Amigurumi – Japanese Character Knitting

Photo: gaelx on Flickr

Amigurumi – Japanese Character Knitting

Sanny Soedjatmiko Hartanto

Knitting or Crocheting Cute Characters

What do you think when you read the word ‘crochet’ or ‘knit’? Most people must be thinking of stuff that are related to winter essentials like sweaters, beanies, and shawls. Japanese have invented their own version of knitting/crocheting, it is called ‘Amigurumi’. Amigurumi are Japanese stuffed animals or dolls made mostly by crocheting and knitting. They are a wonderful project for those who like to use needles to make things. Once you have mastered the techniques of crocheting, it will not be difficult to create your own stuffed toys.

It’s nothing like a making blankets or scarfs. Amigurumi is usually a 3-dimensional stuffed toy. What makes amigurumi so special? Almost every young girl will be tempted to make one because they are so cute and fun to make. It can be a present, for room decoration, or maybe as a phone strap. They are so charming and so versatile at the same time. It is no surprise that Japanese people love them so much.

Amigurumi Methods and How-to-make

Well, amigurumi’s pattern is something unique if you never learned about crochet. Of course it is different with fabric stuffed toys’ patterns. Don’t be discouraged if it is your first attempt at making amigurumi though. When you see the pictures, it seems hard and complicated. Trust me, it’s not. When you learn it the right way, the fun part is, you don’t have to learn to read the patterns and you can go free-styling. You will only need colorful yarn balls, crochet hooks, crochet/yarn needles, filling to stuff the toy, and maybe some pins for decorations. The most basic movement to learn is the single crochet technique in which you take the yarn, wrap a circle around your finger, then with the crochet hook, wrap and pull. After you mastered the single crochet, you can start to learn to make a circle and oval shape. When you’re confident with your circle and oval, you can move to the next step which is ‘increasing and decreasing’, to shape and mold, that later will become the head, body, limbs, or even the ears of your new stuffed toy. The last step is to learn how to attach each part of your stuffed toy to become one and you can see the shape of it.

Patience and Imagination Unlike You've Never Seen

Photo by Tiny Hole on Flickr.

The last (and probably most important) things you need to have are patience and imagination. As with most works of art, if you don’t have patience, 90 percent of your work will be abandoned because you rushed things and it doesn’t go as smooth as your plan. Regarding imagination, it is said that when making amigurumi, the sky is the limit. You can make your original characters or maybe existing original characters based on your interpretation. It is fine to let your imagination go wild and free.

Photo by Lil' Spider Baby on Flickr.

For example, this owl amigurumi. As we all know, owls beaks are pointed, but in order to make them even cuter, it is fine to play around and see how you can make your creation look realistic. As for the body shape, you could reshape it into an almost-square ball. That is fine, if you think it suits the owl better. That is why imagination is important.