Anyway, one of the latest editions has become by far and away my favourite of all time and I want to rush up to people on the street and urge them to buy it.
I received Edward's Menagerie as a Christmas present, along with two balls of Toft Alpaca Yarn and immediately started itching to get hooking. Christmas dinner be damned, I had crocheting for myself to be doing!
Reason number one that I love this book: Detail. Detail detail detail detail detail.
I love a bit of detail, I like rules, I like instructions, I like being lazy and having someone tell me exactly what to do and this book offers you that. Not in a super annoying patronizing way, but in a super informative brilliant way.
There is a section which shows you the different sizes of animals and what hook and yarn size you will need to create those. There's a section that talks to you about stuffing techniques and how the placement of ears, eyes and noses can really affect the facial expressions of your animal.
Aah yes, the animals. This book has it all. 40 of them. Forty! And they are not just bog standard boring animals - there isn't just a monkey, there's a monkey, a chimpanzee and a gorilla. There isn't just a cat, there's a flipping aardvark in there. From hippos to palomino ponies and foxes to raccoons, this book has it all.
Reason number two that I like this book: The animal construction.
This is so outrageously clever and simple that it blew my mind. Every animal in the book is made up of a standard form, the instructions for which are located at the front of the book. All the arms, legs, bodies and heads start with this basic form and then start to vary once you get into more detail. It means that if you were to make a Highland Cow and a Cheetah - they would still look like they belonged to the same family and therefore would look flipping awesome sat on a shelf together.
Reason number three that I like this book: The flippin' animals! Look look look look.
This is Benedict the Chimpanzee and isn't he just the bloody best thing you've ever seen, ever?
Not only is he a decent size (the photo frame next to him is a standard 6x4 frame) but look how nicely he sits. Again, this is all down to the wonderful instructions given in the book. I am a bit of an over zealous stuffer when it comes to my amigurumi and when I read the suggestion in the book about less is more it totally made sense in my head. The animals in Edward's Menagerie are really lightly stuffed - the arms and legs are just stuffed at the bottom and the body isn't rammed full either, and it means that they sit really beautifully and are fun to hold as well.
Benedict hasn't stayed with me though, he has gone off to live down South as a present for a work colleague who is having her baby very soon. And no sooner was he off my hook than I have cracked on with the next one, a giraffe for another colleague. I'm hoping no-one else announces they are pregnant as I'm backing myself into a corner with this one...
(Just one small note - Benedict was made using Stylecraft DK and a 4mm hook. I did start to make something with my Alpaca Wool from Toft and was making it using the 3mm hook as recommended in the book but my crochet stitches tend to be as uptight as I am and it was actually making this guy not very floppy and cuddly and also meant that the beautiful silky wool lost some of its softness.)
[Obviously not a sponsored post - I just like this stuff you guys!]