A New Beginning with an Old Favorite

Dog Walker Sweater

It is December; the weather here in Estes Park is finally turning cold. Thanksgiving, however, has come and gone with no snow. We are expecting snow this week, thank goodness! It has been terribly dry. Dry enough to make conditions perfect for the Kruger Rock Fire that was in my neighborhood and resulted in a quick and panicky evacuation. Fortunately, our firefighters were amazing, and the wind was blowing in the right direction, so we were safe and back home quickly. Believe it or not, one of the things I threw into the car when evacuating was my knitting. It seemed important to have something to keep my hands busy.

I finished my husband’s sweater and a cowl. Now it is time to begin anew and I decided to knit an old favorite, The Dog Walker by Plunky Knitter Designs. The pattern includes two sets of instructions, one for worsted weight yarn and one for aran weight. The one pictured is knitted with worsted weight. I love the simple design and fit and the roomy turtleneck is perfectly comfortable. I used a wool and alpaca blend. It would also turn out well in Aireado or Encore Chucky.  Whatever yarn you select, make sure to knit a swatch to check your needle size and gauge.

Usually, I avoid knitting sweater patterns more than once, but this one is hard to resist. I am changing things up a little this time and using the heavier weight yarn this time. In the spirit of the season, I'm knitting it in a garnet color. Aran weight can be hard to sort out, so I often rely on meters per gram and the gauge stated on the yarn band. The aran version called for a gauge of 13 sts and 10 rows = 4”/10 cm.  The yarn I selected, a blend of alpaca and wool, was a bulkier weight.  Because it is soft and lofty, I was reasonably sure it would work.  I knitted two swatches with different size needles before I was on the right track.  I achieved gauge by adjusting my needle size up by one.

Dog Walker Sweater Revisited

Lovely red yarn in hand, I casted on. This sweater is knitted in the round, so I was prepared to join in the round right away. Checking to see how Row 1 (rather than Round 1) looked made me stop and re-read the instructions several times. I had completely forgotten that the shaping for the neck and shoulders was accomplished before joining in-the-round. Rather than join in the round, the pattern directed me to turn my work and purl across all stitches. I turned the piece again for Row 2, which included increases for the raglan sleeves. This continued, purling one and knitting one row with increases for 12 rows. This formed the neck shaping.

Once I finally did join in the round, the neck shaping was complete. No short rows are needed. Later, I will pick up stitches around the neckline and knit the turtleneck. It is a nifty way to add extra room for the shoulder and neck. Once joined, the increases for the raglan sleeves continue every other round.

If you are new to sweater knitting, you might find that this sweater a good one to try because the method for the neck and shoulder is easier than short rows. Don't get me wrong, I like knitting short rows, but this approach is much less complicated and just as much fun.