Fox and Hen Reversible Knitted Toy

This clever knitted toy transforms from fox to hen for hours of imaginative play.

By Susan B. Anderson
May 2015

Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys

Reversible knitted toys are the stars of Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys (Artisan Books, 2013) by Susan B. Anderson. Simple knitting patterns for toys that transform, such as an egg that hatches into an alligator, are followed by more complex projects like a dog in a doghouse and reversible petticoat dolls. Anderson’s clear instructions are accompanied by tutorials for advanced techniques used to finish the toys, and beautiful full-color photographs accompany each project. The following project makes a reversible fox and hen.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys.

The Fox & the Hen

Old folk tales and fables often pair two characters in their titles—think, for instance, of the tortoise and the hare. Another duo who have become linked in our minds are the fox and the hen (maybe the pairing is reinforced by stories of foxes raiding chicken coops on farms around the world). Chickens and foxes always have a great following, from farmers to collectors and, of course, children of any age.

One of my favorite things is to design a good knit chicken, as evidenced by the fact that each of my earlier books includes a chicken in one form or another. This reversible not only continues that tradition but is also a simple and fun project. It’s mainly knit in one piece—except for a couple of foxy parts. The tweedy yarn (by Shelter) gives the toy a vintage look that works well for these fable-based characters. The gift-giving possibilities are endless with this one!

Finished Measurements

Hen: 4-1/2 inches tall
Fox: 5-1/2 inches tall

Yarn

Shelter (100% Targhee-Columbia Wool grown in Wyoming and spun in New Hampshire; 50 grams/140 yards/128 meters), worsted weight; 1 hank each in Fossil #23 and Wool Socks #13, and small amounts of Long Johns #05, Hayloft #21, and Pumpernickel #16

Needles

U.S. size 6 (4 mm) double-pointed needles, set of four, or size to obtain gauge

Gauge

5-1/2 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch

Notions

Detachable stitch markers
Ruler or tape measure
Scissors
Yarn needle
Fiberfill

Knit the Hen

Hen

Body:

Starting at the bottom of the body with Fossil, cast on 54 stitches, placing 18 stitches on each of three double-pointed needles. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Purl 1 round.
Knit every round until the body measures 3 inches above the purl round.
Decrease Rounds:
Rnd 1: (k7, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (16 sts per needle, 48 sts total rem).
Rnd 2: (k6, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (14 sts per needle, 42 sts total rem).
Rnd 3: Knit.
Rnd 4: (k5, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (12 sts per needle, 36 sts total rem).
Rnd 5: (k4, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (10 sts per needle, 30 sts total rem).
Rnd 6: (k3, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (8 sts per needle, 24 sts total rem).
Rnds 7–14: Knit.
Rnd 15: (k2, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (6 sts per needle, 18 sts total rem).
Rnds 16 and 17: Knit.
Rnd 18: (k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (3 sts per needle, 9 sts total rem).
Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches and tighten to close the hole. Pull the end to the inside, weave in, and trim.

Crown:

With Long Johns, pick up 5 stitches on the top of the head going from front to back. Use two double-pointed needles to work back and forth in rows.
Rows 1 and 2: Knit.
Row 3: *Knit in the front and back and front again of the first stitch, turn, p3, turn, k3, do not turn, pass the second and third stitches over the first*, k1, repeat from * to *, k1, repeat from * to *.
Row 4: Knit.
*Take a double-pointed needle, pick up 1 purl bump from Row 1, place the stitch on the left needle, and k2tog; repeat from * once more. Now there are 2 stitches on the right needle. Pull the second stitch over the first stitch as if to bind off. Repeat from * until 1 stitch remains.
Cut the yarn and pull the end through the remaining stitch. Place the end on a yarn needle and pull to the inside, weave in, and trim.

Hen

Wings (make 2):

Using the photo as a guide, pick up 6 stitches on each of two double-pointed needles, in 2 parallel lines, along the sides of the body. Pick up the stitches so that the line is on the diagonal, lower at the front and higher at the back (12 sts). Begin working in the round with Fossil. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnds 1–8: Knit.
Rnd 9: (ssk, k2, k2tog), repeat on each needle (4 sts per needle, 8 sts total rem).
Rnd 10: Knit.
Rnd 11: (ssk, k2tog), repeat on each needle (2 sts per needle, 4 sts total rem).
Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches and tighten to close the hole. Pull the wing forward and take a couple of stitches to attach the tip of the wing to the body. Pull the end to the inside, weave in, and trim.

Hen

Finishing:

Eyes: With a cut length of Pumpernickel placed on a yarn needle, make 2 French knots, one for each eye.
Beak: With a cut length of Hayloft placed on a yarn needle, take 4 straight stitches to form a triangle.
Wattle: With a cut length of Long Johns placed on a yarn needle, use the backstitch to make two loops on the front of the body. Use the photo as a guide.
Stuff the head of the Hen with fiberfill.

Knit the Fox

Fox

Body:

With Wool Socks, pick up 54 stitches in the cast-on stitches of the Hen’s body, placing 18 stitches on each of three double-pointed needles.
Purl 1 round.
Knit every round for 3 inches above the purl round.
Decrease Rounds:
Complete the same as for the Hen’s body through Round 6.
Rnds 7–9: Knit.
Rnd 10: (k2, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (6 sts per needle, 18 sts total rem).
Rnds 11 and 12: Knit.
Rnd 13: K2tog, repeat to the end of the round (3 sts per needle, 9 sts total rem).
Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches and tighten to close the hole. Leave the end out to use later.

