by Kate Haxell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stitched Toys / 978-0-600-61850-8
I am absolutely delighted by the patterns and designs in this book. The subtitle proclaims "20 stunning but simple designs" and "stunning" is right - these are the "Faberge eggs" of homemade toys. As you can see from the front cover, author Haxell has taken basic toy shapes (mouse, doll, ducky, elephant, teddy) that anyone could whip together in a few hours and has added simply stunning detailing in the form of careful embroidery and detailed hand-stitching.
Now, I'm the last person in the world to extol the values of hand-stitching - I try to use my machine for *everything*, but these designs are too lovely to pass up. The dolls in particular are excruciatingly lovely - the detail work on the eyes, cheeks, lips, and fingers of the dolls evoke a very special blend of old-fashioned crafting (by using simple thread instead of buttons and snaps) and modern artistic style and flair.
Although the detail is daunting, the instructions are well-written, with lots of pictures of assembly and the finished products to help the crafter along. I can almost guarantee that these works of art will be cherished by children who are old enough to appreciate the uniqueness of the final product. And, I will add, a great big kudos to author Haxell who urges her readers to reuse old material from around the house for reasons of environmental awareness and economy (most of these toys are small enough that even a fat quarter of material would be too much).
~ Ana Mardoll
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