I got my grubby paws on a copy of Edward's Menagerie by Kerry Lord and I can't get these lovely animal patterns out of my head! I have plans to try to make a small collection for Christmas presents, but I have no idea whether I will actually achieve that plan or not...
From the first moment I picked up this book I was impressed with it. Every aspect of its production has been carefully designed. The animals themselves are brilliant, but I don't think that is what caught my eye the most about the book. What made me exclaim and get excited was the way that every piece of information that I might need, in order to pick up a hook and get going, was right there at my fingertips.
The animals are carefully divided into levels, according to the skills required to complete them. I would definitely need to start with the level 1 animals, which require just one colour, chain, slip stitch and double crochet. These are well within even my basic crochet skills! But I feel confident that when I am ready to attack the level 2 and 3 patterns, all of the information and tutorials I will need are within the book. But don't worry! There aren't pages and pages of dense "How-tos", but rather 10 clearly laid out pages that will take you through everything you need for all the patterns, with excellent walkthrough photos. There's even advice on adding face details and a spread on topknots and tails, complete with fetching photos of the bottoms of all the animals!
Kerry has included 4 simple yarn weight sizing options, with a set of tables to tell you how much yarn, what hook size, finished measurements and tension information. It is touches like these that take this book from cute animals, to "where's my hook, I'm ready to get going"!
All of the designs use gorgeous Toft yarns - 100% British Alpaca yarns from Kerry's family alpaca farm. This gives the animals the feel of a proper collection, and their natural shades sit together beautifully. You could easily substitute other standard weight yarns, but I definitely believe that using the recommended yarn here is going to give you finished animals that are a cut above your average amigurumi. I certainly plan to order Toft yarns to make my own Menagerie... hopefully very soon!
Each of the patterns has a lovely large photo, and an achievably short set of instructions. Even I, who really isn't normally a fan of crochet, am itching to make these. I passed the book around at my local knitting group a few weeks ago - a crowd that are particularly hard to please - and last week someone had already borrowed Edward's Menagerie from the library and made 4 of the animals, and two more were planning to buy their own copies. I can't remember the last time that a book was sound universally liked by our knitting group!
So if you haven't already, do head out and get your grubby hands on a copy of Edward's Menagerie. If you purchase direct from Toft, you will also receive a pdf file with an additional 10 animal patterns (who could resist Frank the Armadillo?!).
Edward's Menagerie by Kerry Lord
David and Charles Publishing
RRP: £15.99 / US $22.99 / CAN $25.50
Disclaimer: I didn't pay for my copy of the book. A friend passed me hers, as she doesn't crochet. I would happily have paid for my copy as I believe it's worth every penny. I've not received any incentive for writing a review - I was just excited about the book!