Tutorial Tuesday: knitted rabbits

bunny3

We love bunnies more than ever at this time of year, and we’ve invited Claire Garland of Dot Pebbles to hop on over to us to share her felted rabbit pattern with Mollie Makes. There’s plenty of time to make a whole happy family of these before Easter…

Over to Claire to share her free knitting pattern and explain how to make these felted rabbits. These felted wool bunnies are quick to knit in the round and take up very small amounts of wool. You could knit them in plain colours or even try some stripes! Aren’t they adorable?

You will need

Finished size approx. (depending on your yarn) 12cm/ 4 3/4inches tall

Yarn Small amounts DK or ball aran weight with 100% wool content – this is important because anything other than 100% wool content simply won’t felt (avoid Superwash yarns too!).

I used shades in Drops Lima, Rowan Worsted, Rowan Baby Alpaca & Rowan Sheep Breeds.

Needles size 3 3/4mm (US 5)

Notions toy filling (or scraps of yarn); yarn needle; buttons or similar for eyes; black thread for nose

To make the rabbit’s ears

* Using 3 3/4mm (US size 5) needles and yarn MC, cast on 4sts onto one needle then use simple sock toe cast on as follows:

1. Hold needle with cast on stitches in left hand.

2. Hold 2 empty dpns parallel in right hand.

3. Slip 1st cast on st purl wise onto the dpn closest to you and off the needle in the left hand, then slip the next cast on st onto the dpn furthest away and off the RH needle.

Repeat step 3 until all 4 stitches are divided onto the 2 parallel dpns, 2 sts on the front dpn and 2 sts on the back. Slide sts to the other ends of the dpns, working yarn at back.

RS facing, cont working in the rnd, beginning by knitting the sts on the back dpn – work stitches over two dpns, using a 3rd dpn to knit with:

Rnd 1 K4.

Rnd 2 K4.

Rnd 3 (inc) K1, m1, k1, k1, m1, k1. 6sts (3 sts on each needle)

Rnd 4 K6. Place marker.

Rep last rnd 3 times more.

Rnd 8 (inc) K1, kfb, k1, k1, kfb, k1. 8sts

Rnd 9 K8.

Rep last rnd 5 times more.

Rnd 15 (dec) K1, skpo, k1, k1, skpo, k1. 6sts **

Cut yarn, slide sts off needles onto two lengths spare yarn or two spare needles (or two safety pins).

Make another ear as before from * to **.

Joining the ears

Rnd 16 K3, onto the empty needle in your left hand slide the first 3 of the6 sts from the first ear held on spare yarn/ spare needles etc, cont to knit across these 3sts (pull tension fairly tight) – there should now be 6 sts on right hand needle. Slide the remaining 3 sts held on the spare yarn/ spare needles onto the 2nd needle which is holding the 3 sts from 2nd ear. K across all 6 sts from this side. 12sts (6 sts on each of two needles)

Rnd 17 (inc) Kfb, k4, kfb, kfb, k4, kfb. 16sts (8 sts on each needle)

Rnd 18 K16.

Shaping the rabbit’s face

Rnd 19 (inc) K4, m1, k4, k8. 17sts

Rnd 20 (inc) K4, kfb, k4, k8. 18sts

Rnd 21 K18.

Rnd 22 (inc) K5, m1, k5, k8. 19sts

Rnd 23 K19.

Rnd 24 (inc) K5, kfb, k5, k8. 20sts

Rnd 25 K20.

Rnd 26 (dec) K5, k2 tog, k5, k8. 19sts

Rnd 27 K19.

Rnd 28 (dec) K5, skpo, k4, k8. 18sts

Rnd 29 K18.

Rabbit’s neck

Rnd 30 (dec) Skpo, k6, k2 tog, skpo, k4, k2 tog. 14sts

Rnd 31 K14.

Rnd 32 (dec) Skpo, k4, k2 tog, k6. 12sts

Rnd 33 K12.

Rep last rnd twice.

Stuff the bunny with toy filling or spare yarn.

Shaping the base

Rnd 36 (dec) K2, k2 tog, k2, k2 tog, k2, k2 tog. 9sts

Rnd 37 (dec) [K1, k2 tog], 3 times. 6sts

Cut yarn.

Thread yarn through all 6sts, pull up tight to close hole. Weave end back into body.

Join gap, if necessary, between ears. Weave ends back into the ears.

If you want to embroider a heart motif onto your rabbit, now is the time to do it, before you felt the rabbit.

Felting the bunny

Soak the bunny with hottish water then rub in a little hand soap.

Wash out the soap then squeeze out the water. Rub the bunny in between your hands (as if your rolling a lump of Plastercine/ modeling clay into a snake shape) as you do this the yarn matts together to give you the felty look you’re after – if the bunny is still very damp do this in between a tea towel. Keep checking the bunny for shape and re-moulding if necessary – the bottom should be pushed up to form a flat base. Continue with the rubbing/ agitating and moulding until the bunny is quite dry and quite felted and re-shape for a final shaping before placing on a radiator to dry completely.

To finish

Sew on button eyes and a ‘x’ in black thread or embroidery silk for a nose.

Make a simple pompom, for the tail, by wrapping yarn around and around a fork until the desired thickness of pompom. Tightly tie a length of yarn in-between the middle tine, over the yarn to bunch it up, then cut through the wraps at the sides of the fork. Slip the yarn of the tines then snip the pompom to neaten, leave the length you tied the pompom together with uncut, use it to sew onto the back of the bunny.

Thanks for sharing your pattern with us, Claire… We can’t wait to see these bunnies popping up everywhere.

Claire Garland has written several knitting, crochet and embroidery books. You can find out more about her work on Claire’s blog or on her Dot Pebbles website. There’s even a Claire Garland etsy shop – busy lady!