Review of Amigurumi: Super Happy Crochet Cute

December 13, 2008 in Reviews

Elisabeth Doherty is without a doubt one of the trail-blazers in terms of taking amigurumi from a hobby to an art form.  In fact, it was one of her creations that originally inspired me to start crafting them.  Her book, Amigurumi: Super Happy Crochet Cute, was released in September of 2007.  I was a little apprehensive at first because there are only 14 patterns, but the first 32 pages alone makes it worth the price.

In the first section of the book she gladly shows all her cards.  Her list of materials contain not only a what but a why and goes beyond the basic tools to the things she uses to take her creations to a professionally finished level.  She describes (with illustrations) many more crochet stitches than are found in the typical amigurumi tutorial.  She also broaches the subject of gauge which is practically a taboo in the amigurumi world but goes on to explain why it’s so important in getting a precise replication of her patterns.  She even shares several of her techniques for adding the emblishments that are so key to her designs and also my primary reason for purchasing the book.  My only disappointment was the section on assembly.  Her instructions were brief and lacked the useful illustrations found elsewhere in this section.  Still, it’s a staggering amount of knowledge that you’re not likely to find in other books or internet tutorials.

The book is designed so that the patterns increase in difficulty from a simple carrot to Strawberry the cutely-punk kitty girl.  The beginner patterns are all foods and might be a little disappointing to people hoping for more intricate patterns but they’re worth reading just for the great techniques.  She shows that even for something that seems typical she’s got something new to offer in terms of techniques and details.

This is followed by a brief section of small animals which includes a portly mouse, a spunky weiner dog, a sweet pig, and an adorable fawn.  The last section of the book contains the four humanoid patterns: Hep Cat, Benny the Monkey, Punk Bunny, and Strawberry.   However, all of the patterns begin with detail information about finished size, materials, gauge, and techniques used.  Her instructions for completing the faces is extremely precise down to the exact position and expression to be conveyed.  Although there are no in-progress shots, there are shots of every pattern from multiple angles.  The patterns end with a list of the brands and colors of yarns used to help answer that universal newbie question “What kind of yarn should I use?”

Alas, this is not the first book I would recommend to someone wanting to learn crochet and amigurumi at the same time, but it is definitely the first book I would recommend to someone wanting to take their amigurumi to a higher level.   Don’t get me wrong, I think the book is excellent, but I don’t think the early patterns are sufficient to instill the sense of confidence that will be needed for her advanced techniques.  It’s an excellent resource and I’m very grateful to the author for sharing so many great insights both in the creation and design of amigurumi.