Beginner Crochet Pattern: Oliver the Elephant

How to Crochet Oliver the Oliphant (Elephant)

I found the free pattern for this cool guy here but I modified it slightly to fit my crocheting style. I've copied the pattern here and broken it down a bit so it's digestible and understandable for beginners (like me!)


Here's what you'll need:

  • A skein of gray yarn (you probably won't use the whole thing)
  • 2 safety eyes (I used 9mm), You could also embroider some on instead!
  • Fiberfill (to make him ultra huggable!), or your favorite stuffing stuff
  • Crochet hook of a size with your yarn *or smaller*
  • Yarn needle
  • Stitch makers are helpful, cheap ones can be made using scraps of yarn
  • Ribbon is optional to make a cute bow!
Oliver-How-To.jpg


Some notes before you get started:

I used this Bernat "DeLux" cotton yarn. but the original pattern (source) calls for a much thinner one. I already had this, so I figured I'd try it. The label (pictured) recommends an H (5 mm) sized hook, but if you use this you get a much larger stitch with bigger holes, especially since cotton yarn doesn't stretch. Instead I used an F (3.75 mm) sized hook for my magic circles and a G (4.25 mm) for most of the project.

Also, for any rows with increase or decrease stitches, just repeat the pattern until you hit the number of stitches in that row (e.g. "Repeat 2 sc, 1 inc = 12st"  will be repeat three times to make 12) . Your last stitch of each round should be in the last stitch of the previous round. When you finish a row/round you should be able to count all the stitches and have them equal the number next to the equal sign in the pattern below.

 

Stitches Used / Abbreviations:

Magic Circle (Need help? There's a video how-to at the bottom of this post!)
st = stitch(es)
ch = chain stitch
sl = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
inc = increase (stitch two stitches into the same loop) remember 1 inc = 2 total stitches
dec = decrease, specifically I use the "Invisible Decrease" (You work one stitch into the front loops only of the next two stitches), remember 1 dec is merging two stitches from the previous row. (Need help? There's a video how-to at the bottom of this post!)
I also use a technique called the "Ultimate Finish" to close off the head


Pattern

Head:

Hi, my name is Oliver!

The head is the most difficult part, so if you're unsure, leave it for last. I did the head first and actually ended up redoing it, twice. Oliver was only my second attempt at crocheting, so the stitches in his head ended up being much looser than those of the body as I got better. When I made the other pieces the head was twice the size of the body, and together he looked more like an anteater!  Because the head's stitches were loose, you could easily see the stuffing in a few places (particularly the double crochets in the trunk), The second time I did the head I was so intent on getting my stitches tight that the head was actually a bit too small. I unwound it to the base of the trunk and worked again (I left the trunk tight as it was because of those double crochets, I liked those tight!). He came out much better!

1. 6 magic circle
2. 6 inc (so 2 sc in every st)  = 12 st
3. 12 sc, into the back loops only. = 12 st This creates the nice trim around the "corner,"
4. Repeat 2 sc, 1 dec (so every 3rd and 4th st of the previous row should be stitched together) = 9 st
5. 1 sc, 4 dc, 1 sc, 3 sl = 9st
6 - 8. 9 sc = 9st, 27 st total
9. Repeat 2 sc, 1 inc (so 2 sc in every 3rd st) = 12st
10. 12 sc = 12 st
11. Repeat 3 sc, 1 inc (so 2 sc in every 4th st) = 15 st
12. Repeat 4 sc 1 inc (so 2 sc in every 5th st) = 18st
13. Repeat 6 times only: 1 sc, 1 inc, then finish the row with 6 sc = 24st
14. Repeat 6 times only: 2 sc, 1 inc, then finish the row with 6 sc = 30 st
15. 30 sc = 30 st (obviously)
16. Repeat 6 times only: 3 sc, 1 inc, then finish the row with, 6 sc = 36 st
17. 36 sc = 36 st
18. Repeat 6 times only: 4 sc, 1 inc, then finish the row with 6 sc = 42 st
19 - 24. 42 sc, row markers are your friend here! = 42 st, 144 st o
25. Repeat 5 sc, 1 dec (so every every 6th and 7th st together) = 36 sc
26. 36 sc = 36 sc
27. Repeat 4 sc, 1 dec (so every every 5th and 6th st together) = 30 st
28. 30 sc = 30 st
29. Repeat 3 sc, 1 dec (so every 4th and 5th st together) = 24 st
30. Repeat 2 sc, 1 dec (so every 3rd and 4th st together) = 18 st

Now is probably a good time to stuff the head if you haven't yet. You should also install the eyes if you're using safety eyes; somewhere between row 14 - 16ish, depending on the size of your head, works well. If you're confused which part is the top of the head, it doesn't really matter, but the part where you did the 6 sc after the repeated patterns of increases, will make that side a bit smaller and better suited for the bottom. However it also works for the top, especially if you want the nose tipped down instead of up!

