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How to Stuff and Shape a Waldorf Inspired Knitted Toy Animal, a Tutorial

I’ve had a few lovely knitters ask me to post a tutorial on how to stuff and shape my knitted toys, so I have put together a step by step tutorial with plenty of photos to guide anyone through the finishing process of making a knitted animal. This particular toy that I am working with here is my new donkey pattern, he is almost complete, I just have a few finishing touches to add.

It’s easy enough to knit up a toy, but the finishing and shaping is the most crucial part.

So here we go…

Fold the knitting right sides together and line up the legs, head, tummy etc… I use the cast off yarn to sew up with and leave a long thread when I have finished knitting.

Sew up the face to the top of the head. I don’t use a specific stitch when I sew, I just sew in and out of the knitting, I push the needle right through both of the stitches with both the loops from each stitch showing. If you don’t push the needle under both loops, then the inner loops will show on the right side of the knitting once the knitting is turned onto the right side, so try to get to both of the loops when sewing up:)

Now you will be at the top of the head, if you still have plenty of yarn left, push your needle under the stitches you have just sewn, pulling it all the way down to the muzzle where you will resume sewing again. Now sew under the chin, down the chest making sure you are sewing in and out under both loops of each stitch. This way, if your stitches are close enough, you won’t see any stuffing when your toy is complete.

Sew down the front of the chest until you are in line with the tummy line. Stop sewing and separate the legs. Each leg is sewn up individually.

The front legs have been separated, sew down the inside of the first leg and around the foot section.

If you still have plenty of yarn to work with, sew straight along the base of the foot and up the inside of the leg to where you will begin sewing up again. Now to sew up the second front leg.

Sew down the second front leg and under the foot. Pull your needle and yarn through your sewn stitches, back to the top of the legs. Now sew up the tummy area, in and out like previously. When you get to the legs stop sewing and separate the back legs.

The first back leg, I have sewn from the base up to the top of the leg. Line the legs up nicely or they will appear twisted. Sew under the base of the foot and up the one leg to the top.

Once at the top of the first leg, sew down the inside of the second leg and under the foot. In the photo, you will see an opening that has been left at the back of the toy, this is for stuffing. Finish off the foot section.

Turn the toy onto the right side through the opening at the back and if you find it difficult to pull the legs out onto the right side, just use a thick sewing needle to pull them out with.

The donkey with the right side showing.

I use a similar colour of fleece when stuffing my knitted toy animals to ensure that the stuffing doesn’t show through the knitting. It doesn’t unless the yarn is very dark, then some light fleeces might show through, so a darker coloured stuffing is a good idea in that instance.

Start off by pushing small pieces of fleece into the head  and then the neck, use the point of a needle to push it into all areas.

Push the stuffing down to the base of the legs using the back of a needle or pencil. Make sure the legs are firm, this is very important, otherwise your toy won’t stand. The area at the top of the legs where they join to the body needs to be firm. After you have stuffed the legs and body, take the pointed end of a needle and move the stuffing around until you feel that the toy is exceptionally firm and will be able to stand.

Make sure the rump area is full and rises above the shoulders of the animal so that there is a nice balance between the hindquarters and withers. Move the fleece around with the needle point untill it has been distributed nicely.

Add more stuffing before you sew the opening closed at the back. When you are happy with the amount of stuffing in the toy, sew the opening closed.

The firmly stuffed donkey, standing nicely on all four legs, with raised hindquarters and neck.

This donkey has not been stuffed sufficiently and is sloping downwards by his back legs, more stuffing and shaping is needed.

This photo shows that the back legs don’t have enough stuffing, this will make the toy sit down. More stuffing needs to be pushed into the legs especially at the top.

You would usually use two hands to do this but I am holding a camera so I am using one hand. Finish the shaping by pushing down into the middle of the back so that there is a nice depression there and then the hindquarters will rise up at the rear.

And here is the almost completed knitted toy donkey. I still have to knit his ears and finish his mane and tail but this tutorial just shows you how to stuff and shape the animal.

Wishing you a wonderful week:)


Royal Purple Cowl and Yarn Along


I have knitted and finished the cowl just in time for my friend Joan’s birthday today!! I am so happy, I started it on Sunday, frogged some of it on Monday and then continued with two yarns instead of one. This is a luxurious cowl that I have knitted with Merino and kid Mohair. It is very soft indeed. This lighter colour actually has hints on purple in it and purple is Joan’s favourite colour. I really enjoy giving handmade presents to my friends, it’s lovely to knit a gift with someone in mind.

If you would like to knit a cowl too here is the pattern:


The pattern is knitted in multiples of two, so if you would like to make it smaller or bigger as long as you have an even amount of stitches you will be fine.

The pattern is repeated twice for each colourway, until you have 5 stripes of colour, this will total 10 pattern repeats altogether.


50 grams of DK purple yarn

50 grams of DK Kid Mohair yarn

5mm circular needles

6mm needle for a loose cast off

sewing needle

stitch marker


In the Merino yarn, cast on 200 stitches and join for knitting in the round, place your stitch marker.

Round 1: Knit

Round 2: Purl

Round 3: (Make one (take yarn around the needle), purl 2 together) across the round.

Round 4: (Make one (take yarn around the needle), purl 2 together) across the round.

