Giant Rainbow - FREE Knitting Pattern
I love spotting all the rainbows in people's windows when I'm out on my walks with Mr. SL. I really wanted to join in and as I have a room full of yarn I dug out some wool from my stash and spent a couple of evenings knitting my own rainbow. I didn't intend for it to have a face, but after sewing it up thought, how could it not?!
I used Rico Essentials Big as I've been using it for another design and really liked working with it. As it's 50% wool and 50% acrylic it gives the knitting a good structure, which is what I like when designing softies!
As with most of my patterns you can knit the rainbow using the recommended materials or use something from your stash, using a different weight of yarn will change the size of the finished rainbow. All of my patterns include every row so they scale up and down easily.
Rico - Essentials Big, 50% wool, 50% acrylic, 50g, 48m per 50g. I've included the shades used in brackets. Find substitutions here.
A - Red (shade: light red) - 2 x 50g balls
B - Orange (shade: pumpkin) - 1 x 50g ball
C - Yellow (shade: saffron) - 1 x 50g ball
D - Green (shade: neon green) - 1 x 50g ball
E - Blue (shade: turquoise) - 1 x 50g ball
F - Purple (shade: blueberry) 1 x 50g ball
G - Pink (shade: pink) 1 x 50g ball
A small amount of black chunky or super chunky yarn for the mouth.
Eyes - 24mm black toy eyes and washers. Or you could embroider them using some black super chunky yarn
150g of toy stuffing
Stitch markers - you will need two stitch markers or a small amount of scrap yarn to mark the stitches. When the pattern asks you to add a SM either add a stitch marker or tie a small amount of scrap around the stitch to mark it. These will mark where the eyes will be placed.
8mm (US 11) circular knitting needles - 60cm (24 in) cable, I used the pair below which are made by Hiya Hiya.
This project is not knitted in the round, but you will need a pair of circular needles with a cable to hold the stitches, the cable can be longer than 60cm (24 in). Use these needles like straight knitting needles, the only difference is the stitches are held on the cable between them.
48cm x 40cm x 4cm | (19in x 16in x 1 1/4 in)
11 stitches x 16 needles = 10cm x 10cm (4in x 4in) on 8mm (US 11) needles.
Please swatch in G before starting this project as knitting it in the incorrect tension can change the size and could mean you'll run out of yarn.
CHANGING THE YARN WEIGHT
The finished rainbow can be sized up or down by changing the weight of the yarn and knitting needles. I know the yarn it has been designed in is a little uncommon, chunky on 8mm (US 11) needles, and buying Rico Essentials Big just for this project may be a little pricey.
Here's my suggestions for other yarn weights and what would happen to the finished knit if you use them:
Using DK yarn and 4mm needles will make mini rainbows. You may be able to get the amount of cast on stitches onto a long pair of straight 4mm needles or you can use circular ones as I recommended above.
You'd also need smaller eyes, around 8mm or 10mm, or you could embroider them using some black DK yarn. I love the idea of making a set of minis and turning them into a garland or rainbow bunting! You wouldn't need much yarn to make minis, I'd estimate around 20g of each colour. I'll make one myself and update this materials list. Use the tension advised on the ball band.
Using some chunky yarn and 6mm circular needles would make a rainbow just over half the size of the original. I'd recommend 12mm toy eyes for this weight or you could embroider them using some black chunky yarn. I'd estimate you'd need around 50g of each shade in chunky yarn and will update this material list once I've made one. I'm thinking of doing a knit along on my Instagram in this weight in the next few days. Use the tension advised on the ball band.
If you'd like an even bigger rainbow you could super size it using super chunky yarn and bigger needles. With super chunky yarn (well with any yarns) it's best to check the label to see what needle size is recommended. I'd recommend an acrylic super chunky yarn to keep the costs down. With the yarn amounts I'd estimate you'd need 2 - 4 100g balls per shade, but it would vary from yarn to yarn. Use the tension advised on the ball band.
K2tog Knit 2 stitches together, decreasing from two to one stitch
SKP Slip a stitch, knit a stitch, pass the slipped stitch over. Decreasing from two to one stitch
SM Stitch Marker
Rainbow - Make Two of these pieces. You'll sew them together later.
Cast on 96 stitches in A.
