‘Tilly’ Knit Doll

tilly2cropEveryone loves knit dolls and this little girl will win your heart.  Tilly measures a full 16”+ tall and is made on the little Tadpole Knitting Board.  Have  fun making new clothes for her.  You can make the entire family with just a change of facial expressions, hair style, and clothing.

Loom:  Tadpole Knitting Board with 16+ pins working in double knit.

Yarn:  Body of doll is worked with Premier Deborah Norville’s  Serenity Chunky in Oatmeal Heather.  (1.5) skeins. This is a chunky yarn and will produce a tight knit.  Clothing and embroidery colors and yarns will be mentioned in each section. Hair will use 1 skein of yarn of choice.

Stitches:  Stockinette

Notions Needed:  Knit hook, crochet hook size 4, large sewing needle, measure tape, and small bag of poly-fil (4 oz) for body of doll.

Finished Size:  Doll is 16.5” tall.  She can wear purchased clothing for an 18”and NB.

Gauge of doll body:  3 sts and 4 rows=1 inch of knit

Instructions:  You will knit (2) body sections, (2) arm sections, (2) foot sections.

Body of Doll:  Cast on (8) stitches in basic stockinette stitch in center of loom so that there are (4) empty pins on each end of loom.  Lay strong anchor yarn of same color.  You are starting at top of head.

Work (1) row in stockinette.

Increase row: Lift loop #1 to outside of loom onto empty pin.  Do this to both boards and at both ends.  Use previous stitch from pin #3 and place onto pin # 2.  You now have all pins covered once more. Weave over all pins in stockinette.  Hook over.

You now have (10) stitphoto 113ches on each board.

Work (1) row in stockinette.

Repeat these 2 rows, increase row and the regular row, until you have all (16) pins covered, ending with a regular row.

Work (3) additional regular rows in stockinette.

Decrease row:  Lift loop from 2nd peg onto pin #3 creating open pin.  Move 1st loop onto pin #2.  You now have open pin at front of loom.  Do this to both ends and both boards.  Your 2nd pins will have (2) loops.  Weave all stitches and hook over, being  sure to pick up both lower loops from pins #2.

Work (1) regular row in photo 114stockinette stitch.

Repeat these (2) rows until you have (10) stitches remaining on the loom.  End with a regular row.  You are at the neck of the doll.

Repeat the process of the (2) rows, increase row and regular row, until you once again have all (16) pins covered.  Continue working in stockinette stitch for additional (12) rows.

Legs of Doll:

The legs are knit by working the first (8) stitches with one yarn, and the second (8) stitches with a different skein of yarn.

Tie on a 2nd skein of yarn (may be a partial skein) at center of knitting by tying yarn onto previous row.  Work by weaving the first set of pins, lay yarn down.  Pick up 2nd yarn and weave second set of pins.  Hook over all pins of both sections.  Work (8) complete rows on both sections.

Do one decrease row on each section at both ends.  Work row.  (this is knee area)photo 3

Work one regular row.

Next row, increase on each outside edge only.  Work row.

Work (11) additional rows on these stitches.

Decrease (1) stitch each end, both boards.  Work row.

Work (1) regular row.  Bind Off of loom on both sections.

Leave anchor yarn in head piece as it will be used when finishing.  Trim and pull in all yarn tails with crochet hook.  Set aside.

Repeat Body of Doll for back piece.  They are the same.

Arms of Doll:  

Cast On (8) stitches.  Lay anchor yarn of any yarn.  It will stay in the arm, but will not be seen.

Work (10) rows in stockinette.

Decrease (1) stitch each end, both boards.

Work (10) rows in stockinette.

Increase (1) stitch at beginning of next row.  At opposite end of row, decrease (1) stitch.

Bind Off, ending at increase edge.  Allow the knot, at end of bind off, to pull the increase stitch up and out forming a thumb.

Repeat for 2nd arm of doll.  Trim and pull in all yarn tails with crochet hook.  Set aside.

Feet:    Knit (2)

Cast On (14) stitches.  Lay anchor yarn of matching yarn.

Work in stockinette stitch for (5) rows.

Bind Off.  Do not remove the anchor yarn.  Trim and pull in all yarn tails with crochet hook.  Set aside.

