King of the Beasts

King of the Beasts

I feel like this warrants some explanation, like many of my more, uh, creative projects, but I'm not sure really how one explains a lion costume for a bald dog. The idea started with whimsical hats for humans, like hats that look like sock monkeys, hats that look like dead fish (so on my to-make-someday-list!) and hats that look like lions. I kept looking at the lion hat for humans, but I didn't care for the techniques used in it, or the colors of yarn available for it, and so I kept hesitating on ordering the yarn. While searching for human lion hat alternatives, I came across the pattern for a "King of the Beasts" knitted dog sweater with an attached mane and tail.  It was love at first sight. I ordered the yarn that day, and downloaded the pattern. 

I started knitting it the day the yarn arrived. I had to make adjustments to the pattern, since the differences between the sizes were huge, and Jesse fell in between sizes. On top of that, he has a non-average build, being longer limbed and skinny. I wasn't sure the size would work, and so as I went, I kept putting the pieces on Jesse to see how they fit. He was surprisingly tolerant, even when I was trying on the nearly finished  sweater with 4 double pointed needles still in the neck!  Truthfully, in spite of the look on his face in the pictures, he seems to enjoy the attention that goes along with all of this, and will often run over to me and sniff at the knitting, so he doesn't hate it. 

The sweater base is knitted in two pieces; the back, and the chest.  Both are edged in garter stitch to keep the edges from rolling, which is such a great technique.  The two pieces are sewn together, and then the legs are worked by picking up stitches around the armholes, joining them, and working a ribbing stitch in a round.  I made them into actual sleeves, instead of just a cuff, because I thought that would be cuter, and because I hate the 'muscle shirt' look, expecially on a bald dog. It just looks unfinished and weird.  The neck is worked in the same way; picking up stitches around the edge of the back piece and chest piece; joined, and worked in a round with a ribbing stitch.  i did decrease the ribbing by 4 stitches an inch up the neck, since Jesse has a scrawny turtle neck that is long. Then I knitted another inch or so, to make sure the turtleneck of the sweater would cover most of his turtle neck.  Hahahahaha, turtleneck on a turtle neck. Am I the only one that finds that funny? After the turtleneck was long enough, I stopped working in a round, and knitted back in forth in rows, making a 'collar' at the top of the turtleneck. It is on the collar that the mane is attached. I had a feeling that if I did the collar according the to pattern, the mane wouldn't come up and over his head, and so I worked it to be much longer than written.  I also used short rows in the middle of the collar, to help shape it a bit. If I did this again, I would make an actual hood instead of a collar, I think - it would fit much better, and have more structure to support the mane.  

The tail is added to the edge of the back piece; it's just 4 stitches worked in a garter stitch.  The tassel is sewn on at the end.  

The mane is made from a bunch of bunchings of yarn - each bunch has two 12" pieces of the rust color, one 12" piece of the light gold, and one 12" piece of the gold. To make the process faster, I cut about 4,000 12" pieces of each color, working with one color at a time; then I sorted the colors into the bunches, and lined the bunches up.  Then I started knotting them into the main.  I used a crochet hook to pull each bunch, folded in half, through a stitch at the edge of the collar and neck. Then I pulled the ends of the yarn through that loop, and pulled it tight.  I pulled a bunch through every stitch along the edge, to frame the face.  Then, on both the outside and inside of the collar, I pulled bunches through every other stitch, about half an inch in from the edge.  I may go back and add more on the outside, another half inch down from the last row, to give a little more fullness at the back of the mane. When I extended the length of the collar for Jesse's scrawny neck, it resulted in a gap in the mane that wasn't accounted for in the pattern. 

Finally, it was done! It wasn't time consuming to make, all in all - the back piece was knitted in about 3 sittings; the chest piece was done in a few hours; each sleeve took about 20 minutes, and the neck and collar was an hour or so.  The mane took the longest, and was done in an entire evening.  When I put the finished sweater on Jesse, I knew it was totally worth the time invested. It is unbelievably cute to see him walking around, with the mane all fluffy around his little face, and the tail swinging behind him.  

The finished base:

 

Trying on the base to check the fit (I bumped his ball, and he's looking at it in this picture):

 

You can see his tail is wagging in this picture. He didn't resist the ball for long, and ran off shortly after this shot was taken. 

 

The finished outfit. Isn't this the cutest King of the Beasts you have ever seen??? 

He had enough of the pictures, and of my laughing at him, and wandered off. 

The look on his face is priceless.

While I checked to make sure I had a useable shot of the outfit, Jesse went to pout on the couch, monorail dog style:

This was possibly even more hysterical than him looking like a little lion - now he looks like a sea anemone!

Is he really pouting? 

Hahaha, I'd say that's a yes. 

Quite possibly the most hateful look he has ever made. ; )  

 

 

Comments

Cheryl
OMG, awesome job Shannon! But the play by play with your dog and his expressions are hilarious! And yes if looks could kill You would be a goner! But he looks like such a cute lion. :)
Shannon
Aw, thank you, Cheryl!! He really wasn't as miserable as he looks in the pictures, but I probably won't make him wear it again. Until I forget how unthrilled he was in it, LOL! :)

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