How to make woolen crib figures
by Jo Langford (GB vicariate)


From my early childhood the Christmas Story has been a source of wonder. I do not know when I made my first crib but when I saw a knitted one I liked it.
When I found a pattern in Jean Greenhowe’s Christmas Special, I was hooked. Jean’s set was to be a static display so I made changes. The first was to put pipe cleaners in the arms so that they could be moved. The hats had to able to be taken off and gifts had to be free not sown to the king’s hands.
Next they were too big for little hands so the whole set had to be scaled down.

First knit the body with the head and top with hair colour.
Sew up the back leaving a gap near the bottom, the black ends and one face colour so that they end up on the right side when the body is turned.

Next you need a long pipe cleaner and cardboard discs for the base. Stuff the head sew round the neck with the strand of face colour. Push the pipe cleaner through so that the back and front are the same and the seam is down the centre of the back.

Stuff and insert card board base (have enough to make a rigid base) finish stuffing through the gap and sew up.
A useful bit of knowledge: One is the same height as from fingertip to fingertip so fold over the ends of the pipe cleaner and check that the length of pipe cleaner from fold to fold is the same as the height of the figure. Make sure the ends of the pipe cleaner are folded in and no sharp points are exposed.

Wrap arm with wadding and wrap knitted hand round and sew seam and secure.

Sew up sleeves and slip over arm and sew to body.

If making a character with a coat the pipe cleaner is put through the main piece of the coat before adding the wadding and hands.

With a cloak, place round neck and sew the top edges.

NOW knit belt and beard and prepare hair.

Sew on beard, then hair getting the sewn centre in the middle of his head.
Sew through each strand at neck level. Add nose and eyes.
Sew up hat and add.

This basic figure can be used to make all the standing figures in the crib.

As some double knitting wool is finer and some thicker get a variety of size.