The Beginner Knitter Skills Builder – Step 4: The Cuddly Caterpillar

Well, hello again! We’re back using up every inch of this deliciously soft Lion Brand Feels Like Butta yarn to learn all the basics of knitting by making an adorable baby set together. I hope you’ve built your skills and your confidence by working through Tuesday’s I Wanna Knit a Baby Blanket, Wednesday’s Pom Pom Baby Hat, and yesterday’s Booties patterns and tutorials. If you’ve missed any of these steps, pop back and make sure you pick up the skills on each project, because today we are going to put them all to use while learning how to knit in the round to make this free downloadable pattern, Cuddly Caterpillar.

It’s finally time to use Feels Like Butta by Lion Brand Yarn to make the cutest Cuddly Caterpillar EVER!

This stuffed toy is so perfect for babies to cuddle.

It’s finally time to use Feels Like Butta by Lion Brand Yarn to make the cutest Cuddly Caterpillar EVER!

What you’ll need

 How to knit in the round.

Now, onto the knitty-gritty of knitting in the round. There are two main ways of knitting in the round: DPN (double pointed needle) knitting and Magic Loop knitting. My preferred way of doing in the round projects is Magic Loop. There’s just one singular circular needle to manage. DPNs require 3-5 needles. Either technique works, though, so I recommend you move to DPNs if Magic Loop is just too, uh…loopy. Everyone is unique, so techniques are varied to suit different kinds of knitters. I suggest that you grab some scrap yarn and practice knitting in the round for a while before jumping into the caterpillar project. There are some increases at the very beginning that may be a little difficult if you haven’t already developed some comfort with knitting in the round.

I’m not going to give some written instructions for Magic Loop, because it is very hard to explain without visuals. Instead watch the video I’ve made on the technique. It may take a few tries to get it right. I think it took me at least three attempts before the technique clicked for me. Now I could knit Magic Loop in my sleep!

If for some reason the Magic Loop technique just doesn’t work for you try using DPNs and following this video tutorial.

DPN video:

Once you’ve practiced knitting in the round until you’re comfortable with either method, you can cast on for the caterpillar. I started with pink, and instead of considering this the head, I made it the bum. There are a bunch of increases – first the knit front and back stitches on the first round then M1s on following rows. If you have forgotten the M1 stitch, quickly hop back to Thursday’s Bootie post to rewatch the video. If you need a reminder of the K2tog stitch, you’ll find the video on Tuesday’s baby blanket post. In case the instructions in the pattern for knitting into the front and back of the stitch is not clear to you, here’s a quick video you can watch:

KFB video:

The result of the increases at the beginning was a kind of star or flower (I tried several times to cast this on, always with the same result) which I didn’t want in the middle of my caterpillar’s face. It was also convenient to finish with the face to add the eyes just before closing off the project. Other than that change, I knit the project as written except for the colors.

The color changes went like this:

Segment 1 (Bum)

  • Rounds 1-16: PINK
  • Round 17: GRAY

Segment 2

  • Round 1: GRAY
  • Rounds 2-16: WHITE
  • Round 17: GRAY

Segment 3

  • Round 1: GRAY
  • Rounds 2-16: PINK
  • Round 17: GRAY

Segment 4

  • Round 1: GRAY
  • Rounds 2-16: WHITE
  • Round 17: GRAY

Segment 5 (face)

  • Round 1: GRAY
  • Rounds 2-17 and final 3 rnds: PINK

I think you’ll catch onto the pattern after the first couple of segments.

About the eyes

TAKE NOTE! Make sure you attach the eyes before you close up the face of the caterpillar. In the pattern they give instructions for crocheted eyes, but I wanted to make my life a little easier by using plastic safety eyes instead. I chose plain black 6mm eyes and placed them evenly on either side of the head about 12 rows apart. I filled the head with stuffing. Before closing the end off, I placed the eyes. Pulling out most of the stuffing, I pushed the washers of the safety eye onto the stems to lock them in place. Then I finished stuffing the head and closed off the end by passing the yarn through the remaining stitches and tightly pulling it closed. Pass the needle down through the stuffing, up through a stitch, down through a neighboring stitch, and through the stuffing then out through the back of the head. You can just cut the yarn off close to the fabric then stretch until the end disappears into the body of the stuffy. Here’s a video on how to properly add the safety eyes. It shows a method for adding a stitched eyelid, but I didn’t use it.

Adding plastic eyes:

Make sure to place and attach your eyes before you finish the head!

How to knit Icord

Ok, I know you’re exhausted with all the learning, (though I do hope you took lots of time to rest and absorb each lesson!), but there’s one last thing to learn to complete your caterpillar. And I really saved the best for last. Icord stands for “Idiot Cord”. You may remember making Icord by cording when you were a kid. It’s really fun to knit it, too! I used a 3.5mm needle and 3sts instead of 2 to make the antenna tightly knit and more substantial, so they would stand up a little more.

For each antenna you cast on 3sts either on a DPN (recommended) or your circular needle.

Icord Instructions

  1. Knit all sts.
  2. Don’t turn your work but slide all the stitches down the needle to the right until they are at the tip.
  3. Taking the yarn from the far-left side of your row, pull the yarn snug then knit all 3sts.
  4. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until you have the desired length (2½”/6.5cm).

Finishing the knit Icord antenna

Cut your yarn leaving a 4” strand. With a yarn needle pass the yarn tail through all the remaining stitches and pull it through the middle of the tube and out the bottom to finish it. You can use the tail coming out the bottom to sew the antenna to the head. Tie a little knot on the top end, the one opposite to the yarn tail.

Add the antenna by sewing them on the top of the head about 5 rows apart. SO CUTE!!!

YOU DID IT!!!! I’m thrilled to have brought you through this journey from absolute beginner to advanced beginner. Now, you can set your sights on socks, mittens, and sweaters. You can dive into lace, cables, and colorwork with confidence and daring do. I’m proud of you! You have a beautifully soft baby set and knitting skills to share with the world. I hope you have enjoyed your adventures this week. I’ll be back in December with a cabled poncho you may want to try now that you’ve got the knittah skillz!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: The Beginner Knitter Skills Builder – Step 3: Baby Booties

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