Knitting Toys: Egg to Penguin

Create the coolest of all reversible knitting toys, the Egg to Penguin, while learning a few sewing techniques including how to whipstitch.
By Susan B. Anderson
January 2014

Egg to Penguin Knitting Toys are quick and fairly simple to knit and use only a small amount of worsted-weight yarn.
Photo courtesy Artisan Books
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From the amazingly imaginative mind of author and knitter Susan B. Anderson, comes a book focused solely on creating “Reversibles” — knitted projects that are two toys in one. Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys (Artisan Books, 2013) contains step-by-step instructions for knitting a collection of toys that, in one easy flip, become brand new characters for child’s play. The following excerpt will show you the basics of knitting toys, featuring the Egg to Penguin.

You can purchase this book from the Capper’s Farmer store: Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys

The reversible Egg to Bluebird I knit for Itty-Bitty Toys proved to be a very popular project, so I couldn’t resist making two more egg reversibles for this book. In all of these, the tiny knit egg turns into something else, just like eggs do in nature.

My kids swim and work at our neighborhood pool in the summer. The pool mascot happens to be a penguin, so there are pictures of penguins on my kids’ T-shirts, towels, shorts, pants, etc. With so many penguins around, of course I was inspired to include a penguin reversible toy in this collection.

Egg to Penguin Knitting Toys are quick and fairly simple to knit and use only a small amount of worsted-weight yarn. Have some fun whipping up this tiny treasure of a toy. For instance, be creative in your color choices: maybe your penguin is red, blue, or green! Why not?

Knitting Toys: Egg to Penguin

Abbreviation Key:
k — knit
k2tog — knit two stitches together
m1 — make 1 stitch by placing the bar in between the stitches on the left needles and knitting through the back loop
rem(s) — remain(s)
rnd(s) — round(s)
ssk — slip twi stitches one at a time as if to knit, and knit these two stitches together through the back loops

Finished toy measurement
Penguin: 3 1/2 inches tall
Egg: 3 1/2 inches long

Yarn
Spud & Chloë Sweater (55% superwash wool, 45% organic cotton; 100 grams/160 yards/146 meters), worsted weight; 1 hank each in Ice Cream #7500, Penguin #7522, and Pollen #7508

Needles
U.S. size 6 (4 mm) double-pointed needles, set of four, or size to obtain gauge

Gauge
5 1/2 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch

Notions
Detachable stitch markers
Ruler or tape measure
Scissors
Yarn needle
White embroidery floss

Egg

With Ice Cream, cast on 9 stitches, placing 3 stitches on each of three double-pointed needles. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.

Rnd 1: Knit.
Rnd 2: (k1, m1, k1, m1, k1), repeat on each needle (5 sts per needle, 15 sts total).
Rnd 3: Knit.
Rnd 4: *K1, (m1, k1) four times, repeat from * on each needle (9 sts per needle, 27 sts total).
Rnd 5: Knit.
Rnd 6: (k1, m1, k8), repeat on each needle (10 sts per needle, 30 sts total).

Place a stitch marker on Round 6 and leave it there. Turn and begin working back and forth in stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row), starting with a purl row. This will create the opening in the Egg. Work for 2 inches above the stitch marker.

End with a knit row.

Begin working in the round again.

Decrease Rounds

Rnd 1: (k3, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (8 sts per needle, 24 sts total rem).
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: (k2, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (6 sts per needle, 18 sts total rem).
Rnd 4: Knit.
Rnd 5: (k1, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (4 sts per needle, 12 sts total rem).
Rnd 6: Knit.
Rnd 7: K2tog, repeat to the end of the round (2 sts per needle, 6 sts total rem).

Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches, gather up tight to close the hole, and stitch to secure. Thread the end from the cast-on edge on a yarn needle, stitch through all of the cast-on stitches, and gather to close the hole.

Stitch to secure. Weave all ends to the inside and trim.


Penguin

Body

Starting at the bottom of the Penguin and with Ice Cream, cast on 9 stitches, placing 3 stitches on each of three double-pointed needles. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.

