When I was a little girl I absolutely loved fairies and elves, so naturally when I started designing knitted toys a fairy doll was one of the first things that came to mind. However, the thick nature of knitted fabric didn't lend itself well to the delicate form of a fairy and it never worked out. Aisling the Elf (so named for the mystical little spirit of The Secret of Kells) has a sturdy little knitted body, but her finer details come the sewn accents of her wings, wig, and tutu. If you aren't interested in sewing, you could leave off the wings and tutu, and she would still be a pretty cute little doll.
Approximately 11 inches tall with a wingspan of 7 inches
Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 [100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards / 200 meters per 3.53 ounce / 100 gram hank];
#9499 Sand; 1
#7830 Coral; 1
#4192 Soft Pink; 1
Cascade Yarns Cloud 9 [50% Angora, 50% Wool; 109 yards / 99 meters per 1.75 ounce / 50 gram ball;
#186 Berry; 1
US 3 (3.25 mm) double pointed needles (set of 4)
Small amount of black yarn
Pink embroidery thread
Small amount of pink cotton fabric
Iron-on fusible interfacing
Gold tulle, enough to cut 2 strips that are 32 inches by 6 inches
1¼ inch wide yellow ribbon, 20 inches long
Needle and thread or sewing machine
Polyester fiberfill stuffing
10 sts and 14 rows = 2 inches in St st
Gauge is not critical for this design?
Aisling's body is knitted from the top of the head down to the torso and her arms and legs are knitted separately and sewn on. Her sewn pieces - wig, skirt, and wings - are made last and hand-sewn onto her.
knitting in the round, basic increases, basic decreases, changing color (stripes), i-cord
Cast on 3 sts.
Rnd 1: Kfb 3 times: 6 sts. Distribute sts over 3 needles and begin to work in the round, being careful not to twist. Place marker.
Rnd 2: Kfb 6 times: 12 sts.
Rnd 3: [K1, kfb] 6 times: 18 sts.
Rnd 4: [K2, kfb] 6 times: 24 sts.
Rnd 5: [K3, kfb] 6 times: 30 sts.
Rnd 6: [K4, kfb] 6 times: 36 sts.
Rnds 7-21: Knit around.
Rnd 22: [K4, k2tog] 6 times: 30 sts.
Rnd 23: [K3, k2tog] 6 times: 24 sts.
Rnd 24: [K2, k2tog] 6 times: 18 sts.
Rnd 25: K2tog 9 times: 9 sts.
Rnds 26-28: Knit around.
Rnd 29: [K2, kfb] 3 times: 12 sts.
Rnd 30: [K3, kfb] 3 times: 15 sts.
Rnd 31: [K4, kfb] 3 times: 18 sts.
Rnd 32: [K5, kfb] 3 times: 21 sts.
Rnds 33-36: Knit around.
Switch to bodice color.
Rnd 37: Knit all sts.
Rnd 38: Kfb, k9, kfb, k10: 23 sts.
Rnds 39-43: Knit around.
Rnd 44: Kfb, k11, kfb, k10: 25 sts.
Rnds 45-49: Knit around.
Rnd 50: Kfb, k13, kfb, k10: 27 sts.
Rnds 51-52: Knit around.
Stuff body, using a knitting needle to push the stuffing into the neck.
Rnd 53: K2tog 13 times, k1: 14 sts.
Rnd 54: K2tog 7 times: 7 sts.
Cut yarn; thread yarn needle with end. Weave through remaining 7 sts. Make sure the body is fully stuffed and pull tight to close the opening, tie off and weave end into body to conceal. The increases at rows 38, 44, and 50 should be at the sides of the body. Using these increases as a reference, decide which side you want to be the face and embroider on the eyes and mouth. The eyes should be embroidered onto Rnd 13 with black yarn and there should be approximately 7 sts between them. Using pink embroidery floss, add mouth 4 sts below the eyes, and 5 sts wide.
Cast on 4 sts.
Rows 1-22: K4, slide sts to opposite end of needle (i-cord).
Redistribute sts onto 2 needles with 2 sts on each needle. Begin working in rnds.
Rnd 23: [Kfb, k1] twice: 6 sts.
Rnds 24-27: Knit around.
Cut yarn; thread yarn needle with end. Weave through remaining Pull tight and tie off to form hand. Pull yarn end into hand and arm to conceal. Sew arm to body at shoulder, a few rows above the beginning of the bodice color.
