Harry Potter Crochet Kit
I received a complimentary review copy of this book and kit in exchange for an honest review.
Harry Potter Crochet Kit
Patterns by Lucy Collin
Thunder Bay Press/Simon & Schuster
I will admit it up front, I am a sucker for book bundles and kits. The yoga mat my husband and I use is a relic (20 years old now) from a bargain book boxed set of a yoga DVD, mat, and exercise ball. When I was offered the Harry Potter Crochet kit, I jumped at the chance to review it--even though I prefer to knit rather than crochet.
|Unboxed Harry Potter Crochet Kit|
The Harry Potter Crochet kit includes a paperback pattern book with basic instructions on crochet technique, specific to the skills needed to make small dolls or amigurumi. A plastic crochet hook in the shape of a wand, as well as enough yarn and findings to make the Harry and Dobby dolls on the left of the box, are included. The patterns are written by Lucy Collin, who is Lucyravenscar on Ravelry (which is the social media platform for knitters and crocheters). Collin is also the author of Star Wars Crochet (also available as a kit!).
|Make sure you pull the box apart and find the fiber-fill bag under the book.|
Pattern-wise, the book itself has a good selection of characters, and an interesting variety of techniques. The dolls include:
- Harry Potter*
- Hermione Granger
- Ron Weasley
- Student Robe and Scarf (so you can dress up your dolls for school, obviously)
- Dobby the House-Elf*
- Rubeus Hagrid
- Norbert the Dragon
- Albus Dumbledore
- Minerva McGonagall
- The Sorting Hat
- Severus Snape
- Ginny Weasley
*The kit materials match these two projects.
The basic crochet steps are pretty straightforward, although anyone trying crochet for the first time is likely to need to seek out a person or some YouTube videos to help them figure it out. (I say this having learned to crochet as a child, who even as an adult finds amigurumi quite fiddly due to th small size of most of the pieces.) Techniques to simulate hair, beards, and dragon wings are also explained well. Accessories such as brooms, hats, and scarves are included in the pattern instructions--yes, Dobby's sock is included, too. There's even advice on making small wands out of polymer clay (as long as the items are not intended for small children, for whom the clay wands will be a choking hazard). Something I recently learned too is that amigurumi sometimes uses makeup to "paint" features on the fabric, like brown eyeshadow is used in the book to give old Voldy his gaunt eyebags.
Additionally, the book's techniques can be used like building blocks to create other characters. Ron, for example, is crocheted using the same steps as Harry, but with different hair and without Harry's identifying features (glasses, scar). You could change the hair and the color of his outfits to make Draco Malfoy, or whichever student you would like to make. The same goes for Hermione, whose pattern can be used for any student in a skirt**, as the main difference between her and the "male" student pattern is that instead of pants, she has a skirt, socks, and Mary Jane shoes.
|3.5 mm "Wand" Crochet Hook|
I read quite a few reviews of this kit saying the plastic wand crochet hook (3.5 mm or Size E) is too bendy and has little rough bits that snag the yarn too much, but although I do find it a bit weak, I disagree--I think the yarn is the problem. I tried using the wand to crochet a bit with nicer yarn, and didn't have any trouble (apart from the fact the better yarn I had was the wrong color for Dobby). I totally understand the book recommends acrylic or wool yarn for the projects, as you want the fabric to be able to hold its shape. I am still waiting, however, for any book and material kit that actually comes with fiber that's more pleasant to work with, so I'm not surprised at the quality. I found the peach yarn splitty (yes, that's a technical term crocheters/knitters use to describe yarn), and it had very little stitch definition, which made it really hard to count stitches. In amigurumi, stitch count is everything--it's what shapes the pieces to look like whatever it is you're trying to represent, so being unable to discern how many stitches you have/where you need to make your next stitch can be incredibly frustrating. This leads me to advise against giving this kit to beginners without a plan to assist them in learning to crochet. At least for those who already crochet, all they might struggle with is the materials, not the patterns.
Lastly, as thorough as the book is in most of the necessary instructions, it does not mention how to handle the hanks of yarn to avoid tangling them. The tiny skeins on the right of the photo below shouldn't be too hard to handle, but the longer quantities of yarn are almost certain to get snarled. In response to this I have included a tutorial on how to wind yarn into a ball on my Instagram story highlights. I also have an Instagram story version of this review.
|Yarn included for Harry and Dobby|
|Embroidery floss, needle, and safety eyes|
I'm waiting to get some better yarn to work with (probably KnitPicks Palette, since my friend Thuy has quite a number of colors in her stash). And I probably will switch to using my regular E crochet hook, even though the wand one doesn't mess up my tension. But I will definitely be queuing up some of these to make for friends. (OK yeah, some of them will be for me -- Dobby and his sock are too precious for words. Also, Hedwig--need I say more?) While you probably wouldn't want to be stuck with this book as a non- or novice-crocheter, I think intermediate crocheters who love Harry Potter will dig this kit. The patterns are worth it, even if the yarn and hook are a bit off.
**It took me a while to put this review into words as I was a bit stymied for a time by the brouhaha surrounding J.K. Rowling's support of a transphobic person's stance and tweets. I'm sad every time she says or writes something which proves she's a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), because what I gleaned from reading her work is the opposite of the attitude she exhibits by supporting transphobic rhetoric. I don't think internet outrage will make any changes in how she thinks; I just hope there is someone in her life that can work on getting her to see differently--to see how the inclusion and empathy she's promulgated in her work is dissonant with the stance that transwomen are not women.