A knitted meeple is a great small pillow or decoration for any board gamer!
Total Project Time: 8 hours
Looking around the internet, I couldn’t find any patterns for knitted meeples that I really liked. So, the next logical step, was to make my own! This patterned turned out to be much more complex than I had anticipated, and I made some extra work for myself by trying to avoid sewing but I’ll get into that later. I absolutely love the result and it’s such a great accent piece and mini pillow! I can’t wait to accidentally leave it somewhere and find my cat trying to fit perfectly on top of it. The estimated time for this project is probably not accurate because I knitted this over several days.
For this project, any yarn that would want to use will probably work. I would lean towards using a standard yarn over something chunkier as it will give a smoother result. The total supplies needed are:
- Yarn of choice
- Size US6 Knitting Needles
- 2 Size US6 Double Pointed Knitting Needles (Optional)
- Yarn Sewing Needle
- Polyester Stuffing
- Knitting Markers (Optional)
The process for this project has two basic steps: knitting the front/back and knitting the sides. When I get to talking about knitting the sides, I will show the option that I did as well as one that I believe will be easier.
The Front / Back
The reason that this pattern felt so complicated is because I created a two-dimensional surface that rapidly expands, contracts, and splits. It’s due to the complexity of this pattern that I decided to release it at no cost. I started the pattern at the head casting on 12 stitches and then rapidly increasing the size to 16 stitches. This part is then knitted straight to fully create the head. And then I got to the next challenge.
How do I create the arms?!?! The arms on a meeple would require rapid expansion of knitting space. Cast on 16 stitches on both ends of the working space. This cast on worked fine on the side that was knitted to the end, but it caused a little hole on the other side. This can be avoiding by pulling the loop tightly and tying it off. For the arms, I wanted to make a rounded tip effect which led me to increasing the rows and then decreasing them over the course of the arms.
After the arms were completed, a rapid decrease is needed to make the meeples waist. I decided the best way to do this would be to cast off the unneeded areas on each side. After staring at a wooden meeple for longer than I am willing to admit, I decided the amount of time spent on the waist is less than I thought it would be. I also decided to immediately start increasing the size to create the perfect split for the legs.
If you’re yarn is curling at this point, that is totally normal. I will go over this a bit more in the lessons for this project.
The last part needed to create the front/back of the meeple is the legs. Generally, the legs on meeples seem to lean apart from each other. To mimic this, I increased the outside of each leg by one stitch while decreasing the inside of each leg. This kept the size of the leg always the same while giving it the desired shape.
The whole process needs to be repeated twice to make both the front and back of the meeple.
The Side – Knitting Attached
The way I decided to knit the side was to cast on 10 stitches and merge those with the edges of the meeples. The meeple needs to be perfectly aligned and a stitch from each end will get picked up. The two stitches on the ends of the row should be combined so each row will start with 12 stitches and then decreases to 10.
I would highly recommend using double pointed knitting needles for this process because it allows you to pick up stitches on each side. This process also reduces the time needed to sew the project together. I don’t want to say it will get rid of the need for sewing entirely because I was sloppy when making this project. But you can avoid needing to sew if you are meticulous when picking up stitches.
The Side – Sewing Attached
The way I assume will be easier to make the side is to make a long-knitted panel and then sew the three parts together. Given how I attached it in the section above, I would recommend sewing a panel that is 10 stitches wide and long enough to encompass the entirety of the front and back pieces.
Finishing the Piece
Once everything is attached, double check the project from any large holes that need to be sewn shut. There will be one hole left to add in the stuffing. After the project is stuffed, the hole can be closed, and you got yourself a meeple!
This project turned out to be more difficult than I had original anticipated. I am normally a knitter who doesn’t look at what they are doing. I will stare you straight in the eye while my hands continue to work. But I couldn’t do that with this project. This project needed my attention. There was a lot of counting stitches and making sure that I was doing the right thing. A lot of double checking and triple checking. But that may be because I don’t trust myself and not because this project was causing me to get lost.
But the results look so good that all the effort is worth it. Unfortunately, I have too little time on my hands right now to make more, but I will create a rainbow of meeples in the future. Who knows? They might even make an appearance on my Esty store! 😉
Why Does Knitting Curl?
Knitting curls because of a combination of the structure of the stitch as the tightness of the yarn. In looking at the structure, knitting stitches are shorter and narrower (or require less thread) than the purl stitch. This won’t matter if you’re are knitting and purling on both sides but that is not what is happening in this pattern. One side it entirely knit while the other is entirely the purl stitch.
The curling won’t be a problem for this pattern because the side edging and the stuffing will keep the project in place. If you are making a flat project and want to avoid curling, adding a boarder can do wonders!
- US6 Knitting Needles
- 2 US6 Double-Pointed Needles
Front / Back – 2 Needed
- Row 1/2: Stockinette Stitch
- Row 3: K1, INC1, K until last 2 stitches, INC1, K1
- Row 4: Purl all stitches
- Row 5/6: Repeat rows 3/4
- Rows 7 -14: Stockinette Stitch
- Row 15: CO16, Knit until end, CO16
- Row 16: Purl all stitches
- Row 17/18: Stockinette Stitch
- Row 19 – 24: Repeat rows 3/4
- Row 25: K1,K2tog, Knit until last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
- Row 26: Purl all stitches
- Row 27 – 30: Repeat rows 25/26
- Row 31/32: Stockinette Stitch
- Row 33: Knit all stitches
- Row 34: BO12, P24, BO12. Bind off using the purl stitch
- Rows 35 – 44: Stockinette Stitch
- Row 45: INC1, K11, K2Tog, K1, Put 16 on hold
- Row 46: Purl all stitches
- Row 47 – 62: Repeat Rows 45/46
- Row 63: BO16
- Row 45 Alt. (Other Leg): K1, k2tog, k10, INC1, K1
- Row 46 Alt.: Purl all stitches
- Row 47 – 62 Alt.: Repeat Rows 45/46
- Row 63 Alt.: BO16
Side – Attached
- Row 1: Pick up one stitch from the front piece on one end of the row. Pick up one stitch from the corresponding space on the back piece on the other end of the row. K2tog, k8, k2tog.
- Row 2: Pick up one stitch from the front piece on one end of the row. Pick up one stitch from the corresponding space on the back piece on the other end of the row. P2tog, p8, p2tog
- Repeat Row 1 and 2 until all sides of the project are encased
- Stuff meeple before closing project.
Side – Sewn Alternative
- Stockinette stitch until length of project can cover the circumference of the body piece
- Sew project together.
- Stuff meeple before closing project.