Holiday Deer Free Crochet Pattern (Part 1!)

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Holiday Deer Free Crochet Pattern (Part 1!)

Holiday Deer…Holiday Cheer… get it?! Okay, okay, I’ll leave the puns and play on words to my expertly punny boyfriend. But the holidays are coming! So I’m not wasting any time getting into the holiday spirit.

I have a few Christmas-themed patterns planned. I hope I have enough time to get to all of them before the holidays get here! First on the list are these cozy holiday deer buddies. I just love their festive sweaters! I’m also a sucker for a good Christmas sweater (in my world, there are no “ugly” Christmas sweaters!) so I couldn’t resist designing tiny little fair-isle sweaters for these guys too!

Wouldn’t these guys looks sweet on a bench with some Christmas accent pillows, or even set up on a mantel with some snow? As always, they would make great cuddle buddies, especially during the holidays!

You may have noticed that some of my recent patterns involve a lot more colour-work and shaping than some of my earlier patterns. I hope this is something you’re all enjoying as much as I am! This blog is not just a hobby or a job; it’s also kind of an ongoing journey for me too. I’m having a tonne of fun exploring and designing new techniques for amigurumi, which, lately, has included a lot of colour-work. That being said, I absolutely love it when I get suggestions for new projects from readers and I always make note of the ideas and add them to my list of possible future makes! So keep them coming! I’m excited for the ideas I have coming down the pipe! Stay tuned.

Okay, let’s get started!

As usual, this pattern is made in the same style as our Ragdoll patterns; separate pieces worked in flat rows and then joined together to give them that unique 2-D look. Our Holiday Deer has 14 separate pieces, so there is a fair amount of sewing and assembling involved. This pattern also incorporates the tapestry (or intarsia) crochet technique and, as mentioned, has a lot of colour-work.

The finished measurement is approximately 36cm/14″ from top to bottom.

I encourage you to read everything thoroughly before beginning, particularly if you don’t have a lot of experience with tapestry crochet.

Here’s what I used:

**If you’d prefer a downloadable or printable version of this pattern, an inexpensive, formatted, and ad-free PDF can be purchased HERE.**

Reading this Pattern and Colour Changes:

Everything is worked in single crochet stitches, except for rows 15, 35, and 60 where the stitches will be specified. So, in order to indicate the colour-changes, I have omitted the usual “sc” in front of the stitch counts in any lines with colour-changes and I’ve used the associated colour letter instead. For example, “Cdec” means to work a sc decrease in Cranberry yarn. “C4, W1” means to work the next 4 sc in Cranberry and the next 1 sc in White, and so on.

Due to the colour-changes, you will have several skeins or balls of yarn attached to your project at once. For example, I opted to use three balls of the Taupe yarn, one for each section of the shading on the head. I did this by taking one skein of yarn and separating it into several smaller balls. This cuts down significantly on having to carry your yarn.

The bonus part of the colour-changes in an amigurumi is that you don’t have to worry about what the back of your panels look like! This is why I carry my yarn on the back instead of carrying it inside the stitch as you go. It prevents any colours from bleeding through where they shouldn’t. As long as you always carry your yarn on the back of your panel, you won’t have to weave in any ends and you’ll have a beautiful smooth front with clear lines and colours.

When changing colours, you will insert your hook into the stitch for the last stitch of Colour A and pull up a loop. Then, with Colour B, yarn over and complete the stitch by pulling through both loops with Colour B. Drop your working yarn in Colour A and continue with Colour B. You will pick your Colour A working yarn back up again on the way back in the next row when you need it.

*Make sure to always drop your yarn on the WRONG side of your panel!* So, for example, when you are working on a row where the wrong side of the panel is facing you, you will have to make a conscious effort to pull your yarn toward you to the wrong side of the panel when dropping your yarn during a colour-change. This is because it will naturally drop to the side furthest away from you if you don’t. It doesn’t matter which side you choose as your “right” or “wrong” side, since the stitches look the same (unlike when working in the round), just as long as you’re consistent in carrying your yarn!

This pattern uses the Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc) and Back Post Double Crochet (bpdc) stitches. If you’re not familiar with these stitches, there are lots of tutorials on Youtube that can help!

Here is the colour legend:

B – Brown (Chocolate Tweed)

M – Mushroom (Main body colour)

C – Cranberry

W – White

T – Taupe (Shading on head)

O – Oatmeal (Antlers, spots, and muzzle)

Front Body (make 1 panel). Start with Chocolate Tweed:

The panels are worked from the bottom up, starting with the legs.

