This is a crochet pattern review of the Lion crochet pattern by Lauren Espy of a Menagerie of Stitches. You can find all the details about where to find this pattern and how it works up in the review below.
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In case you missed my last crochet pattern review, I’ll give you the scoop! I’m a contributor for the EyeLoveKnots blog, and recently, Alexandra (the amazing crochet designer and blogger behind EyeLoveKnots, Cre8tion Crochet, and OnRockwoodLane) reached out to me about receiving an early release copy of Lauren Espy’s newest book, Animal Amigurumi Adventures Vol. 2: 15 (More!) Crochet Patterns to Create Adorable Amigurumi Critters from Blue Star Press. Of course, I said yes in a heartbeat!
I have been a big fan of Lauren Espy’s patterns for as long as I can remember, and I have been gathering quite a collection of her books, including Whimsical Stitches, Crochet Cafe, and First Words with Cute Crochet Friends. I even wrote up a review about how cute the First Words book was – you can read all about it on the EyeLoveKnots blog!
I have been making some adorable amigurumi animals to prep for my upcoming market since I got Animal Amigurumi Adventures Vol. 2 in the mail. Earlier this week I shared all about the adorable guinea pig pattern that is included in the book. But today, I want to share a slightly more ferocious pattern with you – the lion!
Why Should You Crochet a Lion?
Jungle animals have been some of my best-sellers lately, so I was super excited to try out the lion pattern. In my last market, I sold a bunch of giraffes and elephants, but I have been on the lookout for an adorable lion pattern.
If you have seen Lauren Espy’s book, First Words with Cute Crochet Friends, you will see that this adorable lion pattern is the statement design on the front of the book. This pattern is super cute and showcases the classic lion look.
With the popularity of jungle animals as favorites for kids, making a few of these lions for your next market is a no-brainer! Not only would a large lion make the perfect statement piece, but you will be sure to sell some to some lion-loving kiddos!
What Do You Need to Make a Lion?
– Yarn: For the lion, you will need four different colors of yarn – mustard for the body, brown for the main and tail, tan for the paws, and white for the patch on the top of the face. You want to make sure that all the colors of yarn are the same weight so that your lion isn’t distorted.
– Crochet Hook: Choose a crochet hook that it is an appropriate size for the weight of yarn that you are using. Since this is an amigurumi project, you will want to make sure that your hook size is slightly smaller than what is recommended for your yarn so that your stitches are tight together and do not let the stuffing poke through.
– Stuffing: You will need some polyester fiberfill to stuff the lion. This is my favorite type.
– Yarn Needle: There is a good bit of sewing involved in this pattern. You will need to sew on the mane, the facial features, the ears, and the legs, and connect the head to the body. I recommend using a steel yarn needle as those are the easiest to push through polyfil stuffing,
– Scissors: Any pair of scissors would work for this project, but I absolutely love using these!
– Eyes: You can use safety eyes or felt eyes for this project. I usually prefer felt eyes for the safety of children and pets. I have recently discovered pre-cut felt circles on Amazon for super cheap. I would highly recommend using these for your own sanity!
– Lion Crochet Pattern: This pattern is one of 15 patterns including in Lauren Espy’s newest book, Animal Amigurumi Adventures Vol. 2. It will be available for purchase on August 1st, but you can pre-order it on Amazon now!
The Classic Lion
For my first lion, I decided to make it just like the picture. I used tweed mustard yarn for the body, just as the pattern showed, and I was really happy with how well it turned out! I think this is a super cute little lion that would make a great baby shower gift for a jungle-theme!
Materials I Used
– Yarn: I used I Love This Yarn Tweed in Sweet Dijon for the main color. For the mane, tail, and facial features, I used Yarn Bee Nature’s Nook in the color Russet. For the patch on the face, I used Yarn Bee Nature’s Nook in the color Natural. For the paws, I used some light tan yarn I had in my stash (likely Red Heart Super Saver).
– Eyes: I used 15 mm black felt eyes.
My classic lion was 5.5 inches wide, 5 inches long, and 8 inches tall.
The Large Plush Lion
I have been on a mission to use up my stash of yarn. I had a ton of mustard blanket yarn and all the right complementing colors, so I decided to put them to use in making a statement piece! I love how this giant lion turned out, and I’m sure it’s going to grab some attention at my next market!
