Granny Squares Home by Emma Varnam Book Review with Excerpt Crochet Pattern: Cuddly Lion and Panda

Free crochet pattern: Cuddly Lion and Panda by Emma Varnam from her book, Granny Squares Home, via Underground CrafterI’m sharing my review of a new book by Emma Varnam today, along with an adorable pattern for the two animal pals on the front cover: the Cuddly Lion and Panda. These critters combine granny squares with amigurumi and would make great gifts, so read on for more details!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Granny Squares Home: 20 Crochet Projects with a Vintage Vibe was provided to me by GMC Publications Ltd. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. Images in this post are from the book and are used with permission.

Book Review

Granny Squares Home: 20 Crochet Projects with a Vintage Vibe is Emma Varnam‘s latest book. It was published last month in the UK and is available for pre-order in the US. (I reviewed an electronic version of the UK edition.) As the name suggests, it’s a book about granny square projects. The book opens with a friendly intro from Emma. She has a conversational tone and seems to love vintage crochet style. The book continues to a stunning visual index which includes a full page, styled photograph of each project with the page number listed in case you want to jump ahead to one of the patterns. The next section, Getting Started, provides an overview of hooks, yarn, and notions. Starting in this section and throughout the rest of the book, Emma shares her helpful “handy tips” in her conversational style. The Crochet Techniques section includes written and illustrated instructions for basic crochet stitches, an overview of pattern abbreviations and the differences between US and UK terms, and other tips including how to make a granny square, work a magic ring, increase, decrease, and work special stitches. In Finishing Touches, Emma shares tips for seaming, stuffing and embellishing toys, making pom poms, and blocking.

Free crochet pattern: Cuddly Lion and Panda by Emma Varnam from her book, Granny Squares Home, via Underground CrafterIn The Projects section, each pattern includes multiple full page photographs in an attractive home setting, Finished Size, You Will Need (a materials list), and Tension (gauge) information. The patterns are clearly formatted to separate the different sections of a project. The patterns include 6 softies (including the 2 shared here and a mobile with 4 characters), 4 blankets, 3 cozies, 2 pillows, and other assorted projects (a hanger and sachet set, a table runner, a potholder, a hot water bottle cover, a bathmat, a bathroom caddy, a hanging organizer, a food cover, and bunting), so there are actually 24 projects in total. All of the patterns incorporate motifs, though not all are squares. The Resources section includes UK and US yarn suppliers along with helpful books and websites. After Emma’s acknowledgements, the book ends with a detailed index.

What I like about Granny Squares Home: 20 Crochet Projects with a Vintage Vibe is that the projects are vintage yet fun with fresh colors and pretty details. The photography and Emma’s voice are very inviting and if you enjoy making motif projects, you’ll definitely find several to love in this book. It doesn’t list pattern difficulty, but I would say that most of these patterns can be completed by a confident beginner who has the basics of working in the round down. A more seasoned crocheter will enjoy the simplicity of these projects — they are great for unwinding after a tough week. Try out the pattern for the Cuddly Lion and Panda below, and you’ll see what I mean!


Cuddly Lion and Panda

Crochet Pattern by Emma Varnam

Published in Granny Squares Home: 20 Crochet Projects with a Vintage Vibe.

© 2017 Emma Varnam and GMC Publications Ltd and shared with permission from GMC Publications Ltd.

Note from Underground Crafter:

Free crochet pattern: Cuddly Lion and Panda by Emma Varnam from her book, Granny Squares Home, via Underground CrafterThese adorable cuddly toys have been designed with the nursery in mind. They match the Animal Mobile (page 118) and you can make cute granny-square jumpers for them.

Finished size

  • Each animal is approximately 12in (30cm) tall and 8 3⁄4 in (22cm) wide

You will need

  • Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK, 100% cotton (100yd/92m per 50g ball):
  • Panda: 1 x 50g ball in 3093 Black (A), 1 x 50g ball in 3665 Ivory (B), Small amount of 3665 Ivory (C), Small amount of 3674 Shrimp (D)
  • Lion: 2 x 50g balls in 3662 Sunflower (A), 1 x 50g ball in 3656 Toffee (B), Small amount of 3665 Ivory (C)
  • 3.5mm (UK9:USE/4) crochet hook
  • 3mm (UK11:US-) crochet hook
  • Tapestry needle
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Safety eyes and nose
  • 1 x 3⁄16in (5mm) button

Tension

  • Tension is not essential for this project.

