I’m excited to share a book review along with an excerpted succulent crochet pattern with you today, as well as a giveaway for your chance to win my review copy of the book! 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. GMC Publications Ltd provided me with a free review copy of Crocheted Succulents: Cacti & Other Succulent Plants to Make (available through independent booksellers or here on Amazon) by Emma Varnam. 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.
Book Review: Crocheted Succulents
Crocheted Succulents: Cacti & Other Succulent Plants to Make (available through independent booksellers or here on Amazon) by Emma Varnam is a crochet pattern book that includes 25 succulent crochet patterns, ready to be pot and add to your home décor. I’ve previously reviewed three other books by Vanessa (Cute Crocheted Animals, Granny Squares Home, and Granny Squares Weekend) and she has a style that adds a touch of cozy to the home.
In the Introduction, Emma shares her love of succulents and her enthusiasm for these projects, and also reminds us that (unlike their living counterparts) succulent crochet patterns “are immune to the perils of overwatering or drought.” The book then includes a photo gallery with photos of the succulents, often in groups, shown in planters throughout the home. The next section is the patterns, which includes 25 different types of succulents. Each pattern includes a short introduction, the finished size, a list of materials (called “you will need”), and tension (gauge). The patterns are then provided in sections using UK pattern abbreviations, ending with the Making Up section to explain how to join pieces. Most patterns are made with #3/light/DK weight yarns, but you will also find six patterns using #1/super fine/fingering weight yarns, two patterns using #0/lace weight yarns, and one pattern using #4/medium/aran weight yarn. The measurements of the finished succulents vary with some measured in height (with a range of 2.5″/6.5 cm to 4.5″/11.5 cm tall), others measured in diameter (with a range of 1.75″/4.5 cm to 4.5″/11.5 cm in diameter), and a few measured by leave length (with a range of 3.25″/8.5 cm to 10″/25.5 cm long leaves). Each pattern includes a full page image of the succulent in a styled, home background as well as multiple images of the succulent from different angles against a white background.
Twenty-six pages of back sections following the patterns. Getting Started includes information about yarn, hooks, tapestry needles, stuffing (fiber fill), and tools for adding the succulent crochet patterns to pots including cocktail sticks, floristry wire (floral wire), and floral foam. This section also includes a guide to crochet hook sizes and UK pattern abbreviations. Crochet Techniques provides written and illustrated instructions for holding the yarn and hook, forming a slip knot, basic crochet stitches in UK terms (slip stitch, chain, double crochet, treble crochet, half treble, double treble), crocheting in rows and in the round, crocheting in spirals, the magic ring, increasing, decreasing with the dc2tog (US sc2tog), bobbles, popcorns, and crocheting through the back loop. This section also explains the differences in UK and US crochet terms. Finishing Touches provides written and illustrated instructions for three types of seams (slip stitch, double crochet, and whip stitch), as well as how to weave in ends, sew on beads, and make a pom pom using a fork. Displaying Your Succulents shares four different approaches to displaying your crocheted succulents in pots: crocheting soil with the succulent, crocheting a soil insert, using floral foam, and using felt. (Each pattern includes the recommended approach, but this section provides more details.) Crocheted Soil provides written pattern instructions for crocheting two sizes of round pots, while Crocheted Pots provides written pattern instructions for crocheting three different pot variations. Resources includes a list of UK and US yarn suppliers along with inspirational books and websites. The book closes with acknowledgements and an index.
Although it’s a paperback book, there are front and back flaps to help you keep your place while stitching. The cactus patterns vary from extremely life like to slightly whimsical. The brightly lit photos are inspiring. The patterns use simple stitches and techniques, but they vary in complexity in terms of the different numbers of pieces, assembly, and so on. Most patterns in this book require only advanced beginner crocheters stitching skills and basic pattern reading skills. If you changed the yarn weight, which Emma suggests experimenting with, you could make much larger or smaller succulents. If you don’t have a “green thumb,” or you just love crocheting for the home, you will enjoy Crocheted Succulents: Cacti & Other Succulent Plants to Make (available through independent booksellers or here on Amazon) by Emma Varnam.
Moulded Wax Agave
Succulent Crochet Pattern by Emma Varnam
Published in Crocheted Succulents: Cacti & Other Succulent Plants to Make (available through independent booksellers or here on Amazon) by Emma Varnam. Text and designs © Emma Varnam, 2019. Copyright in the Work © GMC Publications Ltd, 2019. Shared with permission from GMC Publications Ltd.
