Book Review: Amamani Puzzle Balls

When I do a search for "crochet toy books" on Amazon, the current number of results is 678. In a pool that large, it's incredibly difficult to find anything original and different, but Dedri Uys has done just that in her new book, Amamani Puzzle Balls. The patterns in this book are so unique that the average crocheter has probably never even heard of such things.

Amamani Puzzle Balls

The word "amamani" is a portmanteau for Amish amigurumi animals, and they were inspired by the Amish puzzle ball which (until now) has traditionally been sewn from fabric. These clever little balls are designed with three interlocking rings, which when assembled correctly, form a soft ball for baby. They are educational toys with old-world charm, and Uys adds charm to the charming by adding animal features to the puzzle pieces. When these puzzles are solved, the child will have an actual stuffed animal instead of a mere ball.

The book opens with full color photo tutorials for making each type of component for the balls--a full 16 pages' worth--before moving on to the patterns for specific balls. The patterns also include additional tutorials specific to that ball. Really, enough can't be said about the level of detail that Uys put into the photo tutorials; if the crocheter has a question while she's working on these patterns, it's likely already been answered in this book.

My only complaint is that each puzzle piece must itself be pieced together from multiple crocheted components, but this is because of my own inherent laziness. I like my projects to be done when the crocheting is done. This is not the fault of pattern designer; there's really no other way to make pieces of this shape without piecing them together. I merely mention it because I know there are those like myself who avoid crochet assembly like the plague.

However, if you would like to make one exception to crochet assembly, let it be this one. And if you would like to save yourself hours of considering which crochet toy pattern book to buy, do yourself a favor and just get this one. Any recipient of one of these puzzle balls will wonder how you ever thought of anything so clever.