Roman Sock is the nom de blog of a young Edinburgh lass, Brie. She's been blogging for about six months, and since then, she's turned out some of the most distinctive and interesting crocheted amigurumi patterns I've yet seen on the Web. Best of all, they're free.
What I appreciate most about Brie's work is her design sense. The patterns she creates don't share the generic look that you see in a lot of amigurumi patterns (basic humanoid bunnies and cats come to mind -- their cuteness is not in doubt, but originality is sometimes lacking). I have no idea if (or how much) she sketches out her ideas or uses reference photos beforehand, but they look like they jumped out of the sketchbook of a particularly good illustrator... one who likes their animals two parts realistic and one part cartoon.
Don't miss it: you can read more about her wonderful world of quirky animals and creative crochet after the break! The pattern links are there, too.
Several of Brie's animal amigurumi designs use mohair or angora: you lightly brush the piece, and sometimes trim it, after you finish crocheting it. While the materials aren't as easy to work with as a smooth wool-type yarn, this process means that evenness of your stitches matters less than the final character of the animal you create. For examples, see her jaw-droppingly cute Pomeranian pattern, the sweet Fluffy Bunny, and these fantastic Meerkats.
If you'd like to make something faster and easier, she's started designing "Instant Gratification" animals, too: there's an Elephant pattern at that link now, and a Robin and Hedgehog coming soon. The Tree Frog proves that not all of her animals are fluffy.
Brie hasn't offered patterns for all of her animals. I would make this Giraffe in a heartbeat (and may have to try something like it regardless of whether or not the pattern is available). She's made a darling Sheep for the Holiday Softie Awards, a Cyclops Kitten based on an earlier regular Kitten, a Hippo, and several earlier softies, including a Moomin.
Aside from the animals, Brie currently has patterns for two handbags and an eye mask. I featured the Owl Eye-Mask and the basket-like Desiree Bag in my round-up of October's best free patterns (to be honest, I could have put most of the animal patterns I've listed here in that article, but I thought they deserved their own post). There's also the Amelia Bag, a half-circle that stands on its flat side, which somehow reminds me of a bowling bag, and the Amelia Flower you can use to embellish it.
I'll definitely be keeping my eye on Roman Sock to see what Brie comes up with next! If you like what you see, I can only suggest that you do the same.