How to Knit a Horse

Lots of interest in the horse I knit, so I will post very general directions here adapted from the pattern in Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton’s A First Book of Knitting for Children. The title means that the directions are intended to be simple enough for a child to follow – and in Waldorf schools children in third grade could probably knit this horse. I don’t say that to make you feel bad, but to emphasize how easy it is!

That said, get the book if you want very complete simple directions for a beginning knitter. My directions are intended for somebody with some knitting experience.

You’ll need knitting needles and a ball of yarn. The thicker the needles and yarn, the larger the horse will be. I used 6mm needles and a 50 gram ball of Sugar-n-Cream cotton yarn from Tall Mouse. You’ll also need a yarn needle and stuffing. I used cotton scraps to stuff my horse, plus some wool. A crochet hook is also useful for the mane and tail.

You’re going to make two identical flat horse shapes that will be sewn together.

Start with the back leg by casting on 10 stitches. Knit 28 rows. Cut the yarn, leaving about a hand’s length. Leaving the leg on the needle, cast on another 10 stitches and knit another identical leg.

When you are finished with the front leg, cast on 10 stitches and then continue knitting right along the first leg you knit. This is the only finicky bit because it’ll feel like the two legs are connected by a tightrope for the first couple rows. Be sure they don’t get twisted up. You should have 30 stitches.

Knit 12 rows for the body. Then decrease 1 stitch every alternate row three times to make the rounded horse rump. Knit 3 more rows. You should have 27 stitches on your needle.

Cast off 17 stitches to make the top edge of the horse’s back. Knit the remaining 10 stitches.

Knit 10 rows for the neck. At the beginning of the next row, cast on 4 stitches for the bottom of the head and finish knitting the row. Knit 1 row. At the beginning of the next 4 alternate rows, cast on 1 stitch. You should have 18 stitches on your needle and 8 rows knitted.

At the beginning of the each of the next 7 rows decrease 1 stitch.

Cast off the remaining 11 stitches.

Repeat for the second side.

To make the ears: Cast on 6 stitches. Knit 3 rows. At the beginning of each of the next 5 rows, dec 1. Cast off last stitch.

Sew the horse up legs first. Add ears and stuff the body. Sew the body closed. Add a mane and tail with a crochet hook – using a latch hook rug technique. I used double threads for the mane and triple threads for the tail. Sew eyes with darker yarn or embroidery floss.

(The directions in the book say to use the loop and lock stitch to create the mane and to fingerknit a tail.)

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