Tag Archives: andrews mcmeel publishing

Chubby Sheep CAL December giveaway winner!

The first month of the Chubby Sheep CAL has come and gone, and some very cute sheep were entered into the December giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Long-Legged Friends: Crochet Creatures to Create and Cuddle by Hisako and Shizue Okawa, courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing (reviewed here), and 5 pairs of assorted safety eyes from my collection (originally from 6060 on Etsy).

The entries are all so cute that I could only pick a winner randomly!

And according to Random.org, the winner is number 10…

harnish408‘s Baa Baa Black Sheep

Congratulations, harnish408, and thank you to everyone else who entered!  The crochet-a-long is still going strong on Ravelry, and we’ve already had an entry for the January giveaway.  Stay tuned for the announcement of our January prize!

Book Review: Long-Legged Friends by Hisako and Shizue Okawa

 This post contains affiliate links.

I recently received a review copy of Long-Legged Friends: Crochet Creatures to Create and Cuddle by Hisako and Shizue Okawa from Andrews McMeel Publishing.  This is a fun, concept book that also turns out some very cute projects.

Shizue, an illustrator, drew adorable little animals, and her mother, Hisako, crocheted them based on the pictures.  As in any true artistic collaboration, Hisako doesn’t simply reproduce Shizue’s drawings in 3D crochet, but alters them based on her own creative vision.  The resulting projects are these whimsical creatures, most of whom are slender with very long legs.

The book opens with a delightful 36-page photo gallery of each project.  (Most are shown in at least two different variations.)  The projects are crocheted in white, black, and browns, which creates a very uniform and artsy look to the book.

The next section includes an overview of materials (most projects use #1 sock/fingering/baby weight yarn and a US size C/2.75 mm crochet hook), a primer on reading the stitch symbol charts used for the patterns, and an illustrated review of the stitches used in this book along with the associated stitch symbol.  Like most amigurumi projects, these are made primarily with single crochet (UK double crochet) stitches.  The authors include some general information about assembly and finishing (e.g., how to attach safety eyes and embroider facial features), and remind the reader that customization is great and it isn’t necessary to exactly follow the patterns.

The last section includes the patterns for 12 creatures (including 5 little versions).  Each pattern includes a materials list, a numbered list of instructions (“Make the Fuzzy Bear”), an illustration with assembly and finishing notes (e.g., “Do not stuff ears”), and charted instructions for crocheting in spirals.  There are also instructions for traveling clothes – a scarf, hat, and bag that can be made to accessorize your creatures.

This is a very fun little book, which beautifully presents a collaboration between two artisans who happen to be mother and daughter.  If you are looking for a book with 20+ patterns of stylized amigurumi with enormous heads and tiny bodies, this is probably not the book for you.  On the other hand, if you like to take inspiration from patterns but modify the projects to suit your whims, or if you think of crochet as an art form and appreciate a book that presents it as such, then this would be a great book.  These projects would also appeal to someone making toys for children, as each project appears immensely huggable, and they are very homey and sweet.  I think this book will actually appeal more to crocheters who aren’t typically attracted to amigurumi books.

Full disclosure: A free electronic review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Book Review and Giveaway: Knits for Nerds

This post contains affiliate links.

Today I’m reviewing Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Toni Carr, and I’m also hosting a giveaway for my review copy, courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing, so read on for details!

Book review

Knits for Nerds has a simple concept: if you like to knit and you like to geek out, you will want to make projects inspired by popular sci fi, fantasy, and comic book characters and themes.

The book opens with a brief intro from Toni Carr (a.k.a. Joan of Dark), sharing her own childhood introduction to all things geeky.  The book is organized into four sections: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comics and Manga, and Other Stuff for Nerds.

The Fantasy section includes projects inspired by Vampire Academy, Wicked Lovely, the Temeraire series, Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods and Anansi Boys, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and J.R.R. Tolkien‘s  The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy.  There is also a toddler “elf” hat which looks more like a Viking helmet to me. (I should say that I’ve never been much of a fantasy reader, so it is very possible that elves and Vikings actually look the same.)  I wasn’t very familiar with many of the references in this section.  The Hobbit Feet slippers look about as humorously gross as I would expect from “real” hobbit feet.  The Summer Queen Shawl and the Light of Earendil Shrug are both lovely and would definitely be appreciated by people who aren’t familiar with the inspiration.

I was a bit more at home with the Science Fiction section, which includes projects inspired by FireflyDr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, and Dr. Who.  Since this is my particular nerd territory, I liked the Space Princess Hats, Padme’s Battle Cape (though I personally could never imagine knitting something that large!), the Next Generation Sweater, Trek Girl Dress, and Aim to Misbehave Brown Jacket.

In the Comics and Manga section, you will find projects inspired by Tank Girl, the Sandman universe, Filler Bunny, Catwoman, and Mystique.  The Mystique project is a convertible outfit – a sweater, shrug, tube top, and halter top – inspired by her shapeshifting ways.

The Other Stuff for Nerds section casts the net a bit wider.  Inspiration sources include The Big Bang Theory and Real Genius, as well as DNA and Mobius.  This section is where you will find the electronic cozies and bags.

Overall, there are 5 easy patterns, 22 intermediate patterns, and 6 advanced patterns.  In terms of project types, in addition to the convertible Mystique outfit,  here is the breakdown:

Hats: 5

Scarf/Shawl/Mobius Cowl: 5

Sweaters/Vests/Jacket: 5

Gloves/Mitts: 3

Socks: 2

Bags/electronic cozies: 3

Toys: 3

Cape: 1

Dress: 1

Legwarmers: 1

Shrug: 1

Slippers: 1

Tie: 1

While most projects are for women, there are a handful of designs for men, and a toddler hat.  Only a few of the projects are posted to Ravelry at this point, but you can view those here.

The book features the work of nine designers.  24 of the patterns are designed by Toni Carr (including 2 co-designed with Irene Basey), and the other designers are Linda J. Dunn, Ashley Fay, Laura Hohman, Genevieve Miller, Callie Need, Marilee Norris, and Rilana Riley-Munson.

You will also find trivia sprinkled throughout the book, along with some humorous notes in the patterns.  At the end of the book, there is a section with abbreviations and brief descriptions of all the techniques used in this book (including the basics like knit and purl).

There is an interesting range of patterns in this book, and I think many knitters will find several projects which appeal to them, whether or not they are interested in sci fi/fantasy/comics.  Speaking as a nerd, I would reach for a book like this for two reasons: to share during my geeky themed event (just as I used to put Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook on display whenever I had a Star Wars party – and yes, there were a few!) and to use for Halloween or other costume inspiration.  The book meets both of these requirements.  I could also see these projects coming in handy during Nerd Wars.

I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars for a self-identified geek or nerd knitter with basic to intermediate skills.  If you aren’t excited by fantasy, sci fi, or comic books, I don’t think the book will seem cohesive enough to draw you to it.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

The Giveaway

I’m giving away my review copy of Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Toni Carr, courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing, to one reader.  The winner will be chosen at random.