Saturday, December 08, 2007

Design! Design! Design!

New from Kanine Knits

I am always so happy when my knitting clients take the designs I create an run with them. Suellen Grunn Aniskiewicz did this with the pattern for the Weimaraner. She took the chart and worked it into a wonderful bag. Here it is displayed in all its glory being worn by Nali. She even lined it appropriately.

I am knitting up a storm trying to get samples knit of all my new designs. Just a few of them are here but there will be more coming. To begin with there is the Japanese Akita. Now Akita's come in a variety of colors and marking and if you get this pattern you will have to adjust the coloring to match your dog, however, the hard work will already be done for you.

Next came the Bouvier des Flandres. These beautiful and gentle herding dogs give the impression of quiet strength. They are wonderfully loyal to their owners.

Going alphabetically, the next design would be the Cairn. This wonderful little terrier who came to American's notice as Toto in the Wizard of Oz, is a scrappy terrier, not tall but with substance and strength.

Well now taking the long and the short of my design, we have the Smooth Dachshund who is both long and short. I've had the longhaired version of this breed designed and available for a while, but have just completed the smooth.

And the last for today, though tomorrow I shall be knitting more, is the Pomeranian. This pint sized handful was once much larger, about the size of a Spitz, but has been bred down to the size where they can be carried by those who love them. They are a ball of hair on four tiny feet.

And so I knit and design and write. The new knitting books are progressing and I am also working on a book about my style of publishing. So there is never a dull moment. The dogs are enjoying the cold weather, finally cold enough for Samoyeds. They are full of spit and vinegar and raring to go each morning. We had some light snows but nothing worthy of a shovel. However, I think that we are going to have a classic winter this year - COLD!

If you have photos of your knitting projects from Kanine Knits designs, send them to me. I'm collecting them to show during a TV interview I have scheduled next month.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Knitting With Dog Hair

It had been a long time since I had knit with dog hair. At the National, I began again and the joy of working with this fiber has come back. The yarn I'm using is a Samoyed/Merino blend that is so light and soft that it seems to float. Since it takes dye beautifully (as anyone who has tried to get red berry stains out of a coat prior to going into the ring would know) and the raspberry color that I was working on for the scarf was lovely. I am now working on mittens to match. If you'd like to try some of this yarn, go to the Kanine Knits - Yarn page

The beauty of this yarn is in the bloom, that halo of fiber hair that appears when the stitch is completed. Though it doesn't show when the yarn is in a ball, it suddenly fills your knitting as you work and fills in any space within or between stitches. Rather than working on #US8 needles, I decided to jump up to #US15. This should have produced a scarf full of holes. Instead, the bloom filled every space and the result was a lovely soft as cashmere scarf which weighed almost nothing and was warm as toast. Since dog hair is eight times warmer than wool, the scarf will be perfect for chasing away the January chill.

Speaking of dog hair, I have been working with Victoria Pettigrew of VIP Fibers lately to see how Kanine Knits patterns look worked up in the hair of the dog. When she knit a sweater from one of the patterns in The Crafty Samoyed Knits, she worked the Samoyed portrait in Samoyed yarn spun from her own dog. The result, as you can see, is wonderful with Victoria showing how dog hair can be used in a sweater without having the garment be too hot. Plus this now serves as a source of pride that her Samoyed Bon Bien is a part of this beautiful creation.

Now this works very well with any double coated dog, that is to say one that has a softer undercoat that sheds out easily. Any of the arctic breeds as well as many, many other breeds qualify. How can you tell? If you are brushing dog hair off yourself every time you leave your home, you dog probably qualifies.

As you see with the Kanine Knits Chow Chow Pattern that Victoria knit, the fact that the dog graphic is knit with spun Chow hair, just ads to the authenticity of the design.

The Chow Chow is only one of many new patterns that will be added to the Kanine Knits web page over the next few weeks. As people request knitted portraits of their breeds, I try to get them designed quickly.

The Newfoundland and Bernese Mountain Dog books are taking shape and the books for the Corgis, Poodles, and Bichon are also coming along. Many people have been generous in offering me stories and photos of their dogs. I love it that they are willing to share them with me and I am happy to include them in the books. I am always looking for more examples of the breed to include. Anyone wishing to share photos of their dogs with me should just go to my website and email me. I love hearing from you.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Adventures at the
Big E

For those of you not in New England, the Big E is the Eastern States Exposition which is technically a state fair for all the six New England states in one place. It takes place over 17 days in September and is both fun and exhausting.

