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Knit an Olympic gymnast: free knitting pattern

Gloria the gymnast, in her gold leotard, makes a fun Olympics memento or decoration

Olympknits gymnast to knit - Toys to make - free knitting patterns - Craft ideas for kids - Craft -

● 4mm (US size 6) knitting needles

● 50g (2oz) taupe DK (this will make 2 dolls)
● Oddments of brown yarn for hair, brown or black for eyes and pink for mouth

Other materials
● Stuffing
● Gold stretchy fabric for the leotard (any fabric with lycra will work, old swimming costumes are particularly good)
● Sequins for the leotard
● Sequin strip for hair decoration

22sts and 30 rows to 10cm (4in)

Note on gauge
All knitters have slightly different gauge, so it’s important to check your gauge so that the outfit your athlete will wear fits properly. If you have more than the stated sts/rows to your 10cm (4in) swatch, then use slightly larger needles. If fewer, use slightly smaller needles.

Finished size
Approximately 33cm (13in) tall.

K2tog knit the next 2 stitches together
Kfb knit forward and back into the same stitch to make 2 stitches
P2tog purl the next 2 stitches together
Rep repeat
Skpo slip 1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch


Head, body and legs
Start at top of head.
Cast on 7 sts.
Row 1 [Kfb] 6 times, k1 (13 sts).
Row 2 P.
Row 3 [Kfb, k1, kfb] 4 times, k1 (21 sts).
Row 4 P.
Row 5 [Kfb, k3, kfb] 4 times, k1 (29 sts).
Row 6 P.
Row 7 K6, [kfb] 2 times, k12, [kfb] 2 times, k7 (33 sts).
Row 8 P.
Rows 9–22 Stocking/stockinette stitch.
Row 23 K6, skpo, k2tog, k12, skpo, k2tog, k7 (29 sts).
Row 24 P.
Row 25 [K2tog, k3, skpo] 4 times, k1 (21 sts).
Row 26 P.
Row 27 K.
Row 28 P.

Row 29 [Kfb, k1] rep to last st, [kfb] (32 sts).
Row 30 P.
Rows 31–54 Stocking/stockinette stitch.
Row 55 [K2tog, k1] rep to last 2 sts, k2tog (21 sts).
Row 56 P.

Row 57 K9, k2tog, turn (hold left leg sts and continue on 10 sts for right leg).
Row 58 P.
Rows 59–88 Stocking/stockinette stitch.

Row 89 K4, [kfb] 2 times, k4 (12 sts).
Row 90 P.
Row 91 K5, [kfb] 2 times, k5 (14 sts).
Row 92 P.
Row 93 K6, [kfb] 2 times, k6 (16 sts).
Row 94 P2tog, p12, p2tog (14 sts).
Row 95 K2tog, k10, k2tog (12 sts).
Row 96 [P2tog] rep to end of row (6 sts).
Thread yarn through remaining sts. Rep on remaining 10 sts for left leg.

Arms (make 2)
Cast on 10 sts.
Rows 1–30 Stocking/stockinette stitch.

Row 31 K1, [kfb] 2 times, k3, [kfb] 2 times, k2 (14 sts).
Row 32 P.
Rows 33–36 Stocking/stockinette stitch.
Row 37 [K2tog] rep to end of row (7 sts). Thread yarn through remaining sts.

Making up

Head, body and legs
The head, body and legs are knitted all in one. Sew down the back of the body and head and fill with stuffing. Sew down the inner legs to the tips of the toes. Fill with stuffing as you go as the legs are thin.

Sew up the arm seams, filling with stuffing as you go. Sew the arms on to the body using the neck shaping to help with positioning.

Wrap the yarn around a large book (the book I used was about 27cm/10¾in tall). The bigger the book, the longer the hair. Continue wrapping the yarn round the book until it is approximately 4cm (1½in) wide and 0.5–1cm (¼–½in) thick. The more yarn you wrap, the thicker the hair.

Carefully stitch over and under one side of the hair then back again so that every strand of hair is captured in the stitches.
Cut the hair on the other side of the book so that there is an even amount of hair each side of the stitches.
Position the hair at the top of the head with the stitches in the centre. Spread the hair so that it runs down the side and back of the doll’s head. Sew the hair tightly along the top of her head and round the bottom, back and sides of the head. Every strand of hair needs to be sewn down.

Facial features
Embroider eyes using brown or black yarn.
Using the skin-coloured yarn, pull up 2 stitches just below the centre of the eyes and pull tightly to create the nose. Sew neatly inside the body so that no thread is visible.
Using pink yarn, make 2 stitches just below the nose to create the mouth. You can give the doll different facial expressions by where you choose to place the mouth.

Gymnast’s outfit

Fold the fabric in half and pin the template on the following page to it with the base on the fold line. Cut around the edge of the template, remembering not to cut along the fold line. Sew both side seams using a neat running stitch. Sew the front right shoulder strap to the back shoulder strap directly behind it. Repeat for the left side. Turn the costume right side out so that no seams show. Carefully stitch a string of sequins around the edges of the legs, neck and arms.

Hair decoration
To make the sequined clip and bun, fold the hair up onto the back of the head and slightly twist it. Sew it into place using the same yarn used to create the hair. Cut a 10cm (4in) length of the sequin strip and sew it over the hair stitches to give the impression of a clip.


This pattern is taken from 'Olympknits' by Laura Long (David & Charles, £6.99).

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