Designed by Claire Garland, you can use this free bird knitting pattern to knit a gentle environmental protest – he is a Canary Craftivist! Claire produced the design for the Craftivist Collective as part of their Canary Craftivists campaign – taking a gentle, positive approach to climate activism. Click to find out more about the Canary Craftivists campaign.
And of course, he makes a lovely find if you are looking for a free knitted bird pattern, too! We recommend this design for intermediate knitters, but the bird knitting pattern is well within the reach of new knitters too! Take look at our knitting for beginners guide to brush up on the techniques you need, including How to cast on knitting, how to cast off knitting, how to increase in knitting and how to decrease in knitting.
The Canary Craftivists bird knitting pattern was originally published in Simply Knitting magazine issue 214.
Bird knitting pattern materials list
Here’s a list of the equipment and materials you’ll need for the bird knitting pattern. To see if you can adapt it for yarns you already have, or to understand how thee British terms relate to American terms, use our yarn weight conversion chart.
- DROPS Flora (4ply, 65% wool, 35% alpaca, 50g/210m),
1 ball of Yarn A Yellow (17)
- DROPS Kid Silk (laceweight, 75% mohair, 25% silk, 25g/210m),
1 ball of Yarn B Vanilla (29)
- DROPS Alpaca (4ply, 100% alpaca, 50g/167m),
1 ball of Yarn C Blush (9026)
You can use any 4ply or DK – very small amounts required
- A pair of 4mm needles
- DK yarn in black for eyes
- Toy filling
- 2 stitch markers
24 sts and 32 rows to measure 10x10cm (4x4in) over st st using 4mm needles and Yarn A and Yarn B held together. Check out our knitting tensions squares article to explore the benefits of getting your tension right.
This bird knitting pattern creates a canary measuring 13cm (5in)
This design uses standard British knitting abbreviations. Click for our full list of knitting abbreviations.
Bird knitting pattern: Climate canary
Note Tail, Body and Head are worked as one piece.
Cast on 3 sts using Yarn A and Yarn B, holding the two strands together, and 4mm needles.
Row 1 (WS) Purl.
Row 2 (RS) K1, kfb, K1. [4 sts]
Rows 3, 5, 7 and 9 Purl.
Row 4 (inc) Kfb, K1, M1, K1, kfb. [7 sts]
Row 6 (inc) K3, kfb, K3. [8 sts]
Row 8 (inc) Kfb, K3, M1, K3, kfb. [11 sts]
Row 10 (inc) K5, kfb, K5. [12 sts]
Rows 11 to 13 Beg with a purl row, work 3 rows in st st.
Row 14 (dec) K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog. [10 sts]
Rows 15 to 17 Beg with a purl row, work 3 rows in st st.
Row 18 (inc) (RS) Kfb, K to last st, kfb. [12 sts]
Row 19 (inc) (WS) P1, pfb, purl to last 2 sts, pfb, P1. [14 sts]
Rows 20 to 23 Rep last 2 rows twice more. [22 sts]
PM at each end of last row to mark Body.
Row 24 (inc) Kfb, K to last st, kfb. [24 sts]
Rows 25 to 35 Beg with a purl row, work 11 rows in st st.
Row 36 K2tog, K8, kfb, K2, kfb, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog.
Row 37 (inc) Pfb, purl to last st, pfb. [26 sts]
Row 38 (RS) K20, w&t.
Row 39 (WS) P14, w&t.
Row 40 K13, w&t.
Row 41 P12, w&t.
Row 42 K11, w&t.
Row 43 P10, w&t.
Row 44 K9, w&t.
Row 45 P8, w&t.
Row 46 K7, w&t.
Row 47 P6, w&t.
Row 48 K5, w&t.
Row 49 P4, w&t.
Row 50 K15 to end of row.
Row 51 (dec) *P2tog, P2; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2tog. [19 sts]
Cut yarn leaving a long tail. Thread end through all 19 sts for beak point. Pull up tightly. Secure gathers with a stitch or two.
Body With WS together, fold bird in half to match row ends and body markers. Mattress stitch from beak point to body markers. Stuff bird through the opening at the bottom of body, mattress stitch opening closed from markers to the top of the tail. Join tail tip for approx. 2.5 cm. Note The rest of the tail curls in on itself so does not need joining.
Beak Cut 60cm of Yarn C and thread through sewing needle. Using yarn doubled, secure the yarn at beak point and work straight stitches over and over each other to create a triangular beak.
Eyes With black embroidery thread or yarn, work French knots for eyes at each side of the head.
Legs Cut two lengths of Yarn C, approx 60cm long. Fold each length in half and attach yarn to just above the body markers, about 1cm apart, so that you can attach the bird to a perch, or wind the yarn around your finger to make the bird ‘sit’ on your finger. Remove body markers.
More like the bird knitting pattern
We have plenty more designs like the free bird knitting pattern for you to enjoy, right here on Gathered! Check out our toy dog knitting patterns or our free elephant knitting pattern. Keep using your knitter for good causes with our premature baby hats knitting patterns and our how to make a Twiddlemuff article. Or if you feel like treating yourself or a pal to new knitting kit, check out our knitting kits roundup.