Shark – Hints and Tips

The Shark knitting pattern is now available on Etsy and Ravelry. The pattern stands alone, but these hints and tips may help you with some of the finer points of this technically challenging knit.

Yarn Recommendations

I’ve knitted this shark in Rowan Cotton, which was a little on the bulky side, Cascade 220 which was a unforgiving on the shaping and in Knit Picks Comfy worsted, which was just right. The Knit Picks Comfy has a lovely shine on it too, just as you would expect on a shark.

Another consideration when choosing a worsted weight yarn for this project is the need for a sport weight yarn with similar fiber content. Not an easy task, although once again, Knit Picks comes up trumps.

Provisional Cast On

A provisional cast on is any cast on which can be easily undone, leaving live sts which can then be knitted. There are a number of ways to do this, Knitting has a great video tutorial for what they call an “Invisible Cast On”, the one thing I don’t like about that particular method is the twist in every other stitch.

You can also use a long tail or continental cast on with the provisional yarn and the working yarn knotted together. Place the working yarn over the right needle, holding the knot just under the needle. Cast on as you normally would for a continental cast on, with the working yarn around your left index finger and the provisional yarn over your left thumb. The stitches on the needle will be working yarn and the edge will be provisional yarn.

Remember to leave a 6″ tail on the working yarn as well as the provisional so that there’s enough to weave in the tail with. Don’t tie the knot too tightly, as you’ll need to undo it later and if you can, use a slippery or synthetic yarn as your provisional yarn, that way it will be easier to unpick.

Picking Up Stitches

There are so many PUs in this pattern that I wrote a special blog entry all about PU methods, you’ll find that here

When the tail fin is finished, you may find that there’s a hole on either side of where the st was picked up. Don’t sew that hole shut, adjust the tension across the row instead and the hole will close neatly.

When picking up the st for the pectoral fins, keep the head end of the shark on the left, even if it means turning the shark upside down.

Those Numbers Don’t Look Right!

There are two places in the pattern which seem to have non-symmetrical stitch counts. I’m mentioning it here, because I am always questioning knitting patterns. It may look like a mistake but there are reasons why the start of rnd is moved slightly after the tail and why the shaping seems unsymmetrical after the dorsal fin. All I can recommend is to go with it and see the results.


The knitted teeth are difficult to get the hang of, although all the knitters who tested this pattern have said that once they understood the method they were able to finish the teeth quickly and easily. If you need more help with the short rows, I’ve written a more in depth tutorial which you’ll find here.

The bind off for the teeth can be a little counter-intuitive, just remember that you are borrowing a st from the next tooth as you bind off the previous tooth and it will all make sense.

If you want to use cut out felt and sew in the teeth, you’ll need a piece of felt which looks like this:

Here’s what a shark looks like with felt teeth. I think the knitted teeth are definitely better:

French Knots for Eyes

Those beady shark eyes are made using embroidered French Knots, this is a great tutorial for how to do these from purlbee. One note I’d add here is that shark’s eyes are further forward than you think.

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.



Filed under Natty Knits Patterns Hints and Tips

2 responses to “Shark – Hints and Tips

  1. Mary

    I love the shark pattern and found it pretty simple to make. However, I’m having an issue with the teeth. I used a size 1 needle but they came out looking way to big for the mouth. Do you have any suggestions or tips? (I don’t want felt teeth). Thanks

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