Thursday, 31 January 2013

Knitting Miniature Animals using full-sized patterns

I love knitting tiny critters, but finding good miniature patterns is a perpetual problem. The obvious answer is to design my own...but with two young children running me ragged, I haven't quite got around to doing it. Even if I knew where to start! I did try one idea that I had and found that it is far from being as simple as it looks...but more on that later. In the meantime, I found myself wondering whether it would be possible to knit full-size patterns up as written, but using tiny needles and thread.

Here are some of the results using patterns by Jean Greenhowe, Alan Dart and from amongst my burgeoning collection of knitting books: (but who's counting? Not me!)


I used sequins as scales on dino's back to add interest.

This bunny's arms and legs are fully articulated so she can sit or stand, as required.

I used tiny goggly eyes to add character to this little fella

I was pleased that the patterns translated so well into miniature; this isn't always the case. Of course the toys still turned out pretty large in miniature terms - as a general rule, a pattern which produces a 6 inch toy in full size (using size 14 needles and double-knitting yarn) will produce a toy approximately one third of the size when knitted on size 21 needles and using DMC 80 tatting thread. But as I tend to knit my critters for their own sake, rather than for inclusion in a miniature scene, I don't lose any sleep over it!

But it is possible to find patterns that knit up small enough to satisfy the more purist amongst us:

Knitting chicken feet in 1/12th scale didn't really work so the chicken's feet are pieces of yellow pipecleaner.

The following critters were knitted using patterns designed specifically for the miniaturist so you can see how the results compare:

I have made all these pieces up using the traditional technique of stitching pieces together on the wrong side, turning and stuffing them. This is far from easy with tiny knitted pieces, even with the help of tweezers and haemostats (scary scissor-type clamps used in the medical profession). These days I am rather less purist about it and tend to make pieces up right sides out. Sooo much easier and you can see immediately whether your seam is as neat as you would wish. I have even been known to glue some really teeny tiny parts in place, but don't tell anyone.

Finally, as I mentioned, I did try designing a tiny critter of my very own. Just one. And, even though he is a simple little soul, I'm proud to call him All My Own Work.

Until next time, happy knitting!
Kathryn x


  1. Tus animalitos estan preciosos. Felicitaciones. Desde Buenos Aires. Adriana

  2. Do you have a miniture frog pattern please.

  3. Do you have a miniture frog pattern please.