There was a time, years ago, when I did a lot of needlework. I’ve done baby quilts, baby bibs, hand towels, pillows, Mr. Monograms fraternity coat of arms, and so on and so forth the list continues. But I got away from it and I really don’t know why. Burnt out maybe? Ya’ll should know by now that sometimes my OCD gets the best of me and I can’t stop whatever it is I’m doing. For instance, did I really need to force myself to stay awake finishing The Red Tent (lousy, btw) when it was so damn boring the dog even checked out and went to bed without me? Honestly, I really should have sent that book off to the second-hand bookstore and paid them to take it.
And speaking of books, this summer, like last summer, I found myself nearly needing to take out a second mortgage or at the very least, offer to barter my spleen for books to the fine folks at my local Borders because I was reading about a book every two days (what? What do you think I’m doing when I’m sunning on the beach or at the pool?). Add that up and that’s quite a nice monthly chunk of change! The public library you say? Well that just requires too much effort (although I do drive by it probably 3 times daily) and what if I go to all that effort and they don’t have my book? Then I’ll just be irritated so no thanks.
So my solution to my summer book obsession was to start picking up my needlepoint again (but don’t worry, you know me, I’m still reading). Now, in the past, I’ve only used numbered graphs and charts which told me what colors to buy of what type of thread and how much of each color at that. But after seeing Lisagh’s great designs, I was determined to sink my teeth into my needlework again.
First project? A needlepoint belt for Mr. Monogram for football season. I have to admit, this is riddled with mistakes as I was so intent on finishing I got a bit careless in a few places. And it certainly didn’t help that since my canvas wasn’t printed, my counting for the first repeat was sooooooo off I had to rip out the thread 3 different times! Grrrrrrrrrr. Anyway, it turned out pretty good, and it’s now off being finished. I’ll post the completely finished result when I get it back (hopefully any day now!).
But my second project was really more of an experiment, and that’s what I wanted to lay out for you here at Monogram Momma’s. A needlepoint dog collar for your own preppy puppy (or kitty?) that won’t leave you breaking the bank to have it finished.
Admitedly, since this was an “experiment” I wanted to test this out on a little neck instead of preppy puppy’s large neck. Lordy knows I did not want to take a month to work on this little project and my idea not work out and have to throw it away. So I chose my favorite personal shopper’s little pooch to be my guinea pig. He has quite the discriminating taste, after all, as you can see here from his photo with his carefully chosen sombrero.
You Will Need
-18 count needlepoint canvas project
- Inexpensive dog collar with plastic clasp & D ring on it (cut the collar so you can take the pieces you need: the 2 part clasp and the D ring.)
-grosgrain ribbon the width of your collar
-Clear nail polish
Now, I’m going to assume here, that you know how to needlepoint so I don’t have to tell you the basics. If you don’t, and you want to learn, then go to Lisagh’s where she painstakingly laid it all out for you. I couldn’t even attempt to go into the detail as she has and she makes it super simple to understand. Her tutorial is an excellent teaching tool.
Determining Your Width If you have a small dog who wears a narrow collar, then you want to make your collar approx ½” wide, finished. That equates to 11 rows. I stitch 3 rows above, and 3 rows below in my solid background color though, for when I fold it over. If you happen to have a big dog like preppy puppy, then you want to make the width approx 1” wide finished, the same as a belt. That equates to 22 rows. Again, don’t forget to allow for your 3 extra rows on top and below your collar for folding it over. So in actuality, for a small dog’s collar, you need 11 rows of design/pattern + 6 rows of solid (3 top, 3 bottom). And for a big dog’s collar, you need to stitch 22 rows of design/pattern + 6 rows of solid (3 top, 3 bottom).
Determining Your Length In the case of length for this project, it’s always better to have too much than not enough. I messed this up with Senõr Baci’s collar and had to add some length on the end. What you want to do is measure the length of your dog’s current collar, and that will be the length of your design. Then what you want to do is add approximately 3-4” on each side (to the left and right of the finished design) of your solid background color. The reason you need that extra length is because you are going to have to feed each piece of the buckle/clasp onto each end. Therefore it has to be long enough to be fed through there, then folded over the back and sewn on tightly.
The Design I have one of those school composition notebooks that is filled with graph paper, and that is what I use to play around with different designs. I then use a scrap piece of canvas and stitch the design I’ve created in whatever colors I happen to have on hand, to see if I like it. Once I’m happy with my design, then I stitch the whole canvas.
Finishing the Canvas Once I’m done stitching the entire dog collar, including my extra rows, I cut off the extra canvas surrounding my collar, then fold both the top and bottom extra rows, towards the back of the canvas, and iron them. Do the same for the ends of the dog collar also.
Adding the Ribbon Since my finished dog collar width is ½” in this case, I bought coordinating ½” grosgrain ribbon to finish the collar with. I cut it slightly longer than my dog collar, then put some clear nail polish on the cut ends (TIP: Clear nail polish is the best product to help prevent ribbon from fraying). I folded the ends under the ribbon, and then just did a quick stitch on each end so my ribbon was then the length of my dog collar and I wouldn’t have to worry about yucky frayed ends. Now just sew the ribbon to the back of the completed collar using clear thread, so it doesn’t show up on your needlepoint and your project looks nice and neat.
Attaching the Buckle/Clasp With your grosgrain ribbon now neatly sewn to the backside of your canvas, you are ready to feed the canvas through the buckle. This part is really self explanatory, but here’s what you do just in case. Feed one end of your finished canvas through the slot on one piece of the buckle. Turn your collar over, then sew very well (do a square box repeatedly, then go through the box diagonally with your machine), the front side of the collar to the back so the buckle piece is securely attached (sorry, this is hard to explain but easy to figure out. See pictures). Then do the same for the other side of the finished collar with the other piece of the buckle/clasp. On that side, however, don’t forget to add on your D ring so you can attach your leash and dog tags.
Once you’ve attached those pieces and sewn them on securely, your collar is all done. This is such a simple project, and for those of you who aren’t into needlepoint or any type of needlework, don’t be scared to give it a try. It is SUCH a portable and simple hobby, something you can do during your lunch break, on the train, the carpool pick up line (yes, that would be me), and even just relaxing at home and watching tv. I have all my things in a little canvas tote and it pretty much goes everywhere with me. Try it! You might really like it! And if nothing else, your own preppy puppy will thank you for looking so stylish in his/her new collar and isn’t that worth the effort? I should say so!