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How to Knit a Santa Doll (With Pattern)

I have been knitting for over 50 years and love to share this wonderful, relaxing & therapeutic craft to as many as possible.

This is my completed Santa doll.

This is my completed Santa doll.

Handmade Dolls Make Great Gifts

So the holiday season is upon us, and our thoughts go to gifts, food, family, friends and decorations. What better gift to give than a handmade one? With this in mind, I have designed a quick and simple Santa doll pattern for you to knit.

This pattern is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced knitters. I am using text and photos for this tutorial; however, if you have never knit before and would like to have a go, I have videos inserted in a previous article that may help you. Have fun.

Necessary Materials

  • 50g of red chunky yarn (Yarn A)
  • Small amount of black chunky yarn (Yarn B)
  • Small amount of white chunky yarn (Yarn C)
  • Small amount of pink or cream chunky yarn (Yarn D)
  • Very small amount of yellow chunky yarn
  • One pair of 4.5 mm knitting needles, or 4mm if preferred
  • Toy filling
  • A sewing-up needle
  • A red colouring pencil

Before You Begin

  • If you haven’t got chunky yarn, then double knit (dk) used doubled throughout will suffice. I used dk yarn doubled throughout, including the sewing up.
  • This doll is knitted flat and then seamed. Remember to leave long enough cast on and cast off tails on all of your knitted pieces as these are best for sewing up your doll.
  • All sewing up is done on the right sides of the doll unless otherwise stated.
  • Always use glass head pins when sewing up or marking out. They are much easier to see than dressmakers pins and safer.

Size

Approximately 16.51 cm in length.

Tension

Not essential for this pattern.

Abbreviations

  • K - knit
  • P - purl
  • K2tog - knit 2 stitches together
  • KFB - knit into the front and back of a stitch.

Step 1: Knit the Head and Body

  1. Using 4.5 mm knitting needles and colour A, cast on 25 stitches.
  2. Starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 15 rows.
  3. Change to colour D, and starting with a purl row, stocking stitch 10 rows.
  4. Cast off purl wise.
Photo 1. Sewing up the body and head.

Photo 1. Sewing up the body and head.

How to Sew Up the Body and Head

  1. With right sides together and making sure the seam is on the centre back, sew the side seam together using a back stitch and changing colours as you go (see photo 1). Or you could do ladder/mattress stitch (with wrong sides together)—whatever is your usual preference.
  2. Then, keeping the seam still on the centre back, sew along the bottom edge (see photo 1).
  3. Turn right-side out and fill with toy filling. These toys are meant to be plump, so you don’t have to spare the filling!
  4. Over-sew the top edge together. You now have a small pillow shape, ready to add the character (see photo 2).
Photo 2. Santa's body and sewn-up head, filled with toy filling.

Photo 2. Santa's body and sewn-up head, filled with toy filling.

Step 2: Knit the Shoes

Remember that you'll be making 2 shoes.

  1. With 4.5 mm knitting needles and colour B, cast on 4 stitches.
  2. Starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 13 rows.
  3. For row 14, knit.
  4. For rows 15–23, starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 9 rows.
  5. Cast off purl wise.

See photo 4 to check your progress. I have demonstrated the making of Santa’s shoes by knitting a bright yellow one for the camera, as the black shoe does not show very well in a photo.

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Photo 3. An example of one of the shoes, but in yellow yarn. Folded toe (left), rolled heel (right).

Photo 3. An example of one of the shoes, but in yellow yarn. Folded toe (left), rolled heel (right).

How to Sew Up the Shoes

  1. With wrong sides together, fold the cast-on edge of the shoe up to just below the ridges of the knit row at row 14.
  2. Whip stitch the side seams together.
  3. Stuff the shoe very lightly in the toe.
  4. Now take the cast-off edge and roll backwards until you meet the ridges of the knit row at row 14—so, coming from the other end of the shoe and rolling under (see photo 3).
  5. Sew in place (see photo 4). By making the shoe in this way, you are creating a little heel so that your Santa will be free standing.
  6. Repeat with the second shoe (see photo 5).

Step 3: Knit the Arms

Remember that you'll be making 2 arms.

