Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pattern For Winnie's Tiny Knitted Dog Sweater

Chihuahuas like Winnie, and many other toy dogs, get cold and can need a bit of help to stay warm when it's chilly.  

This is Winnie, in her sweater that is the subject of this post.

When we adopted Winnie last month, it was cold and snowing.  While she was at the rescue and being treated for her many ailments at the time, the vet needed to get a better look at her skin and he shaved her back  in order to do that ... making it that much more important to keep her covered and warm.  (You've already seen how I made her first sweater out of a boot sock from my orphan sock pile.)

Within the first couple of weeks that she was here, I hit the clearance rack at PetsMart and bought her a wardrobe of 'house sweaters' for everyday wear (size extra small, of course).  For times when she needs to be a bit warmer, I wanted to knit her some sweaters.  Finding a pattern to fit a dog her size proved to be challenging.

Winnie is a very, very tiny dog.  She weighs four pounds, give or take a couple of tenths.  Her chest circumference is 11 inches and she measures approximately 9 inches from her shoulders to the base of her tail.  I found a lot of patterns for dog sweaters on Ravelry and Etsy that I could buy ... but I wasn't willing to risk the money on a pattern that may or may not turn out to be suitable.  I wanted a free pattern, so I wasn't out anything but some wasted time if it wasn't right for her.

I finally found THIS pattern, which looked like it would work.  The shape and size seemed to be right, but the published version of the sweater has a very complicated pattern of bones and biscuits (and something that they called Moss Stitch) knit into it ... I figured that I could eliminate that stuff and work with the basic directions to design my own sweater pattern for Winnie.

For those of you who are looking for a fairly simple pattern to fit a tiny dog, I offer you the one that I devised .... reshaping my inspiration pattern a bit and reworking some of the directions.  Because of the shaping and use of double-pointed needles, this is not a pattern for a true beginner.  If you have some knitting experience and can work basic stitches, understand knitting terms, and think for yourself, this may be the pattern for you.

Winnie’s Tiny Sweater

Soft worsted-weight yarn (this example uses Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Yarn" in 'Gelato')
Knitting needles, size 6 and size 7
Set of 5 double-pointed needles, size 6


With smaller needles, cast on 42 sts.
Work ribbing of your choice for 3” (either k1 p1 or k2 p2)
Change to larger needles
K one row.  Increase 6 stitches evenly across this row.
P one row. 

The remainder of the body of the sweater is worked in K2 P1 ribbing.  The ribs give the sweater a lot of stretch and allow it to conform to the body better than something like stockinette stitch would.  Keep to pattern through all of the increases and decreases that follow.

Increase 1 stitch at EACH end of the next 3 rows.
Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the following rows until you have 62 sts on your needle.
Work 3 rows even in pattern.

Leg Openings:
1st row, right side:  Work first 5 stitches.  Cast off next 4 stitches.  Work in pattern across 44 stitches.  Cast off next 4 stitches.  Work final 5 stitches.
Work in pattern till sweater measures 1 inch from cast off stitches, working all three leg sections at the same time, using a separate piece of yarn for each section.
Joining row:  Work 5 stitches.  Turn.  Cast on 4 stitches.  Turn.  Work across 44 stitches.  Turn.  Cast on 4 stitches.  Turn.  Work final 5 stitches.  You will have 62 stitches on your needle and be back to working with one piece of yarn again.

Continue to work even in pattern until body section, not including turtleneck, measures 4 inches.

Shape back:
*Cast off 5 stitches at the beginning of next 2 rows.
Next row:  Slip first stitch.  K1.  Pass slipped stitch over.  Work in pattern to the last 2 sts.  Knit 2 together.
Next row:  Work even in pattern.
Repeat last 2 rows to 32 stitches.

Continue even in pattern until body section, not including turtleneck, measures 9 inches.
For next 2 rows:  Slip first stitch.  K1.  Pass slipped stitch over.  Work in pattern to last 2 sts.  Knit 2 together.
Slip remaining 28 sts onto a stitch holder.

Sew center front seam from the * rows to the top of the turtleneck.

Body edging:
Using four double pointed needles and right side of work facing, pick up and knit 35 or so stitches from center seam to stitches on stitch holder.  Transfer the stitches on the stitch holder to double pointed needle.  Pick up and knit 35 or so stitches till you get back to the center seam.  (divide the stitches evenly between the four needles, and make sure you have an even number of stitches.)
Work K1 P1 ribbing for 3 rows.
Bind off loosely in ribbing.

Leg edging:
Using three double pointed needles, with right side of work facing, pick up and knit 20 stitches around leg opening.
Work K1 P1 ribbing for 3 rows.
Bind off loosely in ribbing.

Secure and weave in any loose ends.

(If you try this and find any mistakes or inconsistencies, please let me know so I can correct the pattern.)


  1. Hahaha... none of that made a bit of sense to me, but I'd don't knit. Heck, I don't do even a portion of the things you do and the ones I do do, I don't do nearly as well as you do! Did I say do enough? I believe I did!

  2. This is so sweet and how rewarding for you to take a pattern and make it your own. You could start a nice quiet home business with knitting these little cuties for others. :-) ~ As if you don't already have enough going on in your life. ~

    Love and hugs to you and little Winnie ~ FlowerLady

  3. My mom's little Chihuahua is a long-haired one so she doesn't get as cold when we take her out. Greta likes to dress our pug up in clothes though but it's hard to fit her due to her only have 3 legs.

