Waiting for Christen Haden’s Creepy Cute Crochet to be released I think I was a bit like a kid waiting for their first trip to Disneyland. I built it up so much in my mind that I was bound to be disappointed by the actual product when it arrived. I’ve always been a big fan of Haden, aka NeedleNoodles. It was seeing her Cthulhu on Etsy that inspired me to design my own Cthulhu pattern and from there I’ve gone on to a number of other ambitious projects.
I don’t want to give the impression that this is a bad book. It certainly isn’t bad, I just think it might not be what people are expecting. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to browse through the book in store before buying it, I highly recommend you do so.
The book features 21 different creepy critters, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting 21 patterns. That’s where I think the product description is a bit misleading. What you’re actually getting is one pattern for a basic head and body shape, and 21 different variations that you can do to this body shape. The variations may include only minor changes of wool colour or whole extra pieces such as hats, vests, or headdresses that you need to crochet. Haden also provides a basic description of how to make fringe hair, clay eyes and props for some of the critters.
I think the main problem that I have with the book is that the way things are done often doesn’t make sense or isn’t the easiest way it could be done. In other places I found the instructions rather vague and it was frustrating to try and figure out what I was supposed to be doing.
Looking at the pictures, the heads on the critters seem perfectly round, but when you actually make them what you end up with is a more oblong, oval shape. Unlike typical amigurumi the increases aren’t done in a basic multiple either, such as starting with a round of 6, then increasing to 12, 18, 24, etc. Instead the increases are random and I find they actually make the head come out a bit lopsided.
I should also note that Haden makes most of the pieces in this book by slip stitching at the end of each round to join and then beginning the next round with a chain 1 and single crochet in the same space. I personally can’t see any reason why the critters couldn’t be done using the more common spiral rounds method that most people use for amigurumi and I found the joining and chaining tedious.
The photos in the book make it feel more like a coffee table book of crochet than a pattern book. I’m not sure who to blame here? The photographer? The publisher? Whoever it is seems more concerned with making an artistic photo than a useful photo that will help the stitcher understand what they’re supposed to be doing. There is one group shot of all the creatures and then each creature gets one large photo at the beginning of its pattern pages.
I would have liked to have seen more pictures from more angles. Especially for the Cthulhu it would have been nice to have a photo of the back so I could see exactly what the wings look like and how to place them.
More pictures or even hand drawn diagrams would have also helped in places where the instructions are hard to understand. For example, in the Corporate Zombie pattern it says “stitch one piece of hair fringe in a zigzag along side of head.” Having made this creature I still have no idea what that means and I ended up improvising. A picture probably could have made that clearer.
Haden includes instructions in both written form and charts and there are directions here for special stitches she uses in the book. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever seen the magic ring outlined in an amigurumi book so points for that! However, I wouldn’t recommend this book for a beginner. I think it’s too complicated and it doesn’t provide instructions for basic stitches such as the single crochet or double crochet. It just assumes you already know that much.
This book would be suitable for an intermediate stitcher. To make these patterns you need to know your basic stitches and have the confidence to improvise when the instructions get confusing. Since it shows a wide variety of designs you can create from one basic body shape it’s probably a nice bridge for people who are ready to go from following other people’s patterns to making their own.
If you’re already an advanced amigurumi maker, and you can design your own head and body shape, then there probably isn’t much you can learn from Creepy Cute Crochet. To give the book a fair review I made my first two critters following the instructions in the book to the letter, but I know that in the future when I refer to it I’ll be improvising as I go; stitching in spiral rounds, changing the head shape slightly and making other alterations so that I can stitch the head and body all as one piece rather than sewing them together later.
Finally, I have to say that even though I have some quibbles about the book, Haden has come up with really awesome designs here. The book truly lives up to its name of creepy cuteness. Out of the 21 critter there are only about 5 here that don’t really appeal to me. I don’t know about you, but it’s not often that I pick up a pattern book and like more than 50 percent of the designs in it.
I’m curious what others think of this book. If you’ve bought it post a comment and let me know what you think.
My other Amigurumi book reviews:
Amigurumi Word. My thoughts...
Mr. Funky's Crochet Elephant