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Jess Hutchison's bunny pattern, made by Flickr user CourtneySue.

With Easter coming later this week, I have bunnies and lambs on the brain. Although I may secretly just be indulging my own interest in the extreme cuteness of baby animals (against which I can fairly be described as "powerless"), I can't think of a better excuse to find as many adorable free patterns as I can... and post them up here for you.

Most of these are easy: there are plenty of little friends here that you should be able to make up in an evening or two. But if it takes you longer, no worries -- bunnies and lambs are great anytime! And if you don't want to make toys, there are patterns for household items here, too, like plenty of bunny-shaped egg cozies.

You'll find more than 50 squee-worthy ideas, between the ones after the break and the ones in Part II (coming up later today).

Many of these items used worsted-weight yarn, though some offer other options; required yarn textures vary.

Aside from whichever yarn(s) you need, you will probably need eyes of an appropriate size for your finished creation: safety eyes, buttons, felt, or other fabric. You might choose a plastic or button nose, or simply create any necessary noses with scrap yarn or embroidery floss. Small bells are nice for lambs' collars or ribbons.

I don't like the way that variegated yarns or glue-on movable ("googly") eyes look when used for knit or crocheted toys of almost any kind, but I haven't disqualified patterns with those features from this list.

Instead, I'll simply suggest that if you don't like the eyes or color or texture of yarn used in a pattern's illustration, but you do like the general shape of the item, you consider what the result would be if you used the kind of eyes and yarn you prefer.

I used a few terms to describe the basic body shape of each rabbit or lamb:

  • "Realistic" (and variations thereof) means that the animal's body is shaped something like that of the animal in nature: if it tried to stand and walk, for example, it would be on four legs.
  • "Humanoid," "Anthropomorphic," and "Doll," all suggest that the rabbit's body is designed so that it can "walk," stand, or sit more or less like a human.

About Lion Brand patterns: if you aren't already logged in at the Lion Brand site, clicking on the links that require Lion Brand registration will only take you to a log-in page where you can't see anything. Anyone interested in free knit and crochet patterns will probably want to register there (and make sure they're logged in while browsing this list), as Lion Brand has a huge archive.

These patterns were chosen primarily for the look of the finished product, though I have made a few of them. If you've made any of these items, and have anything to say about their instructions, we would love it if you left comments about them for other readers.

Finally, if you need tips on either knitting and crochet in general or amigurumi in particular, you might find the following resources helpful: our DIY Toolkit for knitting and crochet, and our DIY Definitions page for amigurumi.


Bunny dolls, toys, and amigurumi

Bunny by Jess Hutchison. A simple and sweet doll-like bunny. The recommended yarn is Lamb's Pride, which would make for an exceptionally cuddly little friend. (See Flickr user CourtneySue's version at the top of this post.)

Cuddly Bunny (requires Lion Brand registration). A soft and furry bunny doll with a tall and slender figure. Although it's not clothed, there's something about this doll that seems "antique" to me, as if it would have been at home in a 19th-century nursery. See if you agree.

Dust Bunnies by Judith Prindle. Essentially little spheres with ears and no mouths or noses, these can be made in smooth or fuzzy yarn. Knit tightly in smooth yarn, they'd make a nice cat toy.

Easter Bunny at CraftBits. A nice basic bunny who shouldn't take very long to make: you can choose to clothe it in pants with suspenders, or a dress, or both (but not all at once). A basket pattern is also linked.

Fuzzy Bunny, from the DIY Network's site. Fair use size.Fuzzy Bunny by Bev Galeskas (Fiber Trends). Demonstrated on the DIY Network show Knitty Gritty, this angora/wool bunny is knit and then felted. The look and pose are both realistic, making this pattern one of this list's highlights. (A Fiber Trends sheep pattern that you can buy in yarn shops, Felted Flock, is the best knitting pattern -- for anything -- that I've ever used.)

Jointed Bunny by Berroco Yarns. Designed in Berroco's Comfort, but use any worsted-weight yarn that comes in a color you like: you don't need to make your bunny in turquoise and dark rose if you don't want to. This feminine rabbit doll has button joints and a lacy crocheted collar, as well as a little pouch on her tummy (leave it off, if you want).

Knit Bunny (Vintage). This old pattern is a hybrid: both doll-style and kind of realistic. Click the photo on the page to get a much better look at the finished product, which is knit mostly in seed/moss stitch (a double strand for the larger rabbit, a single strand for the smaller one). For adventurous knitters only, because this pattern has not been modernized: a lot of guesswork will be involved in choosing the correct yarn, etc.

Knitted Bunny by HeartStrings Fiber Arts. This little guy is realistic, and while he doesn't have eyes or a nose, there's no reason you couldn't add them. What's unique about him is that you make him by knitting a square, and then cleverly manipulating it.

Lola Bunny Love (PDF download) by Beth Skwarecki. This bunny doll is the epitome of huggable, friendly modern style (she might make a nice "big sister" to a rabbit made from Jess Hutchison's pattern, shown above). She's designed to be made in a multicolored superwash merino wool yarn, Schaefer's Lola. You can make a solid-colored bunny with any sport or DK weight yarn, but you may have to change the needle size to get the correct stitch gauge.

