Wednesday, 19 September 2012

For the love of amigurumi

Sometimes I get carried away with things.  Especially when it comes to hobbies.  I’m one of those people who finds a new hobby and completely throws themself into it at the expense of other important things like housekeeping and eating and basic personal hygiene.  A lot of these phases have come and gone, (including rec league hockey, button making, needlepoint, origami, the buying of bulk food then processing and freezing it, etc.) but other hobby obsessions have lingered (festered?!) and continually absorb huge amounts of my time.

One of these things is crochet.  Particularly, the making of amigurumi.

kawaii desu ne!
For the uninitiated, amigurumi are crochet stuffed toys which (as the Japanese nomenclature may imply), are anthropomorphic animals with giant heads, typically worked in the round.  Usually they are teensy-weensy, but this is not a requirement.  Now as someone who sells her crochet things at the farmer’s market, it might seem completely legitimate for me to make a lot of these toys.  But in reality, it is just unholy how much time I spend on these things.  Just to demonstrate, take for instance the proliferation of the zombie bunnies:

Zombie bunnehs!

moar zombie bunnehs!
OMG why can't I stop?!
Amigurumi have a certain appeal that other crochet projects just don’t have.  I think part of this has to do with repetition.  If for example you’re working on a blanket, you repeat the pattern a thousand times for 20 hours and blanket is done.  The zombie bunnies on the other hand, take only about 3 hours to make, and they are customizable and different each time I make them.  About halfway through I get to decide on a face, and I’m always able to switch out colours at random intervals.  It doesn’t matter that the yarn is the colour of vomit if it’s on a zombie bunny!  You just don’t have that kind of freedom with something like an afghan.
All of this potential for customization gives so much freedom to a craft that at times can be quite constraining.  I think even more freedom comes from the cartoonish nature of amigurumi, with their over-sized features.  If you think about so-called “realistic” looking crochet animals (which I would say are the Western school of toy making), you are restricted to certain dimensions, colour, etc.  With amigurumi it doesn’t matter if the kitty is pink or yellow, because it’s an amigurumi!!!

 Speaking of the kitties.  The above kitties are known as “Amineko” (a Japanese portmanteau for amigurumi-neko: neko is cat).  Amineko are a bit of a phenomenon around the crochet world (especially on Ravelry, where hundreds have made them, and there is even a book about them!), and are a bit bigger than your typical amigurumi.  They take a bit longer as a result, I can usually make one in about 5-6 hours if I’m focused.   But they yield such a nice result, even if they do take quite a bit of stuffing.

So, if you crochet at all, consider testing out an amigurumi pattern for fun.  And if you don’t crochet, and don’t have any friends who know or are willing to teach you, I’ve found youtube videos to be a great help when it comes to nailing down the basis.  And if you aren’t on Ravelry (I say why the hell not?), then EPL also has scads of books on basic crochet and on amigurumi too.

No comments:

Post a comment