  1. With colour A, cast on 4 stitches.
  2. Starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 4 rows.
  3. You don't have to cut yarn A at this stage, just carry it up the side by twisting yarn A and D together at the beginning of every knit row.
  4. Change to yarn D and starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 8 rows.
  5. Cut yarn D.
  6. Change back to yarn A, and starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 5 rows.
  7. Knit the next two rows.
  8. Cast off.
Photo 6. Whip stitch each arm together.

Photo 6. Whip stitch each arm together.

How to Sew Up the Arms

  1. With the wrong sides together and with the cast-on edge not quite meeting the cast-off edge—so, just under the last two knit rows—fold the arm in half and whip stitch the side seams, changing the colours from red to flesh where necessary (see photo 6).
  2. Stuff the arms lightly at the hand end.
  3. Attach them securely to Santa's body by sewing along the 2 knit rows at the cast off edge for the back of the arm (see photo 7).
  4. Then, bring your needle round to the front of the arm and sew in place (see photo 8).
  5. Use your picture as a placement guide (see photo 9).

Step 4: Knit the Hat

  1. With colour C, cast on 30 stitches.
  2. Knit 2 rows in garter stitch.
  3. Change to colour A.
  4. Starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 12 rows.
  5. Follow this pattern:
  • Row 13: k5, k2tog, k5, k2tog, k1, k5, k2tog, k5, k2tog. 26 stitches.
  • Row 14: Purl.
  • Row 15: k4, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k1, k4, k2tog, k4, k2tog. 22 stitches.
  • Row 16: Purl.
  • Row 17: k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k1, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog. 18 stitches.
  • Row 18: Purl.
  • Row 19: k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog. 14 stitches.
  • Row 20: Purl.
  • Row 21: k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1, k2tog. 10 stitches.
  • Row 22: Purl.
  • Row 23: k2tog twice, k1, k2tog twice. 5 stitches.
  • Row 24: Purl.
  • Rows 25 to 30: Starting with a knit row, stocking stitch 6 rows. Change to yarn C for the bobble on the top of the hat.
  • Row 31: KFB in 1st stitch, knit to last stitch, KFB in last stitch. 7 stitches.
  • Rows 32 to 37: Knit. Break yarn, leaving a long tail.
Photo 10. Santa with his hat on.

Photo 10. Santa with his hat on.

How to Sew Up the Hat

  1. Thread the tail through your sewing-up needle and through the 7 stitches on your knitting needle.
  2. Draw up tightly and sew sides together.
  3. Stuff the bobble tightly and stitch along the bottom of the bobble to stop the filling falling through.
  4. Pull tightly and fasten off.
  5. With wrong sides together, either ladder stitch or mattress stitch the hat together, swapping yarn colours as required.
  6. Attach the hat to Santa's head by running straight stitches in yarn D around the garter stitch white band, catching the head just under the hat as you go (see photo 10).

Step 5: Knit the Belt

You'll only need to make 1 belt.

  1. Using colour B, cast on 30 stitches.
  2. Knit 1 row.
  3. Cast off knit wise.

How to Sew Up the Belt

  1. Sew the belt around Santa’s middle using a running stitch all the way round (see photo 11).
  2. Using your small amount of yellow yarn, sew a square buckle to the middle of the belt using plain straight stitch (see photo 12). Use the picture as your placement guide.

Step 6: Create the Face and Beard

Eyes

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. You will need just a tiny bit of the eyes showing, as his hat is pulled down over his eyes. Check the photo for the placement.

Nose

I stitched a nose using colour D by placing about 8 straight stitches all in the same place, with the top of the nose starting just between his eyes and ending one stitch down (see photo 13).

Beard

  1. Make the beard by first threading the needle with approximately an 18-inch piece of yarn (double knit, doubled).
  2. Position glass head pins around Santa's face, roughly in the shape you want his beard (see photo 14).
  3. Run your needle under one stitch at a time on Santa's face (see photo 15), following the line of of his beard.
  4. Pull approx. an 8-cm length of yarn through and cut.
  5. Tie a knot to secure (see photo 16).
  6. Repeat until the beard is complete. Trim the beard to the required shape.
  7. To get the shaggy-beard look, you loosen each beard strand with the tip of your sewing-up needle and comb through.

Rosy Cheeks

If you would like your Santa to have rosy cheeks, then slightly dampen your red pencil and lightly colour him a pair, as shown in the photo. Check the photo for a placement guide.

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