Win a copy of Cute Crocheted Animals by Emma Varnam
If you choose one crochet book to buy this autumn, make it this one! Merion falls in love with Emma Varnam’s crochet animals patterns…
Cute Crocheted Animals by Emma Varnam, published by GMC (£14.99, available from www.thegmcgroup.com)
Who doesn’t love a book about crochet? I have shelves groaning with favourites, and I can’t resist a flick through anything new that appears on my desk (or anybody else’s desk to be honest) – so when this delightful collection of animal patterns appeared, I was lost!
With the great trend for high street chains of stuffed plush animals and vast wardrobes of jazzy outfits, you could be forgiven for thinking that children might not be drawn to home-made crocheted or knitted animals – but you’d be quite wrong! The need for these beautiful, gentle friends has never been greater.
So, Emma Varnam, whose patterns we have always admired here at LoveCrochet, has produced this fabulous new book of “Cute Crocheted Animals” – and it’s certainly very cute! There are ten characters to knit, complete with a divine wardrobe of clothes that frankly I’d wear! Each animal has a character and clothes designed to match – but all of the clothes will fit all of the animals, so you don’t have to stick to the prescribed outfit.
So – let’s have a closer look. There are the rabbits, Emily and Jack; the mice, Lucy and Fred; the bears, Nancy and Bernard; the cats, Kate and Stanley, and the adorable foxes, Evie and Ben. Each animal has its own little character and back story, and you’re immediately drawn into the fun of enabling these little creatures to have the fun they love by dressing them in their favourite outfits!
“Emily likes wearing her bright red wellies to jump in puddles in the park. Her favourite food is cake, and lots of it!”
Emma explains, in her introduction, that she spent many happy hours as a child dressing dolls and teddies in outfits made by her aunties and grandma, and wanted to recreate that fun with her crocheted animals.
“I wanted to create a selection of toys and clothes that really were appealing to kids. The clothes I designed are the kind of clothes that children I know wear. Trendy fun clothes with stars and stripes. I also created outfits, like rugby tops and ballet tutus so that people could create a range of outfits for a child to play with. Maybe even a whole fun wardrobe. When I was a little girl, I love to dress my dolls and teddies in knitted clothes my grandma had made. People seem to make fewer outfits for dolls now,but I know the little girls I know now still enjoy choosing outfits and imagining little outings for their beloved toys.”
The patterns are clear and easy to follow – the animals are made piece by piece and then sewn into the body. All of the patterns are simple, using just basic stitches, so an adventurous beginner should be able to complete an animal fairly easily. The clothes involve some more complex stitches such the raised trebles in Bernard’s Aran jumper (“stylish and practical for rugged adventures”) and the tapestry colourwork in Jack’s t-shirt. The accessories are nothing short of divine – a beautiful tiny granny square bag for Nancy (with matching poncho) and Lucy’s ballet shoes and headband (that “she loves so much she wears it to bed”) – it’s a carefully written book full of sweetness and little touches that will charm you.
The handy section of basics at the back of the book is a great introduction to techniques you may be unfamiliar with, such as the Magic Ring, or different ways of seaming up – there is even a section for embroidery. Emma suggests too, that you augment the clothes with touches of fabric and ribbon, and of course use different colours and fibres!
“I hope people change the colours and accessories the patterns I have designed. I can’t wait to see the characters come to life and most of all are played with and loved.”