Knitted Toy Tales by Laura Long

I very rarely recommend a book based on how the patterns are written; as a knitting teacher I’m regularly confronted by wailing knitters complaining that patterns they find are written in Martian.  A failing of many knitting patterns is that they are so often written in a traditional format which assumes that we live in the same knitting culture as our grandmothers (and before) did.  We.  Do.  Not!


Knitters these days are mostly approaching knitting as something completely new that they may or may not have attempted in primary school and definitely didn’t not learn as a matter of course from their mothers.   Therefore patterns need to be written for a modern audience, with full explanations, and no ‘reverse shapings’ (my personal knitting teacher’s bête noir; there’s nothing that will baffle a new knitter more than having to do that)!


This isn’t much, but it takes more effort on the part of the pattern writer and more paper in the books!


Knitted Toy Tales by Laura Long is a charming knitting book that combines style and substance.  The patterns are written out fully in a way that leaves no need for confusion to a less-experienced knitter.  It’s simply a matter of making a photocopy of the pattern you are working on and ticking off the rows as you knit them.  Magically straight-forward and a delight to anyone who teaches knitting!  I recommend this book to lots of my Knitting SOS students who want to knit toys!


To add to this solid substance is the style that comes with the designs and stories that Laura has written about each little character.  She’s brought to life the dreams of Frederick the Frog, Three Hungry Bears and, my personal favourite, Eddie the Elephant.


One little suggestion that I might make…the toys turn out quite large, and are knitted using the technically correct needle size for the yarn.  When I knit toys I always use a needle 1mm smaller than the yarn recommends.  This means that your toy has a tighter weave and the stuffing won’t show through the fabric when you push it in.  This is just a personal preference: when I knit toys with double knit yarn I’ll use a 3mm needle, 4mm needle with aran weight yarn, and so on.


I thoroughly recommend this book.  As it says, they are definitely ‘irresistible characters for all ages.’