This is an English version of my Mochi mochi backpack pattern (it’s shorter than the original because I have skipped translating the notes and felting instructions, since that information is widely available on the internet in English).
Because of its shape, Domokun (the mascot of a Japanese TV channel turned into some sort of a cult icon on the internet) lends itself to becoming a backpack. I borrowed the idea from this post on the Craftster forum.
But mine is felted (fulled), which makes for a stronger backpack and a "plushier" look.
If knitted plain with no intarsia, the pattern is suitable for beginners. At the end of the pattern I provide some ideas for customising the backpack, for instance a skull and crossbones version.
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FRONT, BOTTOM AND BACK
The front, bottom and back are knit in one piece.
Cast on 32 stitches in brown wool. Work in stockinette stitch until the piece is 9 cm long.
Start knitting Domokun’s mouth, following the chart. You can use either intarsia (but you’ll have tons of ends to weave in) or stranded knitting (but then you’ll have to take extra care to leave long strands because when felted they will shrink and pucker the surface). Centre the mouth chart between 4 stitches in brown on each side.
To download the chart, right-click on the image:
Once you have finished knitting Domokun’s mouth, resume knitting with brown wool until the piece is 91 cm long in total. Cast off.
Once finished it should measure more or less 30 cm x 91 cm.
SIDES AND TOP
Both lateral sides and top are knit in one piece, partially slit in the centre to accomodate the zipper.
Cast on 12 stitches in brown wool. Work in stockinette stitch until it is 31 cm long.
Then knit across half the stitches and stop in the middle of a row. Resume knitting the other half with another strand from another skein. For 48 cm knit half the stitches with one strand and half with another.
Once the slit thus created is 48 cm long (and the total piece is 79 cm long), knit across the whole row with the same strand and cut the other strand.
Knit until the piece is 110 cm long in total. Cast off.
Once finished it should measure more or less 12 cm x 110 cm.
Using a set of DPNs (or 2 circs) cast on 16 stitches in brown wool. Work 9 rows in stockinette stitch.
10th row: k2tog, repeat until eor (8 st left).
11th row: k2tog, repeat until eor (4 st left).
Cut yarn and thread through remaining stitches.
Each leg should measure more or less 6 cm wide x 6 cm long.
Using a set of DPNs (or 2 circs) cast on 12 stitches in brown wool. Work 9 rows in stockinette stitch.
25th row: *K1, m1, K1*, repeat until eor (18 st).
Work 4 rows in stockinette stitch.
Next row: *K1, k2tog*, repeat until eor (12 st left).
K2tog, repeat until eor (6 st left).
K2tog, repeat until eor (4 st left).
Cut yarn and thread through remaining stitches.
Each arm should measure more or less 6 cm at its widest point x 17 cm long.
SEWING PIECES TOGETHER
Sew the sides to the main piece using the picture on the right as guide (the numbered letters indicate which sides should be sewn together).
Sew the legs to the bottom and one arm on each side.
Weave in ends but take care to leave a couple centimetres before cutting them off (they will shrink when felting).
Felt the backpack in a washing machine (general information on the procedure is widely available in English on the internet).
Stretch the corners and fold the creases to help shape the backpack into a set of rectangles.
Since the backpack cannot be closed at this point, it will be difficult to shape it into a perfect rectangular parallelepiped, but filling it with books (covered in plastic) might help a little.
Wait until it is dry.
Sew two blacks buttons above the mouth.
Sew the zipper in the slash.
Cut the nylon tape into two 40 cm long straps and into two 60 cm long straps.
Singe slightly the cut edges to prevent fraying.
Sew a 60 cm long strap on each lower corner of the back.
Slip each 40 cm strap into a cinch buckle and fold. Sew (pushing the needle throug both layers) on each upper corner of the back.
Slip the lower straps into the cinch buckles and adjust the straps to the size of the person who will be carrying the backpack.
1) If you skip the intarsia or stranded knitting part and knit a plain backpack, the pattern is perfectly suitable for beginners. You can then embellish it with embroidery, appliqué, needle felting and so on. For instance, you could cut Domokun’s mouth out of craft felt sheets and then sew or glue it to the backpack.
You can knit a plain backpack by replacing the former instructions for the "Back, bottom and front" by the following:
Cast on 32 stitches. Work in stockinette stitch until the piece is 91 cm long. Cast off.
2) Intermediate knitters who are comfortable with intarsia or stranded knitting can use other charts instead of Domokun’s mouth.
For instance, my skull and crossbones backpack follows the same pattern, but in this case I used Moth Heaven’s chart instead (I modified it slightly by lifting the eyes and nose and lengthening the upper jaw).
3) Or you could use KnitPro to turn an image of your choice into a chart.