A recent book project I worked on, Cool Knitting (Australia)/Cute Knitted Toys (International) , features 20 patterns based off two simple shapes – all of which are knitted in the round using four double-pointed needles.
I love knitting in the round and chose this method as it means no sewing up pieces afterwards or worrying about tension or pieces lining up.
I know that this method can be intimidating and challenging for new knitters – so I’ve developed this basic pattern that can be used with the more familiar method of two needles : ) This basic body can be used to create the body for:
Or you can use this as a canvas to create your own toy by playing around with the colours and adding simple pieces such as pom poms, squares or circles.
All the instructions are below or
2x 4mm needles
100g 8-ply wool for main colour
50g 8-ply wool for contrasting colour
50g stuffing of choice (for example, acrylic or polyester)
Yarn (wool) needle
Cast on 2 sts with contrast (C) wool
Beginning with K stitch inc 1 both stitches (4 sts)
P 1 row
K 1 inc 1 k 1 inc 1 (6 sts)
P 1 row
K 2 inc 1 k 2 inc 1 (8 sts)
P 1 row
K 3 inc 1 k 3 inc 1 (10 sts)
P 1 row
K 4 inc 1 k 4 inc 1 (12 sts)
P 1 row
Switch to main wool
Work 24 rows stocking stitch (alternating k and p rows) beginning with a p row
Repeat this four times and set these pieces aside. These will be sewn together and then to the body to become the arms.
Start with knitting a leg – this is the exact same process as knitting an arm, but once you reach the 24th row place these stitches on a holder.
Repeat this process once again to create the second leg – but leave the stitches on the needle after completing the 24th row.
Now return to the leg piece that is on your stitch holder. Take these stitches and place them on the same needle as the second leg so that they are side-by-side, ensuring that both have the right side (knit stitch) facing in the same direction.
There are now 24 stitches across one needle.
Work 64 rows stocking stitch (alternating k and p rows) beginning with a p row. This creates the base of the entire body.
Begin decrease to form the top of the head
P 1 row
Next row: K4, k2 tog, repeat until the end of the row, 20 stitches
K3, k2 tog, repeat until the end of the row, 16 stitches
K2, k2 tog, repeat until the end of the row, 12 stitches
K1, k2 tog, repeat until the end of the row, 8 stitches
K2 tog for entire row, 4 stitches
Cast off loosely.
You have now finished one half of the body.
Repeat this entire process to make the second half of the body.
Press all pieces lightly with an iron set to wool setting or at ¾ of maximum heat.
Line up all pieces as pictured – ensure that the right side (knit stitch side) is facing outwards for both sides.
Using the mattress stitch technique, sew the sides of the first arm together, leaving the top open. Stuff with acrylic or polyester stuffing, leaving about 1cm free at the top. Sew the top together. Repeat this process for the second arm.
Now repeat this same process with the body – before you close it up leave around 6cm open so that you can stuff the body full and then sew closed the remaining space.
Line up the arms on the sides of the body, around 32 rows from the top of the head. Sew them on securely.
You can hide all your loose wool ends inside the body – simply thread them with a yarn needle , poke them inside the body and out the opposite side, pull tightly, cut and then let the yarn end snap back inside of the body.
Now you have a canvas to make your toy!
I turned this body into a polar bear by adding pom pom ears, a square nose and sewing on eyes and a bear smile.