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Knitting With Balls

I wasn't quite sure what Norberta would be when I started -- as it turns out, she wanted to be a baby dragon. But leave off the wings and spines, and she looks like a dinosaur or an alligator -- whatever works best for the kid (or grownup) in your life.

To create a more scaly look for the dragon, I used the stockinette pieces with the purl side out. This has the added benefit of hiding the wrapped stitches created when using short rows to shape the body and the round belly. So no need to worry about picking up the wraps on the way back!

model: Norberta the Dragon photos: Kate Kuckro

SIZE
One
 
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Height: 10 inches

 
MATERIALS

Knit Picks Crayon [100% Pima Cotton; 128yd/116.5m per 50g skein]
[MC] #822 Lime; 2 skeins (approx. 180yd/165m used)
[CC] #605 Orange; 1 skein (approx. 90yd/82.5m used)

Scraps of white or other color yarns for embroidered features
1 pair US #6/4mm needles
Blunt tapestry needle
Two buttons for eyes (safety note: for small children, replace button eyes with embroidered ones)
Buttonhole thread
Polyester stuffing

 

GAUGE
16 sts/20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, with two strands of yarn held together
 
PATTERN NOTES

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

Instructions for the Long-Tail Cast On can be found here.
Instructions for the Backward Loop Cast On can be found here:

Reading the Schematic
Don't worry about matching measurements exactly -- the knitting will stretch into shape when stuffed.

The schematic shows the Body, Underside, and Hind Leg pieces folded in half; the fold line is indicated by a dotted line
Casting On and Binding Off
CO using the Long-Tail method at the beg of each piece. CO sts at row ends using Backward Loop method.

To make assembly easier, leave slightly longer than usual tails at the CO and BO ends of each piece.

DIRECTIONS

This project is worked with 2 strands of yarn held together throughout.

Tail, Back, and Head

Note: While this piece and the front and hind legs are being worked, the smooth, knit side of the stockinette st fabric will be considered the RS. When sewing the pieces together, this will become the WS, and the bumpy, purl side of the fabric will face out.

Tail
Using two strands of MC held together, CO 6 sts.

Rows 1-5: Beginning with a p row, work 5 rows in stockinette st.

Row 6 [RS]: [K1, kfb] 3 times. 9 sts.

Rows 7-11: Work in stockinette st.

Row 12 [RS]: [K2, kfb] 3 times. 12 sts.

Rows 13-15: Work in stockinette st.
Row 16
[RS]: [K3, kfb] 3 times. 15 sts.
Rows 17-19:
Work in stockinette st.
Row 20
[RS]: [K4, kfb] 3 times. 18 sts.
Rows 21-23
: Work in stockinette st.
Row 24
[RS]: [K5, kfb] 3 times. 21 sts.
Row 25
[WS]: P all sts.

Shape Hip
Row 26: K4, w&t. P to end.
Row 27: K6, w&t. P to end.
Row 28: K8, w&t. P to end.
Row 29 [RS]: K all sts
Row 30: P4, w&t. K to end
Row 31: P6, w&t. K to end
Row 32: P8, w&t. K to end
Row 33 [WS]: P all sts.

Back
Rows 34-43: work in stockinette st.

Decrease for Neck
Row 44 [RS]: K2, ssk, k13, k2tog, k2. 19 sts
Rows 45-49: Work in stockinette st
Row 50 [RS]: K2, ssk, k11, k2tog, k2. 17 sts
Rows 51-53: Work in stockinette st
Row 54 [RS]: K2, ssk, k9, k2tog, k2. 15 sts
Row 55 [WS]: P all sts.

Shape Neck
Row 56: K9, w&t; p3, w&t; k5, w&t; p7, w&t; k9, w&t; p11, w&t. K to end
Row 57 [WS]: P all sts

Head
Row 58 [RS]: K5, kfb, k3, kfb, k5. 17 sts
Row 59 [WS]: P5, [pfb] twice, p3, [pfb] twice, p5. 21 sts
Row 60: K12, w&t; p3, w&t; k5, w&t; p7, w&t; k9, w&t; p11, w&t. K to end
Row 61 [WS]: P all sts
Row 62 [RS]: K5, ssk, k2tog, k3, ssk, k2tog, k5. 17 sts
Rows 63-65: Work in stockinette st
Row 66 [RS]: K2, ssk, k9, k2tog, k2. 15 sts
Row 67 [WS]: P all sts
Row 68 [RS]: K2, ssk, k7, k2tog, k2. 13 sts
Row 69 [WS]: P all sts
Row 70 [RS]: [K1, k2tog] 4 times, k1. 9 sts
Row 71 [WS]: [P1, p2tog] 3 times. 6 sts
Row 72 [RS]: [Sl 1, k2tog, psso] twice. 2 sts
Break yarn, leaving a long tail; draw through remaining 2 sts and pull tight