Face of Doll:  Now, here’s where you can be creative.  She/he can be smiling, sad, stoic, or funny.  Decide what color eyes to have, and red or pink mouth, and how big the nose should be?  Once you have an idea of how your doll will look, choose the location on one face piece and mark each with a piece of yarn, or needle or knitting needle.  You will need to have about 5-6 yds of each color.  For our doll, we used 2 shades of blue for the eyes outlined in black with black eyelashes.  For the mouth, a simple smile in bright red.  The nose is the main yarn.  Our face was all done with easy, simple line stitches.  The yarn was Loops and Threads craft cord, but embroidery thread will work fine.

Once the face is complete, set the parts aside.  You are ready to start sewing the parts together.

Sewing and Finishing:  When you stitch pieces together, use the invisible stitch to draw the seams together.  Work with the large darning needle and matching yarn.  See photos of sewing below.

Arms:  Fold the arms over lengthwise.  The thumbs should both face up.  Start sewing at anchor yarn edge and work towards the hand.  When you get to wrist point, knot the yarn, wrap the yarn around the wrist and knot again.  Pull needle into knit and cut the yarn tail.   The arm should naturally bend slightly at elbow.  You can just tie the ends of anchor yarn together loosely and tuck into arm.   Only the top of the arm will be stuffed, but this will be done later.  Lay the arms aside and sew the body of doll.

Lay the (2) body pieces together, matching all joints/shapes.  Secure each leg at opening and top of legs at inseam with large stitch (this will be removed, but holds the pieces in place).  Now sew the inseam of both legs leaving the bottom of leg open for feet to be attached.  Start at inside seam of leg1 at foot and continue around to end at inside seam of other leg2 at foot.  Knot to secure.

You will now sephoto 442w each side seam of doll securing the front to back.  Work from outside at foot up to where the arms will be placed.  You want to leave aprox 2” opening  for each arm.  Leave sewing yarn attached.  Use a small piece of yarn to tack front to back at neck.

Place one arm into opening.  Be sure to note how the hand is turned.  Continue sewing, working around one side of body and one side of arm.  When sewing, pick up the inner cross stitch in the body and the cast on stitches of the arm or the next row in.  The anchor yarn will not show, but allows the opening to stay flexible.  Once you have sewn all around the arm, continue sewing again until you arrive at the neck.  Remove the tack stitch and sew the neck.



photo 444Stop here and stuff enough poly-fil into body to create the thickness desired.  From the bottom of each leg, push small amount of poly-fil into each leg until you have the desired thickness.  If you want a small amount of poly-fil in the upper arms, stuff this as you work on the body area.

Once you have the shape desired for the legs and body, you are ready to sew the 2 sides of head together.

Continue sewing both sides of doll from neck to top of head until you get to the cast on stitches.  Knot yarn but keep attached.  Use this opening to stuff the head.  If you want more definition between the body and head, tie a piece of matching yarn snugly around neck before stuffing  head.  Stuff the head completely and firmly, shaping the face, as you work.  Once it is firm, you are ready to close the top of head.  Use both anchor yarns from front and back pieces.  Pull them firmly and knot at both sides.  Trim and tuck the yarn tails into head.  Use one of the sewing yarns that are still attached to each side of head, to complete the opening by sewing the stitches together.  Tie sewing yarns together for a secure knot, trim, and tuck ends into head with crochet hook.  Use crochet hook (back end) to rearrange any stuffing that seems to need adjustment.


photo 21Feet:  Make sure the legs are as thick as desired before adding the feet.  Each foot should be sewn at bottom of foot.  You will be sewing a bind off edge, so just weave the sewing yarn thru the edge of the stitches alternating sides and pull snug.   The top of the foot has the anchor yarn which will help to make it the correct size to match opening of leg.  The foot should be longer than the leg so that it extends out to front of doll and this creates the foot.  No stuffing is needed unless you like fat feet.

Stitch around the edge of leg opening to make it slightly smaller than the fullness of the leg.  Use this sewing yarn (16”) to attach the leg opening to top edge of foot.  Tie ends of anchor yarn together and tuck in any yarn tails into foot before sewing to leg.  Take a bite from leg and pick up stitch from top of foot going around the entire leg.  Then work the 2 sides of the top of foot to close it in.  Secure with knot and pull all yarn tails into foot.

