Introduction: Mango the Knitted Magnetic Sloth
I live in Panama where there are lots of two- and three-toed sloths. Sometimes at our little jungle makerspace, Digital Naturalism Laboratories, sloths will walk right through the back yard!
I wanted to make my own sloth in honor of a sloth named Mango who hangs around our town eating leaves off a mango tree. Mango is made with magnets in her arms so that she can hang off of strings, poles, and tree branches, just like real sloths like doing! This is my very first instructable! I hope you enjoy it!
In this Instructable, I'll show you how to knit your own Mango with tips and tricks on how to make her look her cutest. The main skills you will need are knitting in the round with double-pointed needles, basic crochet skills to make the face, and embroidering with chain stitch to make the claws.
Abbreviations used in this Instructable:
k : knit
k2t : knit two stitches together (decrease)
kfb : knit through front and back of the stitch (increase). If you prefer a different increase style, feel free to use it!
kte: knit to end of row
sc : single crochet stitch
You'll need the following supplies. I'll tell you what I used, but feel free to make substitutions - you don't need the exact same materials as I used to make Mango. If you do make substitutions, just make sure that they are somewhat similar to what I used. If you change too much, like using very bulky yarn with size 3 needles, it will be very difficult to knit.
- 4 double-pointed needles, size 4/3.5 mm (or similar)
- 1 skein chocolate brown (I used Lana Moro Robin)
- small amount of white for claws (Bernat Soft n'Cozy, 4 ply worsted weight)
- small amount of cream for face
- black embroidery thread for embroidering claws (optional)
- I used 8 neodymium 1 mm diameter magnets.
(you could also use other closures, such as snap buttons or hook & eyes).
Step 1: Knitting the Body
Cast on 4 stitches on one double-pointed needle. For any questions about abbreviations, check the intro or google.
1. Kfb (8). Distribute 8 stitches across three needles without twisting. Join in the round.
2. (Kfb, k1) x 4 (12)
3. (Kfb, k1) x 6 (18)
4. (Kfb, k2) x 6 (24)
5. (Kfb, k3) * 6 (30)
6. (Kfb, k4) x 6 (36)
7. (Kfb, k5) x 6 (42)
8. (Kfb, k6) x 6 (48)
9. (Kfb, k7) x 6 (54)
10-32. Knit around.
33. Begin increases for bulge to make Mango's butt. Kfb, kte (knit to end) (55)
34. Knit around.
35. kfb, kte (56)
37. Kfb, kte (57)
39. Kfb, kte (58)
41. Kfb, kte (59)
43. Kfb, kte (60)
54. Start decreases for finishing. (K2t, k8) x 6. (54)
56. (K2t, k7) x 6. (48)
57. Knit around. Stuff firmly, but try not to overstuff. I like to use a mixture of polyfill and yarn scraps, with the yarn scraps in the middle and the fluffier polyfill surrounding it.
58. (K2t, K6) x 6. (42)
59. (K2t, K5) x 6. (36)
60. (K2t, K4) x 6. (30)
61. (K2t, K3) x 6. (24)
62. (K2t, K2) x 6. (18)
63. (K2t, K1) x 6. (12) Add any final stuffing needed.
64. K2t x 6. (6)
Cut yarn. Thread yarn onto yarn needle. Pass needle through remaining six stitches, remove needles from stitches, and cinch circle tight. Make a knot at the center of the circle. Tuck loose yarn end into body with needle.
Step 2: Crochet the Face (or Cut It Out of Felt)
To crochet the face, you have to make an oval of sorts. First we'll chain six, crochet along that line of chain stitches, and then turn the chain to crochet into the back of the original chain stitches. If you want some more guidance on how to crochet an oval generally, please check this eHow article by Makenzie Pearson: https://www.ehow.com/how_2093630_crochet-basic-ov...
If you don't want to crochet the face, you could just cut an oval out of felt.
For any questions about abbreviations, check my intro or google.
