First, knit a swatch in 2x2 ribbing to determine your gauge.
Do not stretch out your swatch before measuring if this is being knit for a growing puppy or it won’t fit for long. I pretty much didn’t stretch mine out at all and it fit Reilly until he was about 1.5 times his original weight/size. Ribbing gives LOTS of stretch. =)
Rows per inch: ____
Now, take the following measurements on the dog you’re knitting for and convert to number of stitches/rows per your gauge in you swatch:
(Throat would be wherever you want it to hit - mid neck works well unless it’s a puppy, then I’d measure to just under the jaw and make it a turtle neck until he/she grows into it. You are subtracting 1” for the initial ribbing prior to working increases.)
(You’ll be binding off this # of stitches for each leg hole - I would add a few stitches here as you don’t want the leg holes to be too tight. Maybe add half an inch to an inch or so on a large dog.)
(From the front of the leg to the back of the leg. This section will be knit flat/back and forth before rejoining in the round just behind the front legs. You’ll want to leave a bit of extra room here as well for the comfort of your dog.)
(For females, you can measure to just in front of the hind legs. For males, you’ll have to leave more room to take care of business.) =)
Continue in pattern for half of E stitches (E/2). Loosely bind off F stitches (use larger needle if needed - you want this to stay loose/stretchy). Now add E + F and count back this number of stitches to determine placement of outside of other leg hole. Place a split ring stitch marker or piece of contrasting yarn here. (Counting back now will eliminate having to check number of stitches as you work your way around.) Continue in rib pattern until you reach your stitch marker. Loosely bind off F stitches for 2nd leg hole. You should now have E stitches remaining between these bound off sections. This is the section between the front legs.
Cast-on F stitches to form back of leg hole (use whatever method you prefer, but looser/stretchier is best for comfort). Rejoin to smaller chest section and work in pattern until you reach the 2nd leg hole. Cast-on F stitches to form back of other leg hole. Place stitch marker. Rejoin to back of sweater so you can continue working in the round.
This pattern could easily be adapted to another stitch pattern. Just knit your swatch in whatever stitch pattern you choose and figure your gauge on that. =) Reilly’s 2nd sweater is a cable pattern - he outgrew the first last Spring. I used basically the same method as above, leaving the stitches at the front of the leg live and casting on live stitches as the back of the leg. You do have to take into account the pattern's repeat stitch count and alter your increases into that. It's slightly more complicated than the basic rib pattern, but still not too bad. =)
I hope I haven't made this harder than it should be. I've never written up a pattern before and this one has so many variables. If anyone has any suggestions for making this pattern better, please let me know. =)
PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS: Sorry, I don't have this available as a pdf at the moment and if you print directly from this page, you will be wasting ink on the background color. You could highlight the text and copy it to your own word processing program to print however. I do know how to make a pdf file, I just don't know where to put it online so I can link to it from here for printing. If anyone has any tips, please let me know!