This was the first year that the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association had a booth which they located in the Connecticut Building (logical). Each state has a building all in a row. I worked on the committee to get it set up and then in stints over the run of the fair put in 24 hours telling people about my knitting books for dog lovers.

One of the enthusiastic visitors who stopped to chat with me and look at my books was Connecticut's Governor Jody Rell. Also visiting was Miss Connecticut who attracted an enthusiastic male following.

I learned a lot and had fun meeting a ton of people who watched me knit with Samoyed hair. This was hot work though since I was wearing a wool sweater to show off my work and had this beautiful Samoyed/Merino blend yarn in a beautiful raspberry color I was knitting. The temperature in the building was about 95 degrees. How we suffer for our art.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The 2007 Samoyed National Specialty: The Show

For six days the world of Samoyed show dogs congregated in Lancaster, PA for their national specialty show. This is a wonderful time to get together with friends that you only get to see once a year, see all the dogs, shop with the vendors, take classes, and generally have a good time.

For those of us who are vendors at the national, it means setting up a booth, getting with old friends and clients, and getting to work. For me this year, it meant showing my new designs, setting up my patterns and books for people to see, displaying my newly designed knitting bag that celebrated the dogs, displayed the bear kit designed for the show, unpacking all the beautiful yarn, especially the Samoyed/Marino blend that is so beautiful, and getting ready to teach my seminar.

This year I offered the class 'Knitting at the National" for those who wanted to learn the craft in hopes of eventually being able to knit some of the beautiful spun Samoyed hair that our dogs constantly donate to the cause. With the class and follow-up sessions during the week, 17 people learned to knit the Kanine Knits way. They varied in age from the young to the young at heart and it didn't matter the skill level, all went away with the knowledge of how to knit and purl and create a simple garment. The hardest part of teaching is to convince the students that they can do it. Once they got over the idea that it was hard, they cruised along and were knitting up a storm. It did my heart good when my youngest student Hogan was working away and her father called her to get ready for Jr. Showmanship competition. "I just have to finish this row," she answered in the tradition of all good knitters down through the centuries.

My friend Sandy McDonough's puppy bitch Flurry had fun spending time in the booth with all the knitters, but she also did well in the ring by winning Best of Opposite Sex in Puppy Sweepstakes and then, since at nine months she's already a champion, going on to win an Award of Merit in the Best of Breed competition.

My booth faced the obedience ring with breed not far away so I was able to visit with customers and watch the judging at the same time. I made many new friends, and talked with old ones. It was an exhausting week, but definitely worth the trip.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The 2007 Samoyed National Specialty: The Pedigree Book

Summer was a blur with the preparation for the National. In the world of pure bred dogs, this is the big one. This is the show in each breed that when you win, for that year, you are the top. Those who do achieve that level go into the history books, so needless to say, it's what everyone with a dog entered looks forward to all year.

For me it wasn't just the summer, but the spring as well since I had been drafted to create the Pedigree Book for the National. This was the insane annual idea begun in 2002 by the idiot, Peggy Gaffney, so I have only myself to blame. It gives owners a chance to feature their dog with a 3 generation pedigree and photo. It provides a guide to the breed and an historic record. This year, since I've published three knitting books of my own, I was again drafted to create the book gathering information from almost one hundred exhibitors and editing it into a worthy record of the breed.

The book turned out to be a great success and so the Samoyeds recorded there will have their place in history whether they made the big win at the National or not. The show, held in Lancaster, PA featured hundreds of beautiful entries competing in breed, obedience, weight pull, agility, and herding. But more about the actual show later.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Debbie Macomber says "'re in for a real treat!"
The Crafty Golden Retriever - Knits
Best selling novelist Debbie Macomber, a lifelong knitter, says “Peggy Gaffney has introduced a new idea into the knitting realm …you’re in for a real treat.”
Debbie Macomber, who often includes Goldens in her novels, means the new idea of creating a whole book that deals with desig
ning portraits in knitting of a single breed of dog. As she explains in her Forward to The Crafty Golden Retriever – Knits, “Really, what could be better? Yarn, a pair of knitting needles, a good pattern, and a faithful companion by your side.”
The concept starts with
stories. These stories about the Golden give the reader a broad understanding of all the activities the dogs enjoy. They are written by Peggy Gaffney with the help of those who know and care about the breed most. These stories in turn inspire portraits. These are portraits of Goldens hunting, doing agility, rescuing a child, diving from a dock, and performing a myriad of activities that make these dogs distinctive. Only these portraits are created using knitting stitches. The knitted portraits appear as more than 20 charted graphs that knitters may work into any of the 24 sweater and accessory patterns included.
The Crafty Goden Retriever - Knits
is beautifully illustrated with over 75 photographs of Goldens involved in every possible activity as well as just being dogs. The photographers who illustrate the book are Betty Schmidt, who specializes in photos of dogs competing in field trials or hunting with their owners, and Mary and Joseph MacQueen, who photograph dogs from their own Nitro Golden kennel, Mary shares the experience of her work in search and rescue and drug detection in which she and her dog Ch. Robin are vitally active. Robin is in a league of his own and story is an inspiration..
The Crafty Golden Retriever – Knits is the third volume in the unique Crafty Dog Knits series from publisher Kanine Knits.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Interesting Week at the Knit & Crochet Show

