Handmade by Deb – Feb 2021
Now you can knit a range of oversized animals made with soft chunky yarn! Meet Robyn Octopus & Friends: 17 loveable animals to knit using chunky yarn by Claire Gelder. Choose from knitting patterns rated easy, intermediate or advanced. Need to refresh your knitting skills? All of the techniques used in this book are shown step at a time, photo and text. This includes basic knitting stitches, how to assemble toys, sewing, stuffing and adding features. Every pattern comes complete with level of difficulty, size, tools & materials list, tension required, special stitches used (and the page number that shows how to do it), pattern note and plenty of up-close photos. All of the large animals are made with knitting needles measuring 7mm (UK 2, US 10 1/2) in diameter. Throughout the book Wool Couture’s yarn is used – Cheeky Chunky for the large animals and Beau Baby for the mini versions. Use it or your choice of yarn – just make sure the weights and meterage are similar. All animals require stuffing. A standard carded polyester designed specifically for toys is used. Recycling is also an option. The 14 large animals measure about 70 cm (27 1/2 in) and the 3 babies 30 cm (12 in). These delightful animals are brought to life with generously stuffed bodies, floppy arms and legs, hand stitched eyes and noses, bushy pompom tails and much more. They are sure to be cherished!
The 17 stuffed animals here are made to be cuddled. Most are between 20 and 30 inches tall, but will work up quickly since the patterns are designed for chunky yarn. The titular Robyn Octopus also comes in a mini version, as do Mabel Bunny and Chloe Cat. The rest are just big fun. There are some unique creatures, like a highland cow, a seahorse, and a schnauzer with terrific eyebrows. The nicely illustrated section on techniques includes clear photographs of basics as well as instructions for shaping, assembly, appliqué, and more. Most of the animals have garter stitch bodies; there is also a turtle with a detachable hexagonal shell and a Fair Isle snake (with detailed instructions for each). Patterns are labelled according to difficulty level; most are intermediate, but a patient beginner should be able to keep up with the instructions. Gelder, of yarn company Wool Couture, is based in the UK, but there are conversions to US standards. This sweet, slim book will appeal to knitters of all levels. — Susan Maguire