Okay, I’ve had this book for about two weeks now, and have made a number of things from it, it’s time to let you know what I think. Amigurume Pets, by Allison Hoffman, is a book about making, big surprise, small amigurumi pets. The first thing that I want to say is that I love the book. I mean I am crazy about it. The animals are cute and realistic looking, and I find the directions clear and easy to understand. Let’s look at a breakdown of the different sections.
A Good Beginning
Like many crochet books, this one has a Getting Started section teaching you to do all of the stitches you will need. It also provides a good listing of useful materials, and a description of different techniques for making fur. Although this isn’t exactly a section of the book that I refer to often, since I don’t need to be reminded how to do basic stitches anymore, it is clear and well-written, with plenty of pictures.
The explanations are thorough enough that I think a beginner could learn to make amigurumi just by following the tutorials in the Getting Started chapter. If you’re thinking about buying your first crochet book, and want to make little animals, this is a suitable choice. And of course, it is the internet age, so if you run into problems, you can always look up tutorials online.
Make your own Mutt
The first section of this book deals with dogs. I am very much a dog person, and this was the part of the book I was most excited about. Rather than a separate pattern for each breed, which would limit the selection of dog breeds available, or having a single pattern for “dog”, Allison Hoffman breaks her dogs into different parts.
She created patterns for the most common shapes of head, ear, body, legs, and tail. After these patterns, she provides a guide describing which parts to combine to make a given breed of dog. For example, you would use a pointed head for a German Shepherd, a “regular” head for something like a Dalmatian, and a blocky head for Pug or Bulldog. This mix and match style is perfect for creating a mutt that looks just like yours.
The only real problem with this system is that you’re left to determine your own colour changes to get the markings right on your dog. This isn’t difficult, but sometimes I’ve had to rip back some stitches when I’m not happy with how the markings I’m doing are coming out. On the other hand, you can embroider on markings if necessary, so I don’t see this as a big problem. When making dogs out of this book, I recommend having a picture out as a guide to your dogs colours.
I admit, I’ve only made one cat, and it didn’t come out as well as my dogs. But I’m pretty sure that was user error. The cat section is structured much like the dog section, with a few types of heads and bodies. I had a little trouble figuring out where one part of the head went on my cat, but am overall pleased with the patterns.
The Little Guys
The next section in Amigurume Pets is about making small pets: hamsters, rabbits, fish, birds, pigs…Okay, a pig is slightly unusual, but it’s in there. In this case, there is only one pattern for each animal. That said, variations in colour are enough to give each pet a personal touch. I made a little pig, and am really happy with how it came out. These pets contain instructions for colour changes, at least for animals like the Parakeet, where colouration is very important. They also have thorough finishing instructions, telling you what details to sew on and where. On the whole, the selection of animals is good, and I look forward to trying some more of them.
The final animal section is filled with animals that you can’t have for pets, but that someone might want anyway. It includes a baby bear, a fox, a sloth, and a monkey, as well as a few imaginary/extinct animals: a unicorn/pony, a dragon, and a dinosaur. I have mixed feelings about this last section. On the one hand, it’s got some really sweet animals in it. The little bear is adorable, and everyone loves a nice sloth. On the other hand, I’ve seen dragons that I liked more.
This last section is pretty short, but it’s nice that it was included. It features designs for things like pet beds on the same scale as the four-legged friends you make with this. I haven’t made any of these yet, but if I was making animals for someone to play with (e.g. as a companion to a doll), then I would definitely be using these patterns.
On the whole, I’m really pleased with my purchase of Amigurume Pets. As a dog person, the book was worth it for the dog section alone. I’m looking forward to having a pack of dogs sitting on my shelf somewhere, and I’m well on my way. If you love animals, I would definitely recommend this book. If you’re more into people, Allison Hoffman previously wrote another book about creating amigurumi characters, Amigurume, that I would consider trying.