Peter Rabbit by Joyful Toys. Warning: the page itself is a morass of pop-ups. Once you get past them, you'll find a dapper, detailed fellow wearing a bow-tie, sweater, and pants. UK and US terms.

Rabbit Finger Puppets by Knitting in Color. Just what they sound like! Whip up a bunch of these easy cylinders in one evening: the pattern is just for a little tube with a closed end, with added ears and a stitched-on face. Uses fingering-weight (sock) yarn and very small needles.

Some Easter Peeps by Kat Knits. Appealing small ducklings made in a "baby teri" yarn (a chenille-ish textured nylon microfiber would work). Scroll down to learn how the ducklings become bunnies, then make massive numbers of both. Unusually interesting design; these look sort of like cartoon illustrations from a children's book.

Anna Hrachovec's Woodins, from Knitty's Fall 2007 issue. Fair use size.Woodins by Anna Hrachovec (of Mochimochi Land). Strictly speaking, these little "forest creatures" aren't bunnies: they were inspired by the kodama (tree spirits) in Hayao Miyazaki's film Princess Mononoke, and similar characters. But with their two big ears, they're close enough to bunnies for me! They have little leaves for tails, and a small knit log to live in. While the Woodins themselves take very little time to make, the log is more work, and they're all lightly felted. Give yourself more than a day or two to finish these.

Other bunny items

Bunny Bath Mitts (requires Lion Brand registration). This quirky little fellow, made in organic cotton, is a quick and easy knit. He's also one of the most original designs on this list. If you want to make something for someone who doesn't like sugary baby-animal cuteness, this one is just wacky enough to be a winner.

Bunny Beanie by NoeKnit. A bunny-eared hat, sized for three-to-six-month-old babies. Smaller or larger baby? It shouldn't be too difficult to extrapolate something that will work from this pattern, by using whatever plain hat pattern you like and then doing a few more or fewer rows on this pattern's ears.

Bunny Booties by The Australian Women's Weekly. Tiny baby slippers in two sizes: three months or six months. These are designed to be made in a machine-washable sport-weight wool yarn... sadly, not the same kind of yarn as the Bunny Beanie above. If you can manage to make a matched set out of the two, though, you are awesome. (Aw, heck: you're awesome anyways!)

Bunny Dishcloth by Judith Prindle. A bunny, viewed from behind (so you can see his little tail!), shows in stockinette stitch on a field of garter stitch. This is a variation on my favorite dishcloth pattern, which is garter stitch all the way across. (It's my favorite to use, not to knit.)

Bunny Egg Cozies from the Zakka Life blog. Fair use size.Bunny Egg Cozy by Kawaii Crafter (at Zakka Life). Keeping it simple and sweet with off-white yarn and pink features, this is the standard "egg hat" with bunny ears and a face. Of the knit versions of this idea, this is my favorite interpretation. (However, it's a tough call between this and the Noblin Breakfast Bunny, below.)

Bunny Pajama Bag by CraftBits. Pajama bags aren't much in vogue these days, though I believe there are some cute patterns for them in Lucinda Guy's books. They make a nice place for a child to stow his or her pajamas during the day, or while on a trip. This is a modern version with retro styling.

Cadbury Bunny by Judy Schroeder. Small, stylized bunnies that are tall and thin -- well, for their size. Their bodies hold a Cadbury Creme Egg surprise! (Here's the chick pattern that Judy mentions.)

Noblin Breakfast Bunny by Abi Flynn Jones. The most detailed of the knit egg cozies, turning your hard-boiled egg into a rabbit's head. (But not in a creepy way!) The face looks as realistic as an egg cozy is likely to look, and you can knit this one flat, if you hate double-pointed needles. However, you're going to be doing stranded knitting on the ears.

Spool-Knit Rabbit Hot Pad (requires Lion Brand registration). The only non-traditionally knit item on this list, though technically you could make it out of i-cord (spool knitters are just machines that churn out i-cord quickly). The spool-knit cord is coiled up flat to make a "picture" of an appealing rabbit, which you can use as a hot pad.

Vicki's Bunny Egg Cover by Vicki (at Simple Knits). This egg cozy is the full bunny, not just its head, with a tiny cotton-tail on the back. These are technically for plastic eggs, but she suggests that you might try using them with hard-boiled eggs or Cadbury Creme Eggs.

Lamb toys, dolls, and amigurumi

Fuzzy Lambs, by Barbara Prime of Fuzzy Mitten. Fair use size.Fuzzy Lamb by Barbara Prime of Fuzzy Mitten. These eight-inch-tall amigurumi-style dolls are the only knitted ones that can compete with the cutest crocheted lambs. A determined knitter can probably finish this in a couple of evenings. The pattern is a free download, but the link does not lead directly to the PDF: you download it from the page.

Woolie the Ewe by Natasha. This is a realistic sheep with a smooth, stockinette-stitch face, garter-stitch feet, and a loop-stitch body (loops or bobbles seem to be pretty standard for sheep bodies).

Sadly, this is it for free lamb knitting patterns. You'll find lots of sheepish behavior in the crochet section of this list, though. Look for it later today, in Part II of this series.


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