Row 1 K
Row 2 P
Row 3 K
Row 4 P
Row 5 K22, SKP, K8, SKP, K8, SKP, K8, K2tog, K8, K2tog, K8, K2tog, K22 (90 sts)
Row 6 P
Row 7 Change to B, working all stitches in it until stated. K
Row 8 P
Row 9 K22, SKP, K7, SKP, K7, SKP, K6, K2tog, K7, K2tog, K7, K2tog, K22 (84 sts)
Pattern note: the K6 is intentional and is not an error.
Row 10 P
Row 11 Change to C, working all stitches in it until stated. K
Row 12 P
Row 13 K22, SKP, K6, SKP, K6 [adding a SM to the 4th of these 6 stitches], SKP, K4, K2tog, K6 [adding a SM to the 3rd of these 6 stitches], K2tog, K6, K2tog, K22 (78 sts)
Pattern note: only add the SMs to one side of the rainbow, or if you'd like it to have a face on both sides add them to both pieces. You'll need an extra pair of eyes if doing this.
Row 14 P
Row 15 Change to D, working all stitches in it until stated. K
Row 16 P
Row 17 K22, SKP, K5, SKP, K5, SKP, K2, K2tog, K5, K2tog, K5, K2tog, K22 (72 sts)
Row 18 P
Row 19 Change to E, working all stitches in it until stated. K
Row 20 P
Row 21 K22, SKP, K4, SKP, K4, SKP, K2tog, K4, K2tog, K4, K2tog, K22 (66 sts)
Row 22 P
Row 23 Change to F, working all stitches in it until stated. K
Row 24 P
Row 25 K22, SKP, K3, SKP, K3, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K22 (61 sts)
Row 26 P
Row 27 Change to G, working all stitches in it until stated. K
Row 28 P
Row 29 K22, SKP, K2, SKP, K5, K2tog, K2, K2tog, K22 (57 sts)
Row 30 P
Row 31 Cast off.
1. Take the two rainbow pieces and place them together with the wrong sides facing in. The edges will curl, so pink or tack them together so they match. You can weave in your ends before sewing up, but I find it easier to tuck them in and sew them into the sewn up seams. One side will be plain and the other will have stitch markers. I'm showing the plain side at the moment.
2. Sew the cast on edges (the red sections) together using horizontal mattress stitch in A. This is the kind of stitch that's used when sewing a shoulder seam together. You can Youtube this stitch if you're unsure how to do it or I'll be doing a knit along in the next few days so you can watch me sew it up instead!
Then, sew one of the shorter multicoloured sides together using regular mattress stitch, tucking in the loose ends as you go. As you're using mattress stitch you can still use A when sewing up as you won't be able to see the stitching. Then, sew up the other shorter multicoloured side using A. Weave the loose ends in to the inside seams. Finally sew the cast off seams together using horizontal mattress stitch, leaving a hole for stuffing. You can use G to sew this up, but I continued with A as you won't see the stitching! I've annotated the image above to show which stitches to use where.
If you prefer you could use backstitch and place the pieces with right sides facing in, pin or tack them and sew up leaving a hole, then turn the rainbow inside out.
3. Plump up the toy stuffing to make it nice and fluffy. The trick with the rainbow is not to over stuff it, as you want to be a little flat. Stuff all around the rainbow, filling out the edges.
4. On the other side of the rainbow you'll find the two stitch markers you added earlier. Place the toy eyes over the markers and in to the stitches that you marked. If you'd like your rainbow to have a different expression you can try moving the eyes around. Remove the markers and secure the eyes using the washers on the inside of the piece. If you prefer you can embroider the eyes using some black wool, I always recommend embroidering the eyes if making for a child.
5. On the blue section (two sections below where the eyes are), embroider the smile using some black yarn in the same or similar weight as your rainbow. Leave a tail on the inside. My smile is inline with the insides of the eyes, but you can play around with the placement to give your rainbow it's own personality. Sew the smile.
6. Add a stitch in the centre of the smile to keep it in place. Tie the two yarn tails on the inside together to secure. Then finish sewing up the open hole in the side. Push the needle and yarn in and out of the rainbow a couple of times, then remove the needle and trim the yarn down to weave in the loose end.
7. Putting your rainbow up will depending on what kind of window you have! Using fishing line (you could use some strong yarn) I sewed through the back of my rainbow, in two different places along the yellow section, and securely tied the fishing line to the the window handles. You might need to get creative to hang it or you could just rest it on the window sill!
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