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Petite Purls
» photos: Brandy Fortune

Jack Frost

By Katie Startzman

When we read “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my 2 boys were intrigued by the description of Jack Frost who travels around the world at night, painting frost designs on icy windows. Inspired by this and hoping to add a sense of magic to the change in seasons from Autumn to Winter, I designed this sturdy little Jack Frost doll and my take on his transport, a hot air balloon. Jack is knitted in the round and there are no seams to sew except for a couple stitches between his legs. Jack has a paintbrush and bucket for his painted frost designs.

The hot air balloon is knitted and felted and with a felt snowflake decoration. This little set will be good for either a play thing or a decorative piece for a child’s room.

Finished Measurements

Balloon: 13 inches tall from top of balloon to bottom of basket
Jack: 6¾ inches tall from top of his hat to bottom of his boots


Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Heathers [100% wool; 220 yds/200 meters per 3.5 ounce/100 gram hank];

8505 (body, MC); small amount
2437 (skin, CC1); small amount
8401 (boots, CC2); small amount
9325 (balloon, CC3); 1 hank
9446 (basket, CC4); small amount

Besides the balloon color, you will need only remnants of yarn, use your stash!

Recommended needle sizes

US #3/3.25bmm dpns or circular needle
US #10½/6.5bmm dpns or circular needle
US #2/2.75 mm dpns or circular needle


Embroidery needle
Tapestry needle
4 inch square piece of felt
Silver thread or embroidery floss
Blue embroidery floss
Pink embroidery floss
Tacky glue
Wooden matchstick


Using size 3 needles, 20 sts and 28 rows/4 inches in St st
Using size 10½ needles, 16 sts and 16 rows/4 inches in St st
Using size 2 needles, 28 sts and in 40 rows/4 inches St st

Pattern Notes

Jack is knit in the round, so you stuff him as you go. The balloon and basket are knitted then felted.

Skills Required

Knitting in the round, increasing, decreasing, simple short row (as for heel)


Head and Body

With size 3 needles and CC1, cast on 6 sts. Join in the round.
Round 1: Kfb around: 12 sts.
Round 2: Knit around.
Round 3: (K2, m1) around: 18 sts.
Round 4: Knit around.
Round 5: (K3, m1) around: 24 sts.
Rounds 6-10: Knit 5 rounds.
Round 11: K2tog around: 12 sts.

Switch to MC, stuff the head.

Round 12: Knit around.
Round 13: (K1, m1) around: 24 sts.
Rounds 14-24: Knit 11 rounds.
Round 25: K5, bind off next 2 sts, k9, transfer last 10 sts worked to holder or waste yarn for second leg, bind off next 2 sts, knit remaining sts.

Stuff the body.

Round 26 (First Leg): K5, join in round with last 5 sts of the round.
Rounds 27-31: Knit 5 rounds.

Switch to CC2.

Rounds 32-34: Knit 3 rounds.

Begin working short rows.

Jack FrostRow 35: Knit to last stitch, W&T.
Row 36: P3, W&T.
Row 37:  K2, W&T.
Row 38: P1, W&T.
Row 39: K2, W&T (same st as previously wrapped).
Row 40: P3, W&T (same st as previously wrapped).
Row 41: K4 and join back into a round.

Stuff leg.

Rounds 42-46: Knit 5 rounds.
Row 47: K2tog around, stuff foot, pull yarn through remaining sts and weave in end. 

Second Leg

Move stitches from holder and divide evenly onto size 3 dpns, round begins on inside front of the leg
Round 1: Knit and join in the round.
Rounds 2-6: Knit 5 rounds.

Switch to CC2.

Round 7: Knit 3 rounds.
Row 8:  Knit to last stitch, W&T.
Row 9: P3, W&T.
Row 10:  K2, W&T.
Row 11: P1, W&T.
Row 12: K2, W&T (same st as previously wrapped).
Row 13: P3, W&T (same st as previously wrapped).
Row 14: K4 and join back into a round.

Stuff leg.

Rounds 15-19: Knit 5 rounds.
Row 20: K2tog around, stuff foot, pull yarn through remaining sts and weave in end. Use yarn tail to seam the stitches between Jack's legs.  

Arm (make 2)

Jack Frost

With size 3 needles and MC, pick up 8 stitches on Jack’s side, one row down from the color change at his neck. Pick up three bars, or one and a half stitches over three bars (see photo) and one bar each on the side (indicated by arrows).


Round 1: Knit around, join in the round.
Jack FrostRounds 2-8: Knit 7 rounds.

Switch to CC1.

Round 9: Knit 3 rounds.
Round 10: K2tog around: 4 sts.
Stuff arm, pull yarn through remaining sts, weave in ends.


Using size 3 needles and CC3, cast on 25 sts loosely.
Rows 1 and 2: Knit 2 rows.
Bind off all sts loosely and weave in ends.


Using CC3 and size 3 needles, cast on 24 sts, join in round.
Round 1: (K1, p1) around.
Rounds 2-5: Knit 4 rounds.
Round 6: (K6, k2tog) around: 21 sts.
Rounds 7 and 8: Knit 2 rounds.
Round 9: (K5, k2tog) around: 18 sts.
Rounds 10 and 11: Knit 2 rounds.
Round 12: (K4, k2tog) around: 15 sts.
Rounds 13 and 14: Knit 2 rounds.
Round 15: (K3, k2tog) around: 12 sts.
Rounds 16 and 17: Knit 2 rounds.
Round 18: (K2, k2tog) around: 9 sts.
Rounds 19 and 20. Knit 2 rounds.
Round 21: (K1, k2tog) around: 6 sts.
Rounds 22 and 23: Knit 2 rounds.
Round 24: (K2tog) around: 3 sts.
Rounds 25 and 26: Knit 2 rounds.
Pull yarn through remaining sts; weave in ends.

