Thursday, April 11, 2013

Animal Magic!

Last weekend was all about the Amigurumi, I am not one for making woolly toys but I want to share a little book with you that caught my eye, the publishers kindly sent me over an electronic version to review, Crochet a Zoo by Megan Kreiner.  
What I really liked about the projects was that the animals are cute but not 'twee', there is a great mix of textures, not only using crochet but stitching/embroidery and felt, this gives personality to each and everyone of the beasts. 

The best way for me to check out a crochet book is to take on one of the projects, with 14 to chose from I was spoilt.  I decided on the Hippo in the end, he caught my eye.  I raided my stash and found a fetching shade of blue cotton to use.

The patterns are written simply e.g. kept short and to the point, if you are an absolute beginner then I would have some pattern reading practice first.  This is a US book so the terminology is different,  but no big deal because you can usually find UK abbreviations online to 'translate'!  When reading shorter patterns I find taking each instruction literally works for me.  When writing I tend to include as many instruction as I can possibly fit in, so be aware of things like spiralling your rounds.  
My advice is to sit down and have a good look through the pattern first.  This book is so delightful that I know its very tempting to just jump in feet first as the designs are like a chocolate box of excitment, but be patient, its worth it in the long run.

Each piece is made separately and stuffing instructions are indicated within the pattern, as you go along. Each part is quick and easy to make so without distraction and in an ideal world, the whole piece could be made in an evening!

I would like to share my experience with you so here you go! 
All of the finished pieces, 'a dismembered Hippo'! 

I enjoy a bit of stitchery so this next bit was right up my street.

A bit of satin stitch on the legs to create little toe nails.

Time to work on the face, you can use plastic eyes but I decided to stitch mine on, and any excuse for a French knot!  
I used cream and black yarn for the eyes.

Nostrils and teeth, what a character!

Hair colour next and my daughter, who has claimed the Hippo for herself, thought that red hair was definitely the suitable shade.

The next stage was putting the body together, head and tail first. 
A rather strange legless hippo emerged.

Finally all legs attached and Herbert (a rather charming name I thought) is finished.

This pattern is a great little make, you need to be able to sew a little, but it doesn't involve anything too complex, I used one ball of Rowan handknit cotton and some oddments of cream, black and orange yarn. Work through it methodically and as soon as you finish one beast, I bet you will want to do another.  There are so many Amurgurumi books on the market but this one should definitely be popped on the bookshelf.  This is certainly designed with kids in mind, (or big kids in my case), what tot wouldn't want a 'Crochet Zoo' of their own?  Here are some other animals you can make from the book.
Seals Mum and baby!

Penguins a whole family!

Until next time......Nicky xx


  1. I love the colors you picked! He came out beautifully :)

    I look forward to seeing more pictures of your critters when you have a chance to post them!

  2. Thank you, blue and orange just seem to work! I have a giraffe request which will I will pop up soon.

  3. Awesome! Can't wait to see it :)