Lion, King of the Jungle Toys

The King of the Jungle Toy has been moved from my other site;
1. There was one correction in line 6 of the face, to be 8 sts not 9 sts.
2. Updating photos.
3. Correction in Neck, round 1, needle 2: it is changed from 12 sts to 13 sts.
4. Correction in Neck, round 2, on short rows: it is changed from p15 to p16 sts.

The Supplies:

  •    size 6 double pointed set of 4
  •    size D crochet hook
  •    40 yards, Gold color, Worsted Weight Yarn. This project works best in a Worsted Weight of your choice.
  •    7 yards, Orange color, Worsted Weight Yarn (for Mane and Tale)
  •    Small amount of alternate yarn for embroidering facial features, also you might want beads,   buttons or safety eyes (your option)
  •    Poly-fill stuffing, or whatever your choice for stuffing is.
  •    Stitch Holder or waste yarn.
  •    Darning Needle and scissors

Gauge: I am not gauging this project, just make sure that your knitted fabric is tight enough to hold the stuffing inside. Use a size 5 needle set if your gauge seems too loose. My finished Lion is approximately 4.5 inches high, and without tail is about 4.5 inches long.

Terms used:

  • Circular Cast On = * Yarn forward, knit one through the loop *, repeat from * to * as many times as needed to achieve stitches specified. Here is a youtube video made by Laura Nelkin that explains it well. 
  • I-Cord = cast on 3, push these 3 sts to the beg of the needle, knit the 3 sts by bringing the working yarn back to the start from behind – will work up into a tube shape. Here is a video tutorial, by knittingtipsbyjudy.
  • K= Knit
  • P = Purl
  • KFB = Knit Front and Back of single stitch (a single increase)
  • K2tog = Knit two stitches together (a single decrease)
  • SSK = Slip one stitch knitwise, place back on working needle, knit that stitch and the next stitch together. (a single decrease)
  • SK2P = slip one stitch knitwise, knit two together, pass the slipped over. (3 st decrease)
  • Rnd(s) = Round(s)
  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • M1 = Make one stitch from row(s) below.
  • PU = Pick Up stitch(es)
  • beg = beginning

Special Technique: 

Short Rows: Here is a video that shows the for basic methods in a concise and a clear manner from Interweave Craft featuring Eunny Jang.

Legs (make 4):

Using the Circular Cast On method, Cast On 8 stitches. Divide the stitches 3, 3 and 2 on the 3 working needles and join to work in round. Mark the beg of the rnd with a pin or use a stitch marker.

Rnd 1: Knit (8 sts)

Rnd 2: KFB every stitch. (16 sts)


Rnd 3-12: K3, P1 around. (16 sts)

Rnd 13: [K3, P1] x 3, bind off last 4 sts, place 12 sts on a scrap yarn length or stitch holder.

Secure the circle at the bottom, to prevent the hole from opening. I turned it inside-out and just run the string through a few stitches.

Repeat until you have four legs made.


Attaching legs together:

*Holding two legs together with the bound off edges facing, Place 4 sts from each leg onto a needle to be worked as part of the belly. (8 sts on needle, 16 sts still on waste yarn/holder)


Work in rows:

Row 1-4: knit 8 sts, leave on needle.*

Repeat from * to * for other pair of legs.


Holding these two belly parts together with right sides facing, 3 needle bind-off entire row.

The legs are now all one piece, with the bound off stitches still un-sewn.


Body: Working in the round again.

Round 1: Needle 1: Place 8 sts from waste yarn/holder onto needle 1, and knit.

Pick up and knit 2 legs of stitches as shown in photo for an extra st to be used to make sure that a hole at the gusset edge will disappear, then PU and knit 5 stitches along the belly, and finally PU and knit 2 legs of stitches at the gusset edge to be worked in with needle 2. (15 sts, but will be 14 sts in a moment)


Needle 2: take that last sts made from needle and place on needle 2, knit the 8 sts onto needle from leg 2 and 8 sts from leg 3 (17 sts – to be 18 sts in a moment)

Needle 3: Pick up and knit 2 legs of stitches as shown in photo for an extra st to be used to make sure that a hole at the gusset edge will disappear (place this st onto needle 2), then PU and knit 5 stitches along the belly, and finally PU and knit 2 legs of stitches at the gusset edge, knit the remaining 8 sts from the waste yarn/holder. (14 sts)

Needle set up should be 14, 18, 14. (total of 46 sts)



Round 2: k7, k2tog, k5 (13 sts on needle 1); ssk, k14, k2tog (16 sts on needle 2); k5, ssk, k7 (13 sts on needle 3) – (42 sts)

Round 3: knit

Round 4: k2, k2tog, k34, ssk, k2. (40 sts)

Round 5: knit – I give it a few rounds of the body, sew the holes formed at the legs and then stuff the legs. *If you sewed these holes before this point, you might notice some smaller holes that will have to be duplicated stitched or sewn up now anyway.