1. Sc 4, starting in the second stitch from the hook. In the 5th and final stitch, sc 3 times. Place marker in first st.
Turn the chain to crochet along the back of the chain. 4sc, 3 sc in 5th St. (14 stitches)
2. Join in the round. 5 sc, 3sc in next stitch, 7sc, 3 sc (18)
3. 6 sc, 3sc in one stitch, 9 sc, 3sc, 1 sc (22)
4. 7sc, 3 sc in one, 5 sc, 2sc in one, 5 sc, 3sc, 2 sc (27)
5. 7 sc, 2 sc in one, 1 sc, 2 sc in one, 12 sc, 2 sc in one, 1 sc, 2 sc in one (31)
6. 9 sc, 2 sc in one, 1 sc, 2 sc in one, 13 sc, 2 sc in one, 1 sc, 2 sc in one, 3 sc (35 St)
Break yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing to the body.
Step 3: Crochet Eye Mask
Make two for the sloth's right and left eye mask. They are identical to each other.
Ch 8. Slip st in first st, sc 5, slip st in last stitch. Break yarn and finish, leaving a long tail to sew mask onto face.
Step 4: Attach Face Parts Onto Face
Position the eye masks onto the face. Try out different arrangements - treat Mango like Mr. Potato Head!
When you're ready, pin the eye masks in place. Sew eye masks to face. Place your safety eyes and nose, then attach the clasps firmly on the back. If you don't want to use safety eyes and noses, you could embroider them or crochet and sew them.
Step 5: Knitting the Legs
Do this four times to make four legs.
Cast on four stitches.
1. kfb x 4. (8).
Distribute stitches across three needles. Join in round without twisting.
2. (Kfb, k1) x 4. (12)
3. (Kfb, k2) x 4 (16)
4-40. Knit around
Stuff firmly with polyfill.
41. (k2t, k2) x 4 (12)
42. (k2t, k1) x 4 (8)
Step 6: Insert Magnets
When you've finished row 42 of the legs, you can insert magnets.You want the closure to be pretty strong so that Mango can hang off of things. I used two 1 mm wide neodymium magnets in each leg. Just insert the magnets in the leg, but don't push them down too far. You want them to sit just below the knitting needles.
Step 7: Knit Claws
Continued from row 42 in the section on knitting the legs.
43. Change to white yarn for claw. (k2t, k2) x 2 (6).
44-48. Knit around
49. k2t x 3. 3 stitches remain.
Break yarn, thread it on needle, and draw through remaining stitches. Cinch tightly, tie a knot at base of claw, and tuck yarn tail into claw.
Step 8: Pin Legs and Face in Place
Try positioning the legs and face in different ways. Again, treat the sloth like a Mr. Potato Head! Keep in mind that the bulge toward the wider end of Mango is her butt.
Just see what looks good, while making sure that the legs are even with each other and that there will be enough room for Mango to hang from her arms. If you position the legs too far toward Mango's back, the legs will be too short.
Attach the face and legs using safety pins.
Step 9: Sew Face to Body
Start sewing the face to the body using the long yarn tail. After you've started sewing but before you finish, you can stuff a little polyfill behind the face or leave yarn tails from sewing the eye mask to the face. This will give the face a bit of a 3D quality. Just make sure not to overstuff and make the face too puffy.
Step 10: Sew Jointed Legs Into Place
In order to sew the legs on but make sure that they're able to move, we're going to use a particular sewing technique that is a little difficult to describe, so I am going to link a YouTube tutorial by HappyHook designs. If you can't follow this link for any reason, just google "amigurumi jointed legs," and you will find lots of information on this topic. Mango's legs should move freely.
Step 11: Do Its Nails! (Embroider the Claws)
Mango is a three-toed sloth, so we'll embroider two lines to create three separate claws. You just chain stitch two lines between the columns of knit stitches.
- First, thread black embroidery thread onto a tapestry needle. Insert the needle from the "belly" side of Mango's claw and bring it out between two rows on the outside of the claw. Pull through but leave a tail of about 4 centimeters on the belly side.
- I chain stitched on just the outside of the claw, but you can go through both layers of the claw if you want. This will just leave some marks on the inside of the claw. Here is a link to a tutorial for chain stitch by Mary Corbet:
- When you reach the top of the first line, insert the needle right into the top of the claw and bring it out between the other columns to stitch the second line (see pictures for more information).
- When you finish stitching the second line, insert the needle into the top and bring the needle out where the yarn tail is hanging on the belly side. Pull through.
- Tie the two tails together. Thread them onto the needle and hide the ends inside the body.
YOU'RE DONE! GREAT JOB!!
Hang sweet little mango wherever you want a lovely friend to look at!
Second Prize in the
Fiber Arts Contest