Gecko lizards are a common sight out here in the desert. The other night, I noticed one on the outside of my kitchen window. It had obviously been attacked or otherwise frightened because it was missing a part of its tail. Shedding off a part of its tail is a fascinating method that many of these lizards use as a defense mechanism. I grew up with cats – and as you probably know, cats like to play with lizards. So, as a child, it was a common occurrence for me to find these amputated tails, still flopping around. Anyway, I snapped a picture of this lizard on the window – my camera has trouble taking pictures at night, so it’s not super-clear but you get the idea.
Then, a few nights later, when returning from my evening walk, I noticed another gecko on the outside garage wall, hanging out under the lights. It was blending in quite well with the wall!
These gecko encounters inspired me to make a knitted gecko! In addition to being a cute, portable toy to play with, it would also make an interesting wall decoration. Any time I’m in the garden section of a home improvement or department store, I always see these sculptural metal lizards – but why spend money on something like that when you can make a hanging lizard decoration using your stash? You could even use these outside on a patio, although they may fade over time from exposure to the elements – but they’re quick enough to make that you could easily whip up some more if they wear out. Geckos come in all kinds of colors and patterns, so feel free to experiment with this basic pattern to make your own colorful lizard. I bet they’d look great incorporating some bead-knitting work, for those of you who are adept at that. You can also knit more or less rows of i-cord on the tail to change its length. When knitted as written with worsted weight yarn, these lizards measure about 5 inches long.
Gecko Lizard Doll
by Ilana Marks
-Small amount of light green worsted weight yarn (or other lizard-y color of your choice)
-Scrap of black worsted weight yarn
-Small amount of polyester fiberfill stuffing
-One Set US Size 6 Double Pointed Needles (dpns)
Using light green yarn (or your color choice,) cast on 2 stitches onto one dpn to work as i-cord.
Rnd 1-2: Knit 2 rounds i-cord.
-Continue to work as i-cord, sliding the stitches to the right end of the needle and pulling the yarn across the back of the work.
Rnd 3: (kf&b) twice (4 st)
Rnd 4-15: Knit 12 rounds i-cord.
Rnd 16: (kf&b, k1) twice, still working as for i-cord. (6 st)
Distribute the 6 stitches onto three dpns and join to knit in the round.
Rnd 17: Knit 1 round.
Rnd 18: kf&b, k1, (kf&b) twice, k1, kf&b (10 st)
Rnd 19: Knit 1 round.
Rnd 20: kf&b, k3, (kf&b) twice, k3, kf&b (14 st)
Rnd 21-28: Knit 8 rounds.
Rnd 29: ssk, k3, k2tog, ssk, k3, k2tog (10 st)
-Stuff the body so far.
Rnd 30: kf&b, k3, (kf&b) twice, k3, kf&b (14 st)
Rnd 31: Knit 1 round.
Rnd 32: ssk, k3, k2tog, ssk, k3, k2tog (10 st)
Rnd 33: Knit 1 round.
Rnd 34: ssk, k1, k2tog, ssk, k1, k2tog (6 st)
Rnd 35-36: Knit 2 rounds.
-Stuff the head portion of the lizard.
Rnd 37: (k2tog, k1) twice (4 st)
Cut the yarn, thread the tail into a tapestry needle and weave through all stitches on the needles, pulling tightly to close.
-Weave in the ends.
Legs (Make 4)
Using light green yarn and leaving a tail for seaming, cast on 3 stitches onto one dpn to knit as i-cord.
Rnd 1-3: Knit 4 rounds i-cord.
Rnd 4: (kf&b) 3 times, still working as for i-cord. (6 st)
Separating the toes:
-Again pulling the yarn across the back of the piece as for i-cord, knit only the first 2 stitches of the round.
-Cut the working yarn, leaving about 8-12 inches of tail. Thread the tail into a tapestry needle and weave through these two stitches from right to left to finish off.
-Weave the tail down through the toe and reattach to the second of the remaining 4 stitches.
-Working only on the first two stitches, work 1 round of i-cord.
-Again, thread the tail through these two stitches and weave down through the second toe to reattach to the leftmost of the remaining two stitches.
-Work 1 round of i-cord on these last two stitches, then thread the tail through them to finish off.
-Make 3 more legs in the same manner.
Attaching the Legs to the Body
-Position the cast on edge of a leg piece against the side of the lizard body, just behind the neck.
-Using the cast on tail, attach the leg to the body with a few stitches.
Note: If you’re giving this toy to a very young child, or you have very young children around the house, make sure to attach the legs well as they are small and could present a choking hazard.
-Attach the rear leg in the same manner, positioning it just in front of the tail and in line with the first leg.
-Attach the remaining two legs on the opposite side of the lizard.
-Weave in the ends. Weave the end at the tip of the toe down through the toe, into the leg, and finally into the body.
-Using a small scrap of black yarn, embroider the eyes with a few stitches on either side of the head, a few stitches back from the tip of the nose. Weave in the ends.
(Alternately, if you’re not giving this toy to a child or you plan on using it for a decoration, you can try sewing on some colorful or sparkly beads for the eyes.)
That’s it! Weave in any remaining ends and enjoy your lizard. If you wish to hang him on a wall, simply thread a small piece of scrap yarn or cord through the piece and tie to make a hanging loop.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s free pattern! I’ve just released a new pattern set available for purchase on Ravelry – The “Land And Air” set 2! It contains a pattern for a locomotive and a P51 Mustang fighter airplane!
Both are easy to intermediate level toy patterns and are super fun, whether you’re using them as a toy or as home décor! For those who don’t knit, the locomotive and P51 Mustang toys are available in my Etsy shop, hand-knitted by me.
In other news, I’ve created a Flickr photo-sharing group – “The DrFrankKnits Playground.” I welcome you to join the group and share pictures of the fun you and your family are having with the toys you’ve made from any of my patterns! Visit http://www.flickr.com/groups/drfrankknits/ for more info. The playground is pretty lonely right now, but eventually I hope to make it a fun place to share a smile with other toy lovers!
Thanks for reading! As always feel free to comment if you need help or just feel like chatting. 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful weekend!