Saturday, May 9, 2009

Crobot Roll Call...(and Review!)

Thinker, Babybot, Catbot, Dogbot, Crooooowwwwww...wait, how did he get in there?

Crobots: 20 Amigurumi Robots to Make is, in a word, awesome. That’s it. That’s my short review. Go out right now and add this one to your collection. Or read on to find out more about why I’m so impressed with this book.

Crobots is the first published crochet pattern book by Nelly Pailloux, whom some folks might know from her Etsy shop, La Fee Crochette. This 96 page paperback consists of 20 unique amigurumi robot designs and each design truly is unique. This isn’t just one pattern for a standard body shape and twenty different ways to decorate it. Each robot has it’s own shape. While there may be some similarities among the robots, no two use the exact same body.

Two critical things that you should know about Crobots; first off, the idea is for these bots to be small. Pailloux suggests making the bots with sport weight yarn and a size C2 (2.75 mm) hook. Not having a hook that small in my collection and wanting to use up some of my stash of worsted weight yarn I broke that rule. My bots still turned out cute, but they are much bigger than the designer’s suggested height of 3 to 4 inches. Please keep that in mind when you’re looking at my pictures.

Second, the crobots will make great gifts for adult friends, but made as is, they aren’t suitable for young children or any households that have small children around. A quick look at the materials lists, which include items such as pen springs, bugle beads, nails, washers, screws, small faceted nuts and tire valves is enough to make any parent shudder. Of course the crobots would still maintain their cuteness even if some of these pieces were omitted or changed, but readers should keep in mind that they will need to make some alterations if their toddler has an affection for robot toys.

Normally when I’m testing a book for review I make one or two of the designs to see how I like it. The fact that I’ve made four of these little guys and there are still others that I’d like to try is a testament to the strength of the designs. I think the book’s strongest feature is that Pailloux incorporates new shapes like square heads and takes old notions such as beads and sequins and uses them in ways you don’t typically see in amigurumi. The book made me think about amigurumi shapes and accessories in new ways and that’s something you don’t come across in too many pattern books.

The patterns in Crobots range from easy to difficult, although from my experience that rating system seemed more related to how long it will take you to put the bot together than how challenging the process actually is. For example, Thinker is rated a two, while Dogbot is only a one. I found Thinker to be just as easy, if not easier, to make than Dogbot.

Regardless of the ratings, this book would be suitable for crocheters of all skill levels. The first few pages explain the magic ring and all the basic crochet stitches that you’ll need to make the patterns in the book. The instructions are clearly written and illustrated. The directions for each bot also feature a detailed assembly diagram so that you can see exactly where each piece goes.

I also like the household objects approach that Pailloux uses to accessorize and decorate the bots. One of the first bots you encounter in the book is Mechanobot who sports tiny spring arms. My first thought was “Oh no, I’m going to have to buy a whole bag of tiny springs when I only need two.” Turns out I was wrong. Looking at the materials list for this bot, I noticed Pailloux suggestion, “dismantle two retractable ballpoint pens to obtain these.” Perfect! I love the idea of using items that you’ll naturally have lying around the house to make the crobots.

The only problem I encountered in making my four bots was some discrepancy in the direction for Baby Bot. Looking at the picture of this robot on the cover of the book it is clear that his tummy panel is crocheted in white. When you examine the instructions for this bot, however, you find that it directs you to make this stomach panel out of felt. This pattern is also missing the instructions for one side of Baby Bot’s head. Out of the four patterns I’ve worked on this was the only one where I encountered any mistakes. Both of these problems can easily be solved by any experienced amigurumi maker, but they may cause some frustration for a beginner.

That problem aside, I’m still a huge fan of Crobots. It will make a great addition to anyone’s amigurumi collection, providing a wonderful series of adorable crochet robots to liven up your home or give away to family and friends.

My Other Book Reviews...

Tiny Yarn Animals Truly Terrific
Creepy Cute Crochet: Approach with Caution
Amigurumi Word. My thoughts...
Mr. Funky's Crochet Elephant


lafeecrochette said...

I love the way your Crobots turned out and can't wait to see more of them.
Are you happy for me to add your pictures to my Happy Crocheter gallery?

amber said...

Sure, feel free to add them to the gallery!

La Fée Crochette said...

Thank you! All four of them are now resident of my Happy Crocheter gallery!