If your baby is anything like mine, this cotton knit doggy rattle is a handmade gift he’ll love. I spread my son’s whole smorgasbord of toys out in front of him -from plastic rings to wooden blocks, and his little fingers will reach without hesitation to pick up the doggy rattle. It totally warms my knitting mama heart.
The idea for this toy came to me in a very cartoon-lightbulb fashion. I was browsing at our local bookstore, rocking the stroller with one hand, idly picking up books with the other, when I spied the store’s display of baby gifts. Next to the board books, there was a row of little crocheted donkeys with long bodies, and I thought -how perfect for a baby with imprecise fine motor skills. Just like that, a vision of this doggy rattle flashed into my head, and I dropped the book I was browsing, whipped the stroller around and headed straight home to knit it. Like those bookstore crocheted donkeys, this toy has a long body for a quick and easy baby grab. It also has small but pinchable ears for baby to practice more fine motor precision. It has little bells hidden in its stuffing for a nice rattly effect, and a simple but cute face for baby to examine. It is made of sturdy cotton yarn, pleasant to the touch and washable.
I actually made this rattle about a month ago, so when I sat down today to write this blog post and share the pattern with you, I pulled out my knitting notebook and flipped back a couple pages looking for the notes I had taken while knitting it. I couldn’t find them. All I could find was a page with the scribbled, underlined heading Doggy Baby Rattle and pure white blank space underneath. Oops. Now that I’m creating patterns to share/sell, I’m really trying to be more careful about note-taking, but I guess I got so caught up in the knitting that I took no notes. I had to rely on my knitting memory and the toy in my hand to write up this pattern. I did the best I could, but of course, please send me a note if you’re knitting it, and something doesn’t make sense.
The pattern is knit in the round on double pointed needles. The bend between body and head is created by short rows.
Doggy Baby Rattle
Four size 4 double pointed knitting needles
a small amount of worsted cotton yarn (such as Bernat Baby Cotton) in yellow and in blue
tapestry needle for attaching ears
black embroidery thread and needle for adding face
a small amount of stuffing
two small craft bells (one would be okay, but two just make a bit more noise)
*note: if you change needle size or yarn weight, you’ll get a bigger or smaller doggy rattle, which is cool too. Just make sure to use a combination of yarn + needles that creates a knit tight enough that you can stuff
BO = bind off
CO = cast on
k = knit
k2tog = knit two stitches together into one. a decrease stitch
kfb = knit into the front and back of a stitch. an increase stitch
p = purl
w&t = wrap and turn. Slip the next stitch onto the right-hand needle as if to purl, wrap your yarn around slipped stitch, then return slipped stitch to left-hand needle. Then turn your work.
knit in the round
with yellow, CO 3
Round 1: work this round as an i-cord. [kfb] 3 times (6 stitches)
divide the 6 stitches evenly onto 3 needles, and arrange for knitting in the round
Round 2: k
Round 3: [kfb] 6 times (12 stitches)
switch to blue
Round 4: k
Round 5: [kfb, k1] six times (18 stitches)
switch to yellow
Rounds 6-32: k. switch colors every two rounds
stuff what you have up to this point with stuffing, including a bell about 2/3 of the way up the body
begin short rows for the neck. From this point onward, knit everything in blue.
Row 33: k11, w&t
Row 34: p10, w&t
Row 35: k9, w&t
Row 36: p8, w&t
Row 37: k7, w&t
Row 38: p6, w&t
Row 39: k5, w&t
Row 40: p4, w&t
Row 41: k3, w&t
Row 42: p2, w&t
Round 43: k around. Make sure to pick up and knit the wraps along with the stitches as you come to them. For this and all remaining rounds, the sound the beginning of a round not at the original beginning but at the top of doggy’s head (the top of the curve created by the short rows.)
Rounds 44-51: k
Round 52: [k2tog, k2] 6 times (12 stitches)
Round 53: k
Round 54: [k2tog] 6 times (6 stitches)
stuff the dog body completely, including a second bell (if desired).
Cut the yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches. Pull tight and secure.
ears (make 2)
knit in the round
with yellow, CO 10 stitches. Divide the stitches onto 3 needles and arrange for working in the round.
Rounds 1-8: k
Round 9: [k2tog, k1, k2tog] 2 times (6 stitches)
Round 10: rearrange the remaining stitches onto 2 needles (the first 3 stitches on the first needle, the last 3 stitches on the second needle) and align the two needles so the three stitches on each needle align with those on the other needle. Use a 3rd needle to knit together each pair of stitches from each. (3 stitches)
– sew the ears onto the head
– use a tapestry needle to pull any remaining tails of yarn into the toy. Once they are secure, cut off the ends.
– use black embroidery thread and needle to stitch on a face.
– optional but always fun: share your doggy (with or without a baby) on instagram (hashtag #yarnbirdy), facebook (tag @yarnbirdy), or Ravelry, because I would love to admire it!
Baby flips the rattle in every direction, examining it from every angle…
and then stuffs it joyfully in his mouth! Obviously.