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Book Review

When I first learned to knit, I started with Brown Sheep yarn. My first project was a small knitted square with golden yarn from Brown Sheep, which magically turned into a chicken. This chicken soon found other friends, a pig, a horse, another horse, a kitten, a mouse, and so on, all knitted with Brown Sheep yarn. Most of the patterns I used were from Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke. Freya Jaffke’s books are all a treasure and a valuable collection for parents and educators both.

Phoebe's Sweater Just a few months ago, I received this wonderful children’s storybook, written by Joanna Johnson and beautifully illustrated by her husband Eric Johnson, and towards the end I found knitting patterns for Phoebe’s Sweater and Phoebe Mouse from the story’s characters. I loved the idea of knitting something for a child to match the characters from a book. Phoebe’s Sweater was reviewed in the Fall 2010 issue of Living Crafts magazine: “This delightful story is about a child adjusting to the idea of a new sibling, and the assurance she receives from her parents about how much they love and cherish her. Her mother knits her a sweater while still pregnant with the baby. At the end of the book there are instructions for Phoebe the mouse, a child’s cardigan, matching with a doll cardigan, which, in the story, Phoebe the mouse wears. This book is a treasure for both the illustrated story, as well as the beautiful me-and-my-doll cardigan pattern.” Knitting Scene The charming illustrations do not disappoint – they provide rich detail.

Star Scene

And the eager imagination of a young child will find much to consider. Phoebe's Sweater Phoebe’s Sweater is a seamless knit that comes together very quickly in bulky weight superwash yarn.

Girl's Sweater

Instructions include a pattern for this sweet seamless doll and a matching doll sweater, too! Now, I am thrilled to have received Joanna and Eric’s second book, Freddie’s Blanket, which is just as charming.

Freddies Blanket

The Johnson’s new book follows a similar idea of including knitting patterns with a storybook (much like Living Crafts’ Craft a Story column), but introduces a new family of characters and unfolds the tale of a young boy who has trouble staying in his own bed at night. A certain hand knit blanket is always at his side! Cradle The illustrations are just as lovely as in the first book. Farmer's Market And offer much for children and parents to talk about while reading together. Baby Five new knitting patterns accompany the story, including the darling Baby Envelope Blanket. Little boy in coveralls Also, the cute knitted coveralls even have a pattern for a toy knitted hammer! Freddie And of course, there is another adorable seamless toy. There is also a pattern for Freddie’s sister, May, in a sweet violet dress.

Signed Books and Yarn Giveaway

Knitting Kit and Books Today we are offering a very special gift from Joanna and Eric at Slate Falls Press, and from our friends at Brown Sheep Company. Included in the giveaway are a copy of each of these two books, signed by the author and illustrator, as well as a generous collection of Brown Sheep Company yarn. There are 11 skeins of Lamb’s Pride Superwash Bulky, in Mint Cream, which is enough to knit the largest size Phoebe’s Sweater as well as the matching doll sweater. Also, the winner will receive 4 skeins of Serendipity Tweed in Colorado Columbine, which is enough to knit the largest size Freddie’s Coveralls as well as the matching toy coveralls. This wonderful giveaway is valued at $180.00. Just leave a comment to this post to enter the Giveaway. Comments will be open until Sunday (January 30, 2011) 8 p.m. EST.

And the winner is…


  Rayleen    2011/01/30 at 10:04 am
   I love the books with patterns – what a neat idea and one I’m sure that my        grand-daughters would love.

Posted by Living Crafts on Jan 28, 2011 02:19 PM | 908 Comments

908 Responses to “Book Review”

  1. Michele says:

    I love Toymaking with Children and am eager to track down Phoebe’s Sweater and Freddie’s Blanket. The patterns look lovely. I love the color of Phoebe’s Sweater in the photo.

  2. Barbara says:

    I love to see who Living Crafts works with: Brown Sheep is about my favorite yarn company, and there is NOTHING like knitting for… and with children. Keep up the good work!

  3. Kathy Johnson says:

    Hope I get the right comment page….I made The Mitten craft with the help of our library’s former director who made 35 bears so everyone could take home a bear after story & craft. Accessible, doable and endearing. thanks for all the wonderful ideas, photographs and positive attitude. KJ

  4. Sheila says:

    How beautiful!
    I’ll be requesting our library bring in these books.

  5. Candice says:

    Lovely books and adorable sweater

  6. Rayleen says:

    I love the books with patterns – what a neat idea and one I’m sure that my grand-daughters would love.

  7. April says:

    These are beautiful books, and patterns, this would be a great contest to win. Both I and my daughter would love to enjoy these books. Thanks for the great contest!

  8. Lisa M says:

    Ooh, what a lovely giveaway! I have Freddie’s Blanket on my Amazon wishlist!

  9. Oh what a lovely giveaway! Would love to be entered!!
    xo maureen

  10. Andi says:

    The books look wonderful! I would love to win them for my kids!

  11. Ruth says:

    The illustrations are full of life and love. So much for the child to drink in as a loved one reads the stories to them. The topics are perfect too. I am an early childhood teacher and so frequently have parents ask for help with both of these “issues” and would enjoy loaning these books to them. What fun it would be to also have the characters from the books added to our doll area in the classroom. That would really help to reinforce the security and love. And I have plenty of little ones that I would enjoy giving the child size garments to. I am excited. I hope to win this generous give away.
    thank you

  12. Marissa R says:

    Wow, two beautiful books! I am in love with the sweater too, I must knit one for my daughter!

