So many free toy animal knitting patterns, so little time. This list includes both wild and domestic animals.
This is a long compilation, so I added a Table of Contents. Skip to the sections you are looking for.
Why Compile Toy Animal Knitting Patterns?
Knitted toy animals make great gifts especially for non-knitters than socks, sweaters or scarves. You don’t have to worry about their sizes and their fashion preferences. And all kids love toy animals.
Knitted toys usually feature various types of techniques for shaping such as short rows, increasing and decreasing, and because knitted toys are small projects, they are a great way to pick up these techniques without committing to a large project like a sweater, cardigan and more.
The smaller-sized toy animals are great yarn busters as they often need only 50 yards or less. They are also quicker to finish. Lastly, most toy animals do not require blocking. Yay!
There are quite a lot of free toy animal knitting patterns out there to try. I picked those I think are fairly well thought out, have interesting constructions or offer new techniques.
Toy Animal Knitting Tips
To knit toy animals, you really need to know how to knit in the round. Most animals either have a round body or designers will design a cute round body for it. Limbs are almost always knit in the round. Knitting all the tiny pieces flat and then seaming them up is too tedious to be enjoyable.
Be bold with facial expressions. Decide and practise how you want to do eyes, nose, mouth because the instructions in the pattern are usually not that clear unless they are buttons, plastic eyes or noses or cut-out felt shapes.
For toys meant for young children, choking is a major concern so make sure the items you choose to use are safe for kids. Embroidered faces are the safest. Here is a blog post by Simply Notables on creating eyes and noses using needle felting and embroidery.
Toy animals can be either realistic or cute. A good example is the 2 octopus patterns on my list. One is uber realistic while the other is cute and cuddly.
I have a preference for whimsical design and Janice’s chicken fit the bill. They will definitely catch some eyeballs sitting on your shelves. The free web-based pattern is available at https://www.laughinghens.com.
Spud and Chloe’s Flamingo
This pink flamingo has an added bouncy ball inside so it will bounce when you throw it. Gives the body a nice round shape too. You will need to know how to do a picot binding or at least be willing to learn it. The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com.
I thought this goose pattern is really realistic. The shaping is really good. The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/
Robins seem like a sign for Spring in the temperate regions. Our tropical birds are always with us.
This pattern contain instructions for an adult, babies and a nest. The adult is knitted in the round. The wings are knitted separately and sewn onto the body. Dimensions is about 8 inches long, and 2 1/2 inches wide. The free downloadable PDF is available at Lovecrafts.com/
The designer, Sara Elizabeth Kellner, has designed quite a large collection of small animals and accessories.
This pattern will make a 4-inch tall red-breasted robin. There is also a pattern for a crochet version. The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.yarn.com.
Jiji The Cat
Jiji the black cat is the companion of Kiki, the girl who deliver parcels by flying on a broomstick. Both characters are from a Japanese animation movie called “Kiki’s Delivery Service” from Studio Ghibli. This pattern doesn’t have limbs but is still very cat-like. Watch some of Jiji’s sassy moves in the movie.
The free web-based pattern is available at http://sincerelylouise.blogspot.sg
This is a big kitty at 41 cm tall. Legs, body, and head are knitted in 2 pieces: front and back. The arms, ears, and tail are knitted separately and then attached. The free web-based pattern is available at http://justjen-knitsandstitches.blogspot.sg
Kate The Cat
Kate’s body and arm are knitted in one piece. The head is one colour and the body has 2 colours. This means that you will need to prepare 3 balls of yarn. Legs, arms, and ears are made separately and attached to the body. The free web-based pattern is available at http://www.knitty.com
The designer Sara captures a very typical habit of a kitty cat. Sitting with paws and legs under the body and tail curled and wrapped around the body. Just looking at it is relaxing. And it is knitted in the round in one piece from head to tail. Minimum sewing and making up. How cute the cat turns out is determined by how well you can make up the face. The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com
Nameless is made up of several garter stitch rectangles and squares. It is easy to put it together with a bit of sewing. What a great cuddly toy for a small child it makes. The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/
Jake The Dog
Are you a fan of Adventure Time? Then you must try this pattern by Lizzard. Fin is available too. The free web-based pattern is available at http://lizzardcrafts.blogspot.sg
This pug is so cute. But fair warning, there are 9 parts to sew together. But if you love the storybook “Pugs of the Frozen North“, then you gotta have this pug. The free web-based pattern is available at http://www.jabberworks.co.uk/pugs-of-the-frozen-north/
This knitting pattern uses techniques including stranded colourwork, increases, decreases and seaming. The stranded colourwork is not too complicated. It is made up of quite a few parts though and requires sewing up. The free web pattern is available at https://www.gathered.how/
With 2 gleaming white tusks and flared ears, Sarah’s elephant reminds me of Babar The Elephant. Different parts of the body are knitted separately and then assembled. This gives the elephant a more realistic shape. The free pattern is available at http://www.womansday.com/
Babar the Elephant
I mentioned that Sarah’s knitted elephant reminded me of Babar. Here is a pattern for an 11 inch Babar. The pattern includes Babar, his green suit, a bowler hat, his King’s cape and crown. Very cool! The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com
Marisol The Knitted Mouse
Marisol has such a sweet round face and a long pink tail. It looks best with grey yarn for the body and head and pink yarn for ears and tail. Too cute. The free PDF pattern is available at http://www.ravelry.com
She reminds me of Celestine from “Ernest and Celestine“. A storybook by Gabrielle Vincent that had been turned into an animated film by Benjamin Renner. See the trailer here –
Knit this big sweet country mouse for a child that loves to cuddle. There are quite a few pieces to knit up but since it is a big toy, hopefully, it isn’t too fiddly to handle. The free pattern is available at https://www.yarnspirations.com/
Stilton the Mouse
Who can resist a cuddly mouse? You need to know how to knit in the round because all the limbs and body parts are knitted in the round. The pattern is available at https://www.loveknitting.com/
The MOST realistic octopus I have ever seen! Cate uses plastic eyes and created eyelids which really add something different to the octopus. I don’t think this is something a kid would like. More for an adult who is into octopus. The free web-based pattern is available at http://www.knitty.com/
Unlike Cate’s ultra-realistic octopus, Purl Soho’s is a cute one in warm white. The tentacles feature an interesting stitch pattern. You must be comfortable knitting in the round using double-pointed needles, magic loop or 2 circular needles because there is quite a bit of that going on.
