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Knitted Nativity pattern

Make your Christmas with this brilliant free nativity knitting pattern courtesy of Amanda Berry and Simply Knitting magazine

knitted nativity pattern main

Deck the halls with this spectacular free nativity knitting pattern that will feature in your festive decor for many years to come! Originally published in Simply Knitting magazine issue 179, the knitted nativity pattern is being shared on Gathered now for free so that knitters everywhere can enjoy the brilliant characters in this free nativity knitting pattern. Whether you choose to stitch the entire nativity knitting pattern, or prefer to complete just a few elements to act as tree ornaments or festive plushies, there is so much here for you to enjoy! Share the love with Amanda Berry who created this spectacular free nativity knitting pattern by visiting her etsy store!

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If you are here because you have purchased a kitazine magazine with one of our free nativity knitting patterns in the past, and want to find the knitted nativity pattern stable template to accompany it, you’ll find that here too. In fact, this stable template makes a brilliant background to any and all of your knitted nativity patterns! We’ve created a downloadable pattern for a stable to go with the knitted nativity, which you can print out. Click the link here: Knitted Nativity Pattern Stable Instructions PDF

It’s best if you can print directly onto sheets of card, although you could always print onto paper and then stick the paper onto card if you prefer. It’s also important that you set your printer to print at ‘Actual size’ or ‘100%’. Each sheet of the template is labelled from A to I, and the instructions refer to these letters to make things nice and easy!

If you love the free nativity knitting pattern, make sure to check out our angel knitting pattern, too!

Knitted nativity pattern materials

  • Patons Baby Smiles Fairytale Fab 4 ply (100% acrylic, 50g/184m), 1 ball of each:
    Yarn A Sundance (01022)
    Yarn B Black (01099)
    Yarn C White (01001)
    Yarn D Lilac (01047)
    Yarn E Violet (01049)
    Yarn F Chestnut (01011)
    Yarn G Beige (01005)
    Yarn H Denim (01052)
    Yarn I Pale Blue (01054)
    Yarn J Camel (01010)
    Yarn K Apple Green (01072)
    Yarn L Grey (01090)
    Yarn M Jade (01070)
  • A pair of 3.25mm needles 
  • A 3.5mm crochet hook
  • Two 3.25mm double-pointed needles (DPNs)
  • Toy filling 150g
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Blusher or crayon 
  • 5 cocktail sticks

For yarn stockists contact Patons www.knitpatons.com or call 01484 950630

Knitted nativity pattern tension

28 sts and 36 rows to measure 10x10cm (4x4in) over st st using 3.25mm needles. To discover more about tension and why it is important, see our article on knitting tension squares

Knitted nativity pattern measurements

Mary, Joseph, Kings, Angel and Shepherd 11cm (41/2in) tall

Jesus in Manger 7cm (23/4in) long

Sheep 4cm (11/2in) tall

Camel 8cm (31/4in) tall

Donkey 8cm (31/4in) tall

Knitted nativity pattern abbreviations

For a full list see our article on knitting abbreviations

knitted nativity pattern sq

Free nativity knitting pattern

Note This Nativity set is for display only and is not a toy due to the use of cocktail sticks, so please take care with younger children. Use a long-tail cast on for all pieces unless otherwise stated. The Head and Body are knitted the same for each figure, using different shades.

HEAD AND BODY (make 1 per doll)

Head and Body shades for all characters are as follows:

knitted nativity pattern mary

Mary Yarn I for Body, Yarn G for Head.

knitted nativity pattern shepherd

Joseph Yarn L for Body, Yarn G for Head.

knitted nativity pattern wiseman

King 1 Yarn D for Body, Yarn F for Head.

King 2 Yarn K for Body, Yarn J for Head.

King 3 Yarn E for Body, Yarn G for Head.

knitted nativity pattern joseph

Shepherd Yarn J for Body, Yarn G for Head.

knitted nativity pattern angel

Angel Yarn C for Body, Yarn G for Head.

Cast on 8 sts using 3.25mm needles and Body Colour.

Row 1 (WS) Knit.

Row 2 K1, (kfb) 7 times. [15 sts]

Row 3 Knit.

Row 4 K1, (kfb, K1) 7 times. [22 sts]

Row 5 Knit.

Rows 6 to 23 Beg on a RS knit row, work in st st. 

Row 24 K1, (k2tog, K1) 7 times. [15 sts]

Break Body Colour and join in Head Colour.

Row 25 Purl.

Note Row 25 is the neckline.

Row 26 K1, (kfb, K1) 7 times. [22 sts]

Row 27 Purl.

Row 28 K1, (kfb, K2) 7 times. [29 sts]

Rows 29 to 39 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Row 40 K1, (k2tog, K2) 7 times. [22 sts]

Row 41 Purl.

