Warm up your winter with our free penguin knitting pattern

Our cosy penguin is wrapped up for the cold. Knit the pattern and you can wrap him in your arms, too

a knitted penguin stands on snow with a blue sky and snowy hill behind him. He wears a red scarf and looks cosy and cute

Chilly Charlie is the perfect little present for penguin fans, or fans of anything adorable.

Our penguin knitting pattern is very easy to make. Everything’s knitted flat and the pattern uses simple increases and decreases, worked in easy garter stitch and stocking stitch. 

The pattern for Charlie uses a mix of appliqué and intarsia to create his white tummy and inquisitive eyes with sweet black buttons for the finishing touch.

It will only take a weekend to knit your own sweet penguin, but he’ll give a lifetime of cuddles to warm up the winter months. And he’ll be just as cuddly when the sun is shining, too!

Penguin knitting pattern

Ready to knit our penguin? Click to get straight to the shopping list.

Things to note for the penguin knitting pattern

Tension – Yarn used knits as 4ply to this tension: 28 sts and 36 rows to measure 10x10cm (4x4in) over stocking stitch using 3¼mm needles. For more about tension and why it is important, see our article on knitting tension squares.

Abbreviations – This pattern uses standard UK knitting abbreviations. See our knitting abbreviations article for a full list.

k2togA k2tog in Yarn A
k2togB k2tog in Yarn B
sskA ssk in Yarn A
sskB ssk in Yarn B

Measurements – If you knit the penguin according to the knitting pattern, it will measure 16cm (6¼in) tall

Start knitting your penguin from his bottom

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You Will Need

  • Patons, Baby Smiles Fairytale Fab 4ply (Yarn A Black (1099) Yarn B White (1001) Yarn C Red (1030) Yarn D Sundance (1022))
  • A pair of 3¼mm needles
  • Toy stuffing
  • 2 x domed black buttons ((for eyes), 6mm diameter)

Total time:

Step 1

Cast on 9 stitches sing 314needles and Yarn A. Start at the bottom of the Body.

Step 2

Row 1 (WS) Purl.
Row 2 (RS) (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]
Row 7 Purl.
Row 8 (K3, kfb) 8 times, K1. [41 sts]
Row 9 Purl.
Row 10 (K4, kfb) 8 times, K1. [49 sts]
Row 11 Purl.
Row 12 (K5, kfb) 8 times, K1. [57 sts]

Using intarsia to add in stitches for the penguin’s white tummy

Step 1

Row 13 P22A, P13B, P22A.
Row 14 K21A, K15B, K21A.
Row 15 P20A, P17B, P20A.
Row 16 K20A, K17B, K20A.

Step 2

Rows 17-32 Rep Rows 15 and 16, 8 more times.

Step 3

Row 33 P20A, P17B, P20A.
Row 34 K10A, sskA, K8A, k2togB, K13B, sskB, K8A, k2togA, K10A. [53 sts]
Row 35 P19A, P15B, P19A.
Row 36 K9A, sskA, K8A, k2togB, K11B, sskB, K8A, k2togA, K9A. [49 sts]
Row 37 P18A, P13B, P18A.
Row 38 K8A, sskA, K8A, k2togB, K9B, sskB, K8A, k2togB, K8B. [45 sts]
Row 39 P17A, P11B, P17A.
Row 40 K7A, sskA, K8A, k2togB, K7B, sskB, K8A, k2togB, K7B. [41 sts]

Have you worked Intarsia before?


Our free penguin knitting pattern uses intarsia for his white stomach. If you’ve not tried this before, take a look at our Intarsia knitting guide to see how the technique works and what you need to do. It’s simple once you know how!

Knitting the penguin’s head

Step 1

Cut Yarn B and cont in Yarn A only.

Step 2

Rows 41-59 Starting and ending on a WS purl row work in stocking stitch.

Step 3

Row 60 K1, (k2tog, K3) 8 times. [33 sts]
Row 61 Purl.
Row 62 K1, (k2tog, K2) 8 times. [25 sts]
Row 63 Purl.
Row 64 K1, (k2tog, K1) 8 times. [17 sts]
Row 65 Purl.
Row 66 K1, (k2tog) 8 times. [9 sts]

Step 4

Cut yarn and thread through remaining stitches to fasten off.

Knitting the penguin’s eyes (make 2)

Step 1

Cast on 22 sts using 31/4mm needles and Yarn B.

Step 2

Rows 1 and 2 Knit.
Row 3 (K1, k2tog) 7 times, K1. [15 sts]
Row 4 Knit.
Row 5 (K2tog) 7 times, K1. [8 sts]

Step 3

Cut yarn and thread through rem sts to fasten off.

the eyes are knitted separately a white yarn circles, then attached on to the head

Knitting the penguin’s beak

Step 1

Cast on 20 sts using 3¼mm needles and Yarn D.

