Wednesday 18 October 2006

Pattern for small dolls

I've finally written up a pattern for these dolls - and made quite a few to check it. I hope everything makes sense!
Instructions are for knitting in the round with a single circular needle doubled up (the ‘magic loop’ technique). The doll’s body is cast on using the Turkish Cast-on. Other techniques used are i-cord, Kitchener stitch, and grafting.
The dolls are knitted with double-knitting weight yarn; I've used wool, cotton and acrylic. 2.5mm to 3mm needles should give the right gauge - firm and not too stretchy. One size down from the manufacturer's smallest recommended size should be about right. If using a combination of thicker and thinner yarn, favour the thinner yarn.
Cast on 40 sts, 20 sts per needle, using darker colour.
Knit 26 rounds.
The cast-on tail will be on the left-hand side of your knitting at the beginning of a round.
Break off yarn, and join lighter colour for "face".
Knit 20 rounds. Break off yarn and join darker colour.
Front and back of doll will be worked separately from here, working back and forth instead of in rounds. This is the "hat" part of the doll, and these instructions are for the "spike on head" version. Instructions for the other variations are below.
1st row: knit.
2nd row: purl.
3rd row: ssk, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog.
4th row: purl.
5th row: slipping first st, cast off 2 sts. Knit to end.
6th row: slipping first st, cast off 2 sts purlwise. Purl to end.
7th row: as 5th
8th row: as 6th
9th row: slipping first st, cast off 3 sts. Knit to end.
10th row: slipping first st, cast off 3 sts purlwise. Purl to end.
Cast off remaining 4 sts.
With right side of knitting facing, join darker yarn and knit as for back until 4 sts remain.
Next row: k1, k2tog, k1.
Switch to 2 dpns, and knit 4 rows i-cord.
Next row: sl1, k2tog, psso. Bind off.
Using crochet hook and lighter colour, pull the end of the yarn through from the outside to the inside, at a corner. Secure on the inside.
Using circular needle, pick up 9 stitches along the bottom fold, starting at the corner and picking up through the bar between stitches.
Slide needle through these stitches so that they hang on the cable, and turn work. Pick up 9 stitches, working in the opposite direction, using the row just below the one previously used.
Knit 16 rounds.
Cast off all stitches, leaving a 10 cm tail.
Repeat for other leg, starting from the opposite corner.
Find edge stitch at the top edge of the body (darker colour). Using crochet hook and lighter colour, pull the end of the yarn through from the outside to the inside at this point. Secure on the inside.
Using circular needle, pick up 9 stitches down the side of the body, using the loops of one side of a column of stitches. Pull the needle through these stitches so that they hang on the cable, and turn work. Pick up 9 stitches along the other side of the stitches previously used.
Knit 9 rounds.
Cast off all stitches, leaving a 10 cm tail.
Repeat on the opposite side of the body for the other arm.
Stripey variation:
Cast on with background (face) colour, knit 5 rounds.
Join contrast colour, without breaking off first colour.
Knit alternating bands of colour of 4 rounds each, for 20 rounds, ending with a round of the contrast colour. Break off contrast colour and continue with starting colour.
Knit 20 rounds.
Some options at this point are to continue with this colour; to break off this colour and join the contrast colour; or to join the contrast colour without breaking off the initial colour, and work in stripes.
Limbs can be knitted in the starting colour or the contrast colour. Arms are picked up from the top of the second-last band of colour, not from the border between the face and the body.
Lengths for limbs:
Legs – 19 rounds
Arms – 11 rounds
Head shape variations: (instructions start after the 20 rows of the face have been completed)
Pointy ears:
Knit 4 rounds.
Next round: k7, cast off next 6 sts, k13, cast off next 6 sts, k6. Adjust loops of circular needle so that stitches for one ear are all hanging together on the cable while the others are all together on a needle.
Next row: k7, turn.
Work back and forth.
Next row: p14
Next row: ssk, k to last 2 sts, k2tog.
Next row: purl
Repeat these last 2 rounds until 4 sts remain.
Next row: (RS) ssk, k2tog, pass 1st st over 2nd. Bind off, leaving long tail.
Rejoin yarn to remaining 14 sts with RS facing, k14. Turn, p14. Decrease as for first ear.
Pointy bits:
Each point is worked separately, as follows:
*k5, turn, p5, turn, ssk, k1, k2tog, turn, P3, turn, sl1, k2tog, psso, bind off.*
Rejoin yarn. Repeat from * to * until all stitches have been worked.
Making up:Embroider face and any other decorations.
Stuff doll, but not so firmly that the stuffing starts showing through the knitted fabric.
Sew up top of head using Kitchener stitch.
Stuff and make up each limb separately: stuff until stuffing reaches top of tube, not too firmly. With 2mm or similar gauge dpns at the ready, undo the cast-off row, picking the live stitches up on the dpns, 9 per needle. Using the long tail left, graft the two sides of the tube together.
Alternatively, the cast-off edges can be Kitchener stitched together, but care has to be taken with the corners.
© Jesse Breytenbach 2006
For private, non-profit use only
I'll happily answer any questions via email (; every query helps me make the pattern better. And don't forget that for techniques like Turkish Cast-on and Magic Loop Google is your best friend!
I'd also love to see photos of any dolls made from this pattern, so email me if you finish one.


