Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday book review

"Super-super cute crochet" by Brigitte Read
ISBN: 978-1907030246

UK crochet terms

You may remember that back in June I featured a designer focus on the work of Brigitte Read who has been a long time favourite designer of mine. Well a month later I was lucky enough to be given a copy of her first book of patterns for my Birthday and as I've finally gotten around to trying a few of the designs I thought it was time to write the book review.

Sadly my first impressions were not as good as I had hoped. A handful of the patterns published in the book have already been made available for free on the roman sock blog and due to the way the patterns have been printed some of the useful step by step photos from the free patterns have not been included. Even though there are a number of patterns that feature Brigitte's brushed crochet technique the instructions in the book have been limited to only two paragraphs and no photos which considering the detailed guide that is available from the roman sock blog seemed a little odd.

There are a wide variety of patterns in this book all for cute animals ranging from the more usual cat, dog, bird pattern to some much more unusual designs including a walrus, anteater, silkworm and star-nosed mole. Most of the designs I liked the look of so there was plenty in here to keep me busy and I found it quite hard to single out only a few designs to do.

First up I had a try at the cute little blue whale which looked pretty simple to do. The main body was a basic oval shape and the tail was worked separately and added on at the end. Because there are only photos in the book of the finished toys it was hard to work out where to put the eyes and where to attach the tail to the back. A close up photo of the back of the whale would really have helped but the focus seemed to be to show how cute the whale was and hide the fact that the tail looked a little odd just tacked on at the back. Other annoyances included that the mouth of the whale in the book was just a piece of pink yarn stitched straight across and positioned to look nice for the photos - not actually embroidered properly. The method used for starting the main body section would not have left the nice tidy top that you see in my photo and in the book photos - I tried it and it left a gap at the top... you need to use a magic circle to get the finish you see here. Lastly the main body construction is made of two pieces which are joined together at the end which leaves a clear ridge at the bottom of the whale's body (I've carefully photographed mine so it isn't noticeable)  which in my opinion looks a bit silly.

So not a very good start so far. For my next pattern I tried the more difficult looking flamingo and was much happier with the finished result. There were a couple of errors in the pattern but nothing too difficult to figure out and even though the instructions for stuffing were contradictory I found this pattern much easier to follow.

(If you want to try this pattern then I recommend you stuff the head before you get too far crocheting the neck. Once you've finished the neck insert a pipe cleaner with a little bit of stuffing as well, then stuff the body before you finish it off.)

The long bendable legs and the funny little wings make this a very cute toy and well worth the time you spend putting all the separate pieces together.

Lastly I decided to try one of the patterns that is also available for free from the roman sock blog - the beautiful Manta ray that I've been meaning to make for a few years now. The pattern for this ray is exactly the same as you will find online except it has all the useful step by step photos stripped out of it so the free version is more helpful then the pattern published in the book. However this pattern seems to be error free - perhaps because it has been available for a long time before this book and so has had plenty of time to be tested for errors. I found it to be easy to make up though quite fiddly to put together due to all sewing in of pipe cleaners and needing to construct a pink felt mouth. I love how he turned out and would definitely recommend making him to anyone.

In overview - although this book was sadly a bit disappointing as I had expected much better pattern instructions from this designer I would still say it has some of the nicest designs for amigurumi animals that have been published so far. There are still at least 10 more pattern in here that I want to have a go at making which means this book ranks pretty high in my collection of crochet titles. So yes I would recommend it as one to add to your collection - though beware that you may also find some of the patterns have errors in them.

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