Row 42 K1, (k2tog, K1) 7 times. [15 sts]

Row 43 Purl.

Row 44 K1, (k2tog) 7 times. [8 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

knitted nativity pattern sq

HEADSCARF (make 1 per doll)

Headscarf colours are as follows:

Mary Yarn H.

Joseph Yarn K.

King 1 Yarn E.

King 2 Yarn M.

King 3 Yarn H.

Shepherd Yarn C.

Cast on 9 sts using 3.25mm needles and Headscarf Colour.

Row 1 (WS) Purl.

Row 2 (Kfb) 8 times, K1. [17 sts]

Row 3 Purl.

Row 4 (K1, kfb) 8 times, K1. [25 sts]

Row 5 Purl. 

Row 6 (K2, kfb) 8 times, K1. [33 sts]

Rows 7 to 11 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Row 12 Cast off the first 6 sts, knit rem sts. [27 sts]

Row 13 K2, P23, K2.

Row 14 K27.

Rows 15 to 36 Rep Rows 13 to 14 eleven more times. 

Row 37 Rep Row 13.

Cast off.

ARMS (make 2 per doll)

Arm and hand colours are as follows:

Mary Yarn I for Arm, Yarn G for hand.

Joseph Yarn L for Arm, Yarn G for hand.

King 1 Yarn D for Arm, Yarn F for hand.

King 2 Yarn K for Arm, Yarn J for hand.

King 3 Yarn E for Arm, Yarn G for hand.

Shepherd Yarn J for Arm, Yarn G for hand.

Angel Yarn C for Arm, Yarn G for hand.

Cast on 5 sts using 3.25mm needles and Arm colour.

Rows 1 to 8 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Row 9 Knit.

Break Arm colour and join hand colour.

Rows 10 to 13 Beg on a RS knit row work in st st.

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

knitted nativity pattern sq

BABY JESUS

Cast on 8 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn C.

Row 1 (WS) Purl.

Row 2 (Kfb) 7 times, K1. [15 sts]

Rows 3 to 11 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Break Yarn C and join Yarn G.

Note Row 12 is the neckline.

Rows 12 to 19 Beg on a RS knit row work in st st.

Row 20 K1, (k2tog) 7 times. [8 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

MANGER

Cast on 44 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn F.

Rows 1 to 7 Knit.

Row 8 P1, (p2tog, P2, p2tog, p2tog, P11, p2tog) 2 times, P1. 

[36 sts]

Row 9 Knit.

Row 10 P1, (p2tog, p2tog, p2tog, P9, p2tog) 2 times, P1. [28 sts]

Cast off.

knitted nativity pattern wiseman

KINGS’ CROWNS (make 3)

Cast on 5 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn A.

Row 1 (RS) K1, (K1, lift the second st on RH needle over first) 2 times, K2. [3 sts]

Row 2 P3.

Row 3 Cast on 2 sts at beg of row using cable cast on, K1, (K1, lift the second st on RH needle over first) 2 times, K2. [3 sts]

Rows 4 to 33 Rep Rows 2 to 3 fifteen more times. 

Row 34 P3.

Cast off.

KINGS’ GIFTS (make 3) 

Colours are as follows:

King 1 Yarn A.

King 2 Yarn H.

King 3 Yarn M.

Cast on 4 sts using 3.25mm needles and Gift Colour.

Start at the bottom edge.

Row 1 and all foll WS rows Purl.

Row 2 (RS) (Kfb) 4 times. [8 sts]

Row 4 Knit.

Row 6 (K2tog) 4 times. [4 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

knitted nativity pattern angel

ANGEL WINGS

Cast on 32 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn C.

Row 1 and all foll alt rows Knit.

Row 2 K1, (k2tog, K11, k2tog) 2 times, K1. [28 sts]

Row 4 K1, (k2tog, K9, k2tog) 2 times, K1. [24 sts]

Row 6 K1, (k2tog, K7, k2tog) 2 times, K1. [20 sts]

Row 8 K1, (k2tog, K5, k2tog) 2 times, K1. [16 sts]

Row 10 K1, (k2tog, K3, k2tog) 2 times, K1. [12 sts]

Row 12 K1, (k2tog, K1, k2tog) 2 times, K1. [8 sts]

Row 14 (K2tog) 4 times. [4 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

ANGEL’s HAIR

Cast on 9 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn A.

Rows 1 to 12 Follow the Headscarf patt Rows 1 to 12. [27 sts]

Rows 13 to 23 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Cast off.

knitted nativity pattern joseph

SHEPHERD’S CROOK

Cast on 4 sts using 3.25mm DPNs and Yarn F.

