Review - Crafting With Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts To Make With You Cat by Koari Tsutaya, Translated from the Japanese by Amy Hirschman, Published by Quirk Books 2011
(Cover Photo Copyright Quirk Books)
So have you ever crafted with cat hair? Well, we get Angora jumpers from rabbit hair, Mohair scarves from goats and woollen mittens from sheep, so why not crafty makes from cat hair? Why not indeed? Well, if you fancy it, Crafting With Cat Hair has everything you need to get you started with Cat Hair crafting.
Crafting With Cat Hair was written, originally in Japanese, by cat-obsessed writer Kaori Tsutaya and then translated into English by crafter and translator Amy Hirschman. It is in a neat 19 cm by 20 cm paperback format and is packed to the brim with cute kitty photos - which you would expect of course but being another cat obsessive, it is fun seeing a craft book dedicated to kitty cats!
The book is based around felting techniques with the cat hair. There are ten projects and most of them use needle felting to decorate a felt or woollen item with an image of a cat. A couple of them, such as making a cat hair finger puppet and the project where you apply the finger puppet to a felt box, use a wet felting technique. You get help and instruction for both these techniques, although you may need some previous experience of felting with fur or at least some crafty common sense as some of the instructions are a little short.
As Kaori herself points out, cat hair isn't quite like sheep wool so it is good for decorating projects but you would not be able to make a usable bag from it for example. Some of the projects include a decorated coin purse, some really cute kitty badges and kitty cat portraits, and some great scarf, hat and glove decorations. All projects come with step-by-step instructions and some come with pictures to help you with some of the stages.
The book's greatest strength is in the details of how to groom and care for your cat with an aim to collect cat hair and have a happy, well-groomed cat of course! It answers some of your catty questions from what to do about pests, when the best time to harvest cat hair is and to how to look after the projects you have decorated with the cat hair.
There are patterns, materials lists and handy tips throughout. I loved the section where you get to meet the cat hair contributors - cute touch! There is also a great section on grooming brushes but most of the links are for Japanese stockists, apart from one American stockist, so I don't know how readily available these brushes are for the UK and European markets, although a quick internet search did point to similar products being available in the UK.
I loved this book for its kitty pictures and great tips on looking after your cat, but as a serious craft project book I felt that you might be disappointed with the effort you put in and the end product when you finish. I think it would be perfect for a teenager who loves cats and has a crafty side, or for a cat-obsessed felt crafter who is looking for something different to felt with! You can find it over at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
(Just so you know – this book was sent to me by Quirk books to review. My views are honest, unbiased and unpaid, well other than a free copy of the book that is!)