Use a combination of garter stitch and stocking stitch to create the body of our mermaid knitting pattern, then dress her in a bright aqua top, with a sweet Old Shale lace collar. Complete the design with a pink starfish nestling in her hair. Thos mermaid knitting pattern is designed by Ann Franklin and was originally published in Knit Today magazine issue 109.


This mermaid knitting pattern is knitted in a combination of garter stitch and stocking stitch, although the trim on her top uses a modern variation of traditional Old Shale pattern. Two needle sizes are used, to help with the tension differences between the garter stitch and stocking stitch portions.

Worked in DK knitting yarn, you could easily change the colours you use for the mermaid knitting pattern too use up leftover DK yarns that you already have in your stash. This is a great way to personalise the design if you knitting for a child. Why not change the hair, skin and eye colours to match the little one you are knitting for?

surrounded by shells, the knitted mermaid looks like she belongs in a house near the beach

Mermaid knitting pattern materials

Yarn (note, these yarns are all sold in 100g balls)
James C Brett Twinkle Fashion DK: 25g x A Silver (shade TK8)
James C Brett Top Value

DK: 20g x B Turquoise (shade 847); 20g x C Soft Apricot (shade 848), 30g x D Bright Yellow (shade 8411);
5g x E Lemon (shade 8412);
5g x F Dusky Pink (shade 8447); short length of G Black (shade 8430)

3mm (UK 11) and 3.25mm (UK 10, US 3) needles
A 3mm (UK 11) or 3.5mm (UK 9, US E/4) crochet hook (optional)

70g of toy stuffing

Mermaid knitting pattern tension

Garter stitch using 3mm needles and Twinkle DK: 22 sts and 52 rows to 10cm or 4in square

St st using 3.25mm needles and Top Value DK: 22 sts and 32 rows to 10cm or 4in square.

Exact tension is not vital for this project, but ensure your fabric is dense enough to prevent toy stuffing escaping. To learn more about tension and why it is important, see our article on knitting tension squares.

Mermaid knitting pattern abbreviations

B&T Break and thread. Break the yarn and thread the tail onto a tapestry needle. Thread the yarn end through the sts on the knitting needle, then take the sts off the needle and pull the tail up to tighten the sts into a circle.

More like this

For a full list of standard knitting pattern abbreviations, take look at our knitting abbreviations article.

Mermaid knitting pattern measurements

Your finished knitted mermaid will measure approximately 36cm or 14in tall.

te knitted mermaid lies on her side with yellow hair made of DK yarn and a blue top

Mermaid knitting pattern

Tail, Body & Head

First Tail Fin
Using 3mm needles and A, cast on 4 sts.
Row 1: Kfb to end of row. 8 sts.
Row 2 & every alt row: Knit.
Row 3: (Kfb, k2, kfb) twice. 12 sts.
Row 5: (Kfb, k4, kfb) twice. 16 sts.
Row 7: (Kfb, k6, kfb) twice. 20 sts.
Row 9: (Kfb, k8, kfb) twice. 24 sts.
Row 11: (Kfb, k10, kfb) twice. 28 sts.
Knit 15 rows.
Break off the yarn, and leave the sts on a holder.