Anonymous said...

Those are really cute.
Thanks for the pattern. I printed it out so I can keep it in my knit pattern stash.

Morbidknits (

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Jezze, much appreciated.

Curlyredheadgirl said...

Tooo cute!!! I will add these to my list of MUST make!! What a great way to use up some stash! I really appreciate you sharing this - and oh - I love your jester also!! Cute stuff!

Anonymous said...

omg i must make the one with the icord on the head and the heart duplicate stitched on his chest. it would be perfect for my friend, who is an art major and often draws cartoon characters that look like ur dolls. thank u for the pattern!!

ax174 said...

I love the one with the three spikes on its head. Thanks for the pattern!

Carson said...

i came to your blog via heather those dolls.
like all the other posters i'm putting that pattern in the 'must knit' list (xmas pressies?)

Tanya said...

I just came over via craft mag and I love these dolls! They are so adorable. Thanks for the pattern. Much appreciated. Are you planning to start some sort of gallery of completed ones? I would love to see what others do with this pattern.

Jesse said...

Great idea! I've edited the post to solicit photos of dolls; I'll certainly show them off!

Anonymous said...

I love these dolls and want to make one...or more. But my simplistic mind has a bit of trouble understanding the pointy ears part. It starts w "knit 4 rows" but as far as I can tell by reading the pattern, there aren't any live stitches at the head (if the Turkish cast on is used). What am I missing?

Jesse said...

Hi! I apologise for the haphazard way the pattern is written. I'm still learing about pattern writing, and tried to include all the variations in one pattern, which doesn't help with clarity.

The instructions for the pointy ears start at the top of the "face", so you have all the stitches you initially cast on at the bottom of the body. In following the main part of the pattern, jump to the instructions for the pointy ears when the face is finished.

I hope I understood your question correctly. Please feel free to email me if you need any more explanation; my email address is in the sidebar at the top of my blogpage. I can also email you a chart of the doll pattern if that will help - sometimes it makes more sense if you can see the overall shape.

WonderMike said...

Thanks so much for posting this!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pattern! I've made a few and I'm sure there will be more in the future.

Autumn said...

Love these! I'm going to link them to my blog so that I can find them to knit later.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I've been waiting for this to be posted in English - THANK YOU!!!

Susan said...

These are just lovely and fun too. Great colours. Thanks for sharing the pattern. Someone posted a link on Ravelry - that's how I found you.

Nadine Fawell said...

Hey Jesse!
These are SO COOL! Clever you!
I am currently knitting loads of toys for charity (an AIDS orphanage) and I am going to use this fab pattern...

Lilting said...

Is there a way to knit this flat?

I'm absolutely horrid at knitting in the round.

I've tried to do this pattern about eight times, and each time I've had to frog the thing because I botch it so bad. :/

In any case, I love this pattern.

Thanks so much for posting it :] <3

Jesse said...

You can knit them flat; just halve the number of stitches you cast on and then knit the front and then the back, sew them together, and then do the limbs (which can also be knitted flat and separately, and sewn up). The tops of the heads are knitted separately for front and back as it is. I've done it the way it's written to save on sewing up time, that's all.

Do email me if you need more info or any help! (I couldn't find an email address for you as your blogger profile isn't displayed.)

Anonymous said...

i'm Hiengel and i'm doing one of this dolls
but i don't understend the part of the head, becouse i dont speak english, i'm from Chile, so, i wonder if you can help me whit the abreviation and others.

thanks :)

Jesse said...

Hi Hiengel

I can try to help! Email me (my address is in the sidebar) and let me know where you're getting stuck.

Make handmade said...

Love it. Thanks for sharing