Materials I Used
– Yarn: I used Big Twist Cuddle for the main color. It has since been replaced with Big Twist Plush in the color Sunflower. For the mane, tail, and facial features, I used the brown from Bernat Blanket O’Go in the color London. For the patch on the face, I used Big Twist Cuddle in white. For the paws, I used Bernat Blanket Yarn in the color Almond.
– Crochet Hook: I used an G10/6 mm We Crochet Dots hook.
– Eyes: I used 20 mm black felt eyes.
My large plush lion was 9 inches wide, 9 inches long, and 16 inches tall.
The Smaller Velvet Lion
I had a lot of mustard velvet yarn in my stash, so I decided to make up one more lion in velvet yarn. The velvet/chenille look has been really popular, so I thought this lion would be a great addition to my inventory. I am in love with how it turned out, and I think it would make the cutest baby gift!
Materials I Used
– Yarn: I used Bernat Velvet in the color Golden Moss for the main color. For the mane, tail, and facial features, I used Bernat Velvet in the color Mushroom. For the patch on the face, I used Bernat Baby Velvet in the color Snowy White. For the paws, I used Bernat Velvet in the color Rich Terracotta (which is unfortunately now discontinued).
– Crochet Hook: I used an G6/4 mm We Crochet Dots hook.
– Eyes: I used 15 mm black felt eyes.
My smaller velvet lion was 7 inches wide, 6 inches long, and 10 inches tall.
Making the Lion
The lion pattern is rated in the book as an intermediate pattern, just like the guinea pig pattern, but for different reasons. While the color changes are minimal and easy in this pattern, there are some more complex stitches and sewing techniques involved.
Making the Pieces
For the lion, you will need to make quite a few pieces. I highly recommend you follow the order of the pattern, and attach the pieces in the order that is directed. This makes placement a lot easier, and you will have a lot of pictures to reference.
The pattern begins with the head. This is a standard sphere-like shape, and is easy to work up. The mane, face patch, and ears are then worked up in flat pieces, and get sewn on to the head. The mane requires the use of double crochet and triple crochet stitches, so you will need to be familiar with those for this part of the pattern. For both the mane and the face patch, the designer instructs you to crochet in both loops of the chain, leaving the back bump out. I was not comfortable with this method, so I just crocheted in the top loop of the chain, and it seemed to work out okay.
Once the head is finished, it is on to the body and legs. The body and legs are really easy to work up individually. I like that the legs are made, stuffed, and crocheted closed to be attached with a straight stitch. This makes it really easy for market prep if you are making lots of pieces at once!
The last piece is the tail. The tail is pretty easy to make. You will just want to make sure that you follow the directions of when to add the fur on the tail so you don’t run into difficulty! I think the designer’s method for adding the fur was perfect! I used my worsted weight yarn for the fur on both the small lion and the velvet lion so that I could separate strands to get the furry look.
Attaching the Features
If you aren’t a fan of sewing body parts together on amigurumi, this pattern might not be the one for you. There is a bit of sewing involved and placement is pretty important. For the head, you will have to sew on the mane, the face patch, and the ears, as well as add a nose and a mouth by sewing brown yarn for details. I normally don’t use pins when adding features to my amigurumi, but I definitely did for this part! Of all the features, I think the mane was the trickiest, but by the third one, I had the hang of it.
Getting the angle right when adding the head to the body is also important to get the cute, sitting look of the lion. The designer is really clear in providing directions for this part, so be sure to read her tips! I loved the ease of attaching the legs to the body due to the closed design of the leg. This just required a straight stitch across at the right spots.
Overall, I would highly recommend this pattern! I was able to work up each lion in a few hours, and I am really excited about how well they will do at my upcoming markets! I think they will be a really nice addition to my other jungle animals.
More Fun Animal Amigurumi Patterns
Looking for some other fun crochet animal patterns? Be sure to check out some of my other amigurumi pattern reviews here and on the EyeLoveKnots blog!
I hope you enjoyed this pattern review of the adorable Lion pattern by Lauren Espy! If you decide to make some, please be sure to tag me on social media or comment below so I can check out your work!
Be sure to stay tuned for more pattern reviews and an upcoming book review here and on the EyeLoveKnots blog!