Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cuddly Crochet book review + giveaway

Hello and welcome! This post is part of Stacey Trock's Cuddly Crochet blog tour. I hope you enjoy your stay! Before we start, I would like to remind you that even though I got this book for a review purpose, I have only written my own honest opinions about it. It would need more than one crochet book to alter my opinions.

I love knitting books, I love crochet books, and most of all, I love the smell of a new book and the way it fills my bookshelf. So when the mailman brought me a copy of Stacey Trock's "Cuddly Crochet" I was really excited. I new book for me to read through!
Adorable Toys, Hats, and More
So what is "Cuddly Crochet"? This is how the book describes itself: "Looking for a great gift for a special youngster? Choose from 10 adorable stuffed animals and pair them with 10 practical items such as blankets, hats, and bibs for the perfect baby-gift combo. [..] Each toy - including a cool truck - is the perfect size to be carried and cuddled by toddlers. With patterns just right for the novice, this books offers plenty for crocheters of all levels."

But let me warn you right away: If you're hoping to find amigurumi patterns, you will be disappointed. This is not an amigurumi book. This book contains patterns for stuffed toys that kids can actually play with. I'm a former amigurumi crocheter, so at first glance I found the toys quite dull. They didn't have small details or gigantic heads or plate-sized eyes or whatever is typical for amigurumis. But as I read through Stacey's introduction to the book, I understood how right she was: amigurumis are cute, but totally impractical for small children. Small children need toys that are large enough for them to cuddle, and safe for them to play with. Toys like the ones you can find from the Cuddly Crochet book.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm a former amigurumi crocheter. With this information given, you could expect me to be quite experienced crochet pattern reader as well. But no, you're wrong. I'm hopeless with crochet patterns, just ask J.R. He helped me time after time with the same basic things. And because I'm totally aware of my lack of crochet pattern reading skills, I wanted to try to crochet something from the book all by myself. It would be an excellent way to find out how sufficient the instructions are.

I picked the easiest pattern from the book, Annie the Adorable Bluebird, because it was also the smallest project in the book. I don't have anything against stuffed toys, I just figured it would be smarter to go with a smaller toy because they naturally take less space from our amigurumi shelf (it's crowded). So here's Annie from the book:

Photo: Courtesy of Martingale Publications.
As you can see, Annie doesn't look too challenging. And she certainly wasn't too challenging to crochet either. I was able to follow the whole pattern without problems! Everything was clear as water, and that's a real achievement for me. I didn't have to ask advice from J.R. even once. It would be safe to say that based on this experiment, the instructions are very sufficient indeed. And look, my pink bird looks almost as good as the original Annie:

Almost as cute as the original Annie
Annie the Adorable Bluebird is not the only adorable pattern in the book. In fact, they are all quite adorable. I feel that I'm well prepared now if someone in my neighborhood decides to have a baby. Just bring it on, I have baby-gift ideas for the next ten babies! And because the book has such a good introduction to crocheting and the patterns are very clear, I feel that I could actually crochet everything from the book if I wanted to.

I feel like a total book geek for mentioning this, but I really enjoyed the layout of this book. The pictures have nice borders around them, there are cute fonts, lovely colors and very outstanding information boxes... I've seen many craft books with less attractive layouts.

Lovely, lovely layout
So, I could go on and on about this, but I think it's better to stop babbling before people get bored. To prevent this review from getting ridiculously long, I have gathered a simple list of all the things I liked in Cuddly Crochet. There are quite many of them:
  • Good introduction to the crocheting techniques
  • Unique concept: stuffed toys with matching blankets, hats and bibs
  • Animals are quite unisex, both boys and girls like them
  • Attractive and cute layout
  • Patterns for beginner crocheters as well as for more advanced crocheters
  • Very good pictures of finished products
  • Clear patterns
  • Guidance how to make the toys safe for small children.
My last conclusion is that Cuddly Crochet is a nice addition to anyone's craft book collection, even if you don't have your own kids. You never know when you have an urgent need of crocheted animals.


Because Stacey Trock is nice and awesome, she sent us an extra book for a giveaway. Just comment this post and you're in. If you are a subscriber, whether you are an old one or you just subscribed after reading this post, mention that in your comment. Subscribers will get one extra entry.

International entries are also welcome, we'll ship worldwide on our own expense. The giveaway closes on Friday 30.4. The winner will be chosen randomly. We will announce the winner on our blog on Saturday 1.5 and also contact the winner personally. Please make sure we have a way to contact you.



Elina said...

I have to admit the book didn't seem nearly as interesting and useful as it sounds after reading your review. Who would have guessed it has such a nice layout inside? And you remind me of my high school friend who used to hold books up to her nose and browse them to smell them...

It's true, sometimes I wish amigurumis had some other use than just being cute. And I can imagine it does take some extra measures to make them child-safe.

*Michelle* said...

Oh, me, me! I need to work on my crochet skills & my little girl would love some more mama-made toys. :) Off to follow you as well... Thanks!

Tintin said...

Sounds better than it looks.
My son asks me to the toys for him. I´ve knitted an meteorite and a snail. and he keeps asking for more :-)

I´ve subcribed your blog at the bloglist.

o_O said...

Thanks for the great review! I must say, it does look and sound like a great book! I've read your blog before, and love it! I've now added you to my reading list on blogger - this is how I follow all my fave blogs. Thanks again for writing up the review, now on with the crocheting :-)


Nalamienea said...

ooo, did I miss it? :) i'd love a chance to try it out!

hillanen said...

Thanks for the review :) I always want to try out my luck in giveaways ;)

Anonymous said...

Love the cute birdie. I've subscribed cause you're blog looks very sweet :)

Zuleika said...

What a cute book! I haven't crocheted a toy in ages. :-)

ms said...

I'll throw my hat in as well. Maybe this book would give me the boost I need to break out my crochet box again...

Worsted Knitt said...

I'll just comment, even though I don't crochet, but if I win I'll give the book to a friend of mine who is "expecting" her first grandchild!

Tami Klockau said...

Oops, deleted my comment above because I gave my wrong email/contact info. Here was my post:

Count me in! I just started to crochet amigurumis about a month ago and am already addicted! I'm working on my 6th project and am thinking of starting an amigurumi blog!

That being said, I like your review of this book. I'm trying to make an amigurumi for my young nieces right now, but they're just too small for them to do anything with. It would be great to have patterns for toys that they could play with and not just look at.

I am a subscriber of the blog as well.


hpseeker4 (at) gmail dot com

Marie said...

Gorgeous looking book! I love crochet and I'd love to make something for my two babies!
Fab giveaway!

Merith said...

Really lovely looking book:)

Bgstoner said...

The book looks really cute.
I am a follower too!

bgstoner AT gmail (dot) com

Roosa said...

How lovely <3 I have made one a puppy toy and many little cup cakes. :-)

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