Second Tail Fin
Make in exactly the same way as the first tail fin, but do not break off the yarn.
Join the fins together as folls:
Row 27: Knit across the sts on the second fin, and then knit across the sts left on the holder from the first fin. 56 sts.
Row 28 & every alt row: Knit.
Row 29: (K2togtbl, k10, k2tog) four times. 48 sts.
Row 31: (K2togtbl, k8, k2tog) four times. 40sts.
Row 33: (K2togtbl, k6, k2tog) four times. 32 sts.
Row 35: (K2togtbl, k4, k2tog) four times. 24 sts.
Knit 5 rows.
Row 41: K5, (kfb) twice, k10, (kfb) twice, k5. 28 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 45: K6, (kfb) twice, k12, (kfb) twice, k6. 32 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 49: K7, (kfb) twice, k14, (kfb) twice, k7. 36 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 53: K8, (kfb) twice, k16, (kfb) twice, k8. 40 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 57: K9, (kfb) twice, k18, (kfb) twice, k9. 44 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 61: K10, (kfb) twice, k20, (kfb) twice, k10. 48 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 65: K11, (kfb) twice, k22, (kfb) twice, k11. 52 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 69: K12, (kfb) twice, k24, (kfb) twice, k12. 56 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 73: K13, (kfb) twice, k26, (kfb) twice, k13. 60 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 77: K14, (kfb) twice, k28, (kfb) twice, k14. 64 sts.
Knit 11 rows.
Row 89: (K6, k2tog) to the end of the row. 56 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 93: (K5, k2tog) to the end of the row. 48 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 97: (K4, k2tog) to the end of the row. 40 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Break off A.
Join in B and change to 3.25mm needles.
Beginning knit, st st 16 rows.
Break off B. Join in C.
Shape shoulders:
Row 117: K8, (k2tog) twice, k16, (k2tog) twice, k8. 36 sts.
Beginning purl, st st 5 rows.
Row 123: (K2, k2tog) to end of row. 27 sts.
Beginning purl, st st 3 rows.
Increase for head:
Row 127: (Kfb) to the end of the row. 54 sts.
Beginning purl, st st 21 rows.
Row 149: (K4, k2tog) to end of row. 45 sts.
Row 150 & every alt row: Purl.
Row 151: (K3, k2tog) to end of row. 36 sts.
Row 153: (K2, k2tog) to end of row. 27 sts.
Row 155: (K1, k2tog) to end of row. 18 sts.
Row 157: (K2tog) to end of row. 9 sts.

Make 2, noting variations for thumb on second arm in brackets
Using 3.25mm needles and C, cast on 6 sts.
Row 1: Kfb, knit to last 2 sts, kfb, k1. 8 sts.
Row 2: Purl.
Rep Rows 1 & 2 four times. 16 sts.
Row 11: Cast on 2 sts, knit to end of row. 18 sts.
Row 12: Cast on 2 sts, purl to end of row. 20 sts.
Beginning knit, st st 18 rows st st.
Row 31: K8 [k16 for second arm], turn.
Row 32: P4, turn.
Working on these 4 sts only, st st 10 rows.
Row 43: Knit across 4 thumb sts, then across 12 [4] sts remaining on left-hand needle.
Row 44: Purl across all sts. 20 sts.
Beginning knit, st st 6 rows.
Row 51: (K2tog) to end of row. 10 sts.
Row 52: Purl.

Shoulder Trim
Using 3.25mm needles and B, cast on 72 sts.
Knit 2 rows.
Row 3: * (K2tog) twice, (yf, k1) four times, (k2tog) twice. Rep from * to end of row.
Row 4: Purl.
Rows 5 & 6: Knit.
Row 7: * (K2tog) twice, yf, k2tog, (yf, k1) twice, (k2tog) twice. Rep from * to end of row. 60 sts.
Row 8: Purl.
Cast off all sts.

Hair base
Using 3.25mm needles and D, cast on 25 sts.
Cast off.

Shell necklace
Using 3.25mm needles and E, cast on 9 sts.
Row 1: K1, (p1, k1) to the end of the row.
Row 2: (P1, k1) three times, p1, turn.
Row 3: Sl1, (p1, k1) twice, turn.
Row 4: Sl1, (k1, p1) to end of row.
Row 5: Sl1, k2tog, psso; (sl1, k2togtbl, psso) twice.
Row 6: Knit.
Cast off.

Necklace Chain
Using 3.25mm needles and E, make a slip knot.
Work 40 rows, each consisting of 1 knit st only.
Break off the yarn and draw it through the final st to cast off.
(If preferred, make this chain by working 40 chains in crochet, using a 3.5mm hook).

Starfish (Make 2)
Using 3.25mm needles and F, cast on 5 sts.
Row 1: (Kfb) to end of row. 10 sts.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: (K1, kfb) to end of row. 15 sts.
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: K3, turn.
Working on these 3 sts only:
Row 6: Purl.
Row 7: K1, k2tog. 2 sts.
Row 8: Purl.
Row 9: K2tog to cast off.
* With right side facing, re-join the yarn to the remaining sts.
Work from rows 5 to 9.
Repeat from * until all sts have been used and five starfish legs have been made.

