Lion knitting pattern

This lion knitting pattern will take pride of place topping your teapot!

a knitted lion in yellow wool with red and orange knitted main and black face detail
Published: April 29, 2022 at 11:00 am
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Make tea breaks the mane event of the day with this lion knitting pattern. You can either knit yourself a majestic lion head or complete the design to create a majestic lion cosy! Knitted in bright yellow, orange and red, this lion knitting pattern will bring some colour into your home . It's sure to be heaps of fun to make too. You’ll work the cosy part first, and then create the lion’s head. Just remember to put the kettle on when you get to the last step! This brilliant design was created by Susan Cowper, famed for her fabulous tea cosy patterns in her TeaCosyFolk range. It was originally published in Simply Knitting magazine issue 168.

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If you are a new knitter, take a look at our knitting for beginners article to the tips and techniques you need to get started. The lion knitting pattern uses garter stitch, and you can find out more about this in our How to knit garter stitch guide. Get the perfect finish on your lion knitting pattern by making the most of your toy stuffing. Do you find that your stuffed knits sometimes have lots of unsightly lumps and bumps? There’s an easy solution – simply shred the toy stuffing before you start. Dividing the stuffing into smaller pieces and getting rid of any clumps will give you a much smoother finish. If you knitting is your favourite, take a look at our elephant knitting pattern and our toy dog knitting pattern. You are sure to like our mermaid knitting pattern and our pirate toy knitting pattern, too.

In this lion knitting pattern, the making up is done as you go along. You’ll complete the knitting for a section, then attach the pieces to the cosy. This means you won’t be left with lots of seams to sew up at the end, and you’ll quickly be able to see your lion start to take shape. Find out more tips on getting a neat result with out how to finish knitting guide.

We think our lion knitting pattern is totally roar-some and we hope you will enjoy knitting him, too.

the lion tacos sits on a wooden surface with a mug in the background

Lion knitting pattern materials

  •  Hayfield, Bonus DK (100% acrylic, 100g/280m)
1 ball of each:
Yarn A Sunflower (978)
Yarn B Black (965)
Yarn C Bright Orange (981)
Yarn D Apricot (721)
Yarn E Cerise (984)
Yarn F Signal Red (977)
Yarn G Classic Red (833) Buy from Lovecrafts
  • 
A pair of 4mm needles
  • A pair of 5½mm needles
  • Stitch holder
  • 1 pair of yellow 18mm safety eyes
  • Toy stuffing

Lion knitting pattern tension

Yarn used knits as DK to this tension: 22 sts and 28 rows to measure 10x10cm (4x4in) over st st using 4mm needles. To learn more about tension and why it is important, see our article on knitting tension squares.

Lion knitting pattern sizes

Knitted according to this pattern, the tea cosy will fit a 6 cup teapot

Abbreviations
Kfb Knit in front and back of stitch.
The lion knitting pattern uses standard uk knitting abbreviation. To see a full list of these, see our knitting abbreviations post.

the lion knitting pattern uses DK yarns and garter stitch

Lion knitting pattern

Back
Cast on 28 sts using 5½mm needles and Yarn B, and work 2 rows in garter stitch.
Change to Yarn A, working with yarn held double.
Starting with a knit row, work in st st for 26 rows.**
Leave the sts on a stitch holder.

Front
Work as given for Back to **.

Tea Cosy Top
Knit across the tea cosy Front and then tea cosy Back, joining them together as follows:

Row 1 (K5, k2tog) to end. [48 sts]
Row 2 and every alt row Purl.
Row 3 (K4, k2tog) to end. [40 sts]
Row 5 (K3, k2tog) to end. [32 sts]
Row 7 (K2, k2tog) to end. [24 sts]
Row 9 (K1, k2tog) to end. [16 sts]
Row 11 (K2tog) to end. [8 sts]

Thread the end of the yarn through the rem 8 sts and through the loop of the yarn itself, and draw up the knitting tightly and fasten off.

With the Front and Back RS together, sew a seam 9.5cm from the fastening-off point, down each side towards the cast-on edge.

At the bottom of each side seam, sew 1.5cm upwards from the cast-on edge. The holes are left for the teapot handle and spout.

Put this part of the tea cosy onto the teapot. It’s easier to sew things into place when the tea cosy is on a teapot. Sew everything to the head before you sew the head to the tea cosy base.

Head
Cast on 8 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn A.
Row 1 (RS) Kfb in every st. [16 sts]
Row 2 Purl.
Row 3 (K1, kfb) to end. [24 sts]
Beg with a purl row work in st st for 7 rows.

