If I mention crochet and images of garishly colored granny squares straight out of That 70’s Show come to mind, then you might be thinking that it is outdated and boring.
Knotty tip #1: Crochet is not for Grannies anymore.
Last summer, we were heading out on a long road trip to the Georgian Bay to visit friends and I needed a project that would fill the hours. Browsing through the knitting and crochet books at the library (746.434), I discovered the coolest crochet book ever!
The Edward’s Crochet series of books are written and created by Kerry Lord who founded Toft, a British company specializing in alpaca wool in natural colors. Her 3rd book in the series, Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium is a brilliant, imaginative, spiral bound flip book that allows the crocheter to create monsters. Its pages are split into three sections, one for the head, one for the arms and one for the legs. Children, and let’s face it… adults too, are invited to mix and match the body parts to create a monster of their very own. The patterns are simple using the single crochet stitch throughout and there is a guide for interesting color patterns so your monsters can be striped, rainbow or look like they are wearing clothes. There is even a technique to create fur so your monster can be fluffy or have hair. The possibilities are endless!
Knotty Tip #2: You will quickly become obsessed so stock up on wool before borrowing the book.
As we were driving, and driving, and driving, I was busy trying to make my first monster. To my intense frustration, my monster just wasn’t turning out right. The pattern called for the DC or double crochet stitch, which is a common stitch and one I’ve done many times. It wasn’t until we were well past Thunder Bay that I noticed the fine print: this book uses British terminology. Who knew the Brits’ Double Crochet is actually a Single Crochet stitch?
Knotty tip #3: Double check which terminology the book is using!
Now that I know what I am doing, I cannot overstate how fun this book is. Anything that inspires you can be created out of a few simple pieces. To get an idea, follow the #edsflipbook, #edsanimals or #toft hashtags on social media to see some of the combinations people have come up with. I have a few examples of my own:
If monsters aren’t your thing, Toft has lots of other options. Winnipeg Public Library carries most of Kerry Lord’s books. Once you’ve learned the techniques from one, they are all fairly easy to create. If you know how to crochet in the round, you’re set! If you don’t, there is an easy method, found in the back pages, that explains how to thread a different colored piece of yarn through your rows to keep count of where you are.
For barnyard and zoo animals, try Edward’s Menagerie.
If you want to make people, use the Doll Emporium. It has a standard form for the body and an easy or more challenging pattern for the arms. This book includes all types of clothes and costumes so if you are crocheting for a child, be prepared to make a whole wardrobe for their little mini-me.
Knotty tip #4: The Doll Emporium uses a variety of stitches for the clothing, so attempt a project from an easier book if you are a beginner.
Lastly, if you have a puppy in your life, you will love Edward’s Menagerie: DOGS! This title is chock full of patterns for all different types of pure bred dogs. If your pooch is a mixed breed, it also has tips on how to personalize your creation to match your pet.
I have now started on my dog pound…
Knotty tip #5: Dogs uses the loop stitch in most of the projects. Not the easiest stitch to master, but well worth the time to learn for the cuteness it provides.
If you are a beginner and want to give some of these projects a try, we can help! The Idea Mill at the Millennium Library has a drop-in class on Tuesday nights where you can come with your knitting or crochet projects to get help from actual human beings.
If you are more of a figure-it-out-on-your-own type of person, Toft has provided instructional videos for every one of the techniques that they use. So help is as near as your phone… unless you’re in a car and you’ve maxed out your data plan.
Knotty tip #6: Download the videos before travelling!
By the time we arrived at our friends’ cabin just outside Tobermory, I had the body and head of my very first monster completed. It was time to start on the embellishments, which is easily the funnest part. Our friends have a 2 year old, Sullivan… and I am not making this up… he literally screamed with delight when he saw the yet unfinished monster. He quickly claimed it and we added horns, claws and a belly button as per his request. Next morning, he was busy feeding his monster breakfast and I began getting requests from the other children we were visiting with to make monsters for them. So you’ve been warned; once you start crocheting, it won’t be long before you’re hooked.
It’s so much fun to be knotty.