I could not resist asking Amy O’Neill Houck (friend, colleague, and dresser of bears) some silly questions in relation to her new book Crochet For Bears to Wear.
Does a bear drop his crochet hook in the woods? and if so, what happens next?
That begs the question, does a bear crochet in the woods, does it not? The bears I have seen here in Alaska are quite dexterous, I would guess they make use of local materials — sticks, their claws, etc.
How did these two books (Knits for… and Crochet for…) come about?
I was approached by Potter Craft about the knitting book, it was a bit of a surprise since I’d never made anything for a bear or a doll before (outside of teaching children’s classes). But it turned out well because they gave me lots of latitude to take my own approach with the books. I wanted them to be full of fun techniques — to make the bear projects teaching tools for learning new tricks and skills in knitting and crochet.
What was the most challenging aspect of designing for bears?
Bears come in all sizes, just like people. I designed these patterns to be customizable. Each one has a small worksheet that allows you to make the pattern for any bear or doll, or even a small human!
Ok, let’s assume you don’t have a houseful of wayward bears to clothe — who or what else will fit into these outfits?
[Note… Spike’s one of my cats, perhaps best known for his appearance on I Can Has Cheezburger? wearing a fisherman’s sweater. Yup, that’s my boy. Patient, isn’t he?]
Now that you live in Alaska, have you seen any live bears roaming around?
Absolutely. Bears are a fact of life here. When I go hiking I always bring the children. They make lots of noise which scares the bears away. And if the noise doesn’t work. I can always run faster than the kids. 😉
Talk to me about measuring…you have an entire section at the front of the book on what and how to measure. You also recommend a fairly large (6″) swatch — why?
I actually always recommend a 6″ swatch because if you’re measuring a 4″ section of knitting or crochet, you want stitches around the measured area so you get an accurate count. That said, these projects are so small, you could conceivably skip the huge swatch and just take your chances with a small one. If it doesn’t fit your intended bear or doll, you can find another one that it will fit, right?
How did you do the book photography? It must have been a challenge to find all those fun little props!
When doing Knits for Bears…, I styled and photo-directed the book. It was great fun finding the props — most of them came from the thrift store or the bedrooms of my daughter and her friends. With Crochet for Bears…, the publisher wanted the fun of doing the photographs, so I didn’t get to play with tiny bear toys this time.
Ten words or less Knitgrrl review: check out this book, you’ll love it!