Thursday, September 15, 2005


My name is Peggy Gaffney and I am an author and knitting designer. Perhaps that should be reversed, since the knitting designing came first but the books that I am creating are a very large part of what I do and therefore the joy of being an author is uppermost at the moment.

What I write about and what I design all revolve about my love of dogs, pure bred dogs and specifically Samoyed dogs which I have bred, shown, and loved for over 37 years. It was the dogs that led to the designing that led to becoming an author so as you can see, it is a natural progression. I live with six Samoyeds at the moment, two cats and a son.

About 10 years ago, I started thinking about what I'd do when I retired from teaching school and at the time, I was working part time for a friend who owned a knitting shop and was an author of a wonderful knitting book which I'll tell you about later. She was the one who suggested that I make a business out of two things I loved, dogs and knitting. And so it was that I started designing sweaters with intarsia patterns of pure bred dogs. My goal in the designs was to make the dogs look as much like the breed as possible. These would be custom designs with each sweater created for the individual to his tastes and specifications. It started with Samoyeds and then Newfoundlands (my friend Kathy has search and rescue Newfs) and then Goldens, and Dobes, and Brittanys, and so on until I have created designs for more than 100 breeds. I call it Kanine Knits: Sweaters for the Dog Fancy. And it has been something that Fanciers really like.

Now over the years, people asked if I'd sell my patterns. I didn't want to do that because these were my bread and butter, but I got thinking that it might be fun to write a book with a collection of patterns for each breed. I wanted the books to be special. Then came the idea of writing a book about what the breed did for fun in modern times and create intarsia designs to illustrate these activities and of course, sweater, hat, scarf, etc. instructions to go with them. So the concept of the book grew and I started writing the first of what would be The Crafty Dog series.

The first book had, of course, to be about Samoyeds. It was called The Crafty Samoyed - Knits. I was lucky to have friends who had expertise in many of the activities that I hadn't tried with my Samoyed and they contributed stories and pictures to add to my stories and photo collection. The book turned out to be very hard work and at the same time a lot of fun.

Now The Crafty Samoyed - Knits is out and selling and I'm working on the next breeds: Labs, Goldens, Newfoundlands, Shelties, German Shepherds, Boxers, Corgis and more. Each will be the combination of stories, sweaters and stunning designs for knitters to work. And I'm hoping to find fanciers in these breeds to share their stories with me as well.

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