Hair:  This is the fun part and something that determines the look of your doll, so think about the hair-do that you like before starting.  Choose a yarn for this.  It can be fuzzy, silkie, chunky, or very fine.  Do you want it so that a young girl can change the look, or locked in curls, or straight for making into pony tails and braids?  Our doll has a basic style, and lots of it, so that you can see hphoto 41ow to add it to her head.

We are using Harmony Iron Stone, 100% wool, one skein of 109 yds.  It is color 13059 Burnt Red.

Cut 16” pieces using entire skein of yarn.  You can use less to give a different look.  The fat head look of Tilly involves the entire scalp with hair strands attached.  They are placed onto the stitches of the scalp just like one would attach fringe to the end of a scarf.  Slip crochet hook thru the stitch.  Fold the yarn strand in half and place the fold onto hook.  Pull the loop thru the stitch and then the strands thru the loop, and pull securely.  Do the hair line first.  Start with hairline at forehead, down to where ears would be.  Move back a row, now do the hairline around neck to other side of head.  This should give you one line of strands across face, and another curved line around back of head.   Now fill in for the thickness you desire and complete the hair attachment.


Tuck in any yarn tail remaining.  Tilly now has body, arms, legs, feet, face, and hair.  She is ready for some fun clothing.  We will create a basic little sundress.  Add some booties and a sweater plus a little jewelry and she will be ready to run out and play.

Sundress:  (Knit in one piece)

Yarn used is Vanna’s Glamour.  ½ skein was used. Any DK or worsted weight yarn will work. Stitches used are Stockinette and Open Rib.  Knit in one piece in double knit on the Tadpole loom.

Cast on all 16 stitches in Stockinette.  Lay anchor yarn of same yarn aprox 20” long.

Work in stockinette for (8) rows.  Change to Open Rib and work (3) rows.

Change to stockinette and work (5) rows.  Change to Open Rib and work (3) rows.

Change to stockinette and work (4) rows.  Change to Open Rib and work (3) rows.

Change to stockinette and work (2) rows.

Dec (1) stitch each end.  Bind Off center (6) stitches.  You now have (8) stitches one the loom;  (4) at each end.  Tie on new yarn at 2nd set of (4) stitches.

Work on both sections in stockinette until the dress straps measure 3.5”.

Work with original yarn across all (14) stitches.  Lay anchor yarn across the center (6) new stitches.

Next row, inc (1) stitch at each end of loom so that you now have the full (16) stitches on the loom, and you are working the full board with one working yarn.  Cut and knot the 2nd working yarn.

Repeat the dress front so that the back of the dress is the same:  (3) rows of open braid, (4) rows of stockinette, (3) rows of open braid, (5) rows of stockinette, (3) rows of open braid, and (8) rows of stockinete.

Now, you need to add the anchor yarn to stitches on loom so that the hem of the dress is same as the front.  Work with darning needle and matching yarn aprox 16” long.  Use the needle to pick up the loops from the loom, one loop at a time, alternating from back board to front.  Allow the loops to be transferred from the loom to the anchor yarn.

Once all the loops are on the anchor yarn, you are ready to sew the dress.  This can be done on or off the doll.  We found it easier to sew the dress after the neckline was placed over her head.  Pin in place.  Tie the anchor yarns together to connect the dress front to the dress back.  Make this very loose so that the hemline flares out.  Cut and trim, and tuck ends into dress.  Sew up the side seams to arm opening.  Lace ribbon or yarn thru the lower open braid stitches for a hipline accent.  Tie and allow the ends to form tassels.  We used Patons Metallic Green for the accent.  Approx 3 yds required for 4 strand belt.

Sock booties for Tilly were purchased in NB baby store.  Pattern for Tilly’s sweater coat will be coming in future Newsletter offerings.  Beads, bows and bracelets are made with misc craft items.  Be creative, and have fun knitting your knit doll.

2 thoughts on “‘Tilly’ Knit Doll

  1. Thank you for the tadpole pattern! I hope we see more patterns for this nice little board!

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