Book Review: Crochet a Zoo by Megan Kreiner

Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my!!!  Yes, you’ll find all these and more in the new book “Crochet a Zoo” by first time author Megan Kreiner.  Megan, an animator at DreamWorks Animation SKG realized while her career is fun and fulfilling she longed to create something in the real world instead of virtual.

So how does a 3-D animal in your head become a 3-D animal in your hands?  Megan began by first sketching the animals on paper.  She drew each character the actual size she wanted it to be.  She would then crochet a piece and lay it on top of the sketch to see if it was turning out to be the size she drew.  There was a lot of trial and error.   A lot of ripping out and trying different sizes of crochet hooks and yarn.

Eventually Megan discovered a trick that would not only make crocheting a whole zoo full of animals easier, it would also give the entire collection a cohesive look.  She found that many of the animals could be built from the same parts.

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When I had the chance to interview Megan, she said, “Crochet a Zoo” was written in a way that should be done in chronological order.  If you make a baby penguin, you would have a leg for a different animal later on the in the book.  If you make the larger penguin, you would have the body to some of the more advanced animals.  Megan wanted to make sure that people weren’t intimidated by her designs and each pattern builds upon each other, so by the time you get to the primate section you have enough confidence and skill to crochet a gorilla, baboon or chimpanzee.

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She created these toys because she wants kids to play with them, to be inspired, to use their imagination.  She said when something is handmade it means someone really cares about you and made this especially for you.  Megan wants to make toys children are familiar with, and since most young children have been to the zoo she thought this would make a good first book.  The toys are meant to be treasured, and handed down from generation to generation.  Megan hopes her son James will enjoy the lion she made for him for many years to come.

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Just a little tidbit Megan shared with me that’s NOT in the book, if you want to make perfectly round felt eyes, you can use the Susan Bates “Knit Chek” Needle gauge.  There are perfect little circles on it that you can use as a template and place on top of a piece of black felt.  You can then use a white gel pen to trace out the shape of the eye and then use cuticle scissors to carefully cut out your small eye circles.

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Among the yarns Megan likes to use for the menagerie are these colors in Red Heart Soft; Black (4614), Chocolate (9344), Honey (9114), Off-white (4601) and Wheat (9388)

Megan told me she has two more books in the works, but I’m sworn to secrecy as what the topics are.  If you’d like to contact Megan, have a trunk show, receive bonus patterns please check out her website at www.mkcrochet.com.

Buy Crochet A Zoo!