Dumpling Cats are as cute as a button!
Make these roly-poly cuties yourself!
Look out for dumplings! These oh-so-adorable cuties are going to invade your house if you’re not careful. But that’s OK: who can resist crocheted animals, let alone crochet cats? Artist Sarah Sloyer answered some of our questions about her process, her inspiration, and the animals in her life:
Dover Books: Could you tell us about what inspired you to create these wonderful crocheted cats and their adorable accessories?
Sarah Sloyer: Coming up with 25 different cats was definitely a fun challenge! At first, I didn’t have any specific characters in mind — I just doodled a few rough ideas onto paper using basic shapes, like round cats, short cats, and skinny cats. But once I began crocheting, their personalities really started to develop, and I got more and more ideas as I worked on each one. Sometimes I’d even stumble onto something accidentally, like with Cheeks: he was just supposed to be a normal-looking cat, but I made a mistake while spacing the increases in his face, which resulted in his big chubby cheeks. I ended up liking how it looked, and his whole story and name grew from there! I especially loved getting to design the costume-wearing cats, since there were so many fun possibilities and opportunities. As for the inspiration behind the accessories: I’ve never met a cat that didn’t enjoy a nice big cardboard box, so I knew I had to include one!
Dover: What is the skill level required to create these cats? Special techniques?
Sarah: The only stitches used in the book are the single crochet stitch and half double crochet stitch (which is used only briefly). As long as you’re familiar with the basics, like creating an adjustable ring, working in the round, and sewing pieces together, you should be all set! The book starts off with the simplest cats first, and as the patterns progress, some begin to include techniques like changing colors or crocheting in front/back loops only, which are quite easy. There are lots of step-by-step photos to help as well!
Dover: Could you talk a bit about your own creative/artistic background?
Sarah: I’ve always loved to draw and create characters (especially silly animals) which led me to studying illustration and animation in college. While I was in school, I would sometimes get burnt out on drawing, but still wanted to do something creative in my spare time. I saw photos of amigurumi online and became determined to learn how to make them. I was never super confident at crafts, but I was surprised at how easy it was to crochet! I really liked that it was something I could do almost anywhere, and if I ever made a mistake, I could always rip out the stitches and try again — it was very beginner-friendly.
Dover: Tell us about going into business as a pattern-maker/author. What was your first book and how did you start on this path?
Sarah: After I learned how to crochet, I began designing patterns for fun and selling them on Etsy to earn extra money while I was in school. Putting my work online allowed me to meet other designers, and eventually one of my patterns was published in Zoomigurumi, a Belgian amigurumi book that included a variety of patterns from different designers all over the world. Since then, I’ve been lucky to have a few more of my patterns included in later installments of the Zoomigurumi series (2, 3, and 6). About a year ago, I created a pattern called “Dumpling Kitty” and posted it for free on Ravelry. It got passed around a bit and that’s how I got approached by Dover to do Dumpling Cats, which is my first official book!
Dover: Could you tell us about upcoming projects, crochet-related or otherwise?
Sarah: I recently finished working on a Peter Pan installment of Dover’s Crochet Stories series, which is slated for release in October! At the moment, I’m currently working on patterns and illustrations for a doggy equivalent of Dumpling Cats, which I am super excited about. Once I’m finished, I’d love to work on filling my Etsy shop with as many new animal patterns as possible!
Dover: What about the animals in your life? Are you a pet owner?
Sarah: I grew up in a house full of animals! My mom and dad used to rescue retired racing greyhounds, while I’ve always been the resident cat lady. I have two cats: a tiny Siamese named Charlotte who yells a lot, and Broose, who might actually be a monster truck. I think cats are the greatest animals in existence and I try to befriend every single one that I meet. I am usually unsuccessful, but that doesn’t stop me.