Tally-ho, fellow craft-lovers! Today’s book is one for those who love crochet, animal parts and ironic home interior trends. We received a copy of Crochet Taxidermy: 30 Quirky Animal Projects, From Mouse to Moose by Taylor Hart, with great excitement from the publisher via Netgalley. Unfortunately, time got away from me and despite the best intentions I was unable to actually complete any of the projects in this compendium. I have had a good old pore over it though and have formed some firm opinions, so here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Crochet Taxidermy puts a new twist on amigurumi, the popular Japanese method of creating considerably cute stuffed animals with oversized heads. In this delightful collection, heads of animals from farm and forest, sea and safari come to life with irresistible details like the drowsy eye (for the shy deer and sleepy octopus) and fuzzy yarn (for the skittery skunk’s stripe and lazy lion’s mane). Step-by-step instructions and adorable photos guide you through these 30 easy crochet patterns. Most require just one skein of yarn, so they’re affordable and quick to crochet!
If you are a crafter with a basic understanding of amigurumi techniques – crocheting in the round, completing a magic circle, attaching limbs etc – this would be a fantastic pick for extending those skills in a way that allows for guilt-free construction of what are, essentially, plushies. Being an avid maker of amigurumi, I know the internal conflict that arises from wanting desperately to make another cute little plushy, but feeling the guilt of not having an immediate purpose or recipient in mind for said toy. Attaching the completed product to your wall is a perfect solution!
The book provides a diverse range of cute critters to display around the interior of your abode (or work cubicle!), with projects ranging from the quick and adorable mouse, chicken, owl and cuttlefish designs, to the more substantial moose, cow and hippo. Animals are divided into habitat categories, so if you have a particular decorating theme in mind, you can draw on a whole wall-full of inspiration. Similarly, the patterns for related animals seem to use standard shapes, so once you have mastered one animal, completing others of its ilk should be a doddle.
I had two main issues of contention with this title though. The first is that, as a more experienced amigurumi maker, the animals didn’t quite have the quirky facial character I was hoping for. This is simply an issue of preference however, so I can’t really hold that against the designer. The second issue however, which can be noticed upon close inspection of the completed photographs of the projects, is one that poked at the frayed nerves of the perfectionist in me. One of the key features of amigurumi is the use of small, tightly woven stitches, but in the project photos the stuffing is clearly showing on a number of the animals, which means that the stitches are larger than they probably should be – or alternately, that the pieces are too tightly stuffed, stretching the fabric too widely. This could be related to the fact that some of the projects are quite large and designed to be completed quickly, but it seemed like something that should have been ironed out before the final patterns were made up, to give the finished product a more professional look.
If you are at the beginning of your amigurumi journey though, or someone who needs a watertight excuse to make more cute, quirky plushies, this book really does have everything you need to achieve a successful and jolly faux-taxidermy look for your home.
Yours in yarn,