Using 2 DPNs work i-cord for 27 rows.

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

knitted nativity pattern sheep

SHEEP BODY

Cast on 8 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn C.

Row 1 (WS) Knit.

Row 2 K1, (kfb) 7 times. [15 sts]

Row 3 Knit.

Row 4 K1, (kfb, K1) 7 times. [22 sts]

Rows 5 to 17 Knit.

Row 18 (K2tog) 11 times. [11 sts]

Row 19 Knit.

Break Yarn C and join Yarn B.

Rows 20 to 24 Beg on a RS knit row work in st st.

Row 25 P1, (p2tog) 5 times. [6 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

SHEEP EARS (make 2)

Cast on 3 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn B using cable cast on.

Cast off.

SHEEP LEGS (make 4)

Cast on 4 sts using 3.25mm DPNs and Yarn B.

Using 2 DPNs work i-cord for 4 rows.

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

knitted nativity pattern donkey

DONKEY BODY

Cast on 8 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn L.

Row 1 (WS) Purl.

Row 2 K1, (kfb) 7 times. [15 sts]

Row 3 Purl.

Row 4 K1, (kfb, K1) 7 times. [22 sts]

Rows 5 to 19 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st.

Row 20 K1, (k2tog, K1) 7 times. [15 sts]

Row 21 Purl.

Row 22 K1, (k2tog) 7 times. [8 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

DONKEY HEAD

Cast on 10 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn L.

Row 1 (WS) Purl.

Row 2 K1, (kfb) 9 times. [19 sts]

Rows 3 to 8 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Break Yarn L and join Yarn G.

Rows 9 to 15 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Row 16 (K2tog) 9 times, K1. [10 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

DONKEY EARS (make 2)

Cast on 7 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn L using cable cast on.

Cast off.

DONKEY LEGS (make 4)

Cast on 4 sts using 3.25mm DPNs and Yarn L.

Using 2 DPNs work i-cord for 7 rows.

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

knitted nativity pattern camel

CAMEL BODY

Cast on 8 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn J.

Row 1 (WS) Purl.

Row 2 K1, (kfb) 7 times. [15 sts]

Row 3 Purl.

Row 4 K1, (kfb, K1) 7 times. [22 sts]

Row 5 Purl.

Row 6 K1, kfb, knit to the last 2 sts, kfb, K1. [24 sts]

Rows 7 to 10 Rep Rows 5 to 6 twice more. [28 sts]

Row 11 Purl.

Row 12 K1, ssk, knit to the last 3 sts, k2tog, K1. [26 sts]

Rows 13 to 16 Rep Rows 11 to 12 twice more. [22 sts]

Row 17 P22, cast on 4 sts at the end of the row using knitted cast on. [26 sts]

Row 18 K26, cast on 4 sts at the end of the row using knitted cast on. [30 sts]

Rows 19 to 23 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Row 24 K7, (k2tog) 8 times, K7. [22 sts]

Row 25 Purl.

Cast off.

CAMEL HEAD (make 1)

Cast on 10 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn J.

Row 1 (WS) Purl.

Row 2 (RS) K1, (kfb) 9 times. [19 sts]

Rows 3 to 7 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Row 8 K5, ssk, K5, k2tog, K5. [17 sts]

Rows 9 to 15 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Row 16 K1, (k2tog) 8 times. [9 sts]

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

CAMEL EARS (make 2)

Cast on 4 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn J using cable cast on.

Cast off.

CAMEL LEGS (make 4)

Cast on 7 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn J.

Rows 1 to 8 Beg on a WS purl row work in st st. 

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

CAMEL BLANKET

Cast on 22 sts using 3.25mm needles and Yarn A.

Row 1 (WS) Knit.

Break Yarn A and join Yarn E.

Rows 2 to 3 Beg on a RS knit row work in st st.

Row 4 K1, (k2tog, K1) 7 times. [15 sts]

Row 5 Purl.

Row 6 K1, (k2tog) 7 times. [8 sts] 

Break yarn and thread through rem sts. Pull tight to fasten.

MAKING UP

knitted nativity pattern base

DOLLS

Note Make up all the dolls in the same way.

Body The cast-off sts are the top of the Head. Sew the side edges together, adding stuffing as you sew. This seam runs down the centre back. Gather the cast-on sts together at the bottom of the Body.

Neckline Cut a length of yarn in the Head colour and tie around the neck at Row 25. Pull the yarn tight to make an indentation for the neck and securely knot the yarn and hide the ends inside the Body.

Features Embroider the eyes and mouth in black embroidery thread. Add a spot of blusher or crayon on the cheeks. For the male dolls embroider the nose in the Head colour.

