Knitted Animal Patterns

Add some knitted animals to the farm scene in your preschooler's imaginative play area!

This webpage is devoted completely to helping you locate a pattern for any animal you wish to knit. If you have recommendations or ideas to share, please contact us. Suggestions of free patterns are especially welcome, also book or website links. Thank you!

Knitted animal kits can be purchased from Magic Cabin:

The Easter Craft Book by Thomas and Petra Berger has directions for a knitted hare (page 47) which is constructed out of a 5 inch square piece of k1, p1 and two small ears -- very easy and quick, good for the beginning knitter. They also have a simple knitted chicken pattern (page 48) which is made of a small square of knit stitch, even easier!

The Children's Year: Crafts and clothes for children and parents to make by Stephanie Cooper, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling has a pattern for a duck and ducklings (page 30) and a knitted Easter chicken (page 31); also a chicken and cockerel (page 32). There are directions for a pig (page 94) and a cat (page 95).

All Year Round by Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling also has several knitting patterns. There's the hare on page 58, the cockerel, hen and chick set (page 59), and the sheep on page 215.

Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke is a goldmine. There's a complete section of the book devoted to knitted animals. Try the sheep (page 111), the horse (page 112), the donkey (page 114) and the hens and rooster (page 116). There's also the cat (page 117), the pigs (page 118) and the piglets (page 119). She also gives two different duck patterns: ducks I and ducks II (both on page 120). These patterns are designed to be very simple and doable for elementary school children, as is common in Waldorf schools, so use these suggestions either for yourself or for your children. You can have fun making animals for the playroom together!

Zen and the Art of Knitting: Exploring the Links Between Knitting, Spirituality, and Creativity by Bernadette Murphy is a must-read for any new or experienced knitter. There's even a chapter on the role of knitting in Waldorf schools, some observations of first and fifth grade classrooms which she visited, and she describes the classic Waldorf animal pattern, which can be adjusted to be a dog, cat, lion, lamb... just about any four-legged creature. The pattern is given on page 82.

A First Book of Knitting for Children by Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton is the standard Waldorf book for teaching young children to knit. Patterns included in this book for the beginning knitter are a lamb (page 44) and a lion (page 47) -- with a wonderful curly mane! Hmm... I wonder if these are the exact animals which Bernadette Murphy saw being knitted in her Waldorf classroom visits; perhaps their teacher was using this classic book. Also, a pig (page 52), elephant (maybe not necessary in a farm scene but still...) on page 56 and horse (page 64). All of the afore-mentioned patterns use only the knit stitch. Once the purl stitch is learned, the authors tell you how to make a cat (page 78), chicken (age 80) and a mother and baby sea otter -- a very unusual pattern -- on page 83. I have heard that it is easier to learn to purl if you learn it directly after learning to knit -- in other words, having too long of a break between learning the one and learning the other means that you will always feel more comfortable with the first, and prefer it -- so you'll have to use your own judgement on this when teaching your children to knit.

Knitting for Children: A second book is the sequel to the above, and by the same authors, and contains slightly more complicated patterns such as a leaping cat (page 42) and a rabbit on page 45. (Perhaps what the cat was leaping after?) There's also a duck pattern given on page 51. Most of the patterns in this book are not for animals, in contrast to the first one.

For wonderful ideas about knitting a farmer, his wife, and their children, as well as farm buildings and a detailed farm play mat (complete with trees, flowers, and plants), see The Knitted Farmyard by Hannelore Wernhard -- now back in print! Some patterns are merely given as indications, so this book is more suitable for an intermediate or advanced knitter.

The newest in my collection is a lovely little book called Knitted Animals by Anne-Dorthe Grigaff. This book includes patterns for duck & ducklings, growly bear, sheep/lamb, teddy bear, cat, dog, squirrel, goose, hare, horse, bunny, chicks, hens, cockerel, fox, pig, piglets, dachshund, hedgehog, and mouse. The bear, squirrel, fox, and hedgehog are the most unusual patterns and make this book worth getting if you need these characters to bring a story to life (I immediately thought about The Tomten and the Fox). I really love the tone of this book. It is very warmly written (for example, patterns are titled "Cuddly cheeky dogs" or "Clip, clop, watch the jumping horse") and extremely detailed about how to assemble the projects (often the hardest part). This would be a good book for a parent with a young child, if you want to gently introduce them to the Waldorf philosophy, or as a gift for a 7 or 8 year old who you are teaching to knit. It also contains a handwork verse

    Train your hands
    Make busy your arms
    Practice the clear power of thought
    With the warm-heartedness of art
    In your hand sleeps the spirit

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