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This is a good project for scrap yarn. I used worsted weight or a little lighter and size 4 or 5 needles. Basically, you want to use needles small enough for you to get a fairly tight fabric so you can stuff the doll without the stuffing showing or coming through the fabric.
What you’ll need: A few yards of yarn, circular or double pointed needles for knitting I-cord and knitting in the round, a stitch holder, waste yarn or fluff for stuffing, darning needle for dealing with ends, and twist ties from a bread bag or what have you for making arms and legs poseable.
Cast on 4 stitches and knit I-cord for 20 rows to make a leg (or however long you want it… that goes for all measurements). Set this leg aside on a stitch holder and repeat to make the second leg (if you like, you can cast on two sets of 4 stitches with two balls of yarn – or the two ends of one ball – and knit both legs at once).
Once both legs are finished, put them on the same needle and knit across both with the same working yarn for 8 stitches total. Work a couple of twist ties into the legs if you want to make the doll poseable. If you have trouble, pull them through with a darning needle as if they were yarn.
Separate the stitches on different needles or parts of your circulars for knitting in the round and join.
Continue knitting for 10 rounds to make the body. Leave the tail of yarn left over from the first leg to sew up the crotch later.
Once you’ve finished the body, separate the stitches again to make the arms so you have 4 stitches on one needle with the working yarn at the left side of the stitches for knitting I-cord and 4 stitches on a stitch holder (or you could work them both at the same time again with separate balls of yarn…)
Start the I-cord arm with k1, k2tog, k1 to get to 3 stitches total.
Continue knitting I-cord for 15 rows. Break thread and run the end of the yarn back through the stitches and pull tight to bind off.
Put the next 4 stitches back on your needles and repeat arm instructions for second arm.
This is where I like to go ahead and stuff a little fluff or waste yarn into the body. Then you can work twist ties (or one longer one) into the arms to make them poseable.
For the head, pick up 4 stitches from arm to arm on the front of the doll and 4 stitches in back.
K4, k1 front and back, k4, k1 front and back for 10 stitches total.
K5, k1 front and back, k5, k1 front and back for 12 stitches total.
Knit around until you think the head is big enough. I usually do two or three more rounds. You can even work more rounds of increases, if you like.
Now or at the next row is a good time to stuff the head.
K2tog all the way around to get 6 stitches total (if you made more increases, you will have to have more rounds like this, so take that into account when figuring out how big your doll’s head will be – either way, you want to end up with about 6 stitches).
Run the yarn back through the stitches and pull tight to close the hole. Secure the yarn tightly (I like to run it back through the stitches again) and hide the end inside the doll.
Stitch up the crotch and secure and hide all ends and you’re done!
You can use thread or yarn to make a face, or you can draw it on with markers. You can also add hair by tying bits of yarn of whatever length through the stitches around the head.
For a little dress:
Cast on 12 stitches in the round
K2, k1 front and back, k3, repeat to get 14 stitches total
K2, k2 front and back, k3, repeat to get 18 stitches total
K2, k1 front and back, k2, k1 front and back, k3, repeat to get 22 stitches total
K2, k1 front and back, k4, k1 front and back, k3, repeat to get 26 stitches total
K3, bind off 7, k3, repeat to get 12 stitches left on the needles
K2, to make the bound off stitches into sleeves k1 front and back and then yarn over, k3, repeat to get 16 stitches total
Knit around, knitting into the back of the yarn overs so that you don’t leave a hole
Continue to knit around until the dress is as long as you’d like it to be. I worked a round of k2tog, yo just before casting off to create a little pattern at the bottom.
Cast off and weave in the end.
You are welcome to distribute this pattern and use the ideas included and gift or sell whatever you make from it. But if you distribute it, please do so as a whole, with attribution and this info included. Thanks!