So it started with the owls (and I’ve heard rumors of some very sneaky foxes), but we all knew it wasn’t going to end there. Because really, once you’ve realized you’re the sort of person who is susceptible to small knitted friends, it’s all but inevitable that you’ll end up with a whole assortment of them. I mean they lead such delightful lives, how could anyone resist? (Their names are Penny and Gwen. They run the ice skating rink in the winter and the swimming pool in the summer. They throw the very best parties and are always encouraging folks to break out their favorite fancy clothes, no matter the occasion.)
And look, it’s fine if you look at these and find yourself wondering if perhaps I spent a bit too much time outside without a hat as a child. I fully understand that not everyone will be as enchanted with them as I am, and I would never, ever, ever suggest that anyone actually needs them.
But, on the off chance that you suddenly want nothing more than to attend the next penguin ball, I’d be delighted to meet you there. I can’t wait to see what you wear!
This 26-page pattern is tremendously detailed and holds your hand every step of the way. There are pages and pages of step-by-step photos to show you exactly what to expect as you work. The pattern is full of helpful tips on everything from casting on, blocking, duplicate stitching the belly, filling your penguin, and managing your ends.
It’s almost absurdly detailed, but it really does mean you can totally make these, even if you’ve never knit a project like this before!
Skills & scope
Each penguin fits in the palm of your hand and takes only a few hours to knit. The knitting is surprisingly mellow, mostly stockinette in the round with a few increases and decreases here and there to give it shape. You'll work a bit of duplicate stitch for the belly and face at the end.
The pattern uses charts, so you will need to know how to follow a knitting chart.
Yarn, gauge & sizing
The pattern comes in one size. I made mine in fingering weight yarn, but you can make it in any weight of yarn, and the finished size will change depending on what yarn you use. You don’t need to match any particular gauge, but you do need to knit tightly enough to make a firm fabric so your filling doesn’t show through.
You can absolutely use scrap yarn for this.
The penguin in the pictures took less than 150 yards of yarn for the body, less than 100 yards yarn to duplicate stitch the belly and face, and less than 5 yards of yarn used for the beak. I knit mine at about 7.5 stitches per inch and they are about 5.5 inches tall, 8 inches wing tip to wing tip, and 8.5 inches around the belly. If you want a larger penguin, you can absolutely use a thicker yarn.
Tools & supplies
You’ll need needles that let you work in the round (circulars or DPNs) in whatever size lets you get a firm fabric with your chosen yarn plus the general knitting tools you need for most projects (scissors to cut your yarn, a darning needle to weave in ends, the occasional stitch marker or bit of scrap yarn to hold stitches).
You’ll also need something to fill the penguins with. You may also want eyes (they're optional, they're adorable without eyes or with embroidered eyes). I have a page here with information about the supplies I use in my projects.