If you're a fan of knit toys, no matter your skill level, Emma King's The Best-Dressed Knitted Bear: Dozens of Patterns for Teddy Bears, Bear Costumes and Accessories is sure to delight and make you want to get out your knitting needles.
The book features six different options for bear bodies, from simple rounded shapes to more complex gusseted and two-tone heads, as well as three projects each for adorable bear outfits, from the hula girl featured on the cover to a pirate, a graduation bear and a wizard.
As mentioned above, the book has six patterns for bears, including simple small and medium-sized bears, intermediate medium and large bears and complex medium and large bears. The simple shapes use just one piece each for the head and body (arms and legs are sewn on), while more shaping and pieces are added to the more complex bears.
The complex bears also have the option of being knit with a contrasting nose and paws or adding joints to the body.
With each bear there are three projects. For example the simple small bear can be a princess, a wizard or a tooth fairy. Each outfit contains multiple pieces (the princess a dress and crown, the wizard a hat and cape and the tooth fairy a dress, wings and a pouch).
There are seven patterns called simple, and the rest are intermediate except for two that are ranked for the advanced skill level (one is a baby bear, which includes a blanket knit in intarsia; the other a golfer with an argyle vest).
Other projects in the book include a cheerleader outfit you can knit in your team's colors, a safari bear with a net for catching a knit butterfly, a ballerina complete with sequins on her skirt and a cowboy with a shirt, jeans, chaps and a bandanna around his neck.
The detail and different parts that go into some of these patterns are really amazing. The pirate, for example, has an outfit with six different parts: a hat, shirt, vest, belt, pants and sword.
The patterns in The Best-Dressed Knitted Bear are all really cute and sure to please a young recipient, especially one who already has a passion for, say, Robin Hood or cowboys.
They make great gifts for bigger people as well, such as the graduation bear or the golfing or fishing bears. Or just knit one for yourself, along with a couple of different outfits so you can play dress up.
The nice range of options and skill levels involved makes this a book that's accessible to a lot of different knitters, and the projects are sure to be fun and a keepsake for whoever gets to keep them.
Publication date: May 2009.