Book review: Woolly Woofers by Debbie Bliss

I’m not in the habit of writing book reviews, but with this one I couldn’t resist. I nearly fainted when my local yarn shop, This Is Knit, tweeted a picture of the latest knitting book to hit their shelves. Woolly Woofers is a book of 22 patterns for dogs by Debbie Bliss. See? Fainting with excitement! Two of my favourite things – dogs and knitting!! When I contacted the publisher, Quadrille Publishing, to ask about using images in a review they kindly sent me a review copy.

I didn’t realise Debbie Bliss was such a dog lover. I love that it’s so obvious from the introduction that she is a true doggie-person. And I equally love that there is advice on knitting for dogs and examples of the different types of coats to suit different statures of dogs. And and this isn’t the first time Debbie has designed clothes for dogs. Last Christmas I knit the Santa Paws jumper for Mia from the Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter 2013 magazine. There is a Santa Paws jumper in this book too, but it looks like a slightly re-worked version. I haven’t knit any of the outfits from the book (yet), but Debbie is a prolific designer so I’m taking it as given that they are as well written as her other patterns.

Wooly Woofers 047Ollie and Mia have also been leafing through the book and choosing their favourite patterns.  Mia has chosen the Puppy Polo, she thinks it looks like a good basic jumper that every dog needs in their wardrobe.

Wooly Woofers 057Ollie has requested the Sherlock Bones outfit (complete with Deerstalker). As a rule he objects to wearing clothes, but he feels this outfit would lend him an air of sophistication. I normally wouldn’t go near a tweed yarn, but I’m willing to make an exception for this pattern and for Ollie.

Wooly Woofers 061And I really think I *need* Man’s Bee Friend in my life. Mia thinks it might be a good option for Hallowe’en this year. What do you think?

Wooly Woofers 075And I think the Parka Barker is going to be one of the first on my needles. Both Ollie and Mia barked with excitement when they saw this one, so I might have to make them one each to avoid arguments. I might even fork out the €16.95 for the Louisa Harding Luzia for the trim. It just looks so amazing.

When I was doing some digging around for information about the book before buying it, I came across this Telegraph article. At the bottom of the article you’ll find the Sherlock Bones, Mardi Gras Mutt and the Highland Hound patters for free. So you can try before you buy the book! And believe me, you need this book on your shelf.

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Dog jumper No. 2

Dog Jumpers 050As I said in my recent blog post, I finished two dog jumpers* in the last little while. Here Ollie models Biscuits & Bones Dog Coat by Patons knit using Cascade Yarns 220 on 5.5mm needles. It’s knitted from the top down, seamed from the neck to the belly and then the ribbing is added along the bottom edge and at the arm holes. I love the detailing on this jumper; the cables are designed to look like dog bones. However, I didn’t enjoy the double moss stitch (or whatever it’s called) and it was much slower to complete than the first jumper. Again, this jumper was easy to tailor to the size of my dogs and I think the end product is really cute.

Dog Jumpers 053I really wanted to give these jumpers a proper photo shoot. Dogs in jumpers, it kind of demands a bit of sillyness with the camera. So I packed my camera bag with treats and we headed to St. Enda’s Park for a nice walk. Padraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916, ran a school on these grounds and the building is now a museum. A previous owner, William Hudson, built follies all over the park. I have so many happy memories of playing on these stone structures as a child. The follies are in the process of being restored at the moment and are a really interesting part of the history of the park.

Dog Jumpers 047 squareI can’t find much online about the follies, so maybe I’ll have to go back some day with my camera and a notebook for another post. Anyway, in this case the stones made a great backdrop for my knitted jumpers. See Ollie staring off wistfully into the distance? Yeah, he’s really staring at Rossa who is holding the treats just off camera. The glamorous life of a canine model!

* To any US readers, in Ireland we call sweaters jumpers.

Dog jumper No. 1

Dog Jumpers 041I finished two dog jumpers* in the last few months, but because the weather has been seasonably warm (i.e. hot in Summer, which is surprisingly rare in Ireland) I haven’t had the chance to photograph them yet. It really didn’t seem fair to put the dogs in wool jumpers during a heat wave**. The temperature has dropped in the last week or so which meant that I could finally photograph these two jumpers without feeling guilty.

Dog Jumpers 036Mia models the Dog Sweater by Red Heart Design Team knitted in Cascade Yarns 220 on 5 and 5.5mm needles. I loved this top down pattern. It was a really quick, straightforward knit and a great base for experimentation. You just have to look through the finished projects on Ravelry to see what other have done with this pattern. It’s also very easy to measure and tailor the pattern to your dog as you go along. I would definitely knit this one again.

Dog Jumpers 005Now, I know what you’re going to say. She has finally lost her mind knitting jumpers for her dogs. And you may well be right. But I have my reasons.  Both dogs are long haired dogs and as such need to be groomed every 3 months or so. When we get their hair cut they tend to feel the cold and need a bit more warmth for about a week until they aclimatise to their new haircut. Image getting your hair cut very short, you might find that you need a hat. Well, that’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it!

And, here is Ollie modelling his jumper.

* To any US readers, in Ireland we call sweaters jumpers.

** To any non-Irish readers, the temperature reached the mid to late-20s (celsius), which to us is pretty hot.