Monday, May 7, 2012

Knit Toy Snakes--Free Pattern

I recently finished these toy snakes for my girls. They love them. Granted they are used more frequently as whips or ropes or feather boas or scarves or what not, but they do play with them quite a bit, and I think the pretty girly colors are fun. :)

I used the same colors for both snakes, but knitted different patterns. For my older daughter, who loves patterns in general, I stuck to a more definite pattern (bottom snake in the image below), while for my younger daughter, I used a more hap-hazard pattern. Both were cute and it was fun to mix them up.

This particular snake pattern has been used A LOT. I've made snakes for several of my nephews using the color scheme shown below (also very cute, but it sure was fun to make it girly this time!).

This pattern is now available on our etsy shop. 
 The body is easy-peasy. The head is also quite simple, but I know the first time I knitted it, I kind of wondered what was going on....

I've included a few images below of how the snake starts out so there are no surprises or confusion as you get going. Essentially, you start knitting the snake on a single needle. The increases and decreases are such that it naturally curves the head around--eventually the two ends on your needle will meet in the back and will be sewn together.

This image shows how the back of the head looks before stitching it together (I always do that at the very end). Once I've finished the head area, I prefer to connect the body around in a circle and knit in around so I don't have to stitch up the entire length of the snake when I'm finished.

Here's the pattern! Enjoy. :)

click here to print

4 double-pointed 3.25 mm (US 3) knitting needles
Stuffing material
Buttons for eyes
Various colors of yarn

Gauge isn’t important for this project
All increases were Knit Front and Back stitches (knit a stitch, leaving stitch on left needle; knit into the back loop of this stitch) (unless a purl row, then purl front and back).

To make
Starts at head.
Cast on 12 stitches (sts)
1st row: Knit (K)
2nd row: Purl (P)
3rd row: (K1, inc) 2x, k3, inc, k1, inc, k2
4th row: p2, inc, p1, inc, p5, inc, p1, inc, p3
5th row: k
6th row: p3, inc, p1, inc, p7, inc, p1, inc, p4
7th row: k4, inc, k1, inc, k9, inc, k1, inc, k5
8th row: p
9th row: k5, inc, k1, inc, k11, inc, k1, inc, k6
10th row: p6, inc, p1, inc, p13, inc, p1, inc, p7
11th row: k
12th – 20th row: stocking/stockinette stitch, end with a purl row

The head section is essentially complete now. However, I think it looks much better to now spend a few rows doing some decreases to really define the head before doing the body. So I would recommend the following few rows.

21st row: Knit but decrease 4x (k2tog), 2x in the first ¼ of the row and 2x in the last ¼ of the row.
22nd -24th rows: stocking/stockinette stitch
25th row: Knit but decrease 4x (k2tog), 2x in the first ¼ of the row and 2x in the last ¼ of the row.
26th row: purl

For some snakes, I will do another round of decreases, but this is usually what I stick with. It really depends on how well-defined you want the head area and how thin you want the snake body to be.

For the body of the snake, now disperse the stitches onto 3 needles and connect in order to knit in around. Make the seam go down the underside of the snake (where the underside of the head is). Just knit around and around and around in whatever stripy pattern you choose until it starts to look about long enough. Every 6 inches or so, I stuff the snake as I go. This makes it a bit more difficult to knit, but I think it is much better than leaving the snake flat, stuffing it at the very end and then stitching up the whole length of the snake.
To finish the body of the snake, simply start to decrease. I usually decrease (k2tog) every 4 rows or so until there are only a few stitches left, at which point I fasten off the end and weave in the loose end.

To finish, weave in all loose ends, finish stuffing, and stitch up the head. For the tongue, I like to braid 4 strands of yarn together and sew within the opening, but you may also use felt to make a tongue. For the eyes, I sew on matching buttons. I have, when making the snake for young children, used yarn to stitch eyes on so as not to worry about buttons as choking hazards.

Click here to print.


  1. Very cute. Just got into knitting and this will make a fun project. Thanks for putting this up!

  2. Have never used double pointed needles, so a good practice pattern. Thanks for posting this.i made my nephew a snake over 5 years ago now and lost the pattern.happy to see this one and will knit for my two now!

  3. Had real problems with getting started on this until I realised that you cast on 8 stitches not 12 as described. Then it all works okay.

  4. Not sure I understand the decreases: "K2tog every 4 rows".

    So I would K2tog for row 1. Then regular knit row 2-4. Then repeat?

    Thank you - love the pattern!

  5. Hi mkn12,
    Yes, that is exactly what I did to finish the tail of the snake.
    Good luck,


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