Round 6: k1, k2tog, k34, ssk, k1. (38 sts)

Round 7: knit

Round 8: k2tog, k34, ssk. (36 sts)


Place one stitch each from Needle 1 and Needle 3 to Needle 2: total of 18 sts should now be on Needle 2 and 9 on each of 1 and 3.

Needle 1 and Needle 3 will be bound off using the 3 needle bind off method, this will leave 1 loop on your needle. – Stuff the body portion at this point.



Round 1 and set up needles:

Needle 1: the extra loop, M1, plus knit 5 sts from needle with 18 sts ;

Needle 2: knit 8 from the needle with 13 sts;

Needle 3: knit the last 5 sts, then M1. (21 sts)


Round 2: Series of Short Rows: k2tog, k7, PM, turn work; Slip 1, p16, PM, turn work; Slip 1, k12, PM, turn work; Slip 1, p9, PM, turn work; Slip 1, k4 (20 sts)


Round 3: K5, knit loop from marker together with next stitch, k2, knit loop from marker together with next stitch, k2,* (Slip 1 Knitwise, PU loop from marker, then knit both sts together through the back loops) *, k2, repeat * to *, k5. 


HPIM2539 HPIM2537

Ears/forehead: Work this part in ROWS across needle one and needle three.

Considering Needle one is the start, I knit this 4 sts of this as row Zero, place the last 2 sts onto needle #2 to hold,  turn work. (place the first 2 sts from needle #3 also onto needle #2 to hold for now)


Row 1: Purl 8 sts, turn.

Row 2: Knit 8 sts, turn.


Rows 3-8: repeat rows 1 and 2.

Face: replace the stitches back onto the needles as before so that Needle 1 = 6 sts, Needle 2 = 8 sts and Needle 3 = 6 sts.


Continue knitting from base of ear, you will see a noticeable hole on each side of the head, no worries that will be sewn at the end.


Round 1: k20 (20 sts)

Round 2: k20 (20 sts)

Round 3: k2, k2tog; repeat around (15 sts)

Round 4: k15 (15 sts)

Round 5: k15 (15 sts)

Round 6: k2tog; repeat around ending k1 (8 sts) – cut yarn, leaving a long tail (this will be used later for pulling through remaining stitches and sewing nose hole shut)


Tufted Tail:

PU and knit 3 sts at the base of the spine/back.


In an I-cord manner continue these 3 sts for a total of 4  inches.

Knit next round in ORANGE


Then using size D crochet hook, single crochet leaving about a 1/2 inch loop at the bottom of each for tuft,


end in the first loop to complete the round — should have 4 loops total.

Wrap the working yarn around the base of the tuft twice tightly and secure by drawing your darning needle through a couple stitches, and up through the center of the loops, draw the beginning end of the orange yarn through in same manner– trim both to same height as your loops.


Weave in the Gold yarn to finish.


Sewing the head up:

I used an aqua yarn to show how I sew up the head, please feel free to just use the matching yarn 😀

Fold the top of the head in half starting where the face stitches meet; then make a running stitch from the bottom crease to the top of the forehead, leaving 1 stitch centered between the two ears for the top of the head. Sew both ears weave in ends.


Put the Lion’s face on. I simply embroider little heart shaped eyes because I feel they are the safest for my grandchildren; but if you are planning use safety eyes or buttons put those on now.


Now stuff the lion down the neck and head, shape it as you stuff, leaving the black yarn to hang out of the hole in front.

Now weave in the gold yarn pulling the hole tight, and embroider a couple stitches for the nose.


The Mane:

With size D crochet hook and ORANGE yarn, single crochet into each and every leg of every knit stitch around back of headline and jawline around the face, leaving a loop at the bottom of every stitch about 1 and 1/4 inches long.


I did say every leg of every knit stitch right? end by cutting yarn leaving a long enough tail to weave in and pull through using as part of the main, trim to same length as a loop.


Does your Lion Roar?


© 2013-2016 Cass Dodge

Due to individual crafting techniques, I am giving instructions in good faith. Your results may differ from mine – and to me that is brilliant! Please be kind and do not reproduce this pattern or sell pattern. You are free to sell items made using this pattern, I only ask that you include my design name and link to my blog: in your online listings. Thanks!