Tummy:

With Fossil and two double-pointed needles used to knit back and forth in rows, cast on 14 stitches. Work in stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) until the tummy measures 3 inches from the cast-on edge. End with a purl row.
Decrease Rows:
Row 1: K1, ssk, knit to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Row 2: Purl.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 6 stitches remaining. End with Row 2.
Knit 1 row.
Purl 1 row.
Repeat Row 1 (4 sts rem).
Bind off in purl. Cut the yarn and pull the end through the remaining stitch. Weave in the end on the purl side and trim.
Place the end from the cast-on stitches on a yarn needle. Whipstitch the tummy to the front of the Fox. Make sure the front of the Fox faces opposite from the Hen. Pull the end to the inside and trim.

Fox

Head:

With Wool Socks, cast on 9 stitches, placing 3 stitches on each of three double-pointed needles. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnd 1: Knit.
Rnd 2: Kfb in each stitch (6 sts per needle, 18 sts total).
Rnds 3 and 4: Knit.
Rnd 5: Kfb in each stitch (12 sts per needle, 36 sts total).
Place a detachable marker on Round 5 and leave it there. Knit every round until the head measures 1-1/4 inches above the stitch marker on Round 5.
Decrease Rounds:
Rnd 1: (k4, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (10 sts per needle, 30 sts total rem).
Rnds 2 and 3: Knit.
Rnd 4: (k3, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (8 sts per needle, 24 sts total rem).
Rnds 5–7: Knit.
At this point, place the end from the cast-on stitches on a yarn needle. Take some stitches to close the hole. Pull the end to the inside, weave in, and trim. Stuff the head with fiberfill and continue to add stuffing as you work.
Rnd 8: (k2, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (6 sts per needle, 18 sts total rem).
Rnds 9–11: Knit.
Rnd 12: (k1, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round (4 sts per needle, 12 sts total rem).
Rnd 13: Switch to Pumpernickel. Knit.
Rnd 14: (k1, k2tog, k1), repeat on each needle (3 sts per needle, 9 sts total rem).
Finish any remaining stuffing. Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches and tighten to close the hole. Pull the end to the inside and trim.
Place the end from the top of the body on a yarn needle. Whipstitch the head to the top of the body. Pull the end to the inside and trim.

Fox

Ears:

Outer ear (make 2):
Using two double-pointed needles and Pumpernickel to work back and forth in rows, cast on 5 stitches.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: Knit.
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: Ssk, k1, k2tog (3 sts rem).
Row 6: Purl.
Row 7: K3tog through the back loops (1 st rem).
Cut the yarn and pull the end through the remaining stitch. Place the end on a yarn needle. Weave in to the purl side and trim.
Inner ear (make 2):
Using two double-pointed needles and Fossil to work back and forth in rows, cast on 3 stitches.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: K3tog through the back loops.
Cut the yarn and pull the end through the remaining stitch. Place the end on a yarn needle.
Place the inner ear on top of the outer ear with the purl sides together. Place the end from the inner ear cast-on stitches on a yarn needle. Whipstitch the inner ear to the outer ear. Pull the end in between the layers and trim.
Place the end from the outer ear cast-on stitches on a yarn needle. Whipstitch the ear to the top of the head.

Eyes:

With a length of Fossil placed on a yarn needle, take 2 tiny horizontal straight stitches for each eye. With a length of Pumpernickel, take a tiny vertical straight stitch in the center of each eye.

Paws (make 4):

With Pumpernickel, cast on 9 stitches, placing 3 stitches on each of three double-pointed needles. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnds 1–3: Knit.
Cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch end, and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches and tighten to close the hole. Pull the end to the inside and instead of trimming the end, wind up the rest and stuff the paw.
Place the end from the cast-on edge on a yarn needle. Whipstitch the top paws to the upper sides of the tummy. Whipstitch the lower paws to the lower front of the tummy. Pull all ends to the inside and trim.

Fox tail

Tail:

With Wool Socks, cast on 9 stitches, placing 3 stitches on each of three double-pointed needles. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnd 1: Knit.
Rnd 2: (kfb, k1, kfb), repeat to the end of the round (5 sts per needle, 15 sts total).
Knit every round until the tail measures 1-1/2 inches from the cast-on edge.
Switch to Fossil and knit 4 rounds. Stuff the tail lightly with fiberfill.
Decrease Rounds:
Rnd 7: (k3, k2tog), repeat on each needle (4 sts per needle, 12 sts total rem).
Rnd 8: (k2, k2tog), repeat on each needle (3 sts per needle, 9 sts total rem).
Rnd 9: (k1, k2tog), repeat on each needle (2 sts per needle, 6 sts total rem).
Cut the yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining stitches and tighten to close the hole. Pull the end to the inside and trim.
Place the end from the cast-on stitches on a yarn needle. Whipstitch the tail to the lower center of the back. Pull the end to the inside and trim.
Tuck the Fox inside the Hen.

Fox and hen


Excerpted from Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys by Susan B. Anderson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Liz Banfield. Illustrations by Mariko Jesse. Buy this book from our store: Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys.

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