Amigurumi is a Japanese word meaning crocheted or knitted, stuffed doll (Ami = crocheted/knitted; Nuigurumi = Stuffed Doll). Most of the pieces for these stuffed dolls, are worked by crocheting in the round.
The art of amigurumi had been widely enjoyed in Japan for decades, before making its way to the United States. It was in the early 2000s that it gained in popularity with sites like Etsy (an online marketplace for handmade goods) and Ravelry (specializing in knit/crochet patterns only).
Not only could you now purchase these amis handmade from creative artists themselves, you could also buy patterns or find free patterns (see my Free Happy Sunflower pattern) if you were daring enough to try your hand at making one yourself.
The first amigurumi I ever made came from the book, “I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting!” by Leisure Arts. I had purchased the book from Michaels craft store. The pattern was for a koala bear, shown in the back of the book.
My yarn tension was terrible and I stitched inside out when I started (not intentionally—you can imagine my dismay when I realized). The gaps between the stitches of the black nose were so large, you could see the white stuffing inside!
I was proud of the fact that I’d made one all by myself. At a young age, my mom had taught me how to crochet granny squares, but since that time, I had forgotten all the essential knowledge.
In order to re-learn the basics, I looked through books on crocheting and watched YouTube videos stepping me through the process of how to make each stitch. They even had videos on how to assemble the pieces once they were made, a technique I’d never done before, even in my earlier years with crochet.
Going from something 2-dimensional to a 3-dimensional toy was a bit of an adjustment and seemed daunting at first. Taking my time as I crafted each piece, and being okay remaking a piece if it didn’t come out quite right, was all I needed to begin creating these adorable plush toys!
What was the first thing you ever crocheted?