I'm not usually one to go for cutesy things -- or at least I wasn't before I had a little girl -- but Amy Gaines' Little Knitted Creatures: 26 Amigurumi Designs literally made me aww out loud.
These sweet little animals, from a turtle to a bunny, a hedgehog to a pig, are pretty much universally adorable and would be great to knit for kids or adults who like the look of amigurumi or are just obsessed with a particular animal.
Gaines divides the patterns in Little Knitted Creatures into vignettes, with each of the knit characters playing a part in a little story. The Birds and Bees creatures, for example, are rehearsing for a production of "Romeo and Juliet," which is a bit of a problem because Romeo is a frog and he sometimes wants to eat his Juliet, a ladybug.
The Forest Friends are trying to save a rare oak tree under which are grown delicious white-spotted mushrooms.
These stories are silly, and might kind of annoy some knitters, but you can certainly ignore them and just look at the pictures and the patterns. When you do, you're sure to find some of these creatures you want to knit for yourself.
Some of my favorites include that aww-inducing turtle (her name is Shelly Green), Big Blue the whale, a duck named Billy Waddle, the cute multi-colored owl Oliver Who, the super-fuzzy Horatio Hedgehog and the adorable striped Amy Angelfish.
All of the projects are rated as easy, but even though the projects are pretty small, many have a lot of steps. It's those details that make these little creatures so wonderful (but be sure to skip the doll eyes if you're making the projects for little kids).
One failing I see with this book is the fact that the supplies only list how many skeins of a particular yarn are needed for each project and the yardage of a full skein, not how much of each skein is actually used in the project.
Some of the projects use a great number of colors over very small areas. For example, Oliver Who is a 10-inch doll and uses 7 colors. The yarn used in the pattern comes in 170 yard skeins, but I'm sure you don't come close to using the whole skein for any of them.
It would have been nice to know even approximately how much of those different colors were used so you could more easily work out of your stash.
Little Knitted Creatures is full of adorable projects you'll want to knit for the kids in your life, for creature-obsessed folks on your gift lists or for yourself (there's even a little lamb for all the knitters out there).
These are easy, if not always fast, projects that you'll love to have on a shelf or to let your kids play with and act out their own scenarios for what these fanciful creatures are up to.
Publication date: August 2010