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How To Knit A Plushie

How To Knit A Plushie: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Knitting adorable stuffed animals, also known as plushies or softies, is a fun and relaxing hobby for crafters of all ages. This beginner’s guide will teach you everything you need to know to get started knitting your own custom plushies, from choosing a pattern to stuffing and finishing your creation.

Getting Started: Supplies Needed

Before casting on your first plushie project, you’ll need to gather some basic supplies:


The yarn you choose will determine the look and feel of your finished plushie. For beginners, an acrylic or cotton yarn is recommended as it is affordable, easy to work with, and durable. Stay away from 100% wool yarns for your first project. Later on you can explore wool blends and other fibers.

Recommended weights: Worsted, Aran or Craft weight yarns work well for most plushies. The labels will specify names like these along with a number such as 4 or 5 indicating the thickness.

Amount needed: Check your pattern but plan for at least 150 yards to start. It’s better to have too much than run out halfway!

Knitting Needles

You’ll need a set of knitting needles sized to match the yarn you chose. The ball band on your yarn will suggest a needle size, but for plushies aim for 2 sizes smaller to create a tight, durable fabric. Common sizes are US 6-8.

Types: Straight or circular needles can both work. Circulars give you more room but straight needles are fine for basic shapes.

Other Tools

  • Stuffing: Polyester stuffing, fiberfill or even polyfil from a fabric store works. Make sure it’s washable.
  • Tapestry needle: For weaving in ends and sewing seams.
  • Stitch markers: To mark important points in your knitting. Bobby pins work too!
  • Scissors: For cutting yarn and threads.
  • Ruler or tape measure: For checking gauge.

Optional extras: Crochet hook, row counter, needle threader, point protectors.

Choosing Your First Plushie Pattern

Consider the Shape

The easiest plushies to start with tend to be basic geometric shapes like spheres, cubes or cylinders. Animals made of simple shapes with minimal appendages are also good first projects. As your skills grow you can tackle more complex amigurumi patterns.

[Example simple shapes: ball, egg, snake, fish]

Choose Easy Techniques

Look for patterns knit in the round from the bottom up, with techniques like:

  • Stockinette stitch
  • Basic increases/decreases
  • Mattress stitch seams
  • Embroidery or safety eyes
  • Straight appendages

Steer clear of detailed colorwork, detachable parts, complex construction (like double-sided toys) or toys with lots of pieces to sew together.

Read Pattern Reviews

Check Ravelry and Etsy reviews to see feedback on how beginner-friendly a pattern is. If many advanced knitters complain about the clarity of instructions, it may not be the best choice for a first plushie.

Knitting Techniques for Plushies

Now that you’ve got your pattern picked out and materials gathered, it’s time to review the essential techniques you’ll use to knit up your plushie pal!

Knitting in the Round

Many plushie patterns will have you knit the main body in the round, which creates a seamless tube of fabric. You’ll need double-pointed needles or circular needles and a stitch marker to note the start of rounds.

Increases and Decreases

In shaped plushies like animals, strategic increases and decreases are used to create three-dimensional form. Common types like K2tog (knit 2 together), SSK (slip, slip knit), and M1 (make 1) increases are beginner-friendly.

Mattress Stitch Seams

Sewing up the final seams might seem intimidating, but the mattress stitch creates nearly invisible seams. Work slowly with the right sides facing you, matching up rows and stitches neatly.

Adding Facial Features

Plastic safety eyes are beginner-friendly but require an adult to sew them on. For children’s toys, embroidered features are safest. Felt, appliques and other decorative details can add personality too!

Assembly and Stuffing

Stuff firmly as you go, using a blunt tool like a chopstick or knitting needle to fully fill out the shape. Close up any holes tightly and weave in all loose ends. Use ladder stitches across openings for invisible seams.

Troubleshooting Common Knitting Issues

Don’t get frustrated if you run into problems as you learn! Here are some common beginner issues and how to fix them:

Dropped stitches: Carefully pick up the ladder rung by rung with a crochet hook and place back on needle.

Holes forming: This means stitches are too loose. Use smaller needles and maintain even, snug tension.

Wonky shapes: Be sure to count stitches frequently and follow increase/decrease instructions precisely.

Seams puckering: Ease up on tension and align rows precisely when seaming. Blocking can help flatten as well.

Next Steps After Your First Plushie

Congratulations, you did it! As you make more plushies, you can start to:

  • Explore more complex constructions like detachable parts
  • Design your own custom plushies and patterns
  • Learn intermediate skills like intarsia, cables, double knitting etc.
  • Branch out into other fibers like wool, alpaca, cashmere blends
  • Try toys with articulated joints and moveable parts

The world of knitted plushies has no creative limits. From porgs to Pokemon, food items to fungi, you can knit just about any creature under the sun with enough practice! So grab those needles and let the fun begin.

Displaying Your Plushie Collection

Once you’ve created a fabulous collection of handmade plushies, you’ll want to show them off in style! Check out these tips from Grandeuria on displaying stuffed animals for adults:

  • Scatter smaller plushies throughout a room rather than grouping them all together
  • Place taller plushies towards the back to create depth
  • Use bookshelves, cabinets, or shelving units to neatly showcase your collection
  • Ensure your overall display aligns with your room’s aesthetics

Tastefully arranged plushies can bring personality to any space without feeling too juvenile. Get creative with your display!

Responsibly Rehoming Plushies

Over time as your collection grows, you may feel the need to declutter and pass along some plushies to new homes. This article from Grandeuria has excellent tips on responsibly rehoming stuffed animals through donation, selling, or repurposing.

Key takeaways when rehoming plushies:

  • Evaluate each plushie’s condition honestly
  • Clean/repair toys so they are gift-worthy
  • Research charities and shelters thoroughly
  • Include a tag with any sentimental background
  • Consider repurposing very worn plushies

By mindfully rehoming your beloved toys, you can spark joy for others while freeing up space for new projects!

Caring for and Repairing Plushies

To keep your plushie collection looking its best for years to come, proper care and maintenance is essential. This guide from Grandeuria covers everything you need to clean, fluff, deodorize, and repair worn plushies.

Key plushie care tips:

  • Handwash and air dry toys whenever they get dirty
  • Freshen up stuffing with baking soda or unscented baby powder
  • Brush and fluff to maintain softness and shape
  • Make repairs right away to prevent bigger holes/damage

With some periodic TLC, your beloved plushies will stay cuddly and endearing for a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a good beginner plushie knitting pattern?

Look for patterns knit in the round from the bottom up using basic techniques like stockinette stitch, simple increasing/decreasing, and mattress stitch seams. Avoid colorwork, detachable parts or complex construction.

What if my knitted plushie ends up the wrong size?

This usually happens if your knitted gauge differs substantially from what the pattern expects. You can try blocking aggressively to shape the plushie. Or make notes so you can adjust needle size or yarn type for a better fit on your next project.

How do I know if my plushie is stuffed firmly enough?

Gently squeeze the knitted fabric around the stuffing across all areas. It shouldn’t feel loose or baggy anywhere when stuffed firmly. Use a blunt tool to get stuffing into narrow spaces.

Why does my mattress stitch seam look uneven?

Make sure your tension is even and you are matching up the rows/stitches accurately. Ease up if the seam is puckering. If needed, you can hide uneven spots by incorporating surface embroidery over the seam.

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