I recently acquired a copy of Claire Garland’s book Magical Woodland Knits. I was immediately enchanted by the beautiful image and gold embossing on the front cover. It is a beautiful publication, printed on fine paper and containing creative photos of the complete projects (twelve woodland animals), as well as detailed photos of the construction of each project.
✨Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post and enter to win a copy of Magical Woodland Knits!✨
Upon entering the magical world of Claire Garland’s creations, it’s not uncommon to stumble across a phrase such as
‘Here’s a very quick and simple little cardigan to fit your little Guinea Pig.’
If that’s not enough to draw you in, I can’t imagine what is. 😍
Claire was kind enough to share a bit about herself and her book below. Enjoy!
B: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
C: Hi my name is Claire Garland, aka Dot Pebbles (my online presence). I’m a creative soul, living in Cornwall, UK, who loves to knit and wants to knit forever.
Many years ago, I began designing characterful dolls and their clothes and selling them as patterns online and also in books (I wrote the book Knitted Babes) – from here, I moved on to knitting animals, which I’ve honed in on to try and capture them as life-like as possible – this is where I’d like to stay because I love the challenge and there are so many animals I need to capture.
B: What inspired you to write this book?
C: Since I started to knit the animals and take up the personal challenge to create ‘as life-like a creature as possible from yarn’ I found myself veering towards native, wild UK animals; creatures as small as birds and mice and as big as a wolf. The book commission followed from me posting my makes and promoting my patterns on my Instagram account @dotpebbles_knits
B: What were the most challenging/fun parts of creating this book?
C: The patterns themselves were quite challenging not only to create and invent but also to write down because I was always tweaking the shapes, so it was a very lengthy process, and also fitting in with what was a tight schedule was a little stressful. That said though, it was (and is) immensely fun and engrossing and also rewarding!
B: Do you have a favorite woodland creature? I’m quite fond of the badger!
C: Aw yeah, I like the badger too, especially the way he’s been photographed. But my favourite is the rabbit, mainly because this was one of my first creatures – first I’d ever knitted, and this is the pattern that kind of kick-started my success (wee little mouse is cute too!)
B: When it comes to knitting stuffed animals, what do you think knitters should be aware of? Are there techniques required that aren’t commonly used in garment and accessory knitting?
C: I think the major difference is the finishing. By that, I mean the whole stuffing and shaping part. What you are, in essence creating is a knitted sculpture, so with that in mind, you’re not just knitting, joining, and plonking on a shelf in a toy cupboard (at least that’s not what they are truly designed for); you are instead creatively moulding and sculpting the yarn and the stuffing and giving character and ‘life’ to the finished item.
B: What is your favorite thing to knit?
C: Animals – I’m particularly enjoying my latest ‘Knitted Dolls’ with clothes. I loved knitting the puppies too, for my Domestika Course.
B: What makes this book a great addition to a knitting library?
I am a great collector of cookery books, in particular ones that are beautifully photographed. I’ll probably only ever make one dish from each these books but I just love looking and browsing through them, I find them totally inspiring – if I may I’d like this to be a kind of analogy for my book.
B: I adore this comparison. As an avid collector of books on a variety of subjects, I think that you’ve truly captured the reason that so many of us love to be surrounded by them; the inspiration.✨
If there’s anything else you’d like to share with the readers, please do!
C: I’d like to say don’t be afraid of the patterns. Don’t be put off by the wording or the seeming complexity of the makes. They are created from just basic knit and purl on two needles, so are very doable.
Also, a tip I’ve learnt: I use lockable stitch markers within the patterns, so, to make it easy when it comes to joining the small seams, make a note of which colour marker is which (red marker for Neck Marker for example). I now write a colour-marker guide within my patterns and it’s oh-so useful.
B: What a beautiful book! I’m looking forward to sharing it with my readers.