How to knit a rainbow

Use our free rainbow knitting pattern and how to knit a rainbow video to cast on these colourful cuties

rainbow knitting pattern main

Check out this cute little guy, created exclusively for Gathered by Lou Smith. We wanted to share this rainbow knitting pattern with people looking to knit celebrations of the NHS, or tokens to mark Pride, or just lovely little ornaments to hang around your home! Our How to knit a rainbow tutorial includes instructions on adding a sweet embroidered face, too, so you can create a knitted rainbow with cute kawaii character! Designer Lou also suggests knitting the rainbow twice and adding the embroidered face on just one, then sewing them together and stuffing to create a cute 3D finish to your knitted rainbow. Or you can attach some cotton face pads on either side to make quick clouds to frame your knitted rainbow!

rainbow knitting pattern

We’ve designed our How to knit a rainbow tutorial to work for completely new knitters. That’s why, as well as a the knitted rainbow pattern, we’ve created a knit-along YouTube tutorial. This will show you what your hands should be doing alongside what you’ll see written in the pattern, so you can match up the pattern to the techniques you’ll need. Experienced knitter might even learn a thing or two from Lou’s helpful pointers and nimble fingers. If you are a new knitter, check out our knitting for beginners article for more pointers on getting started, or see how to cast on knitting and how to cast off knitting articles to see more on the techniques to help you start and finish your projects neatly – but the How to knit a rainbow video will doom those techniques in action, too!

However you choose to use our How to knit a rainbow tutorial, we hope you’ll enjoy knitting you own colourful characters. If you prefer a written pattern to an animated vide, you’ll find the rainbow knitting pattern underneath the video in the article.

How to knit a rainbow: KAL video


You Will Need

  • 4mm knitting needles
  • Chunky yarn (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple)
  • Wide eye sewing needle

Step 1

How to knit a rainbow: free pattern

Rainbow knitting pattern materials

  • A pair of 4mm knitting needles
  • 6 balls of chunky yarn in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple
  • A wide-eyed large sewing needle


K – knit

Yo – yarn over

Sts – stitches

Notes Knit all yarn over stitches through the back loop. This will twist the stitch so it doesn’t make a hole in your knitting.

Free rainbow knitting pattern

Cast on 9 sts using purple.

Row 1 K1, (yo, K1) eight times. [17 sts]

Row 2 Knit to end.

Row 3 Knit to end.

Row 4 Knit to end.

Change to blue.

Row 5 K1, yo, k3, (yo, k1, yo, k3) three times, yo, k1. [25 sts]

Row 6 Knit to end.

Row 7 Knit to end.

Row 8 Knit to end.

Change to green.

Row 9 K1, yo, k5, (yo, k1, yo, k5) three times, yo, k1. [33 sts]

Row 10 Knit to end.

Row 11 Knit to end.

Row 12 Knit to end.

Change to yellow.

Row 13 K1, yo, k7, (yo, k1, yo, k7) three times, yo, k1. [41 sts]

Row 14 Knit to end.

Row 15 Knit to end.

Row 16 Knit to end.

Change to orange.

Row 17 K1, yo, k9, (yo, k1, yo, k9) three times, yo, k1. [49 sts]

Row 18 Knit to end.

Row 19 Knit to end.

Row 20 Knit to end.

Change to red.

Row 21 K1, yo, k11, (yo, k1, yo, k11) three times, yo, k1. [57 sts]

Row 22 Knit to end.

Row 23 Knit to end.

Row 24 Knit to end.

Cast off all sts loosely.

Step 2

free rainbow knitting pattern

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that designer Lou Smith has added embroidery to her How to knit a rainbow creation, as in her day job she is the production editor of Love Embroidery magazine! Add the facial details to the rainbow made using your free rainbow knitting pattern following the close up image shown above as a guide. Lou has used black wool to embroider the face onto her design, but you could always two strands of black embroidery thread instead if you don’t have any black wool.


More like the rainbow knitting pattern

We have plenty more free projects and tutorials like the rainbow knitting pattern for you, right here on Gathered! For more cute yarn makes, check out our free amigurumi crochet patterns or our free toy dog knitting pattern. Find more knits for little ones with our premature baby hats knitting patterns article and our free elephant knitting pattern. And for more rainbow action, check out our rainbow craft ideas.