Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weekly Craft:AMIGURUMI

Written by Meredith of Mtart & Stormtrooper1

(above) "Esther" by Fuzfrenzy

You have heard people say, "awwww, those are SO cute!" No, they aren't talking about human babies this time, but just as adorable Amigurumi dolls! The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. The simplest designs are worked in spirals. Amigurumi are usually worked in sections and then joined, except for some amigurumi which have no limbs, only a head and torso which are worked as one piece. The extremities are sometimes stuffed with plastic pellets to give them a life-like weight, while the rest of the body is stuffed with fiber stuffing. Typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities.

One of the most popular questions concerning Amigurumi is, "how do you say that!?" Amigurumi is pronounced ah-mee-goo-roo-mee.

I learned some great things from the only HandmadeMN member (thus far) who creates Amigurumi by way of crochet; Jennifer of fuzfrenzy

As far as I'm aware you are the only one on HandmadeMN that creates amigurumi, right?
I think that's true, but I hope to share my craft with anyone who wishes to learn it.

How long have you been creating it?
I have been making amigurumi for about three and a half years now, though I have been crocheting for about nine.

Why did you start?
I started making amigurumi creatures at the end of 2005 when there was a contest on Etsy and I haven't stopped making them since.

You are a crocheter not a knitter, correct?
I started out with knitting about ten years ago and switched to crocheting soon after that. I like the sculptural aspects of crocheting. It's also nice not to have to worry about dropped knitting stitches. So, yes I am a crocheter, not a knitter, though I can knit.

What is your favorite thing about amigurumi?
I enjoy making creatures that other people can enjoy. As an artist I also like to have something that I can create that I can take anywhere.

What is your all time favorite amigurumi piece?
Froderick the Gremlin is probably my favorite. He's the largest monster I've created, aside from a giant octopus I crocheted from yarn that I made from t-shirts.

Are there benefits to a crocheted amigurumi piece over knitted one?
I think it's more of a preference. Crochet fabric is about three times as thick as its knitted counterpart. With amigurumi it means that you get a sturdier creature.

Are amigurumi stronger than a standard "Stuffed" plush?
One of the neat things about crocheting is that you are making the fabric that you are making your plush with. The strength, as with any fabric, would depend on the density of the stitches.

Are they machine washable?
Yes, but even acrylic yarn has a tendency to felt, so it is advisable to only machine wash when absolutely necessary and spot clean when possible.

I hope this article has inspired you to appreciate the Amigurumi craft and even perhaps want to try creating one! I've included a youtube tutorial for a "simple" Amigurumi creation. It is split into two videos:

Amigurmi tutorial "Part 1"