Knit Your Own Pet is the latest book by the Best In Show dream team, Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne - and it’s on sale from today! We caught up with the pair to find out what they think makes the series so popular.
How did you both meet, and begin working together?
We met through Sally’s brother in 1979, spent an evening together and set up our business the next day!
Where did the idea for the Best In Show series come from?
It evolved out of our first book, Pet Heaven, the Animal Accessory Bible, and our devotion to dogs.
What do you think has made the series so popular?
We think the fact that the knits are as realistic as we can possibly make them. It’s something that people don’t usually try to attempt in knitting!
What made you decide to focus on household pets this time?
We thought that pets would be a good place for the beginner knitter to start, as so many people have a pet of some kind.
Do you have any real-life pets? What are they like?
We have both been through a lot of pets over the years - in fact the book is dedicated to an incredibly long list of our past pets! But we only have dogs now. Jo has a Lurcher and Sally has two Whippets.
If you could knit a pet for anyone in the world, living or dead, what would you make and for who?
A parrot for Johnny Depp, or perhaps a spare Snowy for Tintin!
How does it feel seeing the reader submissions to the Best In Show site?
It’s brilliant, if sometimes a bit shaming as some of them are SUCH good knitters! We also really enjoy the ones that are done in random bits of leftover yarn in unlikely colours: purple Retrievers etc!
Your patterns always look so realistic! Have you got any tips for lifelike knitting?
Stuffing the animal is as important as the knitting. You can considerably change the atmosphere of the animal by moulding it into shape, and the expression is all in the placing of the features, so play around with them until you are quite happy.
Which is your favourite pattern from the latest book?
We love the parrot, it’s so realistic, and the guinea pig because it’s so simple and effective – the axolotl is plain weird!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Writing the patterns can be very hard and sometimes it takes ages to get them right. You often can’t tell what will happen until it’s all sewn up, and when it all works perfectly it is a great moment. But possibly the most important thing is our very long business partnership – we have fun together!
What’s next – have you run out of animals to knit yet, or are there more books to come?
Oh yes, there’s more to come – there are a few more unknitted areas of the animal kingdom for us to get to work on…