Welcome, welcome to the Whistle and Ivy Rustic Nativity CAL! If you have worked with us before, welcome back. If this is your first time, we are so excited to have you join us! Today we are kicking off with the most important part of the nativity, the Holy Child and His manger.

This first figure incorporate the quickest pattern in the set (Baby). Some crocheters have felt challenged by the manger construction, so please reach out if you need assistance!



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    I did a bit of research on what the manger would have looked like, and it turns out the wooden thing with straw poking out is historically inaccurate. A feeding trough from this time period would have possibly been made of stone with a hollowed out space in the top, and most likely rectangular in shape.

    This is the depiction I was going after with this design. I hope you enjoy it!


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    Please remember: You are free to use this pattern to make and sell, but do not republish or distribute this pattern in any way. DO NOT use my photos in your listings. Please do share my blog links! It’s a quick and FREE way of supporting Whistle and Ivy and more free crochet patterns in the future. 
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    What you need: (affiliate links)
    -Fingering Weight Yarn (Palette Yarn)
       [Oyster Heather, Wheat Heather,  Hare Heather]
    3.5mm Hook
    Darning Needle
    – Glue Gun 

    Abbreviations: (American terms)
    Ch – Chain
    Sc – Single Crochet
    Sc2tog- SC decrease
    St – Stitch

    Gauge: 12 sc = 2″


    The mini set (Joseph, Baby, Mary) are FREE! The full set includes a sheep, camel, donkey, wisemen, shepherds, stars, angel, and palm tree and is available in my shops:


    Bottom: (Hare Heather)

    Ch 15. (ch 1 does NOT count)

    1. Sc in 2nd ch from hook. Sc in next 13 sts. Turn. (14 sts)
    2. – 10. Ch 1. Sc in same st. Sc in next 13 sts. Turn. (14 sts)
    11. Turn 90 degrees clockwise so you can work down the raw edge. Hdc 2 more in same st (for a total of 3 sts in the corner). Hdc 8 down your raw edge. Hdc 3 in last st (making a corner). Hdc 12 times across the bottom. Hdc 3 in last st (making a corner). Hdc 8 up remaining raw edge. Work 3 hdc in last st, making a corner. Hdc 12 across top edge. Join with last sc from row 10. (51 sts)
    (you have made a border of hdc around the rectangle). 
    You will now be working in joined rounds.

    12. Ch 1. Sc in back loop of first sc. Sc in third loop in each hdc around (third loop is located on the back of the hdc stitch). Join with a sl st (52 sts) 
    13. – 17. Ch 1. Sc in each st. Join with a sl st. (52 sts)
    Break yarn. 

    Top: (Hare Heather)
    Ch 15. (ch 1 does NOT count)
    1.  Sc in 2nd ch from hook. Sc in next 13 sts. Turn. (14 sts)
    2. – 10. Ch 1. Sc in same st. Sc in next 13 sts. Turn. (14 sts)
    11. Turn 90 degrees clockwise. Hdc 2 more in same st (for a total of 3). Hdc 8 down your raw edge. Hdc 3 in last st (making a corner). Hdc 12. Hdc 3 in last st. Hdc 8 down raw edge. 3 hdc in last st, making a corner. Hdc 12 across top edge. Join with last sc from row 10. (51 sts)
    12. Ch 1. Sc in back loop of first st. Sc in third loop in each hdc around. Join with a sl st (52 sts) 
    (third loop is the loop on the back of a hdc st). 
    13. – 14. Ch 1. Sc in each st. Join with a sl st. (52 sts)
    Don’t break yarn. Place a few small stones or beads in the bottom of the manger. You can also add a bit of stuffing, but don’t over stuff or the manger top will lose it’s shape.

    Set the top manger piece inside the bottom piece, on top of the rocks and stuffing, lining up the last row of the top piece with the last row of the bottom piece. Using the loop from the last stitch on the top piece, work a row of sl sts around the top, going through both the top piece and bottom piece.


    Begin with Wheat Heather.
    Start with a Magic Ring.
    1. Ch 1. Sc 9 into ring. Join. (9 sts)
    2. Ch 1. Sc in same st. *Work 2 sc in next st. Sc in next st* work 4 times. Join. (13 sts)
    3. – 5. Ch 1. Sc in each st. Join. (13 sts)
    6. Ch 1. *Sc2tog. Sc in next st* work 3 times. Sc2tog twice. Join. (8 sts)
    Join Oyster Heather.
    7. Ch 1. Work 2 sc in each st around. Join. (16 sts)
    8. – 16. Ch 1. Sc in each st around. Join. (16 st)
    Pause and stuff.
    17. Ch 1. Sc2tog 8 times. Join. (8 sts)
    Break yarn, leave a tail.
    Use the tail to sew up the small remaining hole.

