Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker, photography by F&W Media International, pub. David & Charles, 2014.
Louise Walker is most famous for her taxidermy-look knitting and knitted wigs. I can't find any of her wigs written up in pattern form, but 15 of her wild animal knit designs are collected in this book.
I'm going to diverge from my usual review method to talk about the photos first. The F&W Media team did an extraordinary job creating and photographing sets for this book. Louise does her own modeling when required, and hits just the right note, from vintage heiress to explorer-who-has-just-encountered-a-bear.
The designs are uniformly cute, but everything comes in only one size. Most of the patterns involve quite a bit of sewing and liberal use of felt pieces for facial features. I don't mind the safety eyes so much as they lend a more realistic look to the pieces, but felt looks cheap to me. I prefer the look of yarn, even if a thinner weight yarn would have to be used to achieve the desired effect.
The patterns are presented in a tiny but readable font. Huge charts are given to achieve the random patterns in the tiger stripes and crocodile skin. The "Materials" lists are thorough and might include unusual items such as pliers, florist's wire, or a pair of tights.
The rabbit's foot calls for two yarns, but no directions are given as to when to use which. I assume they're both supposed to be used at the same time, but I can't find where in the book it says this. Since this is recommended as a good pattern to start with, the instructions should be especially clear.
The hedgehog slippers look comfy, but I question the wisdom of chenille soles (not the most hard-wearing yarn). Also, the appealing texture of the hedgehog's back is made up of individually sewn picots. Yes. Every spike is hand-sewn.
The bear coasters are adorable, but setting a glass or mug on a lump of knitting seems like a recipe for disaster. But they're very compelling, and Louise's tip to stuff each paw may help.
There are some undefined abbreviations (p3c, k14b, etc.). I guess the letters refer to the color of the yarn, but I couldn't find where it specifies this and the colors are listed with capital letters, so it's a little confusing.
The book contains some fetching designs. It provides an opportunity for adults to continue a stuffed animal fetish with relative dignity. (Hedgehog slippers are more dignified than bunny slippers, aren't they?) And no animals were harmed in its making. My issues with the instructions notwithstanding, Louise's humor and artistry shine throughout.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed this book from her personal library. No compensation was provided for this review. The opinions expressed in all Kangath's reviews are her own.
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