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I am male, hear me knit

   December 13th, 2006

Click to see more of Maci in her sweater on flickrI posted on flickr a sweater I knitted for my brother's dog Maci, and have since been asked a couple times for the pattern. I've never written a pattern before, but here's what I came up with. Feel free to use or modify it, and let me know if you have any trouble or suggestions.

Maci's Dog Sweater
Materials & Notes:
Worsted/medium yarn, size 4 double-pointed needles (I use five, but you can probably get away with four)

Maci is a miniature Chihuahua, about three pounds, and this pattern fit her almost perfectly. If you need it slightly bigger, one idea is to use the same pattern, but use size 7 or 8 needles.

Before you start, cut off about a foot of yarn and set it aside for later

The Patern
(works tail to head [or waist to neck]) Cast on 60 sts evenly onto three needles (these are numbered 1, 2 and 3, with 2 being the middle needle)

Waist cuff: work in the round as knit 1 purl 1 for about 2" (or whatever looks good)

Body: knit in the round for 4-1/2" (or size according to dog)

Shoulder Area: when you're ready to make the arm holes, it gets kind of tricky (this is the part I made up myself):

  • knit across needle 1
  • on needle 2, bind off the first 8 sts, slip the next four sts, then bind off the last 8 sts (with the last one binding off with the first st of needle 3). Knit across needles 3 and 1. The working end of the yarn should be at the end of needle 1 (between 1 and 2), and there should be just four sts on needle 2 - hold these on the needle or with a piece of yarn so they don't get dropped, as we will be coming back to them later
  • purl back across needles 1 and 3, then knit back across needles 3 and 1, and repeat this (I call this stockinette) for about ten rows total - basically, this needs to be as tall as the eight bound off stitches are wide. You should finish the stockinette stitch at the end of needle 1 (just before needle 2).
  • when the stockinette is finished, use the foot length of yarn you cut off and set aside at the beginning and work the 4 sts on needle 2 as stockinette for the same number of rows as you did the needles 1 and 3 stockinette. This forms the "chest" section - the section between the arm holes (which for Maci are sized between a quarter and a half-dollar, but it depends on how big your dog's legs are)
  • when the chest section is as tall as the needles 1 and 3 section, you're ready to continue working in the round. With the working end of the yarn at the end of needle 1, cast on 8 sts onto a fourth needle, the knit across the 4 sts from the top of the chest section, then cast on 8 more sts. You should now again have 20 sts on each of the three needles. Finish knitting this row across to the end of needle 3

Neck area: knit one row all the way around. Next, decrease every other row, until you end up with 50 sts total (15 on needle 1, 20 on needle 2, 15 on needle 3). To do this, knit across needle 1, and knit the last two together (sts 19 and 20). Knit across needle 2. On needle 3, knit the first 2 sts together through back loop, then knit out the remaining sts on needle 3. For the next row, knit all sts. For the next row, k17, k2together, k20, k2together through back loop, k17. Alternate this knit together/knit normal row pattern 5 times total, until you are left with 50 sts. Continue knitting these 50 sts in the round until the entire neck measures about 3" from the top of the arms holes

Neck Cuff: work to match the waist cuff (same pattern, same size). When worked to proper length, bind off.

Arms: you will work these one at a time, but they will both be worked the same way

  • with four needles, pick up 8 sts on each of the four sides of an arm hole
  • With a fifth needle, work these with the same pattern as the cuffs, for about an inch (or to the length of the dog's foreleg up to elbow)
  • Do not work a cuff onto the arm - just rib the arm and then bind off after an inch
  • finally, work the second arm the same as the first

Good luck.

See more patterns and projects on my Knitting page.

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25 Responses to “I am male, hear me knit”

  1. Chris Says:

    Allie, Cory, and Railey are waiting patiently. 😉

  2. Skwerl Says:

    This is my 1st ‘in the round’ knitted anything. Your instructions were very good and my dog likes the sweater. Thanks again Knitterman…are you single :)?

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    Hmmm… are you saying that a guy who knits must be single? Well, in this case, you’re right.

  4. Peggy Archer Says:

    This looks like a nice simple sweater – some friends of mine have an 8 lb Chihuahua, so I’m going to give it a try with worsted weight and larger needles.

  5. Jami Says:

    I found this on Ravelry, I can’t wait to make a couple of sweaters for my naked chihuahua. Thanks for the post!!! Keep on knitting!

  6. Leslie Says:

    Thanks for the pattern — my work mate has a little dog named “cakita” (spanish for poop I believe) and although I made her one coat they’ve been lobbying for another – in a more girly color (oy…).

