amigurumi

With a strong streak of nerd and an affinity for crochet Tracey started up Mostly nerdy crochet. She’s happy to be hooking and often finds it an interesting challenge to use what’s on hand for her next project.

It took getting married, being unemployed, and being 1,500 miles from home for me to pick up my hooks and start crocheting. I learned the basics when I was ten, but apparently I had to be lonely and lost before I’d pick it back up.

Of course the first project I started was the dreaded granny square blanket (well, granny hexagon). Two years later I’m still not actually finished with it, but I’ve accomplished a few other things instead.

Mostly nerdy crochet was the product of my own impatience. For some reason I’m great at amigurumi and only ever followed a pattern once. By the second time I was convinced I could improve the pattern (which I did) and after that I just never bothered to follow anything! I wrote my own patterns for a while (some of which can be found at Ravelry) but I hate trying to follow them again to test the designs.

When I decide to turn a character into an amigurumi I start to collect dozens of pictures of them from every angle. Once I’ve managed to compile enough to create a 3D image in my head I start crocheting. It’s really basic; you add stitches to make it wider and decrease to make it thinner and that’s about it. Each character can be broken down into a series of shapes (most often cylinders and ovals) and then attached together. However, the crochet is only half the battle! I’ve found that if you want something to look right it’s all in the details. Faces are especially important and require a lot of attention, which isn’t too hard as long as you’re willing to play around with embroidery and felt.

As for the yarn that I use I’ll take anything. You hear about people being super green and buying recycled yarn or locally spun yarn or yarn made out of dead leaves for all I know. I’m not quite that diligent. I think I’ve bought maybe four skeins of yarn at retail stores in the two years that I’ve been regularly crocheting. I buy yarn at garage sales and thrift stores and I think that definitely qualifies as reusing. It’s about as green as an unemployed thrift store volunteer can get.

Crochet means a lot more to me than just playing with yarn. I started to rely on crochet as a means of comfort after our last move. I have some anxiety issues and use crochet to keep my hands busy and my mind calm. The biggest reason I stopped following patterns was because it required too much concentration! I like to use crochet as a relaxing distraction, so typically I put on a movie and start hooking. Recently I’ve been trying to exercise my patience by using a visual diagram for a non amigurumi project instead of a written version. Something about looking at pretty pictures makes it easier to watch a movie, crochet, and keep track of my stitches.

Someday in the future I really want to own my own sheep, sheer them, and spin my own yarn. Actually, my sister will keep the sheep for me. She wants to have a small family farm and will use them to make cheese and keep the grass down. I’ll use them for the wool. I’ll learn to dye it myself and sell it somewhere neat… or maybe just next to my sister’s cheese. I can dream, can’t I?

Special thanks to whipup.net and all the readers for being constantly supportive of crafters everywhere.

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank. Alpha (2010)

June Gilbank is well known for her concise and thoroughly tested patterns from her blog so I know this book would not be just another “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To…” book.

Yes there are only four complete patterns in this book, but it is so much more than that – with a very complete how-to crochet section and instructions on making all the different basic shapes for the body parts you will ever need, as well as chapters on how to stuff, stitch up, make fuzzy and add hair, eyes and expressions, you will be designing your own amigurumi in no time at all. The four complete patterns that are included – hamster (a great base for most animal shapes), a mushroom (a great start to vegetable designs) and a boy and girl, are a great base which makes use of all the techniques in the book and fabulous place to begin your amigurumi adventure.

Consider this book to be ‘the definitive reference guide’ to amigurumi – thanks June!

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Yummi ‘Gurumi: Over 60 Gourmet Crochet Treats to Make. By Christen Haden & Mariarosa Sala. Ivy Press Limited (2010)

This delicious little book is like a recipe book full of dinner party menus, except all the food is crocheted. If you are in any way familiar with the phenomenon of amigurumi, you will know that crocheting (and knitting) all kinds of cute and weird creatures is all the go in yarn circles, and this book follows on from creatures to help you create cute crocheted food. Each project could be used as play food, or to decorate a table, or just for fun.

The book starts with a technique section, so that even a brand new crocheter can get a handle on a foundation chain, stitches, increases and decreases, and constructing and decorating each project. The diagrams are clear, but each pattern only uses US terminology and hook sizes, which will be misleading for those of us who use British/Australian stitch names and measure our hooks in millimetres.

My favourite menus in this book are the vegetable dip with curved celery sticks and stuffed olives, sushi platter with the cutest little shrimp nigri and a wee squirt of wasabi, and the dim sum basket where the dim sim and pork buns look yummy enough to want to have a little nibble.

Reviewed by: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.

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canned crochet

by kath_red on 10/08/2010

in Toys+Plush

Pattern to make this trio of canned food by sky magenta on etsy [image below] – if you just want to try out the tinned sardines there is a free lionbrand pattern [membership required] you might want to try.

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Amigurumi Perky Puppy by Emily Premise-Conclusion – pattern available at ravelry

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