Handy tip

  • The toy is worked in spirals using the standard amigurumi technique. The granny-square tummy is made in a round and sewn to the front of the body. The granny-square vest is made in a round with additional sections of double crochet for the sides and the straps.

Ears (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A, make a magic ring.
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into centre of the ring (6 sts).
  • Round 2: 2 dc in each st (12 sts).
  • Round 3: (1 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (18 sts).
  • Rounds 4–7: Work 4 rounds straight.
  • Round 8: (1 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (12 sts).
  • Round 9: (2 dc, dc2tog) 3 times (9 sts).
  • Flatten ear. Leave a yarn tail to sew to the head.

Head

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A for Lion and B for Panda, make a magic ring.
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into the centre of the ring.
  • Round 2: 2 dc into each st (12 sts).
  • Round 3: (1 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (18 sts).
  • Round 4: (2 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (24 sts).
  • Round 5: (3 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (30 sts).
  • Round 6: (4 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (36 sts).
  • Round 7: (5 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (42 sts).
  • Round 8: (6 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (48 sts).
  • Round 9: (7 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (54 sts).
  • Rounds 10–17: Work 8 rounds straight.
  • Round 18: (7 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (48 sts).
  • Round 19: (6 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (42 sts).
  • Round 20: (5 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (36 sts).
  • Round 21: (4 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (30 sts).
  • Round 22: (3 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (24 sts).
  • Fasten off. Leave a yarn tail to sew to the body.
  • Using the photograph as a guide, position the eyes and nose on the face. Using a tapestry needle and black embroidery thread, back stitch a small mouth. Sew the ears firmly to the top of the head.

Arms (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A, make a magic ring.
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into the centre of the ring.
  • Round 2: 2 dc into each st (12 sts).
  • Round 3: (1 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (18 sts).
  • Rounds 4–18: Work 15 rounds straight.
  • Round 19: (1 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (12 sts).
  • Fasten off. Leave a yarn tail to sew to the body.

Legs (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A, make a magic ring.
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into the centre of the ring.
  • Round 2: 2 dc into each st (12 sts).
  • Round 3: (1 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (18 sts).
  • Round 4: (2 dc, dc2inc) 6 times (24 sts).
  • Rounds 5–17: Work 13 rounds straight.
  • Round 18: (2 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (18 sts).
  • Round 19: Work 1 round straight (18 sts).
  • Fasten off leaving an 8in (20cm) tail of yarn.
  • Fill each leg firmly with stuffing. Fold the top of the leg widthwise. You will now use the stitches at the top of the leg to start working the body.

Body

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A for Lion and B for Panda, attach yarn to the back of the left leg, work 18 dc then attach the right leg by working 18 dc from right leg. Work now in continuous spirals (36 sts).
  • Round 1: (3 dc, dc2inc) 9 times (45 sts).
  • Rounds 2–3: Work 2 rounds straight.
  • Round 4: (4 dc, dc2inc) 9 times (54 sts).
  • Rounds 5–16: Work 12 rounds straight.
  • Round 17: (4 dc, dc2tog) 9 times (45 sts).
  • Rounds 18–19: Work 2 rounds straight.
  • Round 20: (3 dc, dc2tog) 9 times (36 sts).
  • Rounds 21–22: Work 42 rounds straight.
  • Round 23: (2 dc, dc2tog) 9 times (27 sts).
  • Fasten off leaving an 8in (20cm) tail of yarn.

Making up

  • Using a tapestry needle, weave the tail of yarn through the last dc sts of the round and gather hole together slightly at the neck edge. Stuff the legs and body firmly. Sew or slip stitch the top of the legs together between the last row of the legs and the first round of the body to create a seam, which will allow the legs to bend. Stuff the arms firmly and fold in half widthways at the top of the arms. Sew them to the top of the body near the neck edge. Sew the head firmly to the top of the body.