Belly and Chest
This piece and the wings are worked in garter st, and as such have no RS or WS. However, to help keep track of your place in the work, a RS and WS have been designated. If desired, use a safety pin to indicate the RS of your work

Underside
Using 2 strands of CC held together, CO 3 sts
Row 1 [WS]: K all sts
Row 2 [RS]: K1, kfb, k1. 4 sts
Row 3 [WS]: K all sts
Row 4 [RS]: K1, [kfb] twice, k1. 6 sts
Row 5 [WS]: K all sts
Row 6 [RS]: K1, [kfb] 4 times, k1. 10 sts
Rows 7-9: K all sts
Row 10 [RS]: K4, kfb, k5. 11 sts
Row 11 [WS]: K all sts
Row 12 [RS]: [K1, kfb] twice, k3, [k1, kfb] twice. 15 sts
Rows 13-15: K all sts
Row 16: K9, w&t; k3, w&t; k5, w&t; k7, w&t. K to end
Row 17 [WS]: K all sts
Row 18 [RS]: K2, kfb, k9, kfb, k2. 17 sts
Row 19 [WS]: K all sts

Shape Belly
Row 20: K10, w&t; k3, w&t; k5, w&t; k7, w&t. K to end
Row 21 [WS]: K all sts
Row 22: K10, w&t; k3, w&t; k5, w&t; k7, w&t. K to end
Rows 23-29: K all sts
Row 30: K10, w&t; k3, w&t; k5, w&t; k7, w&t. K to end
Row 31 [WS]: K all sts
Row 32 [RS]: K2, ssk, k9, k2tog, k2. 15 sts
Row 33 [WS]: K all sts
Row 34 [RS]: K2, ssk, k7, k2tog, k2. 13 sts
Row 35 [WS]: K all sts
Row 36 [RS]: K2, ssk, k5, k2tog, k2. 11 sts
Row 37 [WS]: K all sts
Row 38 [RS]: K2, ssk, k3, k2tog, k2. 9 sts
Row 39 [WS]: K all sts
Row 40 [RS]: K2, ssk, k1, k2tog, k2. 7 sts
Row 41 [WS]: K all sts
Rows 42-57: K all sts
Row 58 [RS]: K2, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k2. 5 sts
Rows 59-61: K all sts
Row 62 [RS]: [K1, kfb] twice, k1. 7 sts
Row 63-73: K all sts
Row 74 [RS]: K2, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k2. 5 sts
Row 75 [WS]: K1, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k1
BO remaining 3 sts.

Spines
Using 2 strands of CC held together, CO 2 sts

Small Spine
Row 1 [RS]: K2, CO 2 sts. 4 sts
Row 2 [WS]: K all sts
Row 3 [RS]: K4, CO 1 st. 5 sts
Row 4 [WS]: BO 3 sts, k to end. 2 sts
Rows 5-12: Work Rows 1-4 twice more. Total of 3 small spines made

Large Spine
Row 13 [RS]: K2, CO 2 sts. 4 sts
Row 14 [WS]: K all sts
Row 15 [RS]: K4, CO 2 sts. 6 sts
Row 16 [WS]: K all sts
Row 17 [RS]: K6, CO 1 st. 7 sts
Row 18 [WS]: BO 3 sts, k to end. 4 sts
Row 19 [RS]: K all sts
Row 20 [WS]: BO 2 sts, k to end. 2 sts
Rows 21-52: Work Rows 13-20 four times more. Total of 5 large spines made
Corner Spine (Fits in small of Norberta's back):

Row 53 [RS]: K all sts
Row 54 [WS]: K all sts
Row 55 [RS]: K2, CO 1 st. 3 sts
Row 56 [WS]: BO 1 st, k to end. 2 sts
Row 57 [RS]: K all sts
Row 58 [WS]: K all sts
Rows 59-82: Work Rows 13-20 three times
Rows 83-90: Work Rows 1-4 twice

Tail Spike
Row 91 [RS]: K2, CO 4 sts. 6 sts
Row 92 [WS]: K all sts
Row 93 [RS]: K6, CO 1 st. 7 sts
Row 94 [WS]: BO 4 sts, k to end. 3 sts
Row 95 [RS]: K 1 row. BO all sts

