Wednesday, June 18, 2008
What are amigurumi?
What are amigurumi?
Amigurumi (pronounced ah-me-goo-roo-me) is a craft from Japan that makes an excellent hobby or passion; you should be forewarned that making amigurumi is very addicting. Luckily, it is a relatively inexpensive craft that does not take much time to complete. In recent years, amigurumi have become increasingly popular and trendy, due to the handmade revolution.
Basically, amigurumi are small stuffed toys crocheted from yarn (some would call them plushies or plush toys). Although they can be made to be safe for small children, the amigurumi phenomenon is largely the result of the interests of teenaged girls and women (how do you like them apples?)
Amigurumi utilizes crocheting in-the-round, meaning stitches are worked in a circle/spiral (and not joined) to build shapes. The result of crocheting in the round is sculptural yarn pieces that can then be stuffed, joined and embellished to form dolls. Most amigurumi utilize only a few basic concepts of crochet, and most use only the single crochet stitch (sc): increasing, decreasing, and slip stitch, are also vital things to know how to do before starting to crochet.
Although there are many different styles (usually influenced by the individual preferences of the crafter), amigurumi are usually characterized by their large heads and small limbs in proportion to their bodies. These seemingly bizarre proportions often give amigurumi a kawaii (“cute” in Japanese) appearance, and are a distinctive feature that is common to Japanese illustrations and amigurumi designs. Although there are so many inspirations for amigurumi, the most common themes that appear are animals/creatures, people, and food.
Materials that are most common to Amigurumi include yarn, stuffing, felt and plastic eyes. Although virtually any type of yarn may be used, worsted weight 4 ply yarn is the most common. Tools that are used include crochet hook/needle, yarn needles, and scissors or snips. Crochet needles used usually range in size from E (3.5, 9) to G (4, 8). Stuffing can range from synthetic to natural and plays an important part in giving an amigurumi its shape. Felt and embroidery thread are often used for embellishment (for facial features or other decorations. There are many types of plastic eyes; bead, half bead and safety eyes are the most popular. Eyes may also be made out of felt, polymer clay or embroidered onto amigurumi.
Amigurumi are versatile and can foster a person’s creativity; finished pieces can even be considered art! It is important to experiment, and if you are trying to make an amigurumi without a pattern it is helpful to note what stitches you use (in essence you will be writing your own pattern). There are many helpful resources on the internet, youtube, and more! Hopefully, amigurumi will become the perfect craft for you!