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Make and donate a Knot Forgotten Knit Owl to give hope to a child living in extreme circumstances.
Hello, again! I’ve had such a blast working on the new Knot Forgotten Knit Owl pattern. He’s based off of the original crochet design by Milena Rufato, which is available for purchase as part of the Knot Forgotten “Bear in a Bag” crochet kit.
Back in March 2018, I published my knitted versions of the crochet owl and monkey patterns. However, the following July, Knot Forgotten announced their new sizing requirements based on feedback from the field. This meant my old designs were now too large to be accepted for overseas travel – oh no!
So, in order to keep things fresh and current, I’m re-releasing both the owl and monkey (and possibly some of the other animals, too).
But, wait! Who or what is Knot Forgotten?
Knot Forgotten (part of Open Doors Australia & Open Doors New Zealand) is one of those rare, make-your-heart-melt movements entirely dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus through handmade knit and crochet toys.
All toys donated are given to children living in extremely difficult conditions (for example, in 2018, toys were given to Syrian and Iraqi refugees). Justine, the founder of this toy movement, writes:
Each toy is a reminder to these children that they are not forgotten and that they are so very loved. Children are important to Jesus, and so they are to us.
The toy patterns provided are crocheted in the amigurumi style (a bear, lion, unicorn, monkey and owl), with volunteers like me helping to contribute the knit equivalents.
As of writing this post, over 2244 toys have been donated by makers across 20 countries. That is absolutely massive! It’s been such an honour to be involved in this project, and I’ve been hugely blessed by the maker community, who have all rallied together to freely give their time and talent.
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Knot Forgotten or Open Doors AU/NZ, nor receive monetary compensation for contributing my designs. I simply love what these organisations are about, and wholeheartedly encourage other makers to get involved. Together we can shine the light of Jesus in a world of darkness!
If you would like to make and donate a Knot Forgotten Knit Owl, please be aware that:
- Your toys need to fit the specific size requirements in order to be accepted for travel.
Height = 15-18cm; Width = 10-12cm
Any toys larger than 18cm/7″ (not including ears), will no longer be accepted.
- Your toys should be stuffed loosely in order to compress easily in vacuum sealed bags (I believe this is more of an issue for crochet toys, as crocheted fabric is denser and more rigid than knit, and will not compress easily if overstuffed). To be safe, stuff only as much as needed for your knitted toys to hold their shape without distortion.
- Toy dimensions: approx. 16cm high and 10cm wide using Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK (50g = 125m), and a pair of 3.00mm needles.
- Worked flat: All pieces are worked flat on straight needles and seamed afterwards (feel free to knit back and forth on circular needles if you find them more comfortable).
- Gauge/Tension: gauge is not important, and your stitches will stretch once your toy is stuffed. But, for reference, my gauge was 6 sts and 10 rows = 2.5cm (1 inch).
- Casting on: Use the long tail cast on method.
- A pair of 3.00mm (US 2½) straight or circular knitting needles
- DK or light worsted yarn (8 ply in Australia) in four colours:
A: feet, beak
B: stripes on legs, wings
D: chest, eyes, tassels
- Stitch holder, wool needle, ball-head pins, scissors
- Small amount of black DK, 4ply (fingering) or embroidery floss for embroidering eyes
- Toy stuffing
Across = repeat instructions or sequence in brackets for the length of the entire row. E.g. “k2tog across”, “(k1, m1) across”
DK = double knitting or light worsted yarn (also known as 8ply in Australia)
g-st = garter stitch (two or more rows of knitting)
k = knit
k2tog = knit two together (knit decrease)
m1 = make 1 stitch. I personally prefer to use the Right Lifted Increase
p = purl
p2tog = purl two together (purl decrease)
Cut yarn, pull through and tie tightly = Cut working yarn, leaving a 15cm/6″ tail, and thread onto a wool needle. Thread this tail through all remaining sts on needle and pull tightly, forming a closed circle. Thread tail back through sts a 2nd time and pull tightly to secure.
rem = remaining
RS = right side of workst(s) = stitch(es)
st-st = stocking stitch or stockinette stitch (two or more rows alternating knit and purl stitches)
WS = wrong side of work
(…) n times = repeat the sequence in the square brackets by the number “n”
Knot Forgotten Knit Owl
LEGS (make two)
Worked from the bottom of the feet to the top of the leg.
With A, cast on 10 sts, leaving approx. 20cm of tail for sewing.
row 1 (WS): purl
row 2: k2, (m1, k1) 6 times, k2. (16 sts)
row 3: purl
row 4: k3, (m1, k1) 9 times, m1, k4. (26 sts)
rows 5-7: beginning and ending with purl rows, st-st for three rows
rows 8-21: Cut A and attach B. Beginning with a knit row and ending with a purl row, st-st for 14 rows (alternate in stripes of two rows B and two rows C).
LEG 1: Cut B and C and transfer all 26 sts to a stitch holder
LEG 2: Cut B and C. With RS facing, place LEG 1 back on left needle with LEG 2. Continue through to body.
Worked from the top of the legs to the top of the head.
rows 22-43: With RS facing, attach D, then work in g-st for 22 rows (52 sts)
rows 44-69: Cut D and attach C. Beg with a knit row and ending with a purl row, st-st for 26 rows
row 70: cast off in knit
EYES (make two)
Worked from the outer edge to the centre. With D, cast on 20 sts
row 1 (WS): purl
row 2: knit
row 3: purl
row 4: (k1, k2tog) 6 times, k2 (14 sts)
row 5: purl
Cut yarn, pull through and tie tightly, leaving a tail of at least 15cm for sewing.
WINGS (make two)
Worked from the outer edge to the centre.
