Welcome, my dears, to another yarning session with me, Mad Martha. If you are a fan of fairy tales and crafting, then today’s book is sure to delight and inspire! I speak of Crochet Stories: Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Vanessa Putt, which I gratefully received from the publisher via Netgalley, and immediately immersed myself in, hook at the ready. Before I show you my completed glories, let’s take a closer look at the book itself. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Practitioners of amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed dolls, will adore this collection of sixteen playful patterns for fairy-tale figures. Projects include the witch and the gingerbread house as well as the hero and heroine of “Hansel and Gretel”; the giant and the golden goose of “Jack and the Beanstalk” in addition to the beanstalk and Jack himself; the long-haired captive of “Rapunzel,” her lonely tower, and her rescuer, the prince; the animals of “The Hare and the Hedgehog” plus a juicy carrot; and the wee subject of “Tom Thumb” and his cow.
Clear instructions for creating the characters are accompanied by color photos of the finished products along with charming retellings of all five fairy tales. An introductory chapter offers general notes and tips, including pointers on working in the round, stuffing, measurements, and finishing.
Just from that front cover, I could tell that this would be a charmingly whimsical repository of achievable patterns. What I didn’t expect was the inclusion, before each pattern set, of a traditional version of each fairy tale. Each of these covered a couple of pages and I felt they were a neat set-up for each of the pattern sets – as well as providing the option for eager mini-fleshlings to act out the story with the dolls as it is being read.
After flipping hastily through the pages, I decided that my first attempt would be creating the witch from the Hansel and Gretel tale, mainly on account of her alluring hair. You can see the image of the witch on the front cover there – top right hand corner. I am pleased to say that the pattern was clear and easy to follow and the witch worked up in a jiff! Here she is:
Despite being reasonably experienced at amigurumi, I do think this is a pattern that is simple enough for a beginner to follow, with no particular tricks or traps. In fact, the witch is probably a bit easier than the standard person shape because she is worked in only two colours and there’s no need to complete legs…so a win for the first pattern I tried!
Next up, I couldn’t resist having a go at the heart-meltingly sweet giant from the Jack and the Beanstalk tale, dressed up as he is in his dear little lumberjack guise. Bless! Here he is:
The perfect gift for a hipster, craft-beer-brewing friend! This pattern was significantly trickier than that for the witch because of the colour-changes needed, the addition of legs and the patterning on the shirt. The giant took me a little longer than expected and I felt that the hook size recommended in the pattern was a touch too big for my preferences, but I am extremely happy with the result of this pattern nonetheless. Especially the beard – gorgeous!
As well as the people and animals in the tales, there are also structures to craft, including the witch’s gingerbread house, the beanstalk and Rapunzel’s tower. I didn’t have quite the level of commitment to go ahead and complete them for you, but they are a fun inclusion (and a worthy challenge) for those who want to make a complete playset. I absolutely adored the golden eggs in the Jack and the Beanstalk tale, and tiny Tom Thumb would be a fun challenge for those who like to use a smaller hook.
Overall, I was very pleased with this book. Even though there aren’t any picture tutorials, the patterns are clear and include recommended yarn types and colours. The patterns cover a range of skill levels and techniques, which are clearly stated at the beginning of the patterns. I’m not convinced that this would necessarily work for an absolute beginner at crochet, but for those who know the basic stitches and want to branch out into simple amigurumi, this would be a sterling choice!
Cheerio my dears,