Repeat the above pattern again in the same yarn.

Change to the Kid Mohair and knit 2 pattern repeats.

Remember to carry the different yarns up the inside of the knitting while alternating the colours so that you won’t need to join the yarn each time.

Continue alternating the different yarns after 2 repeats of the pattern until you have 5 colour bands or continue if you wish:)

Cast off with a 6mm knitting needle for a loose bind off.

Sew in all the ends

You are finished!

Thank you to my lovely Erin for modelling the cowl today.

Joining with Ginny today for the Yarn Along.


A Little Knitted Snowman Pattern for Christmas

Today started off at 6:30am, Kye was ready to get up and so our day began. I gave him breakfast, (everyone else slept until much later) fed the chickens who were waiting at the front door and loaded the dishwasher. I wanted to knit a small project today and so I decided on a teeny snowman as a hanging ornament for the Christmas tree. He is about 2.5 inches altogether and then there is the little loop to hang him with which isn’t included in that measurement.

I still can’t get over the fact that Christmas is going to be here so soon! It’s like this whole year has just sped by at warp speed and then it will be 2013!

Every morning I check the newspaper to see what’s been happening over in the US, the photos are grim, so much water and flooding, my heart really goes out to everyone who is there experiencing this catastrophe.

I have a little pattern to share today, a small knitted snowman, he is perfect for hanging on your tree, or as a gift tag or place tag for the table etc…

Abbreviations: kfb: knit into the front and back of a stitch to increase.


3.5 mm circular needles

dk beige yarn

dk red yarn for the scart

dk black yar for the hat

black fleece for the eyes

orange fleece for the carrot nose

felting needle

sewing needle

fleece for stuffing

Pattern for the Snowman:

With 3.5mm circular needles cast on 6 stitches and join for knitting in the round.

Round 1: Knit

Round 2: Kfb into each stitch (12 stitches)

Round 3: Knit

Round 4: Kfb into each stitch (24 stitches)

Rounds 5-9: Knit

Round 10: (Knit 2 stitches together) across the round. (12 stitches)

Round 11: Knit

Round 12: (Knit1, knit 2 together) across the round. (8 stitches)

Round 13: Kfb into each stitch across the round (16 stitches)

Start putting your stuffing into the snowman, make sure he is firmly stuffed.

Rounds 14-15: Knit

Round 16: (Knit 2 together) across the round (8 stitches)

Round 17: Knit

Stuff the head firmly, break the yarn and thread it onto your sewing needle. Thread the needle through the stitches, stuff the head more until it is full of stuffing and then pull the yarn tightly and finish off.

Snowman’s Hat:

Cast on 10 stitches with black dk yarn and 3.5 mm circular needles.

Rounds 1-4: Knit

Round 5: (Knit 2 together) across the round (5 stitches)

Round 6: Knit

Round 7: Knit 2 together, knit 1, knit 2 together (3 stitches)

Cut yarn, thread yarn onto the needle, thread the needle through the remaining stitches and pull tight, finish off.


Sew the hat onto the top of the snowman’s head and add a loop at the top of his hat.

Needle felt on two little black eyes and an orange carrot nose.


The scarf is knitted as an i-cord. Cast on 2 stitches with double pointed needles and knit until your scarf is about  4 inches long, mabey shorter.

Bind off, sew in the ends.

Sew the scarf onto the snowman.

Sew in all ends:)

Happy knitting! 🙂


Tie Dyeing T-Shirts with my Children

We have been having great fun tie dyeing T-shirts and experimenting with dyes.  First we dyed with a solid colour using a pot with the boil and simmer method, then we decided to try a hand-painting method which I prefer.

This is what we did:

– We soaked our white t-shirts in a bucket of vinegar water, (a couple of litres of water and I added a cup of vinegar). I let that soak for about half an hour. The vinegar makes the dye take to the fabric like it does with yarn.


The shirts were placed flat on a counter top surface and marbles were held at the back of the shirts and pushed upwards, an elastic band was then placed around each marble. The elastics were very tight to keep out the colour and keep the whiteness of the fabric.

The dyes were mixed into rainbow colours, these are earth friendly dyes.

Then each colour was hand-painted or squeezed out onto each little bauble so that we would have circles of colour afterwards. This was so exciting, really, like digging up a potato plant and discovering plenty of delicious potatoes under the ground, like precious gifts!

Kye had SO much fun doing this!

Oh yes, don’t forget to put plenty of plastic down on your counter tops so that the dye doesn’t go anywhere it shouldn’t. I used bin bags and then just washed them afterwards.

Once all the colours had been added, I really wanted to put the shirts into our solar cooker outside in the sun but we had rain that day so each shirt was wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a sieve over a pot of boiling water with the lid on to boil for 20 minutes, this seals the colour. I have separate pots, sieves and everything for my dyeing work.

Then I removed the pots from the stove, allowed the plastic wrap to cool and when the shirt was cooler, rinsed it in cool water to let any excess dye run out.

This was one of the most enjoyable crafting activities we have ever done:)

This is Jenna’s T-shirt.



Happy Monday and have a lovely week.

PS for everyone who very kindly offered to test knit my Camel pattern, a thread has been started over on my Mamma4earth Ravelry group where you can also read the test knit requirements and take part in the discussions.

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