I have been given a newly released book to review! How exciting is that?! The publisher, GMC Distribution sent me Crocheted Birds by Vanessa Mooncie. Have you seen her crochet taxidermy book too? It’s amazing and I knew this one would be just as good. It’s the sort of book where I mostly just enjoy looking at the pictures rather than actually make something from its pages. But do you know what? To write a proper review I felt that I had to make at least one thing from it. That seemed like the right thing to do.
I decided to make one of the smaller garden birds because I thought it’d be a bit quicker than the giant swan or magnificent barn owl. As it’s Christmas, it was the robin that had to get made. He was probably not the best choice for speed; lots of colour changes make it a fiddly project but I gave myself some quiet time to do nothing but crochet this birdy. If I’m going to do amigurumi, I need complete and utter silence. There is a lot of stitch counting!
I kind of messed up the tension; the head is tighter than the body because it’s worked in the round and not in rows (the body is worked in rows). The book has a whole page on tension and says it’s vital check gauge. I should have done was I was told. I didn’t. I never do.
I’m not certain that checking gauge would have made much of a difference anyway because I wasn’t necessarily looking to make a life size bird and definitely wasn’t looking to buy more yarn. Therefore I made it in some dk I had in stash; not the 4ply I was told to use (don’t worry, there are dk patterns in this book as well as 4ply projects).
A couple of times I was confused by what colour went where but this book has charts as well as the written patterns. Whenever I got in a flap I just consulted the chart and it sorted out any confusion. I am deffo a fan of using a written pattern and chart simultaneously.
What I will say is that you do need a lot of extras. You’ll be no good with just your hook and some wool. I seemed to be OK on that front as I’m a massive craft hoarder and thankfully had poly fibrefill to stuff a plump bird, wire for strong legs and black beads for inquisitive eyes. I didn’t reinforce his tail like I was supposed to as I’ve lost my fine wire. It’s somewhere, I’m just not entirely sure where that somewhere is.
One thing I’d quite like to know more about is how to display the birds once they’re done. They look beautiful in the photo set-ups but I wouldn’t be certain about how to recreate that at home. Perhaps a page on that would have been useful. I did spot glass dome wotsits in Ikea the other day though!
I can see that with practice, I could make really amazing ornithology following the patterns here. Vanessa’s birds look so beautiful and mine just looks a bit stressed/mildly anxious.
What do you reckon? Are you up for making a flock of birds? I’m gonna make the budgie next! I can tell you that I’m glad there isn’t a seagull here. I was walking through town yesterday, minding my own business and one of the cheeky sods swooped down and nabbed the croissant I’d been enjoying. I won’t tell you what I shouted at it…
Check out some pictures from the book below. And watch episode 44 of my crochet podcast (watch from 25.35) because I chat about my robin quite a lot.