One of the key attractions of the 2018 Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace will be the opportunity to see the entire Edward’s Menagerie collection of crochet animals in one place for the first time ever.
For me, this is especially exciting, as it brings the story full circle. I first met the Edward’s Menagerie creator, Kerry Lord, at the Ally Pally show in 2013. As I rounded the corner into the aisle where her TOFT stand was located, I couldn’t see much of the stand for the hordes of people, five or six deep, waving £20 pound notes in the air. Around 40 beautiful crochet animals hung from the stand, and Kerry and team were selling home-printed copies of the patterns to make them, with incredible success.
I snatched a brief chat with Kerry amidst the wonderful chaos and suggested that we should make this into a book, and was thrilled when a few weeks later she followed up with me on email. The first Edward’s Menagerie book was published in 2014, and has gone on to sell over 100,000 copies in English, and has been translated into 14 other languages. It is without doubt the most successful book I have ever commissioned, and I owe it to that first encounter at the Knitting & Stitching Show.
The birth of Edward’s Menagerie
Having always been a knitter, Kerry picked up a crochet hook for the first time a few weeks before the birth of her first child, Edward, and made a toy elephant. From there the collection just kept growing and is still increasing, seemingly daily! Subsequent book collections have included Birds and Dogs as well as an enormous range of other patterns that now appear on TOFT’s dedicated Edward’s Crochet website.
Hundreds of thousands of these wonderful toys have been made by people all over the world, and the patterns have brought enjoyment and wonder to all those who have either crocheted an animal or received one that has been lovingly made for them. I have made several of the animals myself: my daughter has Bridget the Elephant, my son has Seamus the Alpaca, my nephew has Winston the Ardvark. I made Alice the Zebra for the baby of a dear friend, and Penelope the Bear for the baby of a colleague… and my Chardonnay the Palomino Pony even won 1st prize at my local village show, a feat that excited me almost as much reaching 100,000 sales of the book!
Entering the magnificent Palm Court for the Knitting & Stitching Show – the biggest textile event in the UK – visitors will be wowed by over 300 of the Edward’s Menagerie animals on display, the first time the full collection has ever been exhibited. I can’t wait to see this amazing spectacle and to reflect on the impact of this incredible book on the lives of so many people.