*Ch 1 and turn at the end of each row*

The first two rows are completed in Chocolate Tweed.

Row 1: Ch 6, sc 5 (5 sts)

Row 2: Inc, sc 3, inc (7 sts)

Switch to Mushroom. Rows 3-13 are completed in Mushroom.

Row 3: Inc, sc 5, inc (9 sts)

Row 4: Sc across (9 sts)

Row 5: Inc, sc 7, inc (11 sts)

Rows 6-7: Sc across (11 sts)

Row 8: Inc, sc 9, inc (13 sts)

Rows 9-10: Sc across (13 sts)

Tie off. Repeat rows 1-10 for the second leg but do not tie off. You will now have two separate leg pieces, like so:

Now we will join both leg pieces together by crocheting across both pieces in row 11, as shown in the photo above in the middle. Rows 11 to 13 are worked in Mushroom.

Row 11: Sc across (26 sts)

Row 12: Inc, sc 24, inc (28 sts)

Row 13: Sc across (28 sts)

Now we will start the sweater. Switch to Cranberry.

Row 14: Sc across (28 sts)

Row 15: Ch 2 (does not count as st), fpdc, bpdc across (28 sts)

*The last bpdc in row 15 will not be worked around a post, since it’s the last stitch of the row. Simply insert your hook into the last st from the back and complete the dc normally.*

Row 16: Sc across (28 sts)

Now we will start incorporating colour-changes for the fair isle pattern on the sweater.

Row 17: W1, C3. Repeat across (28 sts)

Row 18: C28 (28 sts)

Row 19: C2, W1, C3, W1, C7, W1, C3, W1, C3, W1, C3, W1, C1 (28 sts)

Row 20: C11, W1, C5, W1, C10 (28 sts)

Row 21: W1, C3, W1, C3, W1, C1, W2, C3, W2, C3, W1, C3, W1, C3 (28 sts)

Row 22: C11, W3, C1, W3, C10 (28 sts)

Row 23: C2, W1, C4, W3, C1, W2, C1, W2, C1, W3, C2, W1, C3, W1, C1 (28 sts)

Row 24: Cdec, C7, W3, C1, W1, C1, W1, C1, W3, C6, Cdec (26 sts)

Row 25: C3, W1, C4, W3, C1, W1, C1, W3, C2, W1, C3, W1, C2 (26 sts)

Row 26: C12, W3, C11 (26 sts)

Row 27: Wdec, C3, W1, C2, W3, C1, W1, C1, W3, C4, W1, C2, Cdec (24 sts)

Row 28: C7, W3, C1, W1, C1, W1, C1, W3, C6 (24 sts)

Row 29: C2, W1, C2, W3, C1, W2, C1, W2, C1, W3, C4, W1, C1 (24 sts)

Row 30: Cdec, C7, W3, C1, W3, C6, Cdec (22 sts)

Row 31: Cdec, C1, W1, C3, W2, C3, W2, C1, W1, C3, W1, Cdec (20 sts)

Row 32: Cdec, C5, W1, C5, W1, C4, Cdec (18 sts)

Row 33: Cdec, C1, W1, C11, W1, Cdec (16 sts)

Row 34: Cdec twice, C8, Cdec twice (12 sts)

Row 35: Ch 2 (does not count as st), fpdc, bpdc across (12 sts)

*Remember, the last bpdc in row 35 will not be worked around a post, since it’s the last stitch of the row. Simply insert your hook into the last st from the back and complete the dc normally.*

Now we will start the head. Switch to Mushroom. Rows 36 to 45 are completed in all Mushroom.

Row 36: Ch 5, sc 4 along chs, sc 12 along previous row (16 sts)

Row 37: Ch 5, inc in 2nd ch from hook, sc along rem chs, sc 15 along previous row, inc in last st (22 sts)

Row 38: Inc, sc 20, inc (24 sts)

Row 39: Inc, sc 22, inc (26 sts)

Row 40: Inc, sc 24, inc (28 sts)

Row 41: Inc, sc 26, inc (30 sts)

Row 42: Inc, sc 28, inc (32 sts)

Row 43: Inc sc 30, inc (34 sts)

Rows 44-45: Sc across (34 sts)

Now we will start incorporating colour changes for the shading on the head.

