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, 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!

2012 Year in Review: Book Reviews

One of my favorite bloggy things to do is review craft books.  With so many books out there, it can be tough to pick out new ones for your collection.  Today I’m sharing a roundup of my 2012 crafty book reviews, just in case you are expecting to go book shopping with any extra holiday money :).

 This post contains affiliate links.

Crochet Books

100 Snowflakes to Crochet, reviewed on the CGOA blog here with author interview here.

101 Crochet Stitch Patterns & Edgings, reviewed here.

Bead Crochet Jewelry, reviewed here.

Crochet 101, reviewed here.

Crochet Boutique, reviewed here.

Crochet Scarves, reviewed here.

Crocheted Granny Squares, reviewed here.

Custom Crocheted Sweaters, reviewed here.

Granny Square Crochet, reviewed on the CGOA blog here with author interview here.

Happy Cute, reviewed here.

Heart’s Delight Baby Layettes, reviewed on the Stitch and Unwind blog here.

Long-Legged Friends, reviewed here.

Simple Crocheting, reviewed here.

Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet, reviewed on the CGOA blog here.

Voodoo Maggie’s Adorable Amigurumi, reviewed here.

Knitting Books

30 Min-Knits, reviewed here.

All You Knit is Love, reviewed here.

Cast On, Bind Off, reviewed here.

Fearless Fair Isle Knitting, reviewed here.

Gothic Knits, reviewed here.

Knitting: Colour, Structure and Design, reviewed here.

Knitting Brioche-Stitch Socks, reviewed here.

Knitting Never Felt Better, reviewed here.

Knitting with The Color Guys, reviewed here.

Knits for Nerds, reviewed here.

Modular Mix: 12 Knitted Mitered Squares to Mix & Match, reviewed here.

Quick-Knit Flower Frenzy, reviewed here.

Scarves, reviewed here.

Sweet Shawlettes, reviewed here.

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Color Knitting, reviewed here.

Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl, reviewed here.

Other Needlecrafts Books

Accessories: Autumne 2012, reviewed here.

The Complete Photo Guide to Needlework, reviewed here.

Meet Me At Mike’s Crafty Journal, reviewed here.

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.