A Whimsy of Knit Gnomes

I have always been fascinated by unique collective nouns. For instance, did you know a group of mice is called a “mischief”? Sounds about right, doesn’t it?  Or that dolphins travel in pods? Other names are band, horde, tribe, and coalition. (For a bunch of animal collective nouns, check out this list.) When I went to post this tutorial, I began to wonder what I should call a gathering of gnomes. Since nothing brilliant or witty came to me, I settled for a Cluster of Gnomes. Any ideas?

EDIT: One of our readers, Cami, suggested calling a group of gnomes a Whimsy of gnomes. I love the idea so much, from now on I will always referring to a group of gnomes as a “whimsy”. Thanks Cami!!!

Here is the hat pattern that will allow you to turn our Basic Knit Dolls into Gnomes. The pattern for the Basic Knit Dolls can be found HERE. Decide which size doll you would like to make and follow the directions. 

3″ dolly
4″ baby
5″ toddler
8″ child
10″ mother
12″ father

Make sure you read about gauge, materials and stitches. When you have completed the doll, use the directions below to knit and attach the gnomey hat.  The 3 dolls in the photo at the top of this tutorial are the 5″ toddler. The lone green gnome at the bottom is the 8″ child. Directions are given for the 3″ doll with sizes 4″, 5″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ in parentheses. The gnome pictured in the directions is the 8″ child.

Using size 6 needles, or a size that obtains the gauge, cast on 10 (15, 20, 30, 40, 50) leaving an 18″ tail for sewing.

Working in a stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row) knit 2 (4, 6, 6, 8, 8) rows for hat rim.

Odd rows: (the right side) Knit 2 together. Knit across the row to the last 2 stitches. Knit 2 together.

Even rows:  (the wrong side) Purl.

Continue until you have 1 stitch left on your needle. Clip the yarn leaving an 18″ tail for sewing and pull it through the last loop .  

Pin the side seams together, with the wrong sides together.

Beginning at the top of the hat, sew the side seam using the yarn tail at the top of the hat. Catch only I piece of yarn on either seam.

Gently pull the yarn on the first few stitches causing the top of the hat to curl.

Continue sewing the seam. Tie off and clip the yarn.

Lightly stuff the hat with fiberfill. You just want enough fiberfill to prevent the sides from caving in. Do not overfill or it will look like a clown’s hat.

Before beginning to sew the hat to the gnome, on the inside, weave the yarn tail along the seam up 2 (4, 6, 6, 8, 8) rows. Poke the needle through to the outside.

Note: You will be sewing the hat to the gnome several rows above the hat edge. When you are done sewing on the hat, you will roll the rim upward. When positioning the hat on the gnome, remember that the first several rows will be rolled. Take that into account when deciding on placement.

Position the hat on the gnome so that the beginning of the hat, excluded the rows of rim, are touching the gnome’s body in the back. Make sure the body and hat seams are lined up.

Slant the hat at a pleasing angle, remembering that part of the hat will be rolled up. Pin in place.

Sew the hat to the gnome using a running stitch. This stitch should be 2 (4, 6, 6, 8, 8) rows up from the bottom edge of the hat. You should go in and out of each stitch, making sure to catch the head beneath.

When the hat has been attached, tie off and clip the yarn.

Gently roll up the rim. It will stay in place without sewing it down.




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  1. Well, where have I been for these past few months? I have so much to catch up on! This clan sure is adorable. 🙂

    1. Not sure where you’ve been, but you’ve been missed 🙂 Enjoy catching up! 

  2. I so wanted to make the gnomes but I know you said you weren’t going to be crafting a lot right now but I was really hoping you might find time for these. I already made a number of the dolls, just waiting for the hats to turn them into gnomes. My girls will be so excited. YAY. Hope everything is going well with the puppies.

    1. Thanks for asking about the dogs. Like they say, If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger… LOL… what was I thinking… 2 border collie puppies. Hardest part, besides their boundless energy… is stopping them from turning the 2 Yorkies into chew toys! Enjoy your gnomes. 

  3. I have been knitting hundreds of these gnomes for almost ten years now – both for fun and profit. Yours look great!

  4. Thank you for such an inspiring and fun blog! I think I would name a group of gnomes a whimsy. =)

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Cami. I love it so much, I’m editing the post, and from now on I’m referring to a group of gnomes as a whimsy of gnomes 🙂

      1. I love a whimsy of gnomes. Nice going Cami.

  5. I’ve made quite a few of these now – my daughters’ love them. NB: I also made the “in the round” doll, but, for some reason, this pattern makes the preferred doll for my girls.
    Thanks again,

    1. ARGH – please excuse the random apostrophe… I was intending to write they are my daughters’ favourites, but then changed the sentence, but not the grammar.

      1. Hehe… I do so much writing online that I've had to get rid of some of my horror of my own grammatical, and even worse, spelling mistakes 🙂 

        I'm so glad your daughters love the gnomes. The one I made for Little Lady became one of her favorite chew toys. (You should see the hat now… it is bent and distorted… it looks great 🙂 Her favorite was the handful of Nubby Dolls I made her, tho.

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