Row 46: M15, T3, M16 (34 sts)

Row 47: M16, T3, M15 (34 sts)

Row 48: M15, T3, M16 (34 sts)

Row 49: M16, T3, M15 (34 sts)

Row 50: M15, T3, M16 (34 sts)

Row 51: Mdec, M13, T5, M12, Mdec (32 sts)

Row 52: M13, T5, M14 (32 sts)

Row 53: Tdec, M12, T5, M11, Tdec (30 sts)

Row 54: T2, M9, T7, M10, T2 (30 sts)

Row 55: Tdec, T2, M7, T9, M6, T2, Tdec (28 sts)

Row 56: T11, O1, T3, O1, T12 (28 sts)

Row 57: Tdec, T10, O1, T3, O1, T9, Tdec (26 sts)

Row 58: T8, O1, T3, O1, T3, O1, T9 (26 sts)

Row 59: Tdec, T7, O1, T3, O1, T3, O1, T6, Tdec (24 sts)

Row 60 is worked entirely in Soft Taupe.

Row 60: Dec, sc 1, hdc 3, dc 12, hdc 3, sc 1, dec (22 sts)

Tie off. Put aside for assembly later.

Back Body (make 1 panel).

Rows 1-18 are worked exactly the same as the Front Panel above.

Row 19: C2, W1, [C3, W1] repeat [ ] across until 1 st rem, C1 in last st (28 sts)

Row 20: C28 (28 sts)

Row 21: [W1, C3] repeat across (28 sts)

Row 22: C28 (28 sts)

Row 23: C2, W1, [C3, W1] repeat [ ] across until 1 st rem, C1 in last st (28 sts)

Row 24: Cdec, C24, Cdec (26 sts)

Row 25: [C3, W1] repeat [ ] across until 2 sts rem, C2 (26 sts)

Row 26: C26 (26 sts)

Row 27: Wdec, [C3, W1] repeat [ ] across until 4 sts rem, C2, Cdec (24 sts)

Row 28: C24 (24 sts)

Row 29: C2, [W1, C3] repeat [ ] across until 2 sts rem, W1, C1 (24 sts)

Row 30: Cdec, C20, Cdec (22 sts)

Row 31: Cdec, C1, [W1, C3] repeat [ ] across until 3 sts rem, W1, Cdec (20 sts)

Row 32: Cdec, C16, Cdec (18 sts)

Row 33: Cdec, C1, [W1, C3] repeat [ ] across until 3 sts rem, W1, Cdec (16 sts)

Row 34: Cdec twice, C8, Cdec twice (12 sts)

Row 35: Ch 2 (does not count as first st), fpdc, bpdc across (12 sts)

Now we will start the head. Switch to Soft Taupe. The back of the head is done entirely in this darker brown, which was also used for the shading on the head of the front panel.

Row 36: In Soft Taupe ch 5, sc 4 along chs, sc 12 along previous row (16 sts)

Row 37: Ch 5, inc in second ch from hook, sc 3 along rem chs, sc 15, inc in last st (22 sts)

Row 38: Inc, sc 20, inc (24 sts)

Row 39: Inc, sc 22, inc (26 sts)

Row 40: Inc, sc 24, inc (28 sts)

Row 41: Inc, sc 26, inc (30 sts)

Row 42: Inc, sc 28, inc (32 sts)

Row 43: Inc, sc 30, inc (34 sts)

Rows 44-50: Sc across (34 sts)

Row 51: Dec, sc 30, dec (32 sts)

Row 52: Sc across (32 sts)

Row 53: Dec, sc 28, dec (30 sts)

Row 54:  Sc across (30 sts)

Row 55: Dec, sc 26, dec (28 sts)

Row 56: Sc across (28 stS)

Row 57: Dec, sc 24, dec (26 sts)

Row 58: Sc across (26 sts)

Row 59: Dec, sc 22, dec (24 sts)

Row 60: Dec, sc 1, hdc 3, dc 12, hdc 3, sc 1, dec (22 sts)

Tie off. Put aside for assembly later.

Arms (make 4 panels in twos as explained below). Start with Cranberry.

Row 1: Ch 6, sc scross (5 sts)

Row 2: W1, C3, W1 (5 sts)

Row 3: C5 (5 sts)

Row 4: C2, W1, C2 (5 sts)

Row 5: C5 (5 sts)

Row 6: W1, C3, W1 (5 sts)

Row 7: C5 (5 sts)

Row 8: Ch 2 (does not count as first st), bpdc, fpdc across (5 sts)

*Remember, the last fpdc will not be worked around a post, since it’s the last st of the row. Simply insert your hook from the front and complete a dc normally.*

Switch to Mushroom.

