For Kids, Babies, Teens, Men and Women
Book Title: Beastly Crochet: 23 Critters to Wear and Love
Author: Brenda K.B. Anderson
Publisher: Interweave Press
Copyright Date: 2013
Format: Softcover / Trade Paperback; Amazon Kindle Edition
Number of Pages: 168
Cover Price: $22.95 US dollars / $25.50 in Canada
The Premise of This Crochet Book:
This book features 23 different projects that all feature beastly designs in some way. Some are toys you can make, and some are clothing or accessory patterns that include beastly designs as part of the pattern.
The Crochet Projects:
- Monster Mark: He looks like an amigurumi Frankenstein.
- Bride of Mark: She looks like an amigurumi version of the bride of Frankenstein.
- Lil’ Vampire Hat
- A Zombie Named Skip: a three-dimensional amigurumi zombie critter.
- Invasive Species Mitts: These are fingerless gloves with creepy little plant creature motifs on them.
- Tiki Head Bolster: Now here’s a pillow with personality. Although, I have to ask, is it the right personality — since this guy looks like he wants to bite your head off. One of the most prominent design features: the teeth.
- Bottom Dweller Bag: This makeup bag is shaped like a fish. A fish with sharp teeth, that is. If you’re wondering where your eyeliner went, check the depths of this guy’s tummy.
- Zippy Skully Neck Warmer: This is a striped zippered neck warmer embellished with a skull.
- Sugar Skull Shoulder Bag: For those who want to celebrate Day of the Dead or Halloween by crafting sugar-skull inspired projects, this giant bag could be a worthwhile project to consider. It resembles a large, colorful sugar skull design. It’s embellished with crocheted and embroidered accents. And if you think sugar skulls shouldn’t just be a “Day of the Dead thing,” then you’d probably get even more use out of this bag.
- Kitty Crossbones Sweater Dress: For girls aged 7 – 12 years old. 3 sizes available: 7/8, 9/10, 11/12. This is a striped crochet sweater dress with buttons at the shoulders. It’s embellished with skull-kitty motif including crossbones. If I were going to make this, I’d probably omit the skull-kitty and crossbones, but if you get your hands on a copy of this book, you’ll have the choice to make it either way you prefer.
- Sweet Skull Hairpins: I made this pattern, with modifications. I invite you to check out my page of notes about the design.
- Messy Nessie Bib: A baby bib with Loch Ness Monster design
- Sasquatch Slippers and Mittens: These are furry monster-kitty-style slippers and mitts, complete with paw pads and little crocheted claws growing out of them. If you like these, you could make ’em for anyone in the family. There are sizes available for a baby, toddler, child, woman and man.
- Gnome Coin Purse: A safe gift for any crazy neighbors who have gnomes decorating the front yard.
- Fang the Bunpire Slippers: Bunnicula fans, these slippers are just for you.
- Little Joe: This horned critter is a monster, although to me he looks like he could also become a robot, if you embellish him a little differently.
- Big Mouth Coin Purse: This is a funny, angry-looking little change purse with a zipper for a mouth. If you have an active imagination, you can imagine him yelling at you every time you open it to spend some money. I suppose that’s one way to approach the challenge of getting your spending under control.
- Hubert and Cletus: These are little monster-shaped organizers that you could also use for holding Halloween candy during the month of October. These are the book’s cover models, so you can see them pictured above.
- Little Monster Sweater: The sweater actually says “Little Monster” on it.
- Robot Pillow: He’s both a robot AND a pillow — a fantastic boy-friendly project that could also work for little girls who are interested in robots.
- Robo-Blanky: This is a baby blanket that could accompany the little one well into childhood. It’s a quirky design that turns everything you know about baby blanket-making upside down. This is a good example of how baby blankets don’t have to be pastel colors, and they can definitely be black. However, there’s a good reason that people avoid making black baby blankets; crocheting with black yarn can be a little tedious, since it’s hard to see your stitches. If you make this project, I recommend using a light-up crochet hook to help with this.
- Beep Bop Boop Sweater: This is a boy-friendly robot-themed sweater.
