For my cousin’s birthday, my mom asked me if I could knit a couple of puppets to match a puppet theaters she was making for them. The colors: rainbow. I needed a pattern that was quick and simple, because her birthday was very soon (not that I take an extremely long time for just a pair of puppets, but between graduating and finishing working at the yarn store, I’ve been kept busy!). So I started my first idea. If you’re looking to make a pair of puppets, take a look at both of the different ways I made each of them, and then choose the one you want!
Note, these are more of general “how to’s” rather than patterns. Plus, what may fit my cousins may not fit the recipient of your handmade puppets! What I will do is tell you the construction, and you can play around with the size. If you did a gauge swatch before to figure out how many stitches you get per inch, then you could measure your hand, and multiply your stitches per inch times the width of your hand/wrist (depending on how snug you would like it). For these how to’s, we’ll call this amount of stitches (your gauge x recipient’s hand measurement) “X”. The nice thing about these how to’s is that you can use it for any weight of yarn! Well, enough chit-chat, let’s get started!
Toe Up Puppet
For my toe-ups, I like to use Judy’s Magic Cast On (follow the link to a video on how to do it). My only problem with it is that it’s not very DPN friendly, and I’m a huge fan of double pointed needles! But for this cast on, I would highly recommend the magic loop technique. It saves your project from being thrown across the room, and it saves you the frustration.
Top Portion of the Puppet’s Mouth
Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, cast on roughly 1/7 of X stitches. Make sure that you round it to the nearest even number. For example, I did mine in sock weight, and cast on 8 stitches or so. If you cast on fewer, it’s going to be more pointed, whereas if you cast on a few more, it’s going to be a little more rounded. Note, casting on *too* many stitches will result in a flat “toe”, so try to stick close to the 1/7 of X stitches!
Place two markers. One at the beginning of your round, and one at the half way mark, then proceed, working in the round.
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: K1, M1, knit to one stitch before first marker, M1, K2, M1, knit to one stitch before second marker, M1, K1
Repeat these two rounds until you have X amount of stitches. This starts the top portion of the mouth of the sock puppet. Knit in stockinette stitch until you reach the desired length you would like it to be.
Once it is desired length, put all the stitches on waste yarn unless you have another set of the same needles to use for the next part.
Bottom Portion of the Puppet’s Mouth
Repeat the instructions of the top portion, only changing the length of the stockinette stitch in step four.
Joining the mouth
For this, you definitely want to know the kitchener stitch (grafting stitch) well. We will call the top part of the mouth of the puppet part A, and the bottom part of the mouth part B.
Step One: Put half of the stitches from part A on one needle (use the markers to help guide where “half” is). If you’re using magic loop, you won’t have to worry about this, they’ll already be evenly splitter.
Step Two: Repeat step one for part B of the mouth, putting half the stitches on one needle (note: this is not the same one needle as part A)
Step Three: Graft the stitches from both A and B off of the two needles (part A’s needle and part B’s needle).
Step Four: Make a new round by joining the other half of part A and the other half of part B together. Be sure to pick up two stitches from each corner of the mouth and knit them as part of the new round. This will increase your number of stitches, and will help to close up any gaps between the two joined pieces.
Knitting the body
Knit for as long as you would like the straight stockinette portion to be, then switch to “k2, p2” ribbing for as long as you’d like ribbing.
Cast off and weave in all ends
Sew on eyes, maybe a mane, a couple ears, a nose if needed, or whatever accessories strike your fancy.
Top Down Puppet
Knitting the body
Cast on X amount of stitches, do a “k2, p2” ribbing for as long as desired, and then straight stockinette as long as desired.
Bottom of Mouth
Step One: Knitting on only half of the stitches, knit in stockinette until desired length minus short row toe length (I did a slip 1 at the beginning of each of my rows)
Step Two: Do a short row toe.
Step Three: Knit back up the stockinette you made in Step One, picking up one of its side stitches each row and knitting (or purling) it together with the first stitch of each row.
Top of Mouth
Step One: Now that you have knitted back to where you left the rest of the stitches, join back in the round, and knit for desired length minus length of toe.
Step Two: Make a toe by decreasing two stitches at each side every second row until you get to about 1/7th of X stitches.
Step Three: Graft remaining stitches together using kitchener stitch.
Weave in ends
Add desired embelishments