Arms Sew the side edges tog and gather the cast-on sts tog. Sew the cast-on end onto the top side of the Body. Note The arms are not stuffed.

Mary’s hair Knot strands of Yarn F on the side of the head before adding the Headscarf.

Headscarf Gather the cast-on sts together, and sew the side edges together for Rows 1 to 12. Place the Headscarf onto the Head. For Mary, Joseph and the Shepherd make the headband using a 3.5mm crochet hook and the headband Colour. Crochet a single chain of 35 sts and bind off. Wrap the headband around the Head and sew onto the headscarf. 

Note If you don’t know how to crochet, instead you could tie a length of yarn around the Head, or embroider in chain stitch.

Headband Colours are as follows: Mary Yarn C;Joseph Yarn F; Shepherd Yarn F.

Crowns For the Kings, sew the cast-on and cast-off ends of the Crown together, place over the Head and sew onto the Head/Headscarf.

Beards For the male dolls, cut several 8cm lengths of the Beard colour and knot around the chin for the Beard. Trim the ends to 1-2cm long. Beard colours are as follows: Joseph Yarn F; King 1 Yarn B; King 2 Yarn C; King 3 Yarn L; Shepherd Yarn L.

Joseph’s belt For the belt using a 3.5mm crochet hook and Yarn F, crochet a single chain of 25 sts and bind off. Wrap the belt around the body and sew in place.

Shepherd’s Crook For the Crook, cut the pointy ends off a cocktail stick, and insert the blunt stick inside the i-cord piece at one end. Fold over the other end to make the handle, and slip under the Arm.

Kings’ Gifts For the Gift, use the yarn tail from the cast off and sew a running stitch around the outside edges of the knitted piece, pull the yarn to gather together the edges to make a small ball with RS facing outwards. Add a little stuffing to the inside of the ball then sew the gathered edges closed. Sew this gathered edge to the centre front of the Body. Sew the hands onto either side of the Gift.

Angel’s Hair Make up as per the Headscarf instructions.

Angel’s Wings Sew onto the back of the Body with the cast-on edge at the bottom.

Angel’s halo Using Yarn C, crochet a single chain of 35 sts and bind off. Wrap the halo around the Head and sew onto the hair. If you don’t know crochet, instead you could tie a length of yarn around the Head, or embroider in chain stitch.

Baby Jesus The cast-off sts are the top of the Head. Sew the side edges together, adding stuffing as you sew. This seam runs down the centre back. Finish by gathering the cast-on sts together at the bottom of the Body. Using a length of Yarn G, tie around the neck at Row 12. Pull the yarn tight to make an indentation for the neck and securely knot the yarn and hide the ends inside the Body. Embroider the eyes in black embroidery thread. Add a spot of blusher or crayon to the cheeks. To finish, using a 3.5mm crochet hook and Yarn C crochet a single chain of 22 sts and bind off. Wrap the chain diagonally around the body and sew in place.

Manger Fold the cast-off edge in half and sew together. Sew the side edges together. Place Jesus inside the Manger.

Sheep Sew the side edges of the Body tog, stuffing as you sew, and gather cast-on sts tog at back. The seam runs down centre underside. Sew an Ear on either side of the black Head, and sew feet onto bottom of Body.

Donkey Sew the side edges of the Body tog, stuffing as you sew, and gather cast-on sts tog at back. Make up the Head in the same way, embroider the eyes in black embroidery thread, and sew the underside of the Head onto the top of the Body. Sew the Ears onto the top of the Head, and knot strands of Yarn L down the centre top of the Head for the mane. Add a strand of Yarn L on the back of the Body for the tail. Sew one end of each Leg to the underside of the Body. To stabilise the Legs, insert a cocktail stick inside the i-cord piece, and trim the end so it is hidden inside the knitting.

Camel Make up Head and Body as per Donkey. For the Body, sew cast-off edge tog at front of neck. Embroider the eyes in black embroidery thread, and sew the underside of the Head onto the neck. Sew the Ears onto the top of the Head. Add a strand of Yarn J on the back of the Body for the tail. For each leg, sew side edges tog and gather cast-on sts tog. Sew each Leg onto the side of the Body. Sew the side edges of the Blanket tog, and sew onto the Camel’s back. Add the Camel’s reins in Yarn E.

Download the free nativity knitting pattern

knitted nativity pattern main

Phew! The knitted nativity pattern is quite a lot to read through online, and we appreciate that it could be tricky to find your way around this web page if you just want to knit oe of the knitted nativity pattern characters rather than the entire set. So we’re including a PDF version of the free nativity knitting pattern, which you can download and print out, and highlight the relevant sections for you. Click the link to download the free nativity knitting pattern PDF. The download is an a4 PDF with the knitted nativity pattern split across 6 A4 pages.

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