Notes from Underground Crafter
- This pattern uses UK crochet pattern abbreviations. You can find a list of abbreviations and a comparison of US and UK pattern abbreviations here.
- Oombawka Design Crochet has helpful photo and video tutorials for the magic ring here.
- Yarn Obsession has a helpful video tutorial for the dc2tog (sc2tog in US terms) here.
Moulded Wax Agave (Echeveria agavoides)
Native to Mexico, this small succulent, which can grow to about 8in (20cm) in diameter, is relatively
easy to cultivate even in Europe. It is recognizable for its attractive rosette-type structure, which, with a little sewing together, is easy to reproduce in crocheted form.
- The succulent is approximately 2.75in (7cm) in diameter.
- Tension is not essential for this project.
- The succulent leaves are worked in spirals using the standard amigurumi technique (see Working in spirals below the pattern). Place a marker at the beginning of each round so you know where you are in the pattern. You then sew the leaves together to create the whole plant.
Large leaf (make 10)
- Using 3.5mm (UK9:USE/4) hook, make a magic ring (see below the pattern).
- Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into the centre of the ring.
- Round 2: (2 dc, dc2inc) twice (8 sts).
- Round 3: (3 dc, dc2inc) twice (10 sts).
- Rounds 4–9: Work 6 rounds straight.
- Round 10: (3 dc, dc2tog) twice (8 sts).
- Round 11: (2 dc, dc2tog) twice (6 sts).
- Fasten off. Leave a yarn tail.
Small leaf (make 3)
- Using 3.5mm hook (UK9:USE/4), make a magic ring.
- Round 1: 1 ch, 4 dc into the centre of the ring.
- Round 2: (1 dc, dc2inc) twice (6 sts).
- Round 3: (2 dc, dc2inc) twice (8 sts).
- Rounds 4–7: Work 4 rounds straight.
- Round 8: (2 dc, dc2tog) twice (6 sts).
- Fasten off. Leave a yarn tail.
- Using 3.5mm (UK9:USE/4) hook, make a magic ring.
- Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into the centre of the ring, join with a sl st.
- Round 2: (Ch 2, sl st in next st), *sl st into next st, 2 ch, sl st in next st; rep from * (3 loops).
- Round 3: *Sl st in ch sp, (2 ch, 3 tr, 2 ch, 1 sl st) in ch sp; rep from * twice (3 petals).
- Fasten off. Leave a yarn tail.
- Fold each leaf in half and press it flat with your hand. Arrange five large leaves to form a flat star, then, using the tail of yarn, sew the end rows together. Repeat with the other five large leaves so you have two flat stars of five leaves each. Sew one star of leaves on top of the other, making sure the leaves are staggered. Then space the three small leaves equally to form a trefoil, sew these together and then sew them on top of your large leaves. Finally, sew the small centre leaves right in the middle.
- Take some floristry wire, fold it in half and thread it through the centre underside of the succulent. Cut some floral foam to fit the pot. Insert the floristry wire into the foam to secure the plant in the pot. Add some small alpine grit to cover the foam
Working in spirals
- The majority of the patterns in this book are worked in spiral rounds, beginning with a magic ring (see Magic ring below). They are worked using the ‘amigurumi’ crochet technique, which involves crocheting in a continuous spiral with no slip-stitch joins or turning chains. In this way, you can create one seamless cylindrical shape.
- In order to know where each row starts, it is advisable to place a marker at the beginning of each row.
- A clever way to start an amigurumi shape is use a ‘magic ring’. This is a neat way of starting a circular piece of crochet while avoiding the unsightly hole that can be left in the centre when you join a ring the normal way. Magic rings are nearly always made with double crochet stitches, as this creates a tight, dense crochet fabric.
- Start by making a basic slip knot. Pull up the loop and slip this loop onto your crochet hook.
- Before you tighten the ring, wrap the yarn over the hook (outside the circle) and pull through to make the first chain.
- Insert the hook into the ring, wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the ring so there are two loops on the hook.
- Wrap the yarn over the hook again (outside the circle) and pull through
- You have made your first double crochet stitch.
- Continue to work like this for as many double crochet stitches as are stated in the pattern instructions.
- Pull the yarn tail to tighten the ring and then continue working in the round