The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger, photographs by Brent Kane, pub. Martingale & Company, 2011.
This book contains patterns for 20 monsters, many of whom appear on the cover. I think the ones that didn't make it to the cover were at one of Tony's toy box parties, but I'm not sure.
Any of these designs would be perfect for a beginning knitter. There are no slick tricks like short rows---all shaping is done with the simplest of increases (knitting into the front and back of a stitch) and decreases (knitting two stitches together), plus some expert stuffing (which Danger explains in detail).
The stories (only a sentence or two long) that accompany the designs are charming and provide hints to each monster's personality. These hints, should you choose to accept them, aid in feature placement and monster placement (since each monster has its own room preferences).
The patterns are presented in a very readable format, with clear and creative photos of the creatures they will create.
The monsters above have legs worked as part of their bodies (instead of sewn on afterwards) and the ones at right have pockets to hold their children in. Other monsters have spots on their backs or around one eye, compelling ear shapes, knots on the tops of their heads, or mouths delineated by picked up stitches.
Yarns used are widely available, and substitutions are actually encouraged. Most monsters are knit multiple times to show variations in yarn weight and type.
Harold has toes, which really attracts me to him. Demonstration photos are given each time a new skill is required---not just for the first monster it's used on. Danger understands that knitters don't tend to knit the patterns in the presented sequence, and the photos don't take up too much space. Harold's demo photos include the lineup of toes ready to be joined into a foot, picking up stitches, and releasing stitches from waste yarn to knit the leg upward. See why I find him so alluring?
This is a charming book, and I look forward to reviewing the sequel!
Disclosure: Martingale & Company sent Kangath a free copy of The Big Book of Knitted Monsters for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Martingale & Company or Rebecca Danger.
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