Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Amigurumi - Cute Crochet Toys

Have you heard of Amigurumi?  It is two Japanese words combined together to mean crocheted stuffed doll and you pronounce it Ah-me-goo-roo-me (glad to see my two years of high school Japanese are finally paying off!).  It’s a bit difficult to remember and almost impossible to type correctly into Google so maybe we will see a good nickname develop for in the next few years (please!).  And of course they have to be cute.  Think Hello Kitty and other cute Japanese cartoon creatures made out of crochet.  More often than not they are animals, but they don’t have to be.  Best of all, if anyone in your family has a favorite character, chances are there is a cute free pattern so you can delight them by making them one!

An amigurumi version of an adipose baby (a cute Doctor Who character).
Make your own using with this free pattern ...
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/amigurumi-fat-baby

If you have never picked up a crochet hook before, I’d suggest you start on a simpler more traditional crochet project.  In my experience amigurumi is a bit fiddly - you don’t want to be learning your basic stitches on something that is fiddly.  Also free patterns on the internet often have mistakes and you need a little bit of experience with crochet to spot and correct these problems as you go.  Ideally you want a little bit of crochet experience including reading a pattern.  You also want to have a little bit of experience with sewing - nothing fancy – if you can do basic mending you are set.  Having said all of that, I was looking up the Internet to learn how to do some new crochet stitches and translate acronyms for my first amigurumi.  There really is no excuse for not tackling a project these days with the help of Google.  Go for it if you are really keen!!

In this post I have included pictures of my most recent amigurumi.  It is an Adipose baby from Doctor Who.  It is a free pattern that you can download from Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/amigurumi-fat-baby) once you sign up to the website for free.  If you haven’t yet discovered Ravelry it is time you check it out (www.ravelry.com).  You can search for and download the free instructions to lots of crochet and knitting patterns.  Best of all you can see how the pattern has turned out for other people and the modifications they have made and find out if anyone experience any difficulty with the pattern.

Amigurumi versions of Daleks from Doctor Who.
Make your own using this free pattern ...
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dalek-egg-cosy

Arguably the most important and most difficult part of your amigurumi project will be adding a face.  Without even trying you can turn your amigurumi from a cute adorable thing into a scary angry looking monster!  Or if you make the mistake of allowing the natural crochet holes to control your embroidery, you can end up with a very unprofessional and ugly looking result that really brings your whole project down.  So be prepared to spend a bit of time getting the face just right.  And be prepared to start over a couple of times if it is not looking right.  I've included a picture of a partially complete embroidered mouth I tried for the adipose baby. In the show the character has a baby tooth showing that I wanted my version to have.  But the mouth ended up making the adipose baby look scary rather than cute!  So I removed it and started over again and copied the mouth used in the instructions.  I may have had more luck with a felt mouth - there is more wiggle room as you can reshape it by trimming it - embroidery is not so easy to change.

A mouth I experimented with that makes
the amigurumi look more scary than cute.

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