The last few projects have been a bit intense, and I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with it all. Searching for some frivolity I rifled through my old knitting patterns and happened upon a self-published number hidden beneath the glossier, illustrated editions.
Conscientiously typed on old-fashioned foolscap paper and showing definite signs of age, it boasted the title, Nylon Offcut Patterns. I scanned the pages with growing amusement. I could choose from the 'Vandyke Bag', the 'Doll Toilet Roll Cover', the 'Pillbox Hat' or, the piece-de-resistance, the 'Poodle Decanter Cover'. As there were no pictures, just what the Poodle Decanter Cover might look like was the cause of much curiosity. I had no option but to make one.
The only hitch was getting the poodle past the editorial staff. A couple of my previous suggestions had been politely declined. These projects, I had been told, 'must have a use'. I felt I was on shaky ground and even worse, seeing as I'd already made the poodle, I was feeling emotionally vulnerable.
How would I break the subject of the poodle to the team?
Then, as if by some Irish miracle it was announced that St Patrick's Day fell on a Sunday and a themed issue was called for. I knew that I was in luck; with some ambitious tinkering, the poodle could become an irish wolf hound! If you get started on your hound now you'll be all set for next year. Or you could modify it to fit another occasion; either way it will add interest to your table setting and do so in such utter bad taste that it can't help but be a conversation piece. I dare you to make one.
Step 1 - The cover is made in two parts. The bottom section covers the bulbous half of the bottle; the top section covers the neck of the bottle. To make the bottom piece cast on 32 stitches. Garter stitch to required length.
To shape for bottom of bottle:
*K5, K2 together, repeat from * to end, K4./ *K4, K2 together, repeat from * to end, K4./ *K3, K2 together, repeat from * to end./ *K2, K2 together, repeat from * to end, K3./ K2 together all along row, K1./ Break off thread with 10cm to spare and thread this through the stitches, gently pulling to form base. Sew up back seam. Place on bottle and thread a piece of nylon through the top; draw the stitches up to fit snugly around bottle.
Step 2 - Head: cast on 46 stitches. Knit 9 rows in garter stitch./ 10th row: K1, K2 together all along row./ 11th row: Purl./ 12th row: K1, K2 together all along row./ 13th row: Purl./ Knit in stocking stitch (x1 row plain, x1 row purl) for approx. 7.5-8cm or till neck is covered./ Next row: *K1, K2 together, repeat from * to end, K1./ Next row: Purl./ Next row: K2 together to end, K1./ Next row: Purl./ Break off thread as with bottom leaving excess to thread through stitches and gather. Sew up seam.
Step 3 - Make three pom-poms, one for top of head and two smaller ones for the ears and sew in place. Sew on button eyes.
I crocheted a snout out of a few single and double crochet (ie, I made it up as I went along). Add additional decoration as you see fit. You are now officially the envy of everyone who visits.
• Poodle made from Knitlon nylon knitting ribbon (from Spotlight). The hound was stitched with Moda Vera Blissful and Marvel (also from Spotlight).
• Size 5 needles
• Scissors, pins
• Needle and thread
• Extra wool for pom-poms
• Cardboard, pencil for pom-pom templates
• Buttons for eyes