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An exquisite aphid, an adorable mosquito, and a sophisticated snail infest the pages of Crochet Critters and Bugs, 22 great projects by Stackpole Books (no author/curator listed). I took this book out of the library because I felt sorry for it. The cover and title are pathetic. But once I looked closely at the patterns I couldn’t believe the beautiful details and creative shapes of the 22 insects and sea creatures living in this book. I know it’s hard to believe because of the subject matter but this book is a work of art,
Why I’m hooked on Crochet Critters & Bugs:
- Beautiful design: You have to see the Aphid and Scorpion by Lisa Olivia Vanvikaas they are unusual and sophisticated. Aren’t they gorgeous!
- Creative shapes: When I started crocheting the snail I thought her shell was just going to be a bunched up hat shape but the crocheting turned out to be a fascinating travel through increases, decreases, and slip stitches. I was surprised and delighted at every turn, or actually round in this case.
- Detailed photos: Every pattern has many detailed photos illustrating each pattern, especially at the sticky spots where you need it most. This book won’t leave you hanging when the going gets confusing.
- Unique techniques: The dragonfly by Liz Ward uses a technique I haven’t seen before where she wraps the yarn around a tube to create stripes. Clever!
- All crochet artists listed: Each pattern in the book lists the crochet designer’s name and website on the first page of the pattern! I looked up every single designer and added them to my instagram and blog roll!
What I would unravel about Crochet Critters and Bugs
- Sea and insects together: I’m perplexed as to why the publisher combined sea life and insects in the same book. I wish they had the same groups of crochet artists do one insect book and one sea book. Then we would have 44 beautiful patterns instead of just the 22 included in this book. And I think a book all about insects would have been quite clever and dynamic.
- The cover and title: The cover photo and design of this book are a big goofy, just the opposite of the patterns inside which are very sophisticated. I think the title could have been much improved. It should have been something like “Exquisite Creatures Beneath Your Feet” or something else elegant.
- My books are due back: My book is due back at the library and I never had a chance to do the jellyfish, crab, dragonfly, aphid, mosquito, scorpion, spider, slug, frog, or tarantula. Waaaaah!
Yarn: Perfection ¡Tapas! worsted by Kraemer Yarns in Melba, Red Heart Soft in Cinnabar, Loops and Thread Color Wheel in Light Coral
Tools: Hook E, Clover bamboo marking pins (to hold the shell on while I sewed it to the body)
Other materials: Felt (I wish I had used an olive color), Embroidery floss Iris in burgundy
Time: Five evenings
Skill Level: Ranges from beginner (mosquito) to advanced intermediate (Horseshoe Crab)
Liberties taken: I used felt for eyes instead of the specified safety eyes.
Gift Potential: This book would make a great gift for the crocheter in your life who has crocheted everything. It’s quite an unusual book and makes for a unique crocheting experience.
Conclusion: This is not your average amugurumi (round head, round body, tail, two ears, two arms, and two legs to attach) that I see over and over online and in books. The crochet artists of Crochet Critters and Bugs were challenged by the shapes of the insects and sea life and rose to the occasion. Bravo!
Mary Beth Cryan has been designing crochet patterns for over 4 years. Prior, Mary Beth worked as a professional illustrator and product designer with a specialty in paper crafts for 18 years. She has authored and illustrated 17 paper craft books, countless pop-up greeting cards, and many paper craft kits. She received 3 LOUIE Awards from the National Greeting Card Association. Some of her clients included MoMA (Museum of Modern Art NYC), American Girl, Dover Publications, Peter Pauper Press, Ranger Rick Magazine, Highlights magazine and many others. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in 2000.