With B, cast on 24 sts
row 1 (WS): purl
row 2: knit
row 3: (k2, p1) across
row 4: (k1, p2) across
rows 5-7: repeat rows 3-4, then work row 3 once more.
row 8: (k1, k2tog) across (16 sts)
row 9: purl
row 10: k2tog across (8 sts)
Cut yarn, pull through and tie tightly.
Seaming and stuffing the body:
- Tidy up by double knotting and trimming all yarn ends on the body except the cast on/cast off tails.
- Thread wool needle with cast on tail A. Beginning at the opposite end of the yarn tail, pick up the outer loops of the cast on edge (fig. 1). Pull tightly to close (fig. 2 and 3), then thread needle through a second time to secure (fig. 4 and 5). Pull tightly (fig. 6).
Gathering up and closing the feet:
- Thread your wool needle with cast on tail A. Starting at the opposite end, gather up all sts by threading needle though each of the outer loops of the cast on edge (fig. 1). TIP: Think of each st as two legs “/\”, where you insert your needle between the legs, picking up the right leg only.
- Pull tail to gather up the sts tightly (fig. 2 and 3). Then secure by threading tail through all sts a second time, pulling tightly to keep the centre from reopening (fig. 4, 5 and 6).
Sewing the legs and middle body seam:
- Continue using A to sew the leg closed using mattress stitch, finishing where the g-st section begins. Repeat for other leg.
- Begin stuffing legs.
- Use a length of D tosew g-st section closed using Invisible Mattress Stitch Seam on Garter Stitch (Youtube video by Nancy Wynn).
- Finish stuffing legs and begin stuffing body.
- Using a long length of B, finish sewing middle body seam closed using mattress stitch, stuffing the body as you go.
Closing the top of the head and finishing the body:
- Thread wool needle with a long length of B. Count 13 sts from the centre-back along the cast off edge, and insert needle from bottom to top through the 13th st.
- Whipstitch the top of the head closed by threading your needle up through the outer loop one stitch over to the left (fig. 7), then down through the outer loop one stitch over to the right of the 13th st (fig. 8). Continue in this manner, working from left to right up along the cast off edge, pulling the working yarn tight and stuffing the body as you go. NOTE: take care not to overstuff or exceed the max height of 18cm.
- Sew the gap closed between the legs using D and horizontal mattress stitch. Bury all remaining yarn tails by weaving into the body, taking care not to distort the stuffing.
Finishing, embroidering and attaching the eyes:
Using the cast off tail, sew the eye seam closed using mattress stitch. Pull the tail to tightly close the centre circle (see fig. 11 for a before and after of the eye piece once it’s sewn).
- Position eye with the seam line on the right side. Cut a 20cm/8″ length of black 8 ply or 4 ply thread. Begin the first line of the “V” by threading a wool needle and inserting through eye from back to front along the seam line towards the edge (fig. 12). Now make a stitch approx. 1.5cm in length towards the centre (fig. 13).
- Begin the second line of the “V” by inserting your needle into the eye from behind, approx. 1cm above the previous exit point, slightly to the right (fig. 14). Then make another stitch back into the original starting point (fig. 15 and fig. 16).
- Lightly pull thread ends to tighten. Tie a double knot in the back to secure, and trim tail ends. Repeat for 2nd eye.
- Pin and sew eyes in place in desired position on the head with the two points of the “V”s facing each other. TIP: I keep the edges of the eyes neat by sewing into the row BELOW the cast on edge.
Embroidering the beak:
- Find the centre point between the eyes, and mark the tip of the beak using a pin (about 4-5 rows down from where the eyes end) (fig. 17).
- Using a long length of A, insert wool needle through the side of the body, exiting where your pin was placed. We’ll be embroidering the beak by first working on the left side, then the right, then going over the centre.
- Make the first stitch on the left side, entering the owl through the body, just under the eye (fig. 18), and exiting out just behind the top of the eye (fig. 19). Return to the starting point by threading needle through the point where you just came out, exiting back down to the tip of the beak (fig. 20).
- Continue in this manner up the left side of the beak, following the same line of sts up the centre (fig. 21). Then repeat for the right side (fig. 22), and, finally, the centre (fig. 23 and 24). OPTIONAL: after finishing the beak, I like to secure the inner-middle of the eye pieces together with a small length of D (see fig. 24).
Attaching the wings:
- With RS of wings facing and the cast on edge facing downwards in a “U” shape, position and pin wings along the top of the g-st chest section.
- Whipstitch in place along the top edge only, leaving the wings free to be raised up and down.
Making and attaching the hair tassels:
- Using D, cut 8 lengths of yarn about 15cm/6″ in length. Bundle together and tie a strand of yarn around the centre (fig. 25). NOTE: disregard this step if you are using a crochet hook to pull your tassel through.
- Push a knitting needle through the head corners where the tassels will be placed (4.00mm or larger is recommended) (fig. 26). NOTE: This is to widen and prepare the hole for you to pull your tassel through.
- Using the tails from the centrally tied yarn strand, thread a wool needle and pull the tassel part-way through the head corner hole towards you (from front of owl to back) (fig. 27). You should now have a loop at the back of your owl, with the remaining tassel tails hanging in front (fig. 28).
- Loosen and remove the central yarn thread. Form a knot by pulling the yarn tails through the loop formed (fig. 30). Further tighten the knot by tugging each yarn strand individually.
- Repeat making tassel for the other side, then trim both to your desired length.
Yay! Your Knot Forgotten Knit Owl is finished!
I hope you enjoyed making this little guy, and I’d love to see your finished owls. Simply tag me @PearDinkum on Instagram!