To make up the knitted mermaid

the tail of the mermaid knitted pattern, with rows of stocking stitch in grey thread shaped lie a fish tail

Tail, Body & Head
Join the main seam from the B&T sts on the head to the base of the tail, leaving a small gap for turning.

Fold the fin portions in half and join the lower side seams.
Turn the work to the right side.

Flatten the fins, and then sew a line of stitches through from back to front of each fin, from the centre point at the bottom of the fins, to the point at the sides of the main tail, where the fin shaping ends and the main tail starts, thus creating a large ‘V’ at the base of the tail.
Stuff the tail, body & head, leaving the fins (below the ‘V’) flat. Close the gap in the seam.

Join the main seam from the B&T sts to where the shaping at the top of the arm starts. Leave this top, shaped portion open.

Fold the thumb in half and join the seams on each side, making sure to pay attention to any small gaps at the base of the thumb.

Turn the arm and thumb to the right side.
Stuff the thumb and the rest of the arm.

Sew the open, shaped portion of the arms to the sides of the doll, placing the cast on edge over the top of the shoulder shaping row, and making sure that the thumbs are facing forward.

Shoulder Trim
Join the side seams to create a large loop.
Place the loop over the doll. Having the centre front and back cast off row level with the colour change row and the centre side cast off row just above the top of the arms.

Using C, make a nose by working three horizontal back stitches over 1 knitted st 10 rows above the head increase row.
Using F, embroider a curved mouth in back stitch, 3 rows below the nose and worked over 5 sts.
Using G, make two eyes by working three vertical back stitches over 2 rows, 3 rows above the nose and 5 sts apart.

Using D, cut approximately 175 x 60cm or 24in lengths of yarn.

Pull 2 lengths of yarn through each cast on and each cast off edge stitch on the hair base strip. Knot each length at the centre, to ensure they are attached firmly to the hair base strip.

Sew the hair base to the head, positioning the front about 14 rows above the nose, and the back 8 rows above the head increase row.

Using the remaining lengths of yarn, sew in groups of three lengths along the centre of the head base strip, making sure that you sew through the centre of each strand, then attach to the head through the head base row using back stitch. Sew groups along the length of the head base strip, to create a neat parting for the hair.

Once all the hair strands have been applied, tie the hair on each side of the head to make two bunches. Sew the bunches at the point they are tied to the side of the head to secure them.
Trim the ends of the bunches to create a neat edge.

Join the cast on and cast off stitches of the necklace chain together. Sew the cast off edge of the shell to the centre of the necklace chain. Place the necklace around the mermaid’s neck, and sew the join to the centre back seam to secure it.

On each piece, sew a running stitch through the cast on stitches and pull the yarn up to tighten into a closed circle. Join the side seam up to the leg shaping. Fasten off and neaten all the yarn joins at the base of each starfish leg.

With right-sides out, ladder stitch the front and back of the starfish together, enclosing a small amount of stuffing in each leg, and in the centre portion of the starfish.
Sew the starfish to the top of the mermaid’s head, positioning it to one side.

tye knitted mermaid leans against a wooden cupboard with shell and decorative shell chains anding around her

Download the mermaid knitting pattern

We know many of you would prefer to have a PDF version of the mermaid knitting pattern which is easy to print out, or can be stored as a simple PDF on your computer. So we have prepared this PDF for you. It is an A4 PDF with 3 pages including the mermaid knitting pattern and accompanying photographs. Click to download the mermaid knitting pattern.


More like the mermaid knitting pattern

Don't miss the other great free pattern we have for you on Gathered! Check out our elephant knitting pattern and our toy dog knitting pattern for more cuddly ideas. Or for more treats for little ones, try our baby cardigan knitting pattern and our basic baby hat knitting pattern.


ann franklin
Ann FranklinKnitting Designer

Ann Franklin has many years of knitting experience, having been taught to knit, crochet and sew as a very young child by her mother, who was hugely skilled in all three. She combines knitting and designing with her full time job as a HLTA in a local primary school . Her designs first appeared ten years ago in Knit Today magazine, and she also had designs published in Love Knitting for Baby magazine. She currently designs for Simply Knitting magazine. Her designs can also be found on Love Crafts and Ravelry.

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