even a cheap chart holder that you can make yourself! There are size charts for men and dogs, with dog sizes ranging from XXS to XXXL (Great Danes! But not for dogs who have more girth, unfortunately for the Newfie lovers out there.) I can see myself coming back to this book someday for inspiration, especially once I have a pup of my own!