Purl Soho has very clear instructions on how to connect the tentacles to the body so it is a good project to learn how to do assembly. The free web-based pattern is available at http://www.purlsoho.com/
I am not sure why but there are a lot of free owl knitting patterns. Some are really good and I think it is a perfect project for someone learning to knit in the round.
Little Black Owl
This cute little owl is basically a knitted ball with felt circles and black buttons as eyes. It is really quite straightforward if you already know how to knit in the round and do increases and decreases. This free web-based pattern is available at http://www.justcraftyenough.com/
Amanda’s Stuffy Owl
Knit in one piece. The eyes and beak are added after knitting using duplicate stitch. No tricky colourwork here although the chart is given if you want to try that. The project is knitted flat and the pieces are sewn together. This free PDF pattern is available at http://www.loveknitting.com/
Purl Soho’s Big Snowy Owl
When Purl Soho called this big, they meant it. This is a humongous project, as big as an adult cat. It requires Super Bulky yarn and US size 15 needles. I tried knitting this with a worsted weight yarn. It still works.
I like the fat diamond stitch pattern on the body. It breaks up the monotony of knitting stockinette in the round. This free web-based pattern is available at http://www.purlsoho.com/
Cordell The Owl
Cordell is a silly looking owl. Knit in the round from bottom to head and is about 11 cm high. The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/
Rabbit and Bear
The pattern consists of a rabbit and bear plus 5 clothing items. This free pdf pattern is available at https://bysmallmeans.files.wordpress.com/
Another soft cuddly toy for lots of love and hugs. This free PDF pattern is available at http://www.yarnplaza.com/
Henry’s bunny is created using short rows to shape the body, head and ears. The ears are tricky which is why designer took pictures and with step-by-step instructions. The model bunny is not very big, the size of a palm but I think it could be made larger by using bulky yarn and bigger needles. This pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/
Henry bunny and Henry Rabbit are designed by the same designer. But Henry’s rabbit is about 12 inches long and 6 inches tall.
Besides their size differences, their construction cannot be more different too. All the pieces of this knitted rabbit are knitted in the round so there are minimal sewing up. The eyes, nose and whiskers can either be embroidered or sewn in buttons or felt pieces depending on the recipient. The free pattern is available at http://www.ravelry.com/
Fuzzy mitten lamb
Designed by Barbara Prime. Softies are good for any age but Fuzzy Lamb is a nice size for a toddler. According to Barbara, the gauge is not so important. If a heavier weight is used, the toy will be bigger. Parts include a head, a body, a tail, a pair of legs, arms, and ears. All body parts are knitted flat, seamed up and stuffed. Each part is then attached to the body accordingly. Seems like a lot of making up work but I do like the end product.
The type of yarn you use will determine the look. Use yarn with fuzz for the body and non-fuzz for the face will make the facial feature more prominent. The designer is generous, you can make this toy lamb to sell but not for mass production. Skills needed: stockinette and garter stitch, increases, decreases and sewing up seams.
Sheepy the Sheep
This sheep has an interesting construction technique. The “skeleton” is made up of pipe cleaners. Stuffing is wrapped around the limbs and head before the knitting even started.
The fluffy body is made up of a knitted square. The original knit texture is basketweave but the designer encouraged experimentation. I can see knitting this in brioche stitch. The free web-based pattern is available at https://theknitguru.com/
Knitted Wild Animals
For Gabrielle’s first attempt, this cute armadillo pattern is actually quite good. There are a couple of pieces but the making up is quite straightforward. The free PDF pattern is available at http://www.ravelry.com/
This knitted beaver is about 16 inches long complete with a big flat tail. Don’t you just like its big fat butt? The free PDF pattern is available at http://www.ravelry.com/
Purl Soho’s Knitted Hedgehogs
This hedgehog has a really sweet face. It doesn’t come with feet so if you think your hedgehog needs some, knit some of your own. The free web-based pattern is available at http://www.purlsoho.com/
The designer, Malissa Ackerman Lightfoot, wanted to knit a hippo without sewing. Hipponymous is the result. It is nearly seamless, blame the ears. The shapely hippo is created using short rows. I envy designers who can create shapes with short rows. I am not there yet.
The free PDF pattern is available at www.ravelry.com. It includes several variations for personal customization. It lacks progress pictures though so knitters need to read the pattern and visualize the work.
Sheldon the Turtle
Sheldon is cute but also practical. His shell can be removed to be washed separately. Knit up additional shells in different colours for Sheldon to change into. What a great idea! The free web-based pattern is available at http://www.knitty.com/
Bernat’s Knit Zebra
These knit zebras are uber cute and cuddly. The narrow stripes are made by changing colours every 2 rows while knitting in the round. The free PDF pattern is available at https://www.yarnspirations.com/
The video tutorial helps with some tips and tricks to make your knitting neater and easier.