Row 9: In BLO, M5 (5 sts)

Switch to Chocolate Tweed (annotated as “B” for Brown).

Row 10: B5 (5 sts)

Row 11: B5 (5 sts)

Tie off.

Repeat rows 1-11 for second panel. Do not tie off second panel. Put both panels together, matching up all sides and colours. Chain 1 and sc around the entire piece. (Sc, ch, Sc) into each corner. Stuff when you’ve crocheted about two-thirds of the way around. Slst to beginning st to close. Tie off. Repeat for second arm.  Set these aside for assembly later.

Ears (make 4 panels in twos as explained below) in Soft Taupe:

Row 1: Ch 7, sc across (6 sts)

Row 2: Inc, sc 4, inc ( 8s sts)

Rows 3-6: Sc across (8 sts)

Row 7: Dec, sc 4, dec (6 sts)

Rows 8-9: Sc across (6 sts)

Row 10: Dec, sc 2, dec (4 sts)

Row 11: Sc across (4 sts)

Row 12: Dec twice (2 sts)

Row 13: Dec (1 st)

Tie off.

Repeat rows 1-13 for second panel. Do not tie off second panel. Put both panels together, matching up all sides. Chain 1 and sc around the entire piece. (Sc 3) into the stitch at the tip of the ear. Stuff when you’ve crocheted about two-thirds of the way around. Slst to beginning st to close. Tie off. Repeat for second ear.  Set these aside for assembly later.

Antlers (make 4 panels in twos as explained below) in Oatmeal:

Row 1: Ch 4, sc across (3 sts)

Rows 2-8: Sc across (3 sts)

Row 9: Dec, inc (3 sts)

Row 10: Sc across (3 sts)

Row 11: Dec, inc (3 sts)

Row 12: Sc across (3 sts)

Row 13: Dec, inc (3 sts)

Row 14: Sc across (3 sts)

Row 15: Dec, inc (3 sts)

Tie off.

You’ll notice that your antler piece forms a gentle curve. Now you will reattach your yarn on the inside curve of the antler to make the second branch. On the inside curve of the antler, you should have 7 distinct “bumps” (this is from the ch 1 at the end of the rows on that side). You will work your second branch across the middle (or 4th) bump, and in the spaces on either side of this bump, as shown below:

Antler Branch in Oatmeal:

Row 1: Sc 3 (3 sts)

Row 2: Dec, inc (3 sts)

Row 3: Inc, dec (3 sts)

Row 4: Dec, inc (3 sts)

Row 5: Inc, dec (3 sts)

Tie off.

Repeat rows 1-15 and 1-5 above for second antler panel. Do not tie off second panel. Put both panels together, matching up all sides. Chain 1 and sc around the entire piece. (Sc, ch, sc) into the corners of Row 1 of the main antler (i.e. the bottom of the antler). Stuff lightly when you’ve crocheted about two-thirds of the way around. Slst to beginning st to close. Tie off.

You will repeat all of the above for the second antler EXCEPT when you crochet around both panels for the second one, you will need to crochet around in the OPPOSITE direction than the first one. This ensures the beautiful edging around the antlers is facing out on both when you attach them to the body later. Set these aside for assembly.

Muzzle (make 1) in Oatmeal:

Row 1: Ch 6, sc 4, sc 3 in last ch, continue on opposite side of chs, sc 3, sc 2 in last ch (12 sts)

Row 2: Sc inc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc inc in next 3 sts, hdc, dc, hdc, sc inc in next 2 sts (18 sts)

Tie off. Set aside for assembly later.

Assembly:

Step 1: Eyes, Muzzle, Nose and Mouth

First we need to attach all of our facial features to the front panel.

The first thing I did was insert a safety nose into the muzzle piece. Do not fasten the back onto your safety nose yet! Then I stitched on a little mouth below the nose with black crochet thread. You could also stitch on a nose with thread in an upside-down triangle shape.

Next, you will stitch the muzzle onto the front body panel using Oatmeal yarn. Place it immediately below the long shaded piece in the middle of the face, so it overlaps slightly. I was able to push the post of the safety nose through the front panel as well, and then I attached the back to the safety nose behind both panels. However, if you’re unable to push yours all the way through, simply place the back on the safety nose on the muzzle piece only and then stitch the muzzle down.

Next, insert 12mm safety eyes on either side of the muzzle. I also added eyelashes using black crochet thread.