This was a busy week traveling north to Manchester, New Hampshire to take part in the Knit & Crochet Show sponsored by the Knitting Guild of America and the Crochet Guild of America. It was a first for Kanine Knits. I have spent the last 10 years with booths at dog shows and this was my first knitting show. I found that they are very similar, except for the fact that there were no dogs visiting my booth (bummer).

I did meet some absolutely delightful knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, yarn manufacturers and more. I made friends with the gals who had the booth across from mine and we found that we had a great deal in common. Ada, Heather and Jody from Great Knit Design Knitware, based in So. San Francisco, gave me insight into the knit show world.

The yarns that are available are amazing, especially the hand dyed fibers of llama, alpaca, bamboo, silk, and wool. Watching the spinners creating the yarn on the floor with only a drop spindle would inspire anyone.

But the best part was all the wonderful people who stopped by my booth and raved about my designs. What an ego trip!!!! Plus I got to hear the stories of their dogs and see the photos they so proudly displayed. They were delighted to find patterns that looked like their own "best friend" and were looking forward to knitting the likeness into sweaters, pillows, afghans, etc.

The books were popular too. Knitters really latched onto the idea of entire books filled with knitting designs on just their breed. They got to purchase the books for the Samoyed and the Labrador Retriever and get a preview of the new Crafty Golden Retirever Knits book that will be out in a couple of weeks.

Well, though I'll still be part of the dog world at shows this fall, I am looking forward to many more knitting and crochet shows in the future. I was inspired, encouraged and made to feel at home by those who love this art as much as I do.

I hope that everyone enjoyed looking at Peggy Gaffney's version of a dog show with all my portraits of dogs in knitting displayed in my Kanine Knits booth and that they will look for me at shows in the future and visit my website at to see even more designs than I had room to display at the show.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Crafty Golden Retriever Knits Goes To Press!

Well it has been a p
ush, but the Golden knitting book, The Crafty Golden Retriever Knits has gone to press and will be available in about three weeks. Author Debbie Macomber wrote a wonderful forward for the book.
This is the third in the Crafty Dog series along with the Samoyed and the Lab. I am well into working on books for the Newf, Corgi, Poodle, Bichon, Boxer and German Shepherd. The Newfoundland book will be the next one published.

Of course, not bein
g one to rest even for a nano-second, I am also working on the 2007 Pedigree Book for the Samoyed Cllub of America. It will be available for sale at the SCA National in September in Lancaster, PA. This is a pedigree record of the Samoyeds that are showing or doing obedience, sledding, agility, etc throughout the country whose owners are members of the Samoyed Club of America. The value of the book is that it allows breedeers to plan their breeding with care, selecting the best pair for producing a healthy, sound and beautiful litter. It is a very useful tool for the breeder.

On top of all this writing, I get to go meet knitters. July 12-15 I will be in Manchester, New Hampshire at the Knitting and Crochet Show sponsored by the Knitting Guild of America and the Crochet Guild of America. I will have a booth so that knitters and crocheters may examine all my deigns and books, and check out the sample sweaters. It will be very different for me to have a booth that doesn't have dogs walking through it. I am really looking forward to making new friends and learning what designs that knitters might like me to create. I get my best ideas when talking to dog fanciers or knitters. I hope everyone will come visit me in my booth.

Then when I return from that the pedigree book will go to press and in September, I'll take myself off to Lancaster to have my booth at the SCA National and teach k
nitting to dog lovers. I'm giving a beginning knitting course because everyone there will have a beautiful Samoyed which sheds 365 days a year and therefore provides wonderful yarn. The fanciers will learn how to take this hair and work it into a simple knitting project.

