Friday, December 19, 2008

Tiny Yarn Animals...Truly Terrific

If you’re looking for a last minute gift idea for the crocheter on your Christmas list, or for yourself, I highly recommend checking out a copy of Tiny Yarn Animals by Tammie Snow (aka creator of This sixty-one page book contains patterns for 20 different adorable amigurumi animals. You get some standard animals like elephants, lions, octopuses and mice, which seem to be a staple of most amigurumi books. However, there are also some unusual additions here such as Snow’s amigurumi fox, lemur, hippopotamus and beaver.

There are three key factors that I think make Tiny Yarn Animals a great amigurumi guide. First off, there is a great selection of animals here that will please a variety of tastes. Like Ana Paula Rimoli’s Amigurmi World this is a great go-to book whenever you need a quick little gift for a friend or family member.

Second, there is a nice selection of pictures for each pattern. The pictures are big enough that you can actually see the details of the stitching and most importantly, where to attach key elements like legs and tails.

Finally, Snow’s instructions are quite clear and easy to follow. A friend of mine, who was new to amigurumi, made the lemur and didn’t have any trouble following Snow’s instructions. (That is said friend’s lemur you see pictured here by the way.) And for those new to amigurumi or crochet in general, Snow includes step-by-step instructions, complete with pictures, showing how all the basic stitches used in the book can be made.

I’ve completed two critters from this book, the frog and the koala bear, and I only had trouble with one piece. For some reason I couldn’t get the koala’s nose to turn out the way it looked in the picture. In the end I resolved the problem by simply making a nose out of felt instead of crocheting it.

Those who attempt more than one creature in the book will notice that many rely on the same basic head and body shape, but the instructions are written out separately for each creature so you’re not constantly flipping between different pages to complete your project. As well, you do get critters such as the hedgehog, owl and fish that deviate from the standard body.

If I have any complaints at all about this book it would be that Snow hasn’t included a stitch count at the end of each line in the pattern. Most commonly the lines in an amigurumi pattern are written up something like this:

R3: *2 sc in 1st sc, 1 sc in next, repeat from * around. (18 sts)

Snow’s patterns leave off that final step and don’t tell you how many stitches you should have at the end of the round. An experienced crocheter can easily go through the pattern and fill in the expected stitch numbers themselves with a pencil, but I think this could lead to some frustration for beginners. Snow also uses the “ch 2 and then single crochet X-number of stitches in to the second chain from hook” method of beginning all her pieces. This is a matter of personal taste, but I really like starting amigurumi pieces with a magic ring instead. Of course, that’s a simple change to make to any pattern.

Those minor quibbles aside, this really is a great amigurumi book. The creatures are all adorable and simple enough that you could probably complete one of them in a day or two with less than a full skein of yarn. The biggest problem you may have is trying to decide which animal to crochet first.

My Other Book Reviews...

Creepy Cute Crochet: Approach with Caution
Amigurumi Word. My thoughts...
Mr. Funky's Crochet Elephant

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