Step 2

Row 1 (WS) Purl.
Row 2 (RS) K3, k2tog, K3, ssk, k2tog, K3, ssk, K3. [16 sts]
Row 3 Purl.
Row 4 K2, k2tog, K2, ssk, k2tog, K2, ssk, K2. [12 sts]
Row 5 Purl.
Row 6 K1, k2tog, K1, ssk, k2tog, K1, ssk, K1. [8 sts]
Row 7 Purl.

Step 3

Cut yarn and thread through rem sts to fasten off.

How to knit the scarf (make 2)

Step 1

The scarf is knitted in two parts. One part goes round the penguin’s neck, and the other hangs down

Cast on 6 sts using 3¼mm needles and Yarn C.

Step 2

Work in garter st until piece measures 23cm long.

Step 3

Cast off.

How to knit the penguin’s feet (make 2)

Step 1

Cast on 34 sts using 3¼mm needles and Yarn D.

Step 2

Row 1 (WS) Purl.
Row 2 (RS) K1, k2tog, K12, ssk, k2tog, K12, ssk, K1. [30 sts]
Row 3 Purl.
Row 4 K1, k2tog, K10, ssk, k2tog, K10, ssk, K1. [26 sts]
Row 5 Purl.
Row 6 K1, k2tog, K8, ssk, k2tog, K8, ssk, K1. [22 sts]
Row 7 Purl.
Row 8 K1, k2tog, K6, ssk, k2tog, K6, ssk, K1. [18 sts]
Row 9 Purl.

Step 3

Cast off.

the penguins free are knitted in pale orange yarn

How to knit the penguin’s wings (make 2)

Step 1

Cast on 30 sts using 3¼mm needles and Yarn A.

Step 2

Rows 1-7 Starting on a WS purl row, work in st st.
Row 8 K13, ssk, k2tog, K13. [28 sts]
Rows 9-11 Starting on a WS purl row, work in st st.
Row 12 K12, ssk, k2tog, K12. [26 sts]
Rows 13-15 Starting on a WS purl row, work in st st.

Step 3

Row 16 K11, ssk, k2tog, K11. [24 sts]
Row 17 Purl.
Row 18 K10, ssk, k2tog, K10. [22 sts]
Row 19 Purl.
Row 20 K9, ssk, k2tog, K9. [20 sts]
Row 21 Purl.
Row 22 K8, ssk, k2tog, K8. [18 sts]
Row 23 Purl.
Row 24 K7, ssk, k2tog, K7. [16 sts]
Row 25 Purl.
Row 26 K6, ssk, k2tog, K6. [14 sts]
Row 27 Purl.
Row 28 (K2tog) 7 times. [7 sts]

Step 4

Cut yarn and thread through rem sts to fasten off.

the penguin knitting pattern free is easy to amok up, stuffing and stitching along the penguins back, which is seen in this picture

Sewing and stuffing your knitted penguin

Step 1

Body: Sew the side edges together and stuff. Gather the cast-on sts together at the base.

Step 2

Beak: Sew the side edges together and stuff. The seam runs down the centre- underside of the Beak. Sew the cast-on edge onto the front of the black Head, just above the white tummy.

Step 3

Eyes: Sew the side edges together to make a circle. Sew a button onto the Eye, and sew the Eye onto the Head, on either side of the Beak.

Step 4

Wings: Sew the side edges together. Note that the Wings are not stuffed. Sew the cast-on edge onto the side of the Body, in line with the top of the white tummy, with the seamed edge at the back of the Wing.

Step 5

Feet: Sew the side edges together. This seam runs down the centre-underside of the foot. Oversew the cast-on edge together at the front of the foot and lightly stuff. Sew the cast-off edge onto the bottom of the Body, below the white tummy.

Step 6

Scarf: Wrap one piece around the neck, and sew the cast-on and cast-off edges together at the back. For the second piece, weave in the yarn tails, then thread one end under the neck piece. Sew the finished Scarf onto the Body in a few places just to keep it in position.

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Download the penguin knitting pattern

If you prefer a printer-friendly version of this pattern, or one that you can easily save on your own computer, we’ve great this PDF version of the pattern for you. Click to download the penguin knitting pattern.

Animals in knitwear are cute

Charlie the penguin would be a sweetie even without his red scarf, but there’s something about animals in knitwear that makes them especially cute.

We love embracing trends at Gathered and the animals in knitwear craze is one we can definitely get behind!

Don’t miss our free animals in knitwear printables

It’s not just penguins who are wrapping up warm in these printables. There are polar bears, penguins and birds modelling jumpers, scarves, hats, mittens and earmuffs! They are great for Christmas cards and winter birthdays too.

Download the free Christmas animal printables from Gathered to make your winter even sweeter.