    This should suit — thanks

  7. Tia Cobourne Says:

    I am working on you sweater for a 3lb Chihuahua at work i call Tinka Toy (like Tinker Toy). I work at a pet store. and I thought i would make here a going home present. But I’m stuck.

    the binding off part is confusing me.
    on needle 2, bind off the first 8 sts, slip the next four sts, then bind off the last 8 sts (with the last one binding off with the first st of needle 3). The working end of the yarn should stay at the end of needle 1. You should now have just four sts on needle 2 – hold these on the needle or with a piece of yarn so they don’t get dropped, as we will be coming back to them later

    it says the working end is at the end of needle one. Meaning i have to bind w/o using it. I’m not use how i do that. I thought you used that working yarn to bind off. So I’m confused. The pup goes home on the 18th of February so I want to get this done soon. If possible could you email me about how I’m suppose to do this part? Make the subject “Help with Chihuahua Sweater”


  8. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Tia: I’m sorry about the confusion – I changed the pattern to hopefully make it more clear (or, in fact, correct).

  9. Lisa Murray Says:

    Hooray for guys knitting! And for the dog sweater pattern. I’ve been asked to make something for a fox terrier and was just looking for a pattern. Your website is one stop shopping…library info and knitting patterns!

  10. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Lisa: I aim to please – every once in awhile, I even hit the mark. If you need help with the pattern, let me know.

  11. Cindy B Says:

    Thank you for the pattern! I found it on Ravelry and can’t wait to knit it up! We just rescued a tiny Chi… 4.5 pounds (*how* do they come that small??) 🙂 so this will be great for him!

  12. Kitty J. Says:

    i love this pattern its great i have a 4lb chihuahua but i found knitting it on size 4 needles made it so tight she was haveing trouble breathing so i made a few adjustments to your pattern and knit it magic loop on size 8 needles it turned out wonderfully and pig hates the fact that ive finally knit her a sweater she cant get out of 😀 thanks again!!!

  13. Kara Says:

    This may have to be made for my 8 pound Devon Rex kitty who has decided to pull out her hair. She will freeze to death in Chicago next winter!

  14. Gin Says:

    My 5.5 lb chihuahua is already shivering and it’s not even winter yet! Thanks for writing the perfect pattern to keep him warm.

  15. Debbie Jennings Says:

    I have a Chihuahua that is on the other end of the scale of Chihuahuas. She weighs about 16 to 17 pounds. It is really hard for me to find a pattern to make a sweater for her. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you for the pattern!

  16. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Debbie: Depending on how comfortable you feel with this, you could just try to scale up the pattern – maybe just double all measurements, and then adjust to fit from there. Another resource is Ravelry.com – you have to join (free), and they have loads of patterns (mine is on there, too). Good luck.

  17. karmella Says:

    i just made this sweater for a 3 pound yorkie male named harley and it fit him perfect and he loves it. your pattern was also easy to follow. hope you make more patterns.

  18. sis timberg Says:

    Never knitted with 3 needles… help please!
    Can I do it just with 2? or with a circular needle?


  19. Brian Herzog Says:

    @sis: Knitting with 3 (or more) needles is pretty much just like knitting with 2, because you’re only every working with 2 needles at a time – the rest are just holding stitches until you get back around to them. You can do it with circular needles, but they can be a pain with small projects. Check out this video to get started – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E03THVEOzc0 – but there’s lots more instructional videos out there to show you how it works. Really, it’s not too difficult.

  20. Brian Herzog Says:

    @karmella: you’re welcome, and thank you very much. I’m happy to hear it worked okay for you.

  21. sara Says:

    hi, it would be helpful if you would have put in the chest measurement in addition to the weight. just a thought. this is on my to after christmas to do list

  22. Brian Herzog Says:

    @sara: I made this for my brother’s dog, so I’m not really sure what the chest measurement is. My best guess would be that she’s about 10″ around, but I’m honestly not sure how accurate that is, and I won’t see her again until Christmas.

  23. Rhonda Says:

    I and my man knit. My skill is in hand and machine and industrial machines. His skills are in machine knits and industrial machines. Your pattern is excellent and easy to read and it looks so good I will be knitting it for a friend. Having knit for over 40 years I have found yarn to be without rules in making and moulding it to your imaginations. Felting is such a current craft but machine knitting can allow much more time to play with the created fabric. Machines, like needles, have a range of suitable tensions and these are restricted by the gauge of the needles. Acrylic yarns are able to be ‘killed’ by heating and this takes away the fibres ability to ‘bounce’ or be elastic. We are both fascinated by the softness, drape and beauty of a heat-treated knit fabric. I hope you find this information interesting and have as much fun as we have knitting.

  24. Jenn Says:

    Cute! Wish I could get my cat to wear sweaters- he is the same size as many of the small dog patterns.

  25. Florence Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this pattern. I have a 6 lb yorkie. He is 10 years old and hair getting thin. He is always wanting to be covered up. I have looked for a sweater pattern for him, could not find one small enough. I will try this out and let you know how goes it 😉