If you need a gift for your favorite furry friend or human friend with a beloved fuzzy companion this adaptable and easy dog sweater (may also be worn by small sheep or even your cat; however the author abdicates all responsibility if said cat then pees on your bed), in small, medium and large is a great choice.

Stripes or intarsia are a fun way to dress up the back, and would be a good use for bits and pieces of handspun (my sample used the great skull chart by Adrian Bizilia found at http://www.helloyarn.com/bigskulltote.htm). 

Pirate Dog

Size:  The small size should fit an average toy breed, approx 12-20 lbs, the medium about 20-35lbs, and the large about 35-50lbs. Feel free to adjust length or width as needed to fit your own fuzzball and accommodate additional fluff, or breed related body shape. Adjust the yarn weight as needed based on what you have on hand or what is suitable for your climate and your dog’s temperament. The large took about 8 oz of worsted weight yarn worked on 8's (appx 450 yds). It worked up at 4.5 stitches to the inch.

Materials: Wool is ideal for a dog sweater intended for regular winter use, since its natural water repellency will keep Spot warm and cozy. The pattern will also work with cottons or other lightweight yarns for fashion wear; however, do keep the stretch of the fiber in mind when sizing.  I’m planning a couple of these out of some of my own lumpy bumpy, rather sad early handspun yarns for my own furry babies this winter.

Abbreviations: k – knit; p – purl; sts – stitches;  inc – increase by knitting front and back of next stitch; k2tog – knit 2 together; ssk – slip next two stitches knit-wise, return to left needle, knit tog through back loops; m1 - make one;

Instructions 

Back
With MC and #7 straight needles, cast on 40(48, 55)sts. Work in garter st for 4 rows.

Continue in stockinette, knitting the first and last 4 sts of every row, inc 1 st each end of row every 6th(5th, 4th)row 3(8, 14)times – 46(64, 83)sts. Continue even in stockinette, knitting the first and last 4 stitches of every row until piece measures 6(10, 14.5)inches.

Shape Leg opening: Place a stitch marker at each end of last row to mark beginning of leg openings.

Decrease row: k2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2. Maintain 4 knit stitches at beginning and end of each purl row if you do not intend to add ribbed cuffs. Repeat Dec row every other row 3 more times – 38(56, 75)sts. Knit 10 rows stockinette

Increase row: k2, m1, k to last 2 sts, m1, k 2. Repeat Increase row every other row 3 more times, 46(64, 83)sts.

Place marker at each end of last row to mark end of leg openings. Knit 4 rows in stockinette.

Work even in stockinette for 1 (3, 5)inches. Place 46(64, 83)sts on holder.

FRONT
Cast on 24(30, 37)sts. Work in stockinette for 1.5(4, 6.5)inches. You may wish to keep this section a bit shorter for male dogs for obvious reasons. Work leg opening shaping and remaining rows as for Back. Place 24 (30, 37)sts on holder.

COLLAR
With circular needle, knit across back stitches on holder, then front stitches on holder, 70(94, 120) sts. Place marker and join for working in the round.

Size large only: *k4, k2tog; repeat from *, finish with k4, 100 sts.

All Sizes Work even in rounds of k2, p2 rib until Collar measures 4(5.5, 7)inches or desired length. The collar on the sample shown is somewhat shorter. Bind off loosely in pattern. Fold collar back.

Sleeves (if desired, leg openings can be left without ribbing)

At each leg opening, with RS facing and CC, pick up and knit 16 sts each on front and back (32 sts).

Work in k2, p2 ribbing until sleeve measures 2.5(3, 3.5)inches. Bind off loosely in rib.

Arrrr Matey! 

FINISHING
Sew side seams on either side of leg openings. Sew sleeve seams. Weave in ends.

This is quite a forgiving pattern. If you wish to use a bulkier yarn, simply cast on a few less stitches, or a few more if you're making it for a larger dog.