I will have much to share with you soon. I hope I see many of you at the Knit & Crochet Show and at the SCA National.

Take care!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Celebrating Memorial Day

Celebrating Memorial Day with my friends means marching in our local parade with my obedience club. Over the years we have developed a drill team that shows off the joys of basic obedience training as a showy march routine. The crowds love it and so do we but there are times when marching the mile and a half that all you can think about is shade and a cool drink.

This year, almost all the dogs were new to the routines since we'd had a two year hiatus because of the fact that many of our experienced dogs were getting too old. So the young pups took over and had to learn the routines and then perform them with drums booming up close, children cheering and coming out into the line to pet the dogs, helicopters over head. They had to adjust to our spraying them with water every time there was a pause in the march so that they wouldn't get overheated.

By the end of the parade we are all hot and tired, but as we rest in the shade, so many people come up to visit the dogs and tell us how wonderful they were, that we forget our sore muscles that are more use to walking than marching and just enjoy the fact that our pride in these wonderfully talented dogs has been shown to at least our small part of the world.

This is a great opportunity to show people the value of a trained dog, especially with this variety of breeds.

However my Samoyed Brigid would tell you, she was more than ready just to do the classic Memorial Day celebration by lying around with a cool drink in the shade with all her canine friends at the end of the march and soaking up all the attention looking forward to new adventures.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wait a second - that's me!!!

I was sitting down to knit on the sleeve of a sweater for one of my clients and as I am now in the habit of doing, I reached over to the computer, clicked on itunes and looked to see which of the podcasts to which I subscribe had a new episode. I find that this is the best way to keep myself sane while I knit. Since I can’t do it while I writing or editing my knitting books, this is a treat.

So I choose the latest episode of Craftcast with Alison Lee. Now I love this show because she talks to people in all the crafts from jewelry making to knitting to decorating with glitter. It’s fun and I always get ideas. So I settled down to work and suddenly I hear her talking about Peggy Gaffney the author of a collection of knitting books for people who love dogs. “Wait a second.” I cried jumping out of the chair and rushing to the computer, “That’s me!”

She was talking about the first two books in my knitting series. These books take one breed each, in this case the Labrador Retriever and the Samoyed and describe all that the dogs do for fun and then I create designs that are portraits in knitting of the dogs doing these activites. She really liked the books and said so. What a trip.

I had spent hours editing the new book I’m bringing out about the Golden Retriever and it was so much fun to hear such nice things about my first two books.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out this podcast which is weekly and runs about 30 min. do so. It’s fun, you’ll meet a lot of really fascinating people, and occassionally you’ll be really surprised as I was. So go sign up for Craftcast at

Thanks Alison!

Craftcast host Alison Lee

Friday, April 20, 2007

No Metal Needles

This is not a manifesto against the use of metal knitting needles. I have many that I like, but when I was listening to a blog where someone was going on about being the only person on campus knitting at her school, I thought to myself, how things have changed.

When I went to college, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, each semester began the same way. Each professor would hand out his list of reading materials and his rules on how his class would be run. For my four years of undergraduate study, every lecture class had listed at the top of the sheet "NO METAL NEEDLES." What was meant was that all the students who were sitting in the lecture day after day and knitting, and let me say we were numerous, were warned against metal needles. Why? Because at least once every semester someone seated in the very top row of this large hall with at least 50 concrete steps to get there would, in the middle of the lecture, drop a needle when changing from knitting to purling. That needle would hit the floor "clang" and then slowly roll down the steps "clang, clang, clang..." until it reached the bottom. You could count on that very angry professor then picking it up and cllimbing all the way to the top not to return the offending noise maker to its owner but to take her knitting and ban her from bringing it to his class for the rest of the semester. If nothing else, this experience taught me a love for circular needles.

I do feel sorry that more knitters aren't knitting in lectures. Believe me; it got us sanely through many a very tedious class. I'd love to see the number of on campus knitters grow to the point that more professors would have to post the edict, "NO METAL NEEDLES."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Thank you Debbie Macomber

It is so nice when people not only like your work but let the world know that they like it. I just read the newest book in the Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber called Back to Blossom Street. It involves characters that are old friends and new ones in the kind of story that Debbie write so well about the "family" of knitters whose lives are as intertwined as their knitting. Debbie chose to feature 10 designers or teachers by quoting them at the beginning of selected chapters. I was honored to be part of this group. So get the book and read a great story and find my quote.