Row 11 (K2, kfb) to end. [32 sts]
Beg with a purl row work in st st for 5 rows.

Row 17 (K3, kfb) to end. [40 sts]
Beg with a purl row work in st st for 5 rows.

Row 23 (K4, kfb) to end. [48 sts]
Beg with a purl row work in st st for 11 rows.

Head decreases
Row 1 (K4, k2tog) to end. [40 sts]
Row 2 and every alternate row Purl.
Row 3 (K3, k2tog) to end. [32 sts]
Row 5 (K2, k2tog) to end. [24 sts]
Row 7 (K1, k2tog) to end. [16 sts]
Row 9 (K2tog) to end. [8 sts]

Thread the end of the yarn through the rem 8 sts and through the loop of the yarn itself, and draw up the knitting tightly and fasten off.

With RS together, sew the row ends together, down from where you just fastened off to half way down the back of the head.

At cast-on end, (nose end) sew a row of running sts along the cast-on edge and then with RS together, sew the row ends together up towards the back of the head to meet the other stitching, leaving a small opening to turn inside out. Turn RS out and lightly stuff. Push the eyes through the knitting on the last inc row on the head. The eyes should be looking forward and at about 8 sts apart.

Stuff the head and mould it into a nice shape, and close the opening.

Muzzle (make 2)
Cast on 8 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn A.
Row 1 Kfb in every st. [16 sts]
Row 2 and every alternate row Purl.
Row 3 (K1, kfb) to end. [24 sts]
Row 5 (K2, kfb) to end. [32 sts]

Beg with a purl row work in st st for 3 rows.
Row 9 (K2, k2tog) to end. [24 sts]
Row 8 and every alternate row Purl.
Row 11 (K1, k2tog) to end. [16 sts]
Row 13 (K2tog) to end. [8 sts]

Thread the end of the yarn through the rem 8 sts and through the loop of the yarn itself, and draw up the knitting tightly and finish off.

With RS together, sew the row ends together, turn RS out and stuff.
Make one more piece the same.

The two ball shapes should be sewn to the bottom of the face so that they meet in they middle on the drawn up part of the nose.

Chin
Cast on 6 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn A.
Row 1 Kfb to end. [12 sts]
Row 2 and every alternate row Purl.
Row 3 (K1, kfb) to end. [18 sts]
Row 5 Knit.
Row 7 (K1, k2tog) to end. [12 sts]
Row 9 (K2tog) to end. [6 sts]

Thread the end of the yarn through the rem 6 sts and through the loop of the yarn itself, and draw up the knitting tightly.

With RS together, sew the row ends together. Turn RS out and stuff to make a ball.

Sew the chin in between and beneath the muzzles and slightly back.

Eyebrows (make 2)
Cast on 25 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn B.
Cast off.

The eyebrows should go around the top half of the eye to the centre of the face, and from there travel down between the muzzle pieces.

After sewing the eyebrow down, embroider under the eye up towards the eyebrow.

NOTE: The eyebrow lies partly on the eyeball itself, giving the eye a more feline shape.

Nose
Cast on 15 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn B.
Row 1 K3, skpo, K5, k2tog, K3. [13 sts]
Row 2 Purl.
Row 3 K3, skpo, K3, k2tog, K3. [11 sts]
Row 4 P2, p2tog, P3, p2tog, P2. [9 sts]
Row 5 K2, skpo, K1, k2tog, K2. [7 sts]
Row 6 P1, p2tog, P1, p2tog, P1. [5 sts]
Thread the end of the yarn through the rem 5 sts and through the loop of the yarn itself and draw up the knitting tightly.

With WS together sew the row ends together. Squash the work flat so that the seam runs down the back of the nose. Then oversew the cast-on edge together.

Sew the nose in place between the muzzle pieces, with the cast-on edge touching the main head piece.

Mouth
Cast on 22 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn B.
Cast off.

Find the centre of the strip and sew this to the bottom of the nose. Spread the two ends of the mouth out around the muzzle pieces, making an inverted ‘V’ over the chin.

Mane pieces (make 11)
You will knit 2 halves for each mane piece.

Make the following coloured mane pieces.
2 in Yarn C.
2 in Yarn D.
3 in Yarn E.
2 in Yarn F.
2 in Yarn G.

Cast on 5 sts using 4mm needles.
Row 1 K1, (kfb, K1) twice. [7 sts]
Row 2 Purl.
Row 3 K2, kfb, K1, kfb, K2. [9 sts]
Row 4 P3, kfb, K1, kfb, K3. [11 sts]
Row 5 K4, kfb, K1, kfb, K4. [13 sts]
Row 6 P5, kfb, K1, kfb, K5. [15 sts]

Starting with a knit row work in st st for 8 rows.
Row 15 Skpo, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog.
[13 sts]
Row 16 Purl.
Repeat the last 2 rows until you have 3 sts left on the needle, ending with a purl row.

