Sunday, July 17, 2016

Amigurumi Showcase

I taught myself to crochet because I wanted to make amigurumi, which is Japanese for stuffed dolls. I was at Stitches West in 2013 when I saw Ana Paula Rimoli's Amigurumi On the Go, and I bought it after a brief look inside, even though I didn't know how to crochet. I was determined to learn it. Soon I was so addicted that I did it nonstop, and my hands started to hurt. I figured I just had to work through the pain, and I kept crocheting. Within days, my hands started cramping up painfully, and I woke up every morning with trigger fingers. I never stopped, but I did switch to more ergonomic hooks and also took more breathers, and eventually (2.5 months later) my hands had completely healed.

If hand pain was the price I had to pay for crochet, it was worth it for all the stuffed animals I made over the last few years. It's interesting that although amigurumi started as a Japanese concept, the dolls that the English patterns made had a very different look and style. Most of the Japanese patterns seem to produce tiny dolls best suited for display and collecting, while the English authors produced dolls closer to stuffed animals that kids can play with. I want to share some of my favorite designers as well as my all-time favorite creations.

First up is Ana Paula Rimoli who was the one that got me into amigurumi to begin with with her adorable patterns, and she's known for giving faces and personality to inanimate objects ... like a birthday cake. I enjoy her patterns despite the extra work that embroidering the faces on require.

If Ana Paula Rimoli is the one who inspired me to want to make amigurumi, then Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches is the one who really taught me how to do it. My very first class on Craftsy was Stacey's Amigurumi Woodland Animals, and through there I really learned how to crochet in the round and how to put stuffed animals together. Stacey's animals have a distinct style. They're simpler with virtually no embroidery, and they're bigger and cuddlier and much more suitable as toys for little kids. Also, her animals look different from everybody else's because she mostly only crochets through the back loop. I made a TON of animals with patterns from Stacey, here are my favorites:

And last but not definitely not least, my favorite designer is probably Little Muggles. Her animals are probably the cutest I've ever laid my eyes on. Yet ... I don't know what her brand of magic is, because I can *never* get mine to look as good as hers. There's something about the magic of facial placement that she's mastered that I have not. Nevertheless, here are my favorite Little Muggles dolls:

While most of the animals I made are available for my kiddos to play with and lovingly tear up (as long as I have a photo of them looking their best ...) I did make a few that are hiding in my closet, that are just for me. Naturally, they pertain to Japan-o-phile side of me. Here I have a Koopa Troopa, Lil Melody, and 2 Totoros.

Finally, I've only made one amigurumi in my life that I designed based on a photo, as there was no pattern available. I made Kumagoro which was a stuffed bunny from the anime Gravitation. It is my most proud creation simply because I used no pattern.

Even though I don't make amigurumi so much anymore, I had a great time making these and who knows, I might make more in the future.

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