- This is not your typical dry crochet instruction book. It’s written with a sense of humor, and it’s pretty funny at times.
- Many of these patterns are clever, creative and eye-catching, in a creepy sort of way.
- There’s something for (almost) everyone here: men, women, teens, boys, girls and babies.
- There are a lot of crochet pattern books around, but there aren’t many like this one. If you are interested in making scary-creepy-cute-critter-inspired patterns, this book will likely have some patterns you’ll want to crochet.
- There’s some wasted space in this book, with multiple pages being devoted to cartoon-y drawings that, to my way of thinking, look like filler. Granted, they are nice drawings, and they are more interesting than blank pages — but they’re irrelevant to the projects in the book. If they were omitted, I doubt you would miss them. The last page of the book is an ad for other titles by the same publisher — which are helpful to know about. But, bottom line, if you’re trying to decide whether to buy this book or another one based on page count, the page count here is 168, but you’re looking at more like 162 pages of non-filler that are actually worth paying for (assuming that you are a crocheter intending to purchase a crochet pattern book, and the patterns and project photos are what’s most important to you.) While I think the book is still a good buy assuming you like the creepy-scary-cute style aesthetic, this is something I thought you should know about so you wouldn’t be taken by surprised by it, or disappointed.
- No skill level ratings are given. If I were given the task of rating the patterns in this book, I would assign some of them as “easy,” and some of them as “intermediate” or “experienced.”
This book is hit or miss with the project photos. For most of them, you get multiple, clear photos showing the most important details. Thumbs up!
However, with some of the projects, there’s only one project photo, or perhaps there are several project photos but you’re still missing something important. Thumbs down. 🙁
For example, with the robot blanky, there are two different pictures, but they both show the blanket folded over the rail of a crib — so you never get to see the top 1/3 of the blanket. It would have been nice to see a picture of the whole blanket laid flat, or hung up flat (maybe from a clothes line or something) so you could clearly see what the whole thing looks like before you make it. With the blanket, it isn’t totally a deal breaker, because there are some squares repeated in the upper 1/3 that you can see in the lower 2/3rds. I think you can get a pretty good idea of what your blanket will look like from the pictures. Still, it would really have been helpful to have one additional picture showing the whole blanket.
It also would have been nice to have an additional photo showing the thumb openings on the invasive species mitts. This is a tricky area for some crocheters, and in the project photo we have, one of the thumbs is hidden completely; the other is shown from one angle, but not from the other side. Again, not a deal breaker, but it would have been nice to have additional pictures.
If you decide to make any of these projects, remember to check online to see if other crafters have posted their pictures, or notes / ratings on the patterns you are interested in. It’s great to draw from others’ experiences as much as possible. You may even get some ideas for interesting pattern modifications you could make, or new ideas for using the patterns and projects that you hadn’t considered before.
Conclusion: Overall, I think this book is unique and interesting, and I’m happy to recommend it to other crafters who are specifically looking for quirky, unusual projects and are not put off by the scary / creepy aspects of some of them. For those who enjoy this type of aesthetic, my opinion is that this book is well worth its asking price of $22.95 (although be sure to check for it on Amazon.com because you can sometimes find a better price there.)
- Howie Woo’s Fundamentals of Cuteness 101: Beastly Crochet has a section at the back called “Principles of Cuteness.” It’s a helpful resource, and definitely worth checking out; but if you don’t buy the book (or even if you do,) I hope you’ll check out Howie Woo’s blog post, called “Fundamentals of Cuteness.” Howie Woo’s post is similar, but it’s free. Howie’s post pre-dates this book, since Howie posted his fundamentals of cuteness online back in 2010. I highly recommend Howie’s post to anyone who is interested in crocheting amigurumi, plush toys or critters of any kind.
- Skull Patterns — This book includes several crochet skull patterns. If you’re interested in crocheting skulls designs, you’ll probably want to buy the book — but I invite you to take a look at our list of skull patterns too.
- More Crochet Pattern Books — Please be sure to check out our list of crochet books to see more interesting pattern collections, technique books, stitch dictionaries and idea books you could buy.