Next row Sl1, k2tog, psso. [1 st]
Fasten off.

Make 2 pieces in the same colour for each mane piece. Put the 2 parts together with WS together and oversew the row ends edges together, leaving an opening along the cast-on edges.

Lightly stuff the base of the mane pieces but don’t sew the opening closed. Put to one side until all parts are made.

The mane is added to the head in 3 rows that are staggered about 2.5cm apart.

The order of the rows:
Back Row: Yarn C, Yarn E.
Middle Row: Yarn F, Yarn E, Yarn D, Yarn G.
Front Row: Yarn E, Yarn D, Yarn F, Yarn C, Yarn G.

The back of the lion knitting pattern has knitted spikes for his mane on the back of this head

Start by pinning the front row pieces onto the head, starting with the centre one, which should be on the first decrease row of head. Then pin the others in place coming out from this one, placing them all about 3cm away from each other. Please note that they don’t all follow the decrease row, they come out to frame the face, a bit like a flower.

Sew the front mane pieces to the head with the openings of the mane open. This will help them to stand up.

Once you have sewn the front row, pin the middle row in place, positioning the mane pieces in the gaps between the front row, and 2.5cm back or as a guide on the horizontal lines that the decrease rows have created.
Work the back row in the same way between the gaps.

The lion knitting pattern ears are edged in black yarn

Ears (make 2)
Cast on 30 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn B.
Row 1 (K4, k2tog) to end. [25 sts]
Row 2 (K3, k2tog) to end. [20 sts]
Change to Yarn A.

Row 3 (K2, k2tog) to end. [15 sts]
Row 4 (P1, p2tog) to end. [10 sts]
Row 5 (K2tog) to end. [5 sts]

Thread the end of the yarn through the rem 5 sts and through the loop of the yarn itself and draw up the knitting tightly to make a semi circle. Sew in ends and sew to either side of the central main head piece on the front row, leaning back toward the mane.

Sew the head to the tea cosy neatly and hide ends.

Tail
Cast on 12 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn A.
Beg with a knit row work in st st for 6 rows.

Row 7 K2tog, K8, k2tog. [10 sts]
Beg with a purl row work in st st for 9 rows.

Row 17 K2tog, K6, k2tog. [8 sts]
Beg with a purl row work in st st for 9 rows.

Row 27 K2tog, K4, k2tog. [6 sts]
Beg with a purl row work in st st for 3 rows.

Thread the end of the yarn through the rem sts and through the loop of the yarn itself and draw up the knitting tightly.
Fold in half lengthways with WS together and oversew row ends together. Lightly stuff the base of the tail.

Put the seam at the back of the work. Position the tail on the centre bottom of the back of the tea cosy, allowing the top half of the tail to curve to the right slightly. Sew, leaving the top 2cm of the tail free.

the lion knitting pattern has a yellow tail with an orange knitted tip

Tail Tip
Cast on 6 sts using 4mm needles and Yarn F.
Row 1 (Kfb) to end. [12 sts]
Row 2 Purl.
Row 3 (Kfb, K1) to end. [18 sts]
Row 4 (Kfb, P2) to end. [24 sts]
Row 5 Knit.
Row 6 and every alternate row Purl.
Row 7 (K2, k2tog) to end. [18 sts]
Row 9 (K1, k2tog) to end. [12 sts]
Row 11 (K2tog) to end. [6 sts]
Row 13 (K2tog) to end. [3 sts]

Thread the end of the yarn through the rem 3 sts and through the loop of the yarn itself and draw up the knitting tightly.

With WS together sew the row ends together. Lightly stuff and sew a row of running sts along the cast-on edge and draw up tightly. With the seam down the back of work, sew the tail tip to the end of the tail and allow it to stand freely.

Download the lion knitting pattern

looking for a a printer friendly version of the lion knitting pattern? We get it! Click to download the lion knitting pattern as a PDF. You can print it easily it is 3 A4 ages. You can also save in to your desktop for later if you want.

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More like the lion knitting pattern

Fall in love with the tacos patterns we have for you on Gathered! For beginner-friendly designs, try our How to knit a tea cosy, which walks you through the process of shaping your teacosy with a great first pattern. Top your pot with flowers with our free tea cosy knitting pattern.

if you like the lip knitting pattern

Authors

Susan cowper drinking a cappuccino
Susan CowperDesigner and owner, TeaCosyFolk

Susan Cowper

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