Rnd 1: Knit.
Rnd 2: (k1, m1, k1, m1, k1), repeat on each needle (5 sts per needle, 15 sts total).
Rnd 3: Knit.
Rnd 4: *K1, (m1, k1) four times, repeat from * on each needle (9 sts per needle, 27 sts total).
Rnd 5: Knit.
Rnd 6: (k1, m1, k8), repeat on each needle (10 sts per needle, 30 sts total).

Place a stitch marker on Round 6 and leave it there. Turn and begin working back and forth in stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row), starting with a purl row. This will create the opening in the Penguin. Work for 1 1/2 inches above the stitch marker. Switch to Penguin.

Continue working to 2 inches above the stitch marker. End with a knit row.

Begin working in the round again.

Decrease Rounds

Rnd 1: (k3, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (8 sts per needle, 24 sts total rem).
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: (k2, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (6 sts per needle, 18 sts total rem).
Rnd 4: Knit.
Rnd 5: (k1, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (4 sts per needle, 12 sts total rem).
Rnd 6: Knit.
Rnd 7: K2tog, repeat to the end of the round (2 sts per needle, 6 sts total rem).

Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches, gather up tight to close the hole, and stitch to secure. Thread the tail from the cast-on edge on a yarn needle, stitch through all of the cast-on stitches, and gather to close the hole. Stitch to secure. Weave all ends to the inside and trim.

Wings (make 2)

With Penguin and two double-pointed needles, pick up 8 stitches on the side of the Penguin right below the color change, placing 4 stitches on each of the two needles in 2 parallel lines (see page 12). Begin working in the round and place a stitch marker on the first stitch.

Knit every round until the wing measures 1 1/4 inches from the picked-up stitches.

Next rnd: (ssk, k2tog) on each needle (2 sts per needle, 4 sts total rem).

Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull through the remaining stitches and tighten to close the hole. Pull the ends to the inside and trim.

Feet (make 2)

With Pollen and two double-pointed needles, pick up 6 stitches at the bottom front of the body, placing 3 stitches on each of the two needles in 2 parallel lines. Begin working in the round and place a stitch marker on the first stitch.

Knit every round until the foot measures 3/4 inch from the picked-up stitches.

Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Use the Kitchener stitch to graft the end of the foot together. Pull all ends to the inside and trim.

Face

Eyes
With a length of Penguin placed on a yarn needle, make a spiderweb that is 1/2 inch wide. With a length of white embroidery floss placed on a yarn needle, take a tiny straight stitch on the upper right part of the black spiderweb circle.

Widow’s peak
With a length of Penguin placed on a yarn needle, take 6 straight stitches at the center of the forehead and directly below the color switch line to create a black point on the forehead. The stitches go through the same knit stitch at the bottom to form a point.

Beak
With a length of Pollen placed on a yarn needle, take 6 straight stitches between the eyes to create a beak. The stitches go through the same knit stitch at the bottom to form a point.

Place the Egg inside the Penguin body with the purl sides together. With a length of Ice Cream on a yarn needle, whipstitch around the opening of the Egg and the Penguin body, aligning the edges as you stitch. Pull the ends to the inside and trim.


How to Whipstitch Parts Together

The whipstitch is probably one of the simplest, most common sewing techniques when knitting toys. It can be used to attach parts or to join edges, as in this example, which uses Quince & Co. Lark.

1. Have the Penguin right side out and the Egg inside out. Make sure the same ends — the cast-on ends and the decreased ends — are lined up.

2. Place the Egg inside the Penguin. The purl sides should be together.

3. Use your fingers to get the Egg smoothed out inside and to line up the edges evenly.

4. With either an end or a separate length of matching yarn, placed on a yarn needle, begin the whipstitch. With your free hand, pinch the edges together as you take the stitches. Insert the needle through both layers of the edges.

5. Pull the yarn through both layers, and pull the stitch snugly. Bring the needle back over the edges to take the next stitch.

6. Move the needle up to the next stitches on the edges and repeat. When you are done with the last whipstitch, pull the end between the layers and trim to stay inside.

Read more: Create another “Reversible” in Knitting Toys: Dog in the Doghouse.


Excerpted from Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys by Susan B. Anderson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Liz Banfield. Buy this book from our store: Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys


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