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How to Knit a Robin Doll (With Pattern)

I have been knitting for over 50 years and love to share this wonderful, relaxing and therapeutic craft with others.

Photo 1. My completed knitted robin doll.

Photo 1. My completed knitted robin doll.

Handmade Is Best

Handmade gifts are the best, don't you think? They show that someone has thought about you and spent precious time, love and skill in making you a gift.

This pattern is a knitted robin, but the colours can easily be changed to make a cardinal. I am using text, photos and videos for this tutorial. I am laying the pattern out one part at a time with the relevant photos under each section.

My knitted dolls make ideal gifts, decorations, desk mascots and much more.

Materials You'll Need

  • Approx. 25 g medium brown chunky knit yarn (Yarn A)
  • Small amount of bright red chunky knit yarn (Yarn B)
  • Small amount of black chunky knit yarn
  • Small amount of dark orange chunky knit yarn
  • Small amount of white chunky knit yarn
  • Small pompom for hat, or a small amount of white chunky knit yarn (Yarn C)
  • Pair of 4.5 mm knitting needles
  • Two 4.5 mm double-pointed needles (DPNs)
  • Toy filling
  • A darning needle

Useful Information to Read Before You Begin

  • If you haven’t got chunky yarn, then double knit used doubled throughout will suffice.
  • Remember to leave long enough tails on all of the knitted pieces, as these are best for sewing up.
  • Stocking stitch is always started with a knit row, unless otherwise stated.

Tips for Adding Facial Features

When sewing in the eyes, tie a single knot into the end of the yarn leaving about a 2 cm tail.

Starting at the back of the head, push the needle through to the front at the point where you want to place the features, pull until the knot and tail disappear and sew as required. If a little of the tail still shows, then pull it gently and carefully snip with scissors close to the body.

Special Abbreviations

  • KFB – Knit into the front and back of a stitch (so, you are increasing one stitch to make two).

Step 1: Knit the Body

  1. Using 4.5 mm knitting needles throughout (unless otherwise stated) and using colour A, cast on 25 stitches.
  2. Stocking stitch 25 rows. Cast off.
  3. Pin to make sure the seam is on the centre back (see photo 2).
  4. Sew the side seam together using a back stitch (with right sides together) or a mattress stitch (with wrong sides together), whatever is your usual preference.
  5. Oversew the bottom of the body.
  6. Turn right side out and fill with toy filling. These toys are meant to be plump, so you don’t have to spare the toy filling.
  7. Oversew the top ends together. You now have a small pillow shape ready to add character (see photo 3).

Step 2: Knit the Feet

Remember, for the feet, you'll need to make 2.

  1. With the dark orange yarn, cast on 6 stitches.
  2. Stocking stitch 5 rows.
  3. Row 6, picot edge. * yo k2, rep from * to end.
  4. Stocking stitch 5 rows.
  5. For row 6, knit.
  6. For rows 7–16, stocking stitch.
  7. Cast off.

How to Sew the Feet

  1. With the wrong (purl) sides together, fold the foot up to the knit row from row 6. Note the picot edge from the bird claw forming.
  2. Whip stitch the side seams together.
  3. Starting from the cast-off edge, roll the stocking stitch completed after row 6 tightly under the foot until you come to the knit row at row 6. Securely sew the rolled heel to this knit row.
  4. I did not add the heel part of the foot to my robin, but I wish I had, as it makes the toy free-standing. You can opt not to add the heel if this doesn't bother you.
  5. Attach one foot each side at the bottom of the robin’s body, making sure the claws are protruding at the front (see photos 4, 5 and 6).

Step 3: Knit the Wings

Remember, for the wings, you'll make 2!

  1. With colour A, cast on 4 stitches.
  2. For row 1, purl.
  3. For row 2, knit front, back (Kfb), k2, kfb = 6 stitches.
  4. Repeat the last 2 rows 3 times more = 12 stitches.
  5. Work 5 rows stocking stitch.
  6. Cast off.

How to Sew the Wings

  1. Fold a wing in half lengthwise and oversew.
  2. Using your picture as a guide, place the wings to the side of the robin’s body and securely sew in place.
  3. Repeat with the second wing (see photos 7 and 8).

Step 4: Create the Beak and Facial Features

How to Knit the Beak

  1. Using dark orange yarn and two 4.5 mm DPNs, cast on 2 sts.
  2. Knit one row.
  3. Push the two stitches to the other end of your DPN.
  4. Knit one row, making sure you pull the yarn firmly at the start. Note how the yarn carries across the back of your work. That’s good, it’s supposed to—and it’s what gives it its tubular shape.
  5. Knit two together—1 stitch left on your needle.
  6. Cast off.

How to Attach the Beak

Using your picture as a placement guide, sew the beak to the robin’s face.

Note: You will have one tail of yarn more than you need for this, so I ran the second tail through the middle of the beak back and forth twice, then cut the yarn. This adds stiffness to the beak (see photos 9, 10 and 11).

How to Add Facial Features

Follow instructions for the face details as given at the top of the page, in the "Before You Begin" section.

Before sewing in the eyes, I used a couple of pins with glass heads to place the eyes where I was most happy with them. I used a French knot for my robin’s eyes, but if you’re not sure about doing these, then a back stitch will look just as good (see photo 12).

Step 5: Knit the Hat

  1. Using yarn C, cast on 27 stitches.
  2. Garter stitch 2 rows.
  3. Change to yarn B and stocking stitch 2 rows.
  4. Follow this pattern:
  • Next row: K1, (k3, k2tog) to last st, k1.
  • Next row: Purl.
  • Next row: K1, (k2, k2tog) to last st, k1.
  • Next row: Purl.
  • Next row: K1, (k1, k2tog) to last st, k1.
  • Next row: Purl.
  • Next row: K1, (k2tog) to last st, k1.
  • Next row: P2tog twice, p1, p2tog.

See photo 13 to check your progress.

How to Sew the Hat

Break off the yarn, thread through the stitches left on the needle, and pull up tight. With wrong sides together and using mattress stitch, join side seams, changing from red to white as required (see photo 14).

How to Make a Hat Bobble or Pom Pom

I purchased a bag of pom poms from a famous pound shop and glued a sparkly white one for the robin’s hat. I couldn’t resist the sparkle. However, you could knit a pom pom like so:

  1. Using yarn C, cast on 4 stitches.
  2. Garter st 8 rows.
  3. Cast off.
  4. Thread the tail, and using a running stitch, sew around the outer edge of the bobble. Pull up tightly and secure.
  5. Sew in place on the top of the hat (see photo 15).

Step 6: Swiss Darn or (Duplicate Stitch) the Heart

I have attached a video to this tutorial to show you how to do the Swiss-darned heart required for the robin’s breast.

Please Note: You should darn two stitches, miss a stitch, and then darn another two stitches on the top row of the heart.

Once you have completed the Swiss darning (duplicate stitch), work your yarn invisibly through the body a couple of times and cut (see photos 16 to 21).

Video: How to Do Swiss Darning or Duplicate Stitch

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Sue Creftor