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Winston Leon Pattern

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Meet Winston Leon, a wild but kind little guy. Knitted in one piece, totally seamlessly, from the tip of his nose to the tip of his toes, his personality will emerge progressively out of your hands.

* Knitted in fingering weight yarn, it only requires a 50 g skein of main color for the lion himself, and a mini-skein for his sweater. Perfect to try out some beautiful colors from an indie dyer, but also to use your left overs from bigger projects.

* No seaming.
All the finishing done as you go.
A very few stitches to pick up, only for the ears and the tail, with their placement marked during the process.

* The knitting will start tiny, with Winston’s nose and muzzle. Then you will shape his head using short rows while creating his glorious mane thanks to a slightly modified version of loop stitch. Along the way, you will have broken off to attach his eyes, embroider his nose and his mouth, and give him some cute little ears. That’s the moment when Winston truly comes to life in your hands. From that point, you will knit down to his little feet ! And the trickiest bits of the making will be behind you !

You will then knit his shoulders, and while you leave his body stitches on hold, you will knit his arms.
Then, going back to his body stitches, you will knit down to his belly and shape his bottom. Once again, you will take a little break to add his tail, which is knitted from picked-up stitches. Then, only the legs and feet to go !

All along, instructions are given to tackle the required finishing as you go, leaving only a small opening to close at the very end of the making.

* Of course, the loop stitch is the main special feature in the pattern. Actually, it’s a twisted version of the traditional loop stitch, which consists in creating two loops in a stitch instead of only one. This way, we get more density, stability and sturdiness in the mane. Detailed instructions are given to achieve it. The process can seem fiddly or tricky, sometimes a bit tiring for the hands, but no lion could exist without his glorious mane, especially the woolly ones ! The loops will inescapably slow you down. Welcome this slowness for a little while. It won’t last too long and you will be rewarded !

* The pattern also includes instructions to knit a little sweater for your lion. Also top down and seamless. And now, it also includes instructions to make him socks (which comes in the separate bonus PDF) !

- For now, the pattern is available in english only.

- It has been tested and fully tech edited by Amelia Hodsdon (Woollen Words).

- It is recommended for knitters with experience knitting small circumferences in the round and written to be worked either with DPNs or magic loop.

- Specific techniques : short rows using yarnovers or simple decreases with detailed instructions provided.

- Special stitch : loop stitch in a modified version, explained in the pattern.

- About the difficulty level : i would rate it between intermediate and advanced, because of the necessity to combine the short rows shaping and the loop stitch. That said, I worked at providing the most detailed instructions possible as well as extra tips and pictures, to make the process as smooth as possible. So if you feel motivated by the mane challenge, be sure that the instructions will help you all along the way to complete it.

For Winston
Phileas Yarns Wanderlust 4ply
100 % British Bluefaced Leicester - 200 m / 218 yds per 50 g skein
Color La Cabane à Sucre, 1 skein
For his sweater
Phileas Yarns Explorer Sock, Heels & Toes mini-skein
80% Merino, 20 % nylon - 73 m / 80 yds per 20 g skein
Color H’Mong Friends, 1 mini-skein

Winston is knitted with 2mm (US 0) needles.
Two sets of DPNs (15 cm / 6 inches) or two circular needles for magic loop. The extra needle(s) will be used at a later stage in the pattern and could be replaced by waste yarn, but using needles makes for a smoother process.

10 sts and 14 rounds = 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm / 1 inch x 1 inch, in stocking stitch, worked in the round

It’s not essential to get this particular gauge, but it’s really important to get a tighter-than-usual gauge. I recommend you knit a little swatch in the round to see what fabric you get: you are looking for a nice tight gauge, without making the process of knitting uncomfortable. It’s important to find the right balance for you to enjoy knitting this cuddly toy while creating a firm fabric full of character.

One size.
With the yarn and needle size used for the sample shown, he measures about 29 cm (11.5 inches) from the top of the loops to the tip of the toes. If you use a thicker yarn, you will get a bigger lion. In that case, don’t forget to adapt the size of the eyes if you use safety eyes.

- Lockable stitch markers, such as bulb pins
- Contrasting waste yarn in similar weight to the working yarn
- Tapestry needle
- Stuffing (It can be polyester, wool or cotton. It depends on personal preferences, and also on how much you would like the toy to be special, precious or made with natural materials only.)
- Safety eyes (6 mm diameter or larger if you go for a thicker yarn) - 1 m / 1 yd of black yarn in same weight for optional knitted eyes
- Black mercerised embroidery cotton

© Cinthia Vallet
This pattern is intended for your personal non-commercial use only. It may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, as a whole or partially. The finished toys made from it may not be sold. They are meant to be used for yourself or gifted. No yarn kit may be proposed without my explicit permission. If you would like to sell yarn kits, please contact me to have a chat about it first.
Thank you very much for respecting these rights reservations.

For pattern queries, contact by email at
You will get the following files:
  • PDF (10MB)
  • PDF (464KB)
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