Crochet Stories: E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker by Lindsay Smith is the first book in Dover Publication’s new Crochet Stories series. Each book presents a story (or series of stories) and interweaves it with crochet patterns for the story’s characters. So far, the two books released have had different crochet designers taking the reigns, meaning each book has a very different feel from the other.
The Nutcracker book, unsurprisingly, focuses on that beloved Christmas story. It uses the text of the story from another Dover book (The Nutcracker and the Golden Pot), which seems to me to be an excellent version of the story. Each section is followed by a pattern for one of the characters, beginning with Marie (aka Clara), and moving through Godpapa Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King and more. Lindsay Smith also includes patterns for the clock, a Christmas tree, and a few other Christmas goodies.
The patterns themselves are very straightforward and easy to follow. Each round is worked continuously for most patterns, which is my preferred method by far. She also includes stitch counts for each row, making the patterns very accessible to novice crocheters. A quick rundown of stitches is included at the beginning of each patterns, and a small section of techniques is included at the back. I did have to look up one stitch online, but isn’t that what the Internet is for?
Ms. Smith uses Lily Sugar ‘n Cream yarn for most of her models, a very easily obtainable yarn. There are a few specialty yarns used in a couple of designs, like Bernat Boa for the Nutcracker’s beard, but none are too hard to come by. Her models are well photographed, so it is easy to duplicate the facial embroidery and other embellishments. (My version was made using Bernat Satin yarn.)
I had a minor issue when stitching up my Marie. The instructions for her belt and skirt were a little unclear. But, after a little trial and error and a close examination of the pictures, I think I managed to figure it out. At the very least, my finished product looks very similar to the picture. And, to me, that is the true test of any amigurumi pattern: if I can make it look like the model using the instructions provided, then it must be a good pattern. 😉
All in all, this is a lovely book, especially if you love The Nutcracker. A copy of the storybook (or the movie) along with all the dolls from this book would be an absolutely wonderful gift for any child who is enchanted by the story. (And what little girl or boy isn’t at some point?)
I received a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The published version of this book may be different from the version I reviewed. Also, there are affiliate links used in this post.