Author: Canadian Living

The lady practises a midair pirouette while the gentleman leads the way with a sedate soft shoe. With their flexible arms and legs, these Easter rabbits are made to move -- and they're soft enough to sit and snuggle with you when all the dancing's done. Edmonton designer and puppet maker Noreen Crone-Findlay designed them so that they're simple to knit. The pattern pieces are worked flat, sewn together and stuffed, then sculpted with stitching lines. Use up leftover laces and tulle for the lady's ruffles and tutu, and scrap yarns for the gentleman's splendid Fair Isle sweater. Change the needle size and yarn to make your rabbits short or tall.

Gentleman and Lady Easter Rabbits
The gentleman and lady rabbits are worked flat in stocking stitch, following charts. Standard abbreviations are used. NOTE: Recommended for knitters with some experience.

The rabbits were knitted with worsted-weight yarn using 5 mm needles and measure 106 cm (42 inches) tall.

General Notes:

Download graphs and patterns.

• When working charts, carry colours loosely across a maximum of 3 stitches (sts) at back of work. When carrying colour across more than 3 sts, weave it over and under colour in use at every 4th st or at centre point of sts it passes over.

• When working charts, work knit rows from right to left and purl rows from left to right.

• Cast on stitch(es) to work increase(s) and cast off stitch(es) to work decrease(s), as indicated on charts. On right-hand edge of each chart, cast ons and cast offs are worked at beginning of knit rows. On left-hand edge of each chart, cast ons and cast offs are worked at beginning of purl rows.

• The slight asymmetry of chart edges will be hidden in seam lines when finished pieces are stitched together.

• Ladder-stitch (see ladder-stitch diagram) finished pieces together using tapestry needle and MC yarn, aligning Fair Isle patterns at seam lines where appropriate.

• Straight-stitch sculpting lines (see stitching diagram) using tapestry needle and 2 strands of MC buttonhole twist. Begin each sculpting line by sewing 2 or 3 short "locking stitches"; pull tightly to shape as desired. Finish with a knot.

You Will Need (For Each):

• Yarn and needles in desired sizes
•  Fibrefill or washed carded fleece, for stuffing
•  Scraps of ribbon, lace and tulle, for lady rabbit
•  Buttonhole twist or other sturdy thread to match MC, for sculpting
•  2 ball buttons, for eyes
•  Piece of cardboard, for stiffening shoe soles
•  Black yarn, for embroidery
•  Tapestry needle
•  Powder blush and brush, or pink, nontoxic acrylic paint and small piece of sponge

Designer's Tips:
1. Rabbit size varies depending on yarn and needles used.
2. Use needles that are one size smaller than you would normally use for your particular yarn so that knitted fabric will be dense enough to hide stuffing.
3. If desired, make heavier-weight yarns by stranding together up to three yarns of same or differing colours.
4. Make it super simple by knitting plain rabbit from single colour of yarn, following charts for shaping only.

Page 1 of 3 -- Discover great tips for making a Gentlemen rabbit on page 2

 

How to make a Gentlemen rabbit toy

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 1. Knit 2 head front/backs, 2 body front/backs, 2 arms, 2 legs and 4 shoe top/soles (2 from solid colour only), following charts and using contrasting colours as desired for Fair Isle patterns. With steam iron and pressing cloth, press finished pieces.

2. Head: Stitch head front to back, leaving open between arrows; stuff, then stitch opening closed.

Beginning at tip of 1 ear and stitching from sculpting line to inside seam and back again, stitch through ear front only down ear to bottom of inside seams, then continue stitching from sculpting line through broken line and back again, as indicated on stitching diagram; shape. Repeat for other ear.

Beginning at bottom of inside seams of ears and stitching from head front through back, sew a straight line of stitches, as indicated on stitching diagram, ending with 2 large stitches forming inverted V shape.

Sew eye buttons in place, stitching back and forth from 1 to the other through head front only, shaping bridge of nose as you work.

Pull up nose and hold between thumb and fingers. Beginning at 1 eye, stitch back and forth from 1 side of nose to the other through head front only, shaping length of nose as you work. Shape tip of nose by taking large, tight stitch out at a, in at c and out at a; repeat 2 times, then stitch from b to c in same manner.

Beginning at a, sew oval line of stitches through head front only; pull to shape upper lip, using needle to pull stuffing from head into lip; push needle out back of head. Repeat for other lip, beginning at b.

With tapestry needle and black yarn, embroider mouth as indicated on stitching diagram.

Brush powder inside each ear beside sculpting line and at tip of nose; or thin paint with water, dab on with sponge and let dry.

3. Body: Stitch body front to back, leaving open between arrows; stuff, then stitch opening closed. Stitch head back to body front where indicated by yellow circles on both.

4. Arms: Stitch side edges of each arm together. Thread matching yarn through cast-on sts on each arm. Pull tightly to form hand; knot. Stuff. Thread matching yarn through cast-off sts on each arm. Pull tightly to form shoulder; knot and stitch to body.

5. Shoes: Trace 2 shoe soles onto cardboard; cut out. Stitch each shoe top to 1 sole, leaving open between arrows; line sole with cardboard. Stuff each shoe, then stitch opening closed.

6. Legs: Stitch side edges of each leg together, then, with seam down centre back, stitch cast-off edges together. Stuff. Slipstitch remaining open end of each leg to 1 shoe top where indicated by yellow circle. Slipstitch each leg, along stitched cast-off edge, to bottom edge of body.

Page 2 of 3 -- Learn how to make a cute Lady rabbit toy on page 3

How to make a Lady rabbit toy

Download graphs and patterns

 1. Knit 2 head front/backs and 4 shoe top/soles (2 from solid colour only), following charts and using contrasting colours as desired. Knit 2 body front/ backs, 2 arms and 2 legs, following charts for shaping only and working as follows.

For body front/back, work a total of 3 alternating stripes of 2 rows of each contrasting colour (top of striped tights); work 1 row of third contrasting colour (sweater edging) and remainder in fourth contrasting colour (sweater). For arms, work 15 rows of MC, 1 row to match sweater edging and remaining rows to match sweater. For legs, work a total of 22 alternating stripes of 2 rows each to match striped tights.

2. Stitch and shape head, body, arms, shoes and legs as in steps 2 to 6 for Gentleman Rabbit.

3. Sew wide ruffled lace around neck to make ruffled collar. Sew narrow, flat or ruffled lace around wrists and ankles. Layer several strips of tulle and gather along 1 edge, pulling up thread to fit waist. Stitch gathered edge of tulle strips to edge of wide lace; sew lace around waist to make tutu. With ribbon, tie 2 bows; stitch 1 in place on each shoe top.

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