Step 2: Body, Arms, Ears and Antlers

Okay, here are all the pieces you should now have at this step.

Look at all those ends! Don’t be ashamed of the mess, friends. Rejoice in the fact that you don’t have to weave any in! YAY!

Okay, cut off two lengths of Cranberry yarn and four lengths of Soft Taupe yarn about 30cm/12″ long each and set them aside for later.

Place the two body panels together, matching up all sides and colours.

**Make sure the front of your Deer is facing you as you crochet around the outside.**

Starting on the left side of the head, begin attaching the panels together by chaining one and single crocheting around the outside of the panels starting in Mushroom.

As you crochet along the outside, you will need to switch colours where appropriate. When switching colours, insert your hook into the last stitch of Colour A. Pull up a loop in Colour A. Then yarn over in Colour B to complete the stitch. Continue with Colour B until you need to switch again.

Stop when you get to the top of the sweater (after only two or three Cranberry sts) and pull up a long loop.

With your tapestry needle and a length of Cranberry yarn that you set aside earlier, place the first arm between the panels and attach it by sewing through all three pieces; the top panel, the arm, and the bottom panel. When finished, tie a knot to secure and hide the yarn tails between the panels of the body.

Continue crocheting down the sweater. When you get to the arm, simply crochet in the stitches of the front panel only, since this portion is already sewn shut.

Switch colours to Mushroom where appropriate when you get to the leg, then to Chocolate Tweed for the hoof, and then back to Mushroom, and so on for the next leg.

Stop when you get to the bottom of the sweater on the other side. Pull up a long loop. Stuff the legs and body.

Place the second arm and attach it the same way you did for the first.

Continue crocheting up the body, switching back to Mushroom where appropriate. You will need to switch colours again to Soft Taupe when you get to the shading of the head.

Stop after one or two stitches of Soft Taupe and pull up a long loop. Stuff the body and head. Make sure you stuff the neck firmly so it’s not floppy.

With your tapestry needle and a length of Soft Taupe yarn that you set aside earlier, place the first ear between the panels and attach it by sewing through all three pieces; the top panel, the ear and the bottom panel. A good guide for where to place the ear is to line up the last stitch of the last row of the body panel to the left side of the ear. When finished, tie a knot to secure and hide the yarn tails between the panels of the body.

Continue to do this for the first antler as well. Place it immediately next to the first ear and sew in place. Make sure the antler is curving in toward the centre.

Picking up where you left off, continue crocheting up around the head. Remember, when you get to the ear and the antler, you can crochet in the stitches of the front panel only, since this part is already sewn shut.

Top up stuffing.

Now place the second antler and attach the same way you did for the first. Then attach the second ear in the same way.

You should now only have a very small hole in your deer (below the ear but above where you started). Finish topping up stuffing! Use the back of your crochet hook to push and even out the stuffing if you need to.

When you’re satisfied, continue crocheting around and close with a slst to first st. Tie off. With your tapestry needle, poke the yarn tail back inside the piece.

That’s it! You’re done!

I will be including the pattern variations for the green sweater-ed deer in another post, so keep an eye out for that!

 

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12 thoughts on “Holiday Deer Free Crochet Pattern (Part 1!)

  1. absolutely adorable and finished looking….these would make a wonderful gift for any age. You’ve outdone yourelf this time. Please keep sharing your beautiful designs.

    1. Hi Kay,
      It doesn’t matter which side you choose as your “right” or “wrong” side, since both sides looks the same, just as long as you’re consistent when carrying your yarn!

  2. These have got to be the cutest little crochet Christmas reindeer on the web! Thanks for sharing such a great pattern! I just finished the female, and it turned out great. I’ll make the male next and give them away at my bowling party gift exchange. I bet the ladies there will adore them, especially since they’re far better then anything I could buy for under the $20 limit at a store. 🙂

    1. Hi Stephanie, BLO is the abbreviation for “Back Loops Only”. So you will crochet in only one loop of the stitch all the way across to create a small ridge on the front of the panel.

  3. Row 48 m15, T3, M16
    Row 49 M16, T3, M15 then
    row 50. M16 , T3 M15
    Should this not be M15, T3,M16 but that makes the following rows wrong or am I doing something wrong.
    I love the pattern

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Yes, you’re right! Thanks for catching that. It must have been a transcription error on my part. Row 50 should read: M15, T3, M16.

      I’ve updated the post but it might not show up in your browser right away 🙂

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