    Finished? Share your progress! You can email me at Bethany at whistleandivy dot com, share in our Facebook group


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    1. Hi there! When working these pieces, do the rows line up or are they staggered a little? I’m working on Baby Jesus. For His head will row 3 line up exactly where row 2 left off? I just want to make sure I’m doing this right. I appreciate any help! Thanks so much!! 😊

        1. I guess I answered my own question because I finally figured it out! I was doing joined rows (not continuous) but I kept crocheting in the chain 1, so I was ending up with too many stitches.
          I do have another question though. For the shepherd’s bag- mine keeps coming out oval, but I like the shape of yours better. You just keep working around, not turning correct?

    2. Hello, I recently purchased this pattern to participate in the crochet along, but patience I don’t have. 🙂 I love the pattern I have just the Shepards and animals to finish and to build my Manger (house) idk lol…. one thing I did do extra…. on the Manger it didn’t want to stay tucked down so I ran a stitch a long the inside edge where the sides met and that did the trick…. Thank you so much for making this pattern!!!!

    3. I absolutely LOVE this pattern! In the manger, I see the top and the bottom are the same size, except for the edges. I made mine this way and the top is having a hard time fitting into the bottom, since they are the same. Should the base of the top be smaller in order to fit inside the base of the bottom? Am I missing something?

    4. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us. I’ve complete Baby JESUS, Mary & Joseph and it is so cute. Thank you again for the pattern. Blessings!

    5. Hi Bethany, I have just bought your pattern and am starting to make Joseph.
      Can you please explain what you mean by “Sc in same st” after Ch 1? And how do you “Join” when you finish that row?
      Thanks very much!

      1. Hi Tammy!
        This is not worked in a spiral, it’s worked in joined rows. So work a ch 1, then look below the ch 1 and notice the first st of the round. That is where you will work your first st. Then, once each st has been worked into, you will join with a sl st with the first st of the round.

    6. I have no idea how to put together the two pieces of the manger. Could you send me a link to a video for the manger? I bought the pattern so I thought that would help, but I cannot get it to look like your example. Thank you.

      1. There is no video Cindy, I am sorry! I would love to try and help. The smaller piece simply nests inside the taller piece and you sl st the tops together.

    7. Hello again! I’m confused about the end of row 10 onto 11. I’m left handed so I know to turn clockwise. At the end of row 10 do I turn or just go clockwise and continue down the raw edge? Thanks in advance.

    8. Hi Beth. I got stuck at row 11 of the manger. May I know how do I hdc down the raw edge? Do I use the loops? I can’t seem to find the loops. Do I need to go a row down the “loops”? Thank you.

        1. I see. Thank you. By the way, did you get to work out the issue in row 4 of the angel’s wings? (comment posted on the angel page)

    9. Hi, loving this pattern, thanks! Though I have a question. I do remember seeing somewhere that you made another pattern for the manger? And see others have found it. But I can’t find the pattern, Is there a link you could send me or maybe tell me where I might find it?
      Thanks so much.

          1. Yes, I have since updated everything. The older version is gone! But the newer version looks the exact same but uses less confusing instructions, so there is no need for the older version!

    10. Hi, I’d lilke to buy this pattern on Ravelry, but I see it was published Nov 2016. And from this blogpost, I see that you have adjusted the pattern to make it easier. Are these adjustments reflected in the Ravelry pattern? I’d like to know please, otherwise I will just use these free updated blogposts. Thanks so much!

    11. I’ve made half dozen nativity sets in #10 crochet thread, which makes very loose looking stitches, no matter the tension. So for the manger on row 13 I’ve had to sc2tog at each corner (48 st) to cinch up my corners. It turned out well I’m happy to report (didn’t need to reduce when I used regular yarn).

    12. I wish you would put a video on of the actual crocheting of the manger.
      In row 11 don’t you actually go anti -clockwise . I’m not sure how to sc in the third loop in each hdc

      1. Yes, you go counter clockwise, but that is the way you would normally work, unless you are left handed. The third loop is the loop behind the two loops. It makes a nice corner, but if it’s keeping you from finishing, you can simply work in the back loop instead.

    13. Love this! Quick question, for the manger in row 11 are we meant to ch 2 first for the corners as the pattern says ( turn 90 degrees, hdc 2 more in the same st for a total of 3) just wondering where the 3rd hdc comes from.
      Oh and you have missed the h off the hdc in row 12 of the top.

      Thanks so much for creating such and easy pattern!!