    1. This particular pattern has only front leg openings. Does you doggie have a missing front or back leg? You can likely adapt the leg openings to suit what you need?

  4. I am making this sweater for my 6 pound chihuahua. I adapted the pattern to fit my dogs measurements. I found the exact same yarn. I am so happy with how it is coming out. I will have it done really soon and will send a picture. Thank you for the fantastic pattern!

  5. Marianne, you have made my day by telling me that you are using my pattern! Can't wait to see the sweater on your Chi.

  6. I'm trying to make this sweater, I'm a little confused when trying to keep the k2, p1 pattern going on in the increase. Mine is not looking like your's, its like its all off from one another. Any tips?
    What an awesome job you did with the pattern!

  7. I am finding the same as Crystal….any ideas on how to fix this as I don't want to let my Chihuahua down!
    Thank you.

  8. Crystal and Isobel, and anyone else who is having trouble ... Keeping to pattern just means that you pay attention to what's happened in the pattern before your increase and work that stitch as a knit or purl as the pattern changes. For example, If your first two stitches on your needle are knit, then your increase will be a purl. I know this may be hard to imagine, so I will see what I can do get an example photo or two and try to explain it a bit more clearly.

  9. Thanks very much for coming back on this so quickly; your advice helped me work out where I had gone wrong so I should be all set now. Winnie is an adorable little dog and a great model for your fabulous creations!

  10. I'm glad you got it, Isobel! It's one of those things that I can show someone how to do in about 15 seconds. Figuring out how to TELL someone is a whole 'nuther story. Please send a photo of your Chi and its new sweater whenever you finish it. I can't wait to see it! (my email is in my profile)

  11. I love this pattern you have designed. I am now to the leg openings section and very confused. I can't get my head wrapped around it. I need three separate yarns? This is my first attempt to do a project like this - maybe I'm out of my league. If there are any suggestions or explanations you can provide, I would greatly appreciate it!! Thank you. Tammy Mair

  12. Tammy, yes, three yarns. This section creates two slits in the sweater to be used as leg holes. After knitting like this for an inch, it gets knit back together with one piece of yarn. When I do this, I do one part with the yarn I have been using, and I unwind and cut two pieces from the other end of the skein to use as the other yarns.

  13. Hi, I've added your pattern to the Ravelry database (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/winnies-tiny-knitted-dog-sweater). I hope this is ok with you. It links to your blog so people can access the pattern here.

  14. What a beautiful sweater for a chihuahua. I absolutely love the yarn and will definitely order some. Thank you for adapting and sharing this pattern. Very excited to give it a go 💕💕

  15. Is there a way I can make this pattern smaller to fit my chihuahua? She is 2 pounds 4 ounces.
    Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. 2 pounds 4 ounces is tinier than Winnie! It will take a bit of figuring for you to reduce the pattern. You can reduce the number of stitches and rows, and fit the sweater on your dog as you go to get the armhole placement and length right. If you only needed it to be a little bit smaller, you could try to work the pattern as written with smaller needles to increase the number of stitches per inch in your gauge. Perhaps smaller needles AND smaller yarn.

    2. Thank you for your fast reply! I was wondering if you could also tell me Winnie's neck and chest measurements to help with my sweater for my chihuahua "Pinky"' . They might help me with knowing how much to reduce.
      Thank you again for your help. You know yourself how hard it is to get patterns to fit our little fur babies!

    3. Winnie's neck is 8 inches (comfortably snug) and her chest is 12 inches. She measures 10 inches from the base of her neck to the base of her tail.

      Amen, on getting patterns for dogs this small. That's why I did what I could to publish my version of a basic sweater that fit Winnie. Considering how much traffic this post gets, we are in good company with a lot of other people looking for a tiny dog sweater pattern.

    4. my little chi is two pounds as well..thank you for pattern so hard to find in her size
      louisa va.

  16. Very happy to find your pattern. I'm not knitting for a chichuahua, however. I am hoping to adapt your pattern to knit sweaters for newborn goat kids, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, in Maine. They are very susceptible to the cold and some of the more fragile kids are in danger of hypothermia. I won't know for a couple of months if they fit correctly but will try to remember to let you know. Thanks so much for the pattern.

    1. Newborn goats!!! Please let me know if the basic idea of this pattern works for you!

  17. Hi, Found this pattern so easy, thank you.....size worked out perfectly for my 2 month old puppy..Wish I could send you a pic...Phoebe is a very happy lil puppy Thank you

    1. You're very welcome, Frances and Phoebe. If you have a pic, you can email it to me at Connie@hartwoodroses.com. I'm very glad that this worked for you.

  18. Will be trying this for my friend's Jack/Chi puppy! She's only 10 weeks old, so still very tiny, but this pattern looks so easy anyway :) Thanks!

    1. The pattern IS easy, that was the whole idea. Just be mindful of the increases and decreases in the shaping.

      You're very welcome.

  19. I love this pattern, but I'm ot good at enlarging a pattern. I want to make it in Vannas choice lion brand acrylic #4weight. I knit quit loosely so I'm not sure how many stitches to start out with. My Chi measures 11 inches around the neck and 16 inches around the chest. I think i can get the length but I'm also not quite sure how far between the legs. I certainly would appreciate any help in getting started. I would hate tomake it either too large or too small. TIA Ruth


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