Cast on 6 sts. Distribute sts over 3 needles and begin to work in the round, being careful not to twist. Place marker.
Rnds 1-19: Knit around.
Over the next two rounds, you will need to redistribute your sts as you see fit in order to keep doing the stitches as you shape the knees.
Rnd 20: Sl1, k2tog, psso, (k1, m1) twice, k1: 6 sts.
Rnd 21: K2tog, k1, kfb, k2: 6 sts.
The last two rows formed the bend of the knee. Redistribute your stitches again so that you have 2 sts on each needle. Try to keep the shaping sts in the center of the needles so that you can see the shape of the knees. This will help ensure your feet are not crooked on the legs.
Rnds 22-34: Knit around.
Rnd 35: [K2, kfb] twice: 8 sts.
Rnds 36-41: Knit around.
Cut yarn; thread yarn needle with end. Weave through remaining Pull tight and tie off to form foot. Pull yarn end into foot and leg to conceal. Sew leg to the body at the bottom of the torso.
Cut 60-70 11-inch pieces of yarn from a combination of your Cascade 220 in light pink and the Cloud 9 in dark pink. An easy way to do this is to find something that is the approximately the right size and wrap the yarn around it, then cut down the sides to make individual strands. A standard size notebook works well. Separate your strands into two equal piles and arrange the strands to make two wigs. You will only need a few strands of your Cloud 9, or whatever contrast wig yarn you choose. Scatter these strands throughout one or both wigs for a highlight effect.
To make a wig, fold a piece of tissue paper or other thin paper in half, and sandwich the yarn for one wig between the layers of the paper, making sure they are straight and the ends are even. Use a sewing machine to stitch down the middle of the piece of paper as shown in the photos. Carefully tear away the paper, leaving just the sewn yarn. Repeat with second half of the hair strands.
Take the first wig and place it onto the head, using the sewn line as the “part” to line it up on the head. When you have it lined up as you want it, stitch it down by hand with a needle and thread to match the wig. Your line of stitches should run down the part, to conceal them. The second wig will make the hair fuller and cover any thin spots in the yarn hair. Place the second wig on top of the first, and repeat the process of sewing it down. When both wigs are sewn onto the head, tie hair into pigtails with your thread and use a few stitches to tack the pigtails to the sides of the head. Trim the ends of the pigtails.
Cut 2 copies of the wings template out of your wing fabric and cut 2 copies from your fusible interfacing. Iron on one interfacing piece to the wrong side of one fabric piece. Repeat with the second interfacing and fabric pieces. The interfacing will make your fabric pieces a little stiffer and your wings less saggy. You now have two reinforced wing pieces.
Place RS of the two wing pieces together and, using ¼ inch seam allowance, stitch around the outside leaving 1 inch unstitched. Turn the finished wings right-side-out. Hand stitch the opening shut and press the wings flat. If desired, use your sewing machine to topstitch small swirl designs on each side of the finished wings, or embroider on a design with embroidery thread.
Hand stitch the wings to the body. You want your stitches to be attaching the narrowest part of the wings, right in the middle, to the middle of the back of the elf.
Cut tulle into two strips that measure 32 inches by 6 inches. Lay one strip directly on top of the other and use a basting stitch to sew a line down the middle of the two strips, lengthwise. Tie one end securely and pull on the threads gently to gather the skirt up. When the gathered tulle measures 5½ inches at its narrowest point, tie off the thread and trim them. Fold the tulle pieces in half lengthwise to create the skirt. The basting stitches are at the top of the skirt and the free edges are at the hem. Run a line of stitching at the top of the skirt to hold everything together. Arrange your ribbon at the top of the skirt, making the ends that extend past the edges of the tulle equal on both sides. Zigzag stitch the ribbon to the tulle. Depending on the type of ribbon you use, you may want to lightly press the ribbon waistband so that it lies flat on the doll. Firmly pull apart the layers of tulle to make the tutu extra fluffy.
Tie your tutu onto Aisling’s waist and go play!
Rachel Borello Carroll lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her husband and two toddlers. She started crocheting at a very young age and moved on to knitting in college. She has been designing knitted toy patterns since 2006 and now runs both an etsy and a ravely shop filled with her designs. When she isn't knitting she loves to sew and experiment in all types of crafting.
Pattern © 2012 Rachel Borello. Contact
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