A knit giraffe with charts for simple stranded colourwork. If knitting with 2 colours at once is not for you, the pattern can also be knit as written ignoring the colour directions and the spots can be added in duplicate stitch afterwards. The pattern begins with four legs knit from the feet up. The legs are then joined in the round and from there the body, neck, ears and head are knit all in one piece.
This particular guy was knit at 2.5 sts per cm (or roughly 6 sts per inch) resulting in a giraffe that’s 17 cm (6.75 inches) tall and about 7 cm (2.75 inches) nose to bum. Do feel free to knit him up at a different gauge for a larger or smaller toy, there are no rules here!
- A light and a dark colour main yarn, any type will do, just choose your needle size as appropriate to the yarn weight. Ideally you would like to create a fabric tight enough so that the stuffing does not show through.
- Small amount of contrast colour yarn for eyes
- Set of double pointed needles
- Tapestry needle
CO = Cast on
BO = Bind off
K = knit
KFB = knit into front and back of stitch
K2T = knit two together
P = purl
SSK = slip 2 stitches individually as if to knit, then knit those 2 stitches together
sts = stitches
Legs - Knit in the round (make 4)
Using double-point needles and light coloured yarn, CO 8 sts. Divide sts between needles, place marker and join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist.
Round 1: [KFB] in each st. 16 sts.
Rounds 2-10: K all sts.
Rounds 11-21: K following leg chart.
Round 22: In light colour yarn, BO4, K8, BO4. 8 sts. (Leave a 6 inch tail. This will be used to sew up legs later and will be conveniently in the center of BO stitches.)
Transfer live stitches to holder.
If there appears to be a little whole at the bottom of the legs, use the cast on tail to snug it shut and then pull the cast on tail to the inside of the leg.
Begin stuffing legs.
Body - Knit in the round
Divide live stitches from all four legs around 3 needles so that BO sts all face the center of triangle.
Needle 1: 8 stitches from leg one, 4 stitches from leg two
Needle 2: 4 stitches from leg two, 4 stitches from leg three
Needle 3: 4 stitches from leg three, 8 stitches from leg four
Follow colour body chart.
Round 1: K all sts. 32 sts.
Round 2: K3, K2T, K22, SSK, K3. 30 sts.
Round 3: K all sts.
Round 4: K2, K2T, K22, SSK, K2. 28 sts.
Round 5: K all sts.
Round 6: K1, K2T, K22, SSK, K1. 26 sts.
Round 7: K all sts.
Round 8: K2T, K22, K2T. 24 sts.
Now would be a good time to pause, turn your knitting upside down on a table and sew the legs shut using the 6 inch tails you left when casting off earlier. There will be 4 short seems running from the center to the outside edge each joining 2 legs together at a time.
With light colour yarn, kitchener stitch the first 4 sts of needle one and the last 4 sts of needle three together. This seam will form the giraffe’s back. You now have 4 sts on needle one, 8 sts on needle two, and 4 sts on needle three. Rejoin yarn for working remaining sts in the round. Add more stuffing to legs and body.
Continue for Neck
Round 1-16: K following neck chart pattern. 16 sts.
Pause here and stuff body and neck. Cut darker coloured yarn and secure on the inside of the neck, the rest of the giraffe will be knit in the lighter colour only.
Continue for ears
Now knitting ear portion, this will be knit back and forth on 8 sts
Row 1: K4, turn.
Row 2: P8, turn.
Row 3: K8, turn.
Row 4: P8, turn.
Repeat rows 3-4 once more. Pull a 60cm (24 inch) length of the light colour yarn halfway through the last stitch of needle 3 and first stitch of needle 1. Leave it there for later.
Repeat rows 3-4 three more times.
Continue for head
Resume knitting in the round.
Rounds 1-8: K. 16 sts.
Pause here. You will see that the previous knitting back and forth for the ears has created a hole on either side of the head (1). Pinch the flap creating the holes (2) and using yarn left at top of ears earlier, use one side to stitch an ear seam that runs from the top of the ear to the outer edge of pinched flap (3), then stitch back up to where you started (4). Repeat using other yarn tail for other ear. Do not cut yarn, we will use these same pieces later for the horns. Stuff head.
Round 9: *K2T, repeat from * to end. 8 sts.
Cut yarn leaving a tail a few inches long, thread yarn tail through remaining 8 sts, gather and tie tightly, pull tail to inside of stuffed animal.
Using the same yarn as used to seam the ears earlier, use one piece to create 3 sts on your knitting needle by passing the yarn over the needle and through the top of the head 3 times. Knit i-cord for 2 rows, thread yarn tail through the 3 sts, gather and tie tightly, pull tail to inside of horn. Repeat for second horn.
Tail: Cut two 20cm (8 inch) lengths of light coloured yarn and one 20cm (8 inch) length of dark coloured yarn. Pull all three half way through a stitch at rear of giraffe (makes six strands). Divide strands into three groups of two and braid a short tail, knotted at the end and trim.
Eyes: Using length of contrasting yarn, embroider eyes.
As always, please send any questions/comments (or photos!) to christine(at)christinelandry(dot)com. Giraffes for everyone!