Last two rows to finish and close:

31. Repeat 1 sc, 1 dec = 12st
32. 6 dec = 6sc

I use the "Ultimate Finish" to close it up, since it's basically the opposite of the magic circle. This is the great video by June from www.planetjune.com that taught me the technique! (The audio is a little low after the intro, though):


Body:

You're basically making a ball that's longer in the middle, and unfinished at the end.
To start:

1. 6 magic circle
2. 6 inc = 12 st
3. Repeat 1 sc, 1 inc = 18 st
4. Repeat 2 sc, 1 inc = 24 st
5. Repeat 3 sc, 1 inc = 30 st
6. Repeat 4 sc, 1 inc = 36 st
7. 36 st = 36 st
8. Repeat 5 sc, 1 inc = 42 st
9 - 17. 42 st again, row markers are your friend here! = 42 st, 378 st total
18. Repeat 5 sc, 1 dec = 36 st
19. 36 sc = 36 st
20. Repeat 4 sc, 1 dec = 30 st
21. 30 sc = 30 st
22. Repeat 3 sc, 1 dec = 24st

Now do 1 sl stitch into the next stitch (the first one you did in row 22). Cut the yarn, but leave a long tail that you'll use to sew the body onto the head, and pull the yarn through your stitch to fasten it. Stuff the body, and you can sew it now, or wait until the other pieces are done to assemble him all at once.


Front legs:

1. 6 magic circle
2. 6 inc = 12 st
3. Repeat 1 sc, 1 inc = 18 st
4. Repeat 2 sc, 1 inc = 24 st
5. 24 sc into the back loops only (this makes the nice trim around the base of his feet!) The back loops are the ones on the inside.
6. Repeat 2sc, 1 dec = 18 st
7 - 11. 18 sc = 18 sc, 90 total
End with 1 sl and leave enough of a tail to sew the leg on with.

Make another leg. Or, make three more if you choose not to follow the hind leg pattern.


Ears:

1. Ch 11 = 11 st
2. 10 sc (remember your first sc should be in the second chain from your hook!) = 10 st
3. Ch 1, turn your work around, 1 inc into into the 1st st, 8 sc, 1 inc into the last st = 12st
4. Ch 1, turn around, 1 inc, 10 sc, 1 inc into the last = 14 st
5. Ch 1, turn around, 1 inc, 4 dc, 9 sc = 15 sc
6. Ch 1, turn around, 1 dec, 7 sc, 4 dc, 2 sc  = 14 sc
7. Instead of turning your work, keep working around the corner of the piece down the short side by doing 4 sc into the loops there. Then do a slip stitch to fasten off, and leave enough of a tail to sew the ear on with.

Make another sew them onto the head when you're ready!

Hind legs:

The hind legs are made to finish at an angle so you can attach them to the round part of the body and still have them lay straight-ish. They also have a bit of a "crook" in them, I think to make them more elephant-y. However, I haven't really decided if I liked them, I almost think just making four of the front legs would be cuter, and they would attach just as well in the back (spraying outwards a tiny bit, like the front legs). The front legs are also much easier, but either way, here's the pattern as I did them:

Rows 1 - 6 are identical to the front legs, after that you use a combination of single crochets, double crochets, and slip stitches to make the crook. After that your next row won't be a complete round (so if you're counting stitches per row, only go back to when you started!), and from there you'll decrease and single crochet to make the triangle sort of angled tip.

1. 6 magic circle
2. 6 inc = 12 st
3. Repeat 1 sc, 1 inc = 18 st
4. Repeat 2 sc, 1 inc = 24 st
5. 24 sc into the back loops only
6. Repeat 2sc, 1 dec = 18 st
7. 6 dc, 3 sc, 6 sl, 3 sc = 18 st
8. 9 sc, 6 sl, 3 sc = 18 st
9. 18 sc = 18 st
10. Ch 1, turn around, 1 dec, 8 sc, 1 dec = 10 st
11. Ch 1, turn around, 1 dec, 6 sc, 1 dec = 8 st
12. Ch 1, turn around, 4 dec = 4 st
13. Ch 1, turn around, 2 dec =2 st

Do one slip stitch to fasten off, and leave enough of a tail to sew the legs on with. The angled part should be closest to his butt, whereas the shorter side should face in, towards his head.


Tail:

This is kind of like an Eeyore tail. You can substitute with just sewn on pieces of yarn or a row of chain stitches with a frayed end.

1. Ch 4
2. 3 sc

Slip stitch to fasten off. Cut the two ends about one cm or a half of an inch long and split the individual threads of the yarn to fray it.

Sew the tail onto the butt! I threaded a piece of yarn through the top of the tail, so both ends came out of the back side, and then threaded those into his butt and double knotted them. For super cute-ness, attach with a button! I just didn't have any on hand.


Assembly

Use your yarn needle to sew the body onto the head, and then the other piece. It's helpful to leave each piece "understuffed" while you're sewing them and then finish stuffing them when each piece is about 3/4 attached. I also usually thread the pieces on loosely to play with the placement, especially for the ears. Safety pins might also help hold the pieces in place while you decide and while you sew, but I found sticking in my crochet hooks, non-hook-side in, through any stuffed piece (like the legs into the body) really held them in well. He looked a bit like a voo-doo doll, but it works!

Also, to the right is a great video again from www.planetjune.com about sewing amigurumi (stuffed crochet creatures) pieces together! Just be careful not to pull your yarn too hard or it'll break; I learned that the hard way...


Ta-da!


Helpful Videos and Tips:

Magic Circle

Invisible Decrease

Left-handed? June from www.planetjune.com has the left hand versions of these videos on her YouTube channel, check it out here!

 

Still struggling with the basics of crocheting? Check out my post here where I struggled through learning it too! If that doesn't help, please send me your questions or comment below, I'd be happy to help. I had to ask a lot of "stupid" questions before I got the hang of it, and I'm still learning!