Book Review: Little Knitted Creatures

Yes, another book review. But it’s a knitting book, and a fantastic one at that!

Little Knitted CreaturesLittle Knitted Creatures by Amy Gaines

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When this book arrived at my library, I was so charmed by it that I carried it around the staff room, reading passages to anyone who would listen. Unusual for a knitting book, right? Well, this is one unusual knitting book.

The 26 patterns are absolutely adorable, but what makes this book really special is the fact that they all have stories. The creatures are split into groups, and each group photo is paired with an introductory description of who they are and what they’re doing. The gnomes, hedgehog, squirrel, and mouse, for instance, are holding a meeting to discuss efforts to preserve the Big Cap Oak tree, while the frog, owl, ladybug, and bee are staging a production of ROMEO & JULIET. Then, each individual pattern has a little backstory of its own. (Oh, the poor nervous frog!)

The instruction pages for each pattern are clean and visually appealing, with a nice big font and plenty of white space. Special techniques are clearly illustrated where necessary, with general instructions at the end of the book. The yarn requirements are given using the CYCA Standard Yarn Weight System, while the specific yarns used for each photographed model are listed at the end of the book. In the General Instructions, the knitter can find the yarn weight chart, a needle size conversion chart, and explanations of abbreviations used. This information makes it easy to substitute yarns and understand unfamiliar terms.

I can hardly wait to cast on for just about every creature in this book, and I sincerely hope Amy Gaines puts out another book soon!

View all my reviews

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Meet the Mantis

Now that the Knit Picks catalog for March has arrived, I can show you all my favorite recent knit for them, the Praying Mantis, from Amigurumi Knits.

Closer Shot of Mantis on a Wall

Clearly deep in contemplation, she’s a thoughtful one.

Also, being an outdoorsy sort, she can’t resist climbing a nice tree.

Mantis in a Tree

But she didn’t mind hanging out at work with me, either.

Checking out my Cubicle

She found that Piggie, who regularly appears as my Ravatar image, is a very good listener.

Mantis and Piggy

But then she seemed to be getting just a little bit too close for comfort, so it was time to send her off to Washington for her professional photo shoot.

Mantis and Piggy

Knit from Wool of the Andes in Green Tea Heather and Fairy Tale (which is a really nice shade of purple) with two sets of bamboo DPNs.  Chenille stems down the legs and in the thorax keep her upright, and fiberfill in her abdomen and head round her out (so to speak).

I really, really like knitting toys. I’m going to have to knit a Mantis for myself.  With the right colors, I could totally make myself a little N’Grath.

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Not Another Hobby

Last night, while watching Night at the Museum II, I put the final touches on the not-a-surprise jackalope for K.


Isn’t he cute? He’s so cute, in fact, that Little Miss keeps grabbing him and telling me that “the rabbit” is her “favorite animal”.  It’s a good thing I was already planning on making a second one.


I love Hansi Singh’s wacky patterns from this book. They’re just so much fun! I think I found one tiny error – a line that reads “K1, K23” (actually, it’s not 23, but I don’t remember the number) instead of “Sl1, K23”, which would make a lot more sense.  There are a few fiddly bits in the pattern, but it’s so worth it. And, wow, these amigurumi knits really are a good way to practice things like various increases, picking up stitches, and kitchener.


The Details:

Pattern: Jackalope, by Hansi Singh, from Amigurumi Knits, but she’s also had the pattern out separately in her Etsy shop.
Yarn: Cascade 220, something less than 2 skeins, plus scraps of NatureSpun Sport for the face embroidery. I dyed one skein of white Cascade 220 brown with tea, and a small amount red with strawberry Kool-Aid.
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs, size 4, two sets.
Started: November 11, 2009
Finished: December 19, 2009

I’ve already started on a second one, actually, in thinner yarn and on smaller needles. A baby jackalope.

After doing the jackalope’s photo shoot in the back yard, I started tidying my desk. I decided to put some Disney pins that were hiding in my drawer out to be seen.


That’s a shot glass display case there, mostly housing my Tacky Shotglasses of the World collection, a collection I discontinued a few months after Little Miss was born. The Half Marathon pin is from when I ran the race in 2007. The other three pins belonged to my grandmother and came to me after she passed away. After I put them out, I started poking around eBay for other pins. I really don’t need to start collecting Disney pins, right? Right?

Maybe I should go knit another toy.

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