In keeping with my recent fascination with crochet, I broke down and bought the book Amigurumi! Super Happy Crochet Cute by Elisabeth A. Doherty.
I was resisting but I’ve been thinking about this book ever since I peeked inside at the book store and saw…a cheeseburger, complete with meat, cheese, onion, tomato, lettuce and bun. Would this be fun for the grandkids or what? Fun for Granny to make, anyhow. There’s also an Oreo-type cookie, cupcakes, strawberries and carrots. And that’s not even talking about the actual amigurumi characters that are in here. Some really are cute but some have a bit of an edge to them, like Punk Bunny the skater dude or a beatnik kitty named Hep Cat. Those are the centre two guys in the back row on the cover of the book. And I absolutely think the pig needs wings, don’t you?
OK, maybe I should back up and explain “amigurumi” just in case you’ve missed this craze somehow. The word as you might have guessed is Japanese and, regardless of the actual literal translation (it’s a contraction of two words), it has come to mean dolls crocheted (or occasionally knitted) spirally in the round. The other criteria for an amigurumi is that it must be “kawaii” (cute — like Hello Kitty or Pikachu), though some are a bit more cutesy than others depending of course on your taste. With that definition in mind there are some items called amigurumi that really are not. Some are crocheted spirally but aren’t really a doll (the aforementioned cheeseburger, though if you put eyes on it maybe it would qualify!) or are cute dolls but weren’t crocheted in the round. I know – picky-picky – but I didn’t make these rules up.
I think the reasons why most amigurumi are crocheted rather than knitted are simple: the shaping is so much easier and the result is thick and sturdy and holds its form well. The popularity of amigurumi may even have inspired a lot more people to learn to crochet than might have otherwise. Google the word “amigurumi” and see how many patterns are available online, most of them for free. Once you know the basics you can easily change a pattern to suit your own esthetics. These were all made from the same basic pattern.
If you need more help with crochet and how to work in the round and assemble your new pal, there’s a wonderful series of written and video tutorials here. Don’t miss the second and third pages for more which include reading the patterns and using markers to keep your place and different methods of adding the face. Crochet along as you learn to make a ball which covers many of the necessary techniques. The videos are quite well done and informative. This kind of tutorial is what the internet is so perfectly suited to!
On another subject completely, here’s the most recent finished socks:
Ocean Blues Socks
Begun: June 1, 2008
Completed: June 17, 2008
Yarn: S.R. Kertzer On Your Toes 4 Ply, superwash wool/nylon/aloe vera, blues ON223600.
Needles: Addi Natura bamboo dpns, 2.00mm
Pattern: Usual Damselfly’s Basic Socks pattern on 64 sts, 24 row 2/2 rib cuff, 7” to heel flap, heel stitch, 6.75” foot before toe decreases, decreased to 24 st (6 each needle), dog ear reduction, graft toe.
Comments: There was a knot in the ball which necessitated removing a section of the yarn when the colour sequence didn’t continue properly. Consequently the second sock was a half-round out of sync with the first one so they don’t quite match as well as I’d like. When washed there was a wee bit of turquoise dye in the water but they rinsed clear.
I sort of had someone in mind when I knitted these. However it all depends on whether they fit her or not because I never checked on her shoe size. This is kind of like a Cinderella story, huh? This size fits me and several other members of the family though so there are other options if the sock doesn’t fit the intended foot.
Oh wait. Maybe we’d better not talk about feet after the sixth one found on a Vancouver Island shore was a hoax. The other five aren’t though and the mystery surrounding them continues. Makes you wish Horatio Caine and his CSI crew were relocated to BC, huh? And weren’t just actors on a TV show…