  13. I am so thrilled to hear about these books! Being a handwork teacher, I love stories that involve knitting, sewing etc in them. For the story to include patterns is even more exciting!
    And what a wonderful give-away!

  14. Thea says:

    What lovely books and patterns! I love brown sheep yarns, too.

  15. Leticia says:

    amazing…what a great book, patterns, and yarns….please pick me..i have two girls…would love to make some items from the book!

  16. Maria says:

    lovely books and patterns!

  17. Margaret says:

    I work in a library and we would LOVE to add these books to our collection so that many families could enjoy them. My co-worker knits small toys and creatures for her story time presentations and would make excellent use of the patterns and yarn. Thanks for the inspiration.

  18. Oooh! These are such lovely books! (The yarn is great too) I live in the Netherlands and I have no idea If I can enter your lovely give away, but stil give it a try. Love your blog, great inspiration for moms like me!
    Greetings from mama lieveheersbeestje.

  19. Annie says:

    I am so excited to see that she has come out with a second book! Her first has been on my wishlist for a while.

  20. Tonya says:

    Thanks for posting this! These look like must haves for my library!

  21. Sarah says:

    So beautiful! What a great giveaway.

  22. Missy Whaley says:

    I love the intention of the book. Having the project at the end encourages a special time for a parent and child, or careprovider and child or another adult and child.The story is sweet and illustrations are full of warmth.
    Thank you to both of you!

  23. Elisa Mangual says:

    These are so sweet!

  24. tai says:

    Lovely! Thank you.

  25. Aimee B. says:

    Oh what a wonderful book! I am excited to see the newest book! What a wonderful give-away! I love Brown Sheep Yarn!
    Just love it….

  26. Kari Moody says:

    Those are beautiful books and we have three new babies coming to the extended family this summer!

  27. paula says:

    Great book, great yarn – love to knit and love children’s books…fingers crossed

  28. JoAnna says:

    Oooh what beautiful books! I love yarn and love children’s literature…what a lovely combination indeed!

  29. Jessica says:

    What a lovely giveaway!
    Such sweet sweet stories and awesome patterns!!!

  30. Lory says:

    Thank you for the giveaway, hope I get lucky! Brown Sheep yarn is terrific and the books look lovely.

  31. Kimberly Busby says:

    Wow! I am collecting books to use in my classroom’s reading retreat and these look like the type of gentle stories and illustrations the children would enjoy. Also would love to try my hand at the sweater as a gift for my niece. Such a generous give-away; thank you!

  32. Joan says:

    I’m so happy for Eric and Joanna. I purchased my book Phoebe’s Sweater directly from them and Joanna inscribed it for me. My Granddaughter Kaya received it for her 3rd birthday (along with her own sweater) and she loved it and was so thrilled when her Daddy read her the story and found out she had a sweater just like the one in the storybook! What a wonderful keepsake for everyone involved. The memory of knitting the sweater, putting it in the mail to Nome, Alaska and waiting for Kaya’s reaction was just like Christmas for me all over again.

  33. Tiffy says:

    Yarn & storybooks. Mamma sittin’ knittin’, while the youngn’s lie staring at beautiful pages. The vision is so satisfying. We’d all love to see it come to be. Thanks for the offer.

  34. Nancy Kolb says:

    Oh, what lovely books and patterns! Brown Sheep too (no way)! This would be the perfect introduction to knitting for me to share with my sister-in-law as she prepares to enter into motherhood.

  35. Theresa F says:

    What a nice giveaway!

  36. Nicole says:

    I was hoping to get this book and knit the sweater before my next babe is born (Feb eeeek!) This would be sooooooo perfect!

  37. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful books and the yarn is gorgeous. Love to knit those sweaters. Just Lovely!

  38. Beth E says:

    What a wonderful gift for a grandmother-to-be that knits – a one of a kind gift and book for cuddling!! Love the books and the patterns!

  39. Amy V says:

    What a lovely book! We have a copy and love it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  40. Nicole says:

    It all looks so amazing..would love to knit the sweater for DD and her doll!

  41. mary B says:

    What beautiful books. The sweaters look great and would be be something to try.

  42. Heather says:


    What a sweet combination. Gorgeous children’s books along with heirloom quality children’s knits.

    We are so fortunate to have this publication in our lives.

    Thank you for all you bring to us!

  43. kendra says:

    amazing giveaway! just love that little platypus!

  44. shana says:

    oh how lovely. thank you

  45. deven says:

    I’ve been eyeing these for a while and am in LOVE with Phoebe’s sweater. It’s also my favorite name for a little girl…too bad I used it on my Yorkie! Thanks!

  46. Holly G. says:

    I’d love to make these projects with my child!

  47. Samantha Schuller says:

    I had never seen those books before! How adorable! I might have to splurge since I have 3 yo girl and baby boy. :)

  48. Kate says:

    What wonderful books and great giveaway!

  49. Cristina Eury says:

    They are absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful book idea!

  50. Bonnie says:

    This would be so wonderful! The books are adorable!

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