Thursday, July 9, 2015

Crochet book review: Edward's Menagerie

There are many great crochet books out there but most of us have a limited book budget. Remember that one of the benefits of Crochet Twin Cities membership is checkout privilege from the Textile Center library - and this book is just one of many great crochet books available!

Book: Edward's Menagerie: Over 40 Soft and Snuggly Toy Animal Crochet Patterns

Author: Kerry Lord
Publisher: David & Charles
ISBN-13: 978-1446304785

General description:
This book is aptly described by its subtitle, a book that includes 40 patterns for crocheted animals. The book is beautiful, with photos of each toy made from DK weight alpaca in a variety of natural colors. All of the crocheted animals were designed by the author and made for her young son Edward - what a lucky kid!

What I liked about the book:
There are many, many things I liked about this book, here are a few specific points:

  • Forty different animal patterns may seem daunting but the author has done a great job in organizing the patterns so that what you learn from making one helps with the next. She includes instructions for standard body and leg as well as the standard way to increase for the heads, then notes variations in each specific animal pattern.
  • Another thing the author has done to help is to divide the patterns by difficulty level. Level 1 patterns, for example, use only one color and three basic crochet stitches. Level 2 and 3 animals add more color changes and additional stitches.
  • The book includes a technicals section with basic crochet instructions as well as assembly instructions for those of us who have never made stuffed crochet animals.
  • The book uses photos wisely - not too many, not too few. I particularly appreciated the photos of an overstuffed toy - or I'm sure I would have made that mistake!
  • Even though the book is written in British crochet terms (British dc = U.S. sc), the author notes the difference up front with instructions about how to convert to U.S terminology.

What I disliked about the book:
It's not exactly a dislike but the one thing that was a bit distracting to me was the introduction that the author gives to each animal. She talks about them as if they were human. For example, the intro for Richard the Large White Pig starts out "Richard does not have a mobile phone". I'm sure that some consider this as one of the endearing parts of the book but I must admit I am still not sure

Overall recommendation:
I would definitely recommend this book, the patterns are really cute and easy to follow. I have already made one animal from it and plan to make more. In fact, I saw on Amazon that the author is releasing a companion book in September, Edward's Menagerie - Birds: Over 40 Soft Toy Patterns for Crochet Birds. You can bet it's on my wish list!

Thanks for the review Maxine. CTC members, don't forget you can earn extra raffle tickets by volunteering to write a book review - and Maxine and Nancy, the CTC librarian, are working on a list of book suggestions. Send a note to if you're interested in helping out.