Awesome Handmade Gift: A Knit Stuffed Hippo

This summer, my craft group friends taught me how to knit, and I was really enthusiastic about learning a new skill. For my first project, I wanted to take on something adventurous for my one-year-old niece, Anna. After spending hours looking at projects on Ravelry, I had my heart set on this adorable Hippo by Susan B. Anderson. I ordered the yarn, borrowed needles from Janel, and went out to buy the book Itty-Bitty Toys (less than $12 on Amazon!).

All of the projects in the book are adorable (the giraffe on the cover might be my next favorite), and I’m really glad I bought it. I started the project in August, figuring I’d have plenty of time before Christmas, but I wasn’t putting on the finishing touches until the night of December 23! Either way, it turned out great, and I’m so glad this is what I chose for my first project.

Pattern

Very easy to follow! I was very fortunate to have my craft night friends to help me cast on and show me how to knit in the round using double-pointed needles. It looked far more complicated than it was, so I’m pretty sure I impressed lots of people at coffeeshops and on the plane. Also, a big digital thank you to The Knit Witch on YouTube because every time there was a new stitch I had to learn, that was the first place I turned!

Yarn

For the majority of the hippo, I used the recommended yarn, Dream in Color Smooshy in Wisterious. It’s a beautiful lavender purple with pink and slightly orange colorations throughout. I love it. Even though you knit with the yarn double-stranded, I still have a decent amount left over for a small project. For the paws and inner ears, I used Spud & Chloe Sweater in Watermelon. It is gorgeous and looked great with the purple. It may have been a bit too thick in comparison to the Dream in Color Smooshy, but I like the way it turned out.

Assembly

This was by far the most complicated part of the project for me! I put together the hippo as I created each piece, but it took a lot of repositioning and restitching to get it exactly how I wanted. For the body, feet, and hands I sewed together mini bean bags full of polly pellets to give them a little more weight. Everything else was stuffed with fiberfill. I also spent a huge amount of time on the face embroidery. I had considered doing wider-set, smaller eyes, but in the end I went with closer, bigger eyes. The mouth and nostrils are lower on the example, but my hippo has a bit of a happy smirk.

For more technical details, check out my Hippo Project on Ravelry.

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