Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Fuzzy Felted Friends Review
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Japanese craft books are all the rage in the crafting community—especially now that American publishers are finally translating them into English. I’ve already taken a look at crocheted stuffed animals and embroidery basics; now it’s time for felted creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Like Sue Pearl’s Making Felted Friends, Saori Yamazaki’s Fuzzy Felted Friends teaches readers to use natural wool fibers (or roving)—along with felting needles and/or a little bit of elbow grease—to create all kinds of cute little creatures.

Fuzzy Felted Friends is divided into three sections, opening with full-color pictures of the 25 patterns featured in the book. While there are plenty of decorative little animals featured in the book, there are other—more practical—designs as well. You’ll find sturdy tiger- and zebra-print bags, along with cell phone charms and fish-shaped cushions and potholders and even a tea cozy in the shape of an elephant. Most of the designs are absolutely adorable—and they’re presented in bright, eye-catching colors.

  
 
Once she’s got you hooked with her whimsical designs, Yamazaki continues by explaining how to create them. Using four different examples, she walks her readers through various felting techniques—from needle felting to wet felting. And, finally, she concludes the book with the patterns—simple step-by-step guidelines for finishing each project.

Like the patterns in other Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts books (like Woolly Embroidery and Amigurumi), the patterns in Fuzzy Felted Friends aren’t exactly intricately detailed. Sometimes, in fact, they take just half of a page. They give you a few sketches and diagrams, along with the basic information, and they let you work through the rest of the picky little details for yourself. For those who value their creative freedom, that won’t be a problem at all—because it allows you to do it your way. For more hesitant crafters, however—those who like their craft books to hold their hand through the process—it may pose a bit of a challenge.

Still, the necessary information is there. Through black-and-white pictures—as well as diagrams, drawings, and descriptions (which are written in a rather quirky, Japanese variation of English)—Yamazaki takes readers through the whole process. As long as you follow her steps and consult those full-color pictures in the front of the book, most craft enthusiasts shouldn’t have much of a problem creating these little felted projects.

If you’re one of those crafters who need carefully detailed instructions, stick with Pearl’s Making Felted Friends. But for those who prefer to learn just a few of the basics before heading off on their own, Fuzzy Felted Friends is the perfect guide. Try out a few of these wonderfully whimsical projects, and you’ll be ready to try designing a few of your own.

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