book review: stuffed animals
Stuffed animals are treasured by young and old, and those of the handmade variety are even more special. But where do you start if you've never made a plush friend before? The world has an easy answer now: Stuffed Animals by Abby Glassenberg. Some books on making stuffed creations jump in with very little extra information, which can be intimidating to someone like myself with limited experience. That's not the case with this book.
Before I get too far, a word of disclosure. First, Abby and I are Twitter friends. That said, the topic of her book scared me. Next, Lark Crafts, who published the book, sent me a copy for review. It's almost as if they knew that I needed to learn all the good stuff in here. Nevertheless, all of the opinions I share here are my own.
Stuffed Animals is more than just a book of stuffed animal projects, but let's start with the 16 creations presented. Every single one is adorable! Abby gives her creatures such personalities, and it makes for some very unique critters. There's a dinosaur, a crab, a monkey, a bunny, a monster, a teddy bear (classic!) and more. When I passed the book around to a few folks in my family, the reactions were all the same: "Oh, how cute!" "Look at this one!" "Did you see the _____?"
I haven't shown the book to my little sister yet, however, because she'll immediately start placing orders for every animal, and then bug me until they're all done. Speaking of bugging...check out this sweet bee!
Here's where we start getting into what makes Stuffed Animals different from the rest. The bumblebee is a spherical plush, which Abby uses to demonstrate how to make spherical plush. That may sound redundant, but here's what I'm saying: it isn't just about making the bee. It's about learning a concept and applying it. Really, that's what each animal does. Each chapter has lessons that can be used on lots of animals, including those you design yourself.
There are tips on how to make things stand properly, different ways to make eyes, ideas on ear placement, how to make jointed animals, working with fur, shaping a muzzle, and a whole list of other things you need to know. At first it seems like a lot to take in, but it's all organized so well, and you have the opportunity to follow the lessons as you make things.
I plan on starting at the beginning and working my way through, as if it were a text book. This book is the next best thing to taking a class from Abby herself. Really, this is the text book and taking a class from her all in one!
Abby put so much effort into this, from the full sized patterns to the extensive testing, this is a labor of love. Not only that, but when I mentioned to her that she was going to put herself out of a job by training people to make stuffed animals so well, she told me that was the goal. Not to put herself out of work (as if that could happen to this creative lady!), but to pass on what she knows to others.
This is the crafting community at work. I love it, and I love Stuffed Animals: from concept to construction.