Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tis' the Season! Kind of... Creepy Cute Crochet

Come for Cthulu,
stay for the monkey.
Click here for the Amazon link!
I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to making toys. So much, in fact, that I hope my gravestone will bear the title "Master Crafter & Toymaker" along with a goofy-looking octopus wearing a top hat imprinted somewhere on it like a hidden Mickey (only not so hidden).
On that slightly morbid note, let me tell you about Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden! This, along with Amigurumi World was one of the first books I purchased when I started making toys. My relationship with this book might best be described as "complicated." Unlike Amigurumi World, this book is still very much in one piece. Of course, it helps that it's hardcover. If you were to flip to any page in this book and set it down, you don't need to set anything on top of it while you work to keep it open. I assure you, when you're in the middle of a project and all you want to do is briefly glance at the page to remind you what to do, it helps if the book will stay open on its own. That. Is. GREAT. But aside from the fact that it's hardcover and will stay open without my abusing it, my copy of Creepy Cute is in fantastic condition because I just don't use it as much as some of my other books.

But WHY Ly? Everything in here is so creepy and/or cute! How can you resist?!
Well... Hayden's work IS adorable, but the devil's in the details. Unless you follow the directions quite precisely, your work will vary wildly from what is pictured in this book. I'm not saying that is either good or bad. I'm only saying that if you want things to stay in the same style as Hayden's creations, you have to go the extra mile. And you might enjoy it! One of the things I admire most about Haden's work is how she has accessorized her creations. She describes a number of ways to make your own eyes for creatures (using polymer clay), weapons (with clay and felt), and tiny little outfits for them if the pattern also calls for outfits. I just like her little monsters so much that I'm disappointed when mine don't turn out quite as well. To be fair, that's just my own laziness because I won't go out and start experimenting with clay as well. I may be a "master crafter & toymaker," but I do have my limits. So I'm disappointed in myself, on this score. But I wanted to warn you, in case you have a tendency to be lazy also.

I'm not lazy! I will make ALL the things! OR totally make them my own! I know no disappointment!
Good for you! How long have you been crocheting, if I might ask? While I would describe Amigurumi World as perfect for the total newbie and up, I cannot say the same for Creepy Cute Crochet. I would recommend this book only if you have at least some basic knowledge of crochet, how to follow a pattern, and how to wing it when things get confusing. And things do get confusing sometimes. I'm never totally sure, on any given round, whether I'm supposed to count my connecting slip-stitch or not. Generally, in most other patterns, you wouldn't. But here, you sometimes do and you sometimes don't, and it's a surprise whether or not you're supposed to be doing that from one row to the next on the same pattern. I've learned to deal with it, but I just wanted to give you fair warning. Again. That being said, I have learned things from within these pages that I use daily when I crochet, and not just for making toys! A magic circle, pretty edging, top hats, hair-- I learned all of these from this book!

What are you going on about now?
Techniques! Excellent, practical techniques!

  • A magic circle is a way to start your work that does not involve a slip knot. What's neat about it is that you can tighten it closed to the point where it looks like there you crocheted into nothing. That means, no unseemly looking top-hole on your work (like when you're making the head of a toy). This is officially how I begin all of my toys, and all hats, and anything else that starts with a circle.
  • I learned an edging on this book that is simple but immediately fancifies and beautifies anything you attach it to. The best part is, you just do it as part of your work, not as a separate thing to attach later. Win!
  • Top hats! ... Okay, did you guys happen to notice on my previous post that a number of things I've made include hats? This is the book I learned that pattern from. I no longer use the pattern as is described because there are points in her descriptions that just confuse me. But I did simplify it some, and I make little hats for my toys constantly.
  • Hair. Oh. Dear. GAWD. You guys... have you ever tried making a yarn wig for your toys? It is surprisingly easy! Well... Straightforward, anyway. I learned the technique in this book and bastardized it to fit my purposes. But you gotta start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any!
If I might draw your
attention to Thurston's
Hat of Mystery...
Did you notice TechGal's full
head of hair, perchance?
There are many techniques contained within this book that will help you make your own little critters, even if you don't want them to look anything like Christen Haden's stuff. So, is this my absolute favorite crochet book EVER?! ... No. But it's good, and I would recommend it if you have at least a little experience. And if you have no previous experience crocheting, you'll probably still enjoy it. Just be mindful that you may have one or two more frustrating experiences with it than if you started elsewhere. Enjoy!

Quick note! 
Sorry for not having any new pictures to demonstrate my work as it pertains to this specific book. As it turns out, I've given away the little creepers I made from these patterns without taking their pictures. (I've done that a lot.) And while I do use patterns from here regularly, they're more of the little trimmings rather than the full critters. 

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