A Note on Gauge
When knitting toys I always use needles that are a mm size smaller than that recommended for the yarn. You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right but at least knit up some garter stitch using smaller than usual needles, until you get a fabric that you can only see pinpricks of light through.
More About Closing the Holes
The Round Rabbit pattern uses a technique called Short Row Shaping. This involves turning the knitting around before you’ve knitted to the end of the row, so making the knitted fabric 3 dimensional. However, when you turn the knitting, you leave a small hole. There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish just here.
Right Side and Wrong Side
All knitted fabric has a “right” side and a “wrong” side, even garter stitch, which looks pretty much the same on both sides. When you start the first row of your knitting the right side of the work is facing you. Take a note of where your cast on tail is (it will be on the right if you use “double cast on” or the left if you use “single cast” on or “cable cast on”). That cast on tail will then tell you which is the right side. Obviously the right side should go on the outside.
Sewing the Back Seam
The following way is an excellent method for sewing the top and bottom of garter stitch knitting, it leaves a nicely hidden seam. The basic method involves weaving the yarn in and out so that it goes directly over the existing stitches in the knitting. Here’s a diagram:
The important thing to remember when using this method is not to pull the yarn tight as this will just make a nasty mess. It’s a delicately balanced operation, but simple with practice.
Single Cast On
Hold the yarn in your left hand as shown above. Take the needle in your right hand. Put the tip of the right hand needle under the front strand between your thumb and middle finger and pull to tighten. Simple.
The rabbit’s ears are designed to stand up straight, without the aid of wire, this is why the pattern calls for knitting with two strands of yarn at one. If you would like a bunny with floppier ears, like those seen below, then you should omit the double stranding and just complete the pattern with one strand of yarn.
When sewing the ears to the body, sew them close together, with 3/4″ between them. Sew them on using the cast on and off tails from the ears as described in the pattern, but only use one strand, otherwise your sewing will look bulky.
It’s difficult to describe how to position the feet and even hard to take a photograph of it. So here’s a diagram.
The rabbit’s feet should make him lean back a little so that the ears are very slightly falling backwards. And they should turn out slightly, this will help him to balance. When I sew the rabbit feet on, I pin them both in place first, so that they will be symmetrical.
The tail is a 3/4 sphere and should not be sewn closed, the open edges of the tail should be sewn directly onto the body with the stitch pattern perpendicular to the stitch pattern on the body. The rabbit should actually be sitting on the bottom part of the tail. I don’t put much stuffing in the tail, so that it doesn’t topple the rabbit over.
How you choose to give your rabbit a face is up to you, I’ve used embroidery or felt before, here are some examples:
You could also use buttons for eyes (if you do this, be aware of the chocking hazard for small children), give your rabbit some whiskers or a mouth or bugs bunny style teeth.
When I cut eyes from felt I choose a button of the right size and make a stencil by drawing around the button and cutting it out of paper, that way the eyes are usually quite even.
The nose is an oval with a slight point at the bottom.
If you have any questions or comments which are not covered either in the pattern or here, please contact me through the NattyKnits Etsy shop and I’ll do my best to help you.