Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mr. Funky's Crochet Elephant


Right now the only book in my crochet library besides The Happy Hooker is Mr. Funky’s Super Crochet Wonderful by Narumi Ogawa. That’s where this cute little elephant I've made is from.

I bought Mr. Funky's as a bit of an impulse. (Okay, well not really an impulse, I was trying to make an Amazon order that was big enough to qualify for free shipping.) I hadn’t looked through it prior to purchasing it, and aside from the three amigurumi pictured on the cover I wasn’t sure what to expect. (And why is that simple little hamster on the cover when they could have used the much cuter elephant?)

The book is a bit confusing in that it’s clearly not intended for beginners. At no point does it actually tell you how to do the stitches in the amigurumi patterns. It assumes you already know those. However, most of the creatures are so simple that anyone with amigurumi experience really doesn’t need the pattern to make these things (again, the hamster? Seriously?)

Despite the simplicity, I decided to be good and actually follow the instructions. Now keep in mind I’ve only made this elephant, so I can’t speak for the quality of the other patterns. I did notice one problem with the instructions for the elephant’s arms and legs which was that in round 2 and 4 it tells you to switch to main colour. It’s clear from the picture that his arms and legs are not striped, so this is obviously a misprint, but it leaves one confused as to which round is the right place to switch colours.

I found that while the pattern was easy to follow, it often chose a difficult way of doing things when a simpler method would suffice. For example, you cast off his head with 34 stitches and then have to sew it to a body piece that ends in 29 stitches. Why not have both pieces end in the same number so that the stitches will be lined up evenly when you’re sewing them together? Also, lets take a look at this line for decreasing:

RND 16: Sc in each of next 5 sts, dec, *sc in each of next 11 sts, dec, rep from *twice, sc in each of last 6 sts -- 48 sc total

Sure, that works, but why split things up with the 5 at the beginning and the 6 at the end? It’s still a dec. after ever 11 stitches so why not:

RND 16: *Sc in each of next 11 sts, dec* repeat around -- 48 total.

Little things like that bugged me, as they really didn’t serve any purpose except to make it harder to keep track of the round.

On the plus side, there are over thirty patterns in this book for everything from amigurumi to scarves and hats and even wire jewelry. It’s a really good selection with only a few of the patterns being duds (still looking at you Mr. Hamster!)

I think a lot of these would make great gift items, the kind of stuff you can stitch up in a couple of hours for a last minute gift. I also think there’s a lot of mixing and matching you could do with the patterns in here. For example, the little dress worn by the bunny on the cover could be modified to fit almost any of the other animals, or the elephant body could be converted into a cat using the ears and tail from the Pretty Little Kitty pattern.

Let me know what you think. If anyone else has made projects from this book or has purchased another amigurumi book that they like I’d love to hear your comments.

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