Paint Bucket

With size 2 needles and CC3, cast on 12 sts, join in round.
Rounds 1-6: Knit 6 rounds.
Round 7: (K1, p1) around.
Round 8: (K2, k2tog) around: 9 sts.
Round 9: (K1, k2tog) around: 6 sts.
Round 10: (K2tog) around: 3 sts.
Pull yarn through remaining sts; weave in ends.

Hot Air Balloon

Using 10½ needles and CC3, cast on 6 sts, join in the round.
Jack FrostRound 1: Knit around.
Round 2. Kfb around: 12 sts. 
Round 3: Knit around.
Round 4: (K1, kfb) around: 18 sts.
Round 5: Knit around.
Round 6: (K2, kfb) around: 24 sts.
Round 7: Knit around.
Round 8: (K3, kfb) around: 30 sts.
Round 9: Knit around.
Round 10: (K4, kfb) around: 36 sts.
Round 11: Knit around.
Round 12: (K5, kfb) around: 42 sts.
Round 13: Knit around.
Round 14: (K6, kfb) around: 48 sts.
Round 15: Knit around.
Round 16: (K7, kfb) around: 54 sts.
Round 17: Knit around.
Round 18: (K8, kfb) around: 60 sts.
Round 19: Knit around.
Round 20: (K9, kfb) around: 66 sts.
Rounds 21-36: Knit 16 rounds.
Round 37: (K9, k2tog) around: 60 sts.
Rounds 38-41: Knit 4 rounds.
Round 42: (K8, k2tog) around: 54 sts.
Rounds 43-46: Knit 4 rounds.
Round 47: (K7, k2tog) around: 48 sts.
Rounds 48-51: Knit 4 rounds.
Round 52: (K6, k2tog) around: 42 sts.
Rounds 53-56: Knit 4 rounds.
Round 57: (K5, k2tog) around: 36 sts.
Rounds 58-61: Knit 4 rounds.
Round 62: (K4, k2tog) around: 30 sts.
Rounds 63-66: Knit 4 rounds.
Round 67: (K3, k2tog) around: 24 sts.
Rounds 68-71: Knit 4 rounds.
Bind off all sts, weave in ends.

Hot Air Balloon Basket

Using CC4 and size 10½ needles, cast on 26 sts, join in the round.
Rounds 1-17: Knit 17 rounds.
Round 18: Purl around.
Round 19: (K11, k2tog) around: 24 sts.
Round 20: (K4, k2tog) around: 20 sts.
Round 21: (K3, k2tog) around: 16 sts.
Round 22: (K2, k2tog) around: 12 sts.
Round 23: (K1, k2tog) around: 8 sts.
Round 24: (K2tog) around: 4 sts.
Pull yarn through remaining sts, weave in ends


Jack FrostFor Jack’s face, mark the placement of his eyes and mouth with pins. Use three strands of embroidery floss to make about 5 small horizontal stitches for each eye and 2 stitches for the mouth. Sew his hat and scarf into place.

To make the paintbrush, cut the end off a matchstick. Wind silver thread or embroidery floss around three of your fingers 5 times. Cut the loop in 2 places to make 10 pieces of thread and tie in the middle with a new piece of thread. Leave a long end on this thread. Use the long end to tie the thread pieces to end of the matchstick, and wrap the thread around the pieces several times to secure them, knot again.

For the paint bucket handle, knot a piece of silver thread or embroidery floss. Thread onto a needle and beginning on the outside of the bucket so the knot shows, make a stitch up to the rim of the bucket and loosely over to the opposite side. Pass the needle down through the opposite rim and out to the bucket side. Knot on the outside and trim thread close to knots.

To felt the balloon and basket, add a squirt of dish soap to a dishpan and fill it with really hot water. Put the pieces in the water and let them soak a bit. Now roll and squeeze them in your hands, swish them around and knead them like bread dough. At first the piece grows but soon the stitches start coming together and shrinking. Continue felting until the stitches disappear, and then keep going! Felting the pieces completely is necessary for the balloon to be sturdy, so don’t stop prematurely. You really need to felt until the pieces are super-solid and feel noticeably thicker. Rinse in cold water to remove any soap and then roll in a towel to remove excess water.

Stuff the balloon to shape it as it dries. Fold up the lower inch of the balloon rim. Slide the basket over a 2 inch cylinder to dry. (I used a spice container.) Let pieces dry thoroughly. You can remove stuffing if you like, or leave it in place to make the balloon more sturdy.

Transfer the snowflake pattern to a piece of felt and cut out. Use tacky glue to apply the snowflake to the balloon side.




Divide the balloon and basket rim evenly into thirds and mark each spot with a pin. Knot and thread three long pieces of sliver thread or embroidery floss to the folded edge of the balloon. Make a small stitch in the rim of the basket and bring the thread back up to the balloon rim. Pin for now and repeat with two other threads. Make sure the basket hangs evenly and knot the threads. It helps to have a partner to hold up the balloon so you can see how the basket hangs. Cut thread close to the knots.

Add a hanging loop to the top of the balloon. Use the silver thread and make a 1 inch stitch on the center top of the balloon. Knot the ends to make a loop. Hang up Jack and his hot air balloon!

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Katie lives in a small town in Kentucky and squeezes in knitting time while she stays home her two young boys. She's inspired by her interesting community, the huge oak trees in the backyard, visits to the nearby creek and Tasha Tudor’s illustrations. She likes to make toys and seasonal decorations, and sells patterns for knitted and felted toys on her website. Katie shares a craft blog with her twin sister, Duo Fiberworks, and has just put out an ebook that is full of their original knitting and sewing projects.

Pattern © 2010 Katie Startzman. Contact