I have made a delightful discovery that is helping me keep my sanity while knitting sweaters, designing, writing and marketing. That discovery is the world of the Knitting Podcast!!! What a delight I had when a friend, who had encouraged me to start a My Space page, list on her site a podcast interview. When I clicked to listen, I felt like Alice falling down the hole into Wonderland. There are wonderful podcasts out there that talk about knitting as well as tons of other subjects. Those who create these shows are relaxed and informative either interviewing experts or chatting about their latest project. All you have to do is download Itunes into your computer, type in knitting under podcasts and voila! A treasure of listening is yours. Knit Cast, Pointy Sticks and Stash and Burn are the ones I've been listening to as I crochet seam together or knit a sleeve, since these are all on knitting and I have so many more to explore.

The podcast that got me started takes all forms of crafts and interviews experts in each field as well as authors on these subjects. It is called Craftcast with Alison Lee. I am a knitter both by love and profession, but I am interested in all types of crafts (if only there were enough hours in the day). Alison brings us various crafters to talk about the why as well as the how behind their work and because of her own curiosity about each one, makes for an entertaining and informative show. Take some time and listen.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Back from Westminster and Creating New Designs


Well, I really enjoyed showing everyone my sweaters the Kanine Knits booth at Westminster Kennel Club. Our group of artists and designers were located in the lower lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania and a good time was had by all. We had a chance to visit with the top dogs in the country and their owners, plus make friends with all who worked the show. Many people wanted sweaters knit showing their winners.

Westminster was a time of joy and sorrow. Right before I left for the show I had to put down my Ari, Westernesse Aragorn Karu, CGC, TDI who had gotten ill. Ari was a special dog, my closest companion, a dog loved by all and kind to all. He helped raise the puppies, marched in parades, worked in threapy but most of all, listened to me when I just needed unquestioning support. He would have been eleven years old this month and I really miss him.

Made a new friend in Nikki Wharton-Eby an artist who created a fantastic sketch while people watched. She is extremely talented.

I managed to come down with my worst cold in years the day after the show and spent the next four weeks coughing. Not a good way to end an event

I’m coming into the home stretch on The Crafty Golden Retriever – Knits and I’m trying to get both the Newfoundland and Corgi books put together. They all filled with tons of patterns as well as stories of the dogs having fun.

Two new designs that will be added to the collection of pattern designs available at the Kanine Knits Website are for the Australian Terrier and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen.

I’ve set up a My Space site so that another generation will find out about these dog designs. Take a peek. It’s located at . It took me longer to set it up than it would a teenager. Even though I work in html all the time, this host was a challenge. However after a few days, I think I’ve got what I want.

Anyone in New England who is planning on attending the Spring Cluster of dog shows at the Eastern States Exposition over the Easter weekend, come by the Kanine Knits booth and visit. Infodog’s page with information about the three shows is I’d love to meet you, especially knitters who love dogs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New York City - Here We Come!
Kanine Knits Trunk Show

Intarsia has “Gone to the Dogs!”

Feb. 9 - 13, 2007
Since we couldn’t make TNNA this year to introduce our new line of patterns, we decided to bring them to the one place in New York City where dog lovers abound—the Westminster Kennel Club Show.

The display will include many samples of some of the over 75 intarsia designs of pure bred dogs to be worked on sweaters and accessories plus samples of the pattern leaflets for you.

The Crafty Dog Series knitting books will also be available.

Designer Peggy Gaffney will be available throughout the show to discuss her work as well as take requests for future designs that might be popular to knitters. Peggy is also available for classes or talks. Since she’s only a two hour train commute to Grand Central away, she would be available to share her “Painting With Yarn” approach to intarsia.

Of course Peggy's custom knitting services will be available to non-knitters who want to wear these wonderful sweaters. She'll custom design for you a unique sweater created with your choice of yarn and style and with an intarsia design of your dog.

The Trunk Show will be set up on the lower level (stairs at the back of the lobby) of the Hotel Pennsylvania at the entrance to the Green Room where all the canine stars are prepared for the show. The hours are from 10 am to 4 pm Friday—Monday and 10 am to noon on Tuesday, February 9—13, 2007.

Peggy hopes to see everyone there. It is always an exciting time for dog lovers and hopefully this year we won't have the added excitement of the blizzard that, though fun to see, made it tough to get to the show.

Come visit and see the sweaters.