Hind Legs (Make 2)
Note: The hind legs are worked partly in stockinette st, and partly in garter st
Using two strands of MC held together, CO 6 sts
Row 1 [WS]: P all sts
Row 2 [RS]: [Kfb] 6 times. 12 sts
Rows 3-5: Work in stockinette st
Row 6 [RS]: K2, [kfb, k1] 4 times, k2. 16 sts
Rows 7-11: Work in stockinette st
Row 12 [RS]: K7, [kfb] twice, k7. 18 sts
Row 13 [WS]: P all sts
Row 14 [RS]: K7, [kfb] 4 times, k7. 22 sts
Row 15 [WS]: P all sts
Row 16 [RS]: K7, [kfb, k1] 4 times, k7. 26 sts
Rows 17-19: Work in stockinette st
Row 20 [RS]: K7, [ssk, k1] twice, [k1, k2tog] twice, k7. 22 sts
Row 21 [WS]: K all sts
Row 22 [RS]: K7, [ssk] twice, [k2tog] twice, k7. 18 sts
Row 23 [WS]: K all sts
Row 24 [RS]: K7, ssk, k2tog, k7. 16 sts
Row 25 [WS]: K all sts
Row 26 [RS]: K4, [ssk] twice, [k2tog] twice, k4. 12 sts
Row 27 [WS]: K all sts
Row 28 [RS]: K2, [ssk] twice, [k2tog] twice, k2. BO remaining 8 sts purlwise

Front Legs (Make 2)
Using 2 strands of MC held together, CO 12 sts
Beginning with a p row, work 15 rows in stockinette st
BO all sts knitwise

Wings (Make 2)
Using 2 strands of MC held together, CO 10 sts.
Row 1 [RS]: K10, CO 1 st. 11 sts.
Row 2 [WS]: K11, CO 1 st. 12 sts
Row 3: K7, w&t, k to end, CO 1 st. 13 sts
Row 4 [RS]: BO 2 sts, k to end, CO 1 st. 12 sts
Row 5 [WS]: BO 1 st, k to end, CO 1 st
Row 6 [RS]: K all sts
Row 7: K4, w&t, k to end
Row 8: K8, w&t, k to end, CO 1 st. 13 sts
Row 9: BO 2 sts, k6 (7 sts on right needle), w&t, k to end. 11 sts
Row 10 [WS]: BO 1 st, k to end. 10 sts
Row 11 [RS]: BO 4 sts, k to end. 6 sts
Row 12: K4, w&t, k to end, CO 1 st. 7 sts
BO all sts.

FINISHING

Fold a front leg in half lengthwise, with purl side of fabric facing out. Use the yarn tails at the CO edge to sew several running sts. Pull yarn tight to gather. Repeat at the BO edge. Add stuffing, and then use the tails to sew the leg closed. Repeat for the other front leg.

Fold hind leg in half as shown in the schematic, with purl side of fabric facing out. Beginning at the CO edge, gather the edge as described above. Sew side edges together, leaving about 2 inches open. Add stuffing, and then sew closed. Repeat for the other hind leg.

Center the spines on the back of the dragon; use CC to sew in place.

Starting at head, begin sewing Underside to Body, stopping about halfway down the neck. Make a small roll of stuffing, about 3 inches wide by 1 inch in diameter. Place inside top back of the head to make the eye ridge more prominent. Stuff the rest of the dragon head, taking care not to dislodge the eye-ridge stuffing. Continue sewing the Underside to the Body, leaving about 4 inches open along one side. Sew tail seam. Finish stuffing the dragon body and tail. The stuffing should be firm, but not so full that it shows through the fabric.

Place hind leg on main body so that the larger end is about even with the start of the underbelly, or where it looks best. Sew securely in place. Repeat with other hind leg on opposite side.

Place front leg on main body, just above point where belly starts, or where it looks best. Sew securely in place. Repeat with other front leg on opposite side.

Place wing on main body, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch from spine, and centered with the front legs, or wherever it looks best. Sew securely in place. Repeat with other wing on opposite side.

Use sewing thread and a sharp needle to sew on button eyes, if desired. To further emphasize eye ridge, sew on one button, pass the thread through the head to the other side, and pull in slightly before sewing on the second button. Note: If the dragon will be gift for a small child, replace the buttons with embroidered eyes.

Squash the snout slightly to flatten it. Then use CC yarn to embroider two French knots for nostrils, sewing down through the snout to the Underside to help keep the snout slightly flat.

Optional: Use a scrap of white yarn to embroider the teeth. To make the fangs, finger crocheting two chains, and then sew back up through the chain.

Weave in all yarn ends.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Kate Kuckro lives in San Francisco, where she spends as much time as possible knitting, reading, and baking (The first two work well together, the third one not so much).

She has contributed patterns to Knitty, Big Girl Knits, and Knitscene, and has several more in the works. To see more of her work and to read about her knitting inspirations and experiments, please see her website.