Lion’s tail

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A, 6 ch, sl st to the first ch.
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 1 dc into each ch (6 sts).
  • Round 2: 1 dc in each st around.
  • Continue to work in a continuous spiral until tail measures 2in (5cm).
  • Fasten off leaving a tail of yarn.
  • Press the beg chains together, attach B to this end with sl st, *5 ch, sl st in next ch, rep from * twice. Fasten off and weave in ends.
  • Sew the tail firmly to the back of the lion.

Lion’s mane

  • Using 3mm hook and B, attach yarn using a slip stitch to the right side of the head, 5 ch, sl st in the row above, 5 ch, sl st in the row above. Continue creating small loops of yarn for the mane so that there are two rows of loops around the top of the head, around the chin and in front of the ears. Continue to create loops of 5 ch sts randomly on the back of the head so that the head is covered.
  • Fasten off and weave in ends.

Lion’s tummy

Free crochet pattern: Cuddly Lion and Panda by Emma Varnam from her book, Granny Squares Home, via Underground Crafter

  • Using 3.5mm hook and C, ch 5 sts, sl st in first ch to form a loop.
  • Round 1: 3 ch, 2 tr in loop, 3 ch, (3 tr, 3 ch) rep twice more, sl st in 3 ch (4 tr clusters).
  • Round 2: Change to A, attach yarn to any 3 ch sp, 3 ch, 2 tr in ch sp, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch, (3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp, 3 times, sl st in 3 ch (8 tr clusters).
  • Round 3: Change to C, attach yarn to any 3 ch sp, 3 ch, 2 tr in ch sp, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp, *(3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in next 3 ch sp, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp; rep from * twice more, sl st in 3 ch (12 tr clusters).
  • Fasten off and weave in ends.

Finishing

  • Position the granny square on the front of the body and using the tapestry needle and whip stitch, sew the sides of the granny square to the front of the body.

Panda’s granny-square jumper

Front and back (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and C, ch 5 sts, sl st in first ch to form a loop.
  • Round 1: 3 ch, 2 tr in loop, 3 ch, (3 tr, 3 ch) rep twice more, sl st in 3 ch (4 tr clusters).
  • Round 2: Change to D, attach yarn to any 3 ch sp, 3 ch, (2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in ch sp, (3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp, 3 times, sl st in 3 ch (8 tr clusters).
  • Round 3: Change to C, attach yarn to any 3 ch sp, 3 ch, (2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in ch sp, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp, *(3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in next 3 ch sp, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp; rep from * twice more, sl st in 3 ch (12 tr clusters).
  • Round 4: Change to D, attach yarn to any 3 ch sp, 3 ch, (2 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in ch sp, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next 2 ch sps, *(3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in next 3 ch sp, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next 2 ch sps; rep from * twice more, sl st in 3 ch (16 tr clusters).
  • Fasten off and weave in ends.

Sides (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and D, ch 11 sts.
  • Row 1: 1 dc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc in each ch to end (10 sts).
  • Rows 2–6: 1 ch, 1 dc to end, turn.
  • Fasten off and leave an 8in (20cm) tail of yarn.

Straps (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and D, ch 5 sts.
  • Row 1: 1 dc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc in each ch to end (4 sts).
  • Rows 2–5: 1 ch, 1 dc to end, turn.
  • Fasten off leaving an 8in (20cm) tail of yarn.

Finishing

  • Sew the sides to the each side of the granny square, making sure the bottom of the granny square and the sides align. Attach D to the base of the vest, 1 ch, 1 dc evenly along the base of the vest, working a dc in the top of each tr and ch sp. Join with a sl st to 1 ch.
  • Sew straps to the back of the vest, at the corner of the granny square. On the right side, sew the strap to the front granny square. On the left, sew a button to the front of the strap and use a corner space of the front granny square as a buttonhole.

If you enjoyed this pattern, you can find more like it in Granny Squares Home: 20 Crochet Projects with a Vintage Vibe on Amazon.

1 Comment

  1. February 9, 2018 / 9:25 am

    These stuffies are so cute! I certainly need to check out this book!

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