Amigurumi Techniques (A tutorial with pictures!)

5 Jul

Per request, I’ve been asked to embellish a bit on Amigurumi, and what it is, and how to do it.

Here’s a small tutorial WITH PICTURES! Yay for iPhones.

I realize a lot of my readers have never done Amigurumi. The fact is, it looks a whole lot harder than it really is.

There’s a few key things an Amigurumist (is that a word? It is now!) needs to know. You need to be familiar with reading a pattern, and with basic stitches like sc (single crochet) and sl (slip stitch). Very rarely will a pattern call for more than that. If it does, it will provide specific special instructions for the needed stitches (these are more than likely used to get texture and shape).

Tools you will need:

  • Hook (generally small, depending on pattern. I usually use a D or E)
  • Yarn in colors of choice
  • Stitch markers
  • Pattern
  • Tapestry needle
  • Polyester Fiberfill toy/pillow stuffing

Note on Yarn: Worsted weight yarn is most commonly used for Amigurumi. Use the same weight of yarn throughout your work, and because of variations between different brands, you may find it best to stick to the same brand of yarn if you can find all the colors you need. I mostly use acrylic yarn.

1. Amigurumi literally means working in the round. You’ll be making things in a circle to make figurines. Most patterns are made in pieces, stuffed as the Amigurumist works, and stitched together to make the creation at hand.

Helpful hint: To start the piece, you can start with a Magic Ring approach. Since you’re working in the round, this is very easy to accomplish. Ch however many stitches your pattern asks for (generally 4), and sl in to the first loop to create a ring. Begin your row 1 by working the number of stitches in to the center of the ring. working around the loose end to hide it when cut. Pull the loose end to pull the ring tight.

2. You will be working in both loops, ALWAYS (unless otherwise marked differently in a pattern). Slide your hook from the front to back of your work through BOTH LOOPS.

Helpful Hint: Stitch markers will be your lifesavers. Use frequently at beginning of rounds to keep track of your rows and stitches. I usually only use one throughout a piece and move it from row to row as I tend to start and finish a piece in one sitting. If you plan on doing your project over a course of time, I advise leaving stitch markers in place to make counting easier.

I found the markers pictured above at Joann Fabrics.  I LOVE the fact that they form a full connected ring. This makes it very easy, and you don’t have to worry about your marker moving or falling out.

3. One thing an Amigurumist MUST know is the Right side and Wrong side of their work.

Wrong Side Out

Right Side Out

The Amigurumist works from the Right Side (unless otherwise noted in the pattern.) The Right Side is the side that is displayed on the outside of the piece.

Helpful Hint for changing colors: When changing from one color of yarn to another, work the sc before the change until there are two loops left on the hook. Then use the new color for the final yarn over hook and pull through. Tie a square knot with the ends. Work a few sc over the tails of the old yarn and the start of the new yarn to secure them.

With these steps and techniques, you should be on your way to creating your masterpiece. Most of what I have learned is by trial and error, and through extremely well written patterns like Lucy Ravenscar offers with her Star Wars Mini Amigurumi Patterns. If you’ve never done Amigurumi before, I highly advise these patterns to start with. They’re ADORABLE, for one. And for two, she has written the patterns literally step by step, and gives PICTURES for techniques that will ensure you get a perfect piece.

And before you know it, you’ll be Amigurumi’ing away!

May the Force Be With You

3 Jul

One of my current projects on my “TO DO LIST” (ever growing), is a collection of Star Wars figurines. I found the most stinking adorable patterns on Etsy. LucyRavenscar has written fabulous patterns for 14 characters. I have bought most of them.

And in doing, I have mastered Amigurumi. Her patterns are written in such a way that ANYONE (familiar with crochet stitches) can pick up a hook, and make beautiful little figurines.

I think I may have mastered the basic skills enough to tackle Puff the Magic Dragon.

Yoda, R2-D2, a Jawa – Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, huh?

Aren’t they stinking CUTE?!

Each figure was finished in about an afternoon or less. They’re tiny. They only stand about 3″ tall.

Beginnings of Yoda – sans stuffings

Yoda was my first figure to make. I was SO EXCITED to make the little guy. I was a little intimidated, as I’m very inexperienced with Amigurumi. But the pattern is brilliantly written and guides the hooker through each individual step, and they have PICTURES. I am a very visual learner. Seeing the techniques in text and in pictures helped a lot.

The key: Work in both loops at all times, unless otherwise noted in the pattern. I didn’t know that when I started!

R2-D2 was my second creation. I was able to finish him in an afternoon.

The jawa was easy too. I used yarn that was a little thicker than was necessary, so his head was WAY TOO big. I had to make the hood bigger to cover his head properly. To get the “glowing eyes”, I used black safety eyes, and colored them with a metallic gold Sharpie. It worked pretty darn well!

My next creation is going to be Darth Vader, and C3PO.

Puff, here I come!

Fiesta Bag

1 Jul

Recently one of my best friends announced that she and her husband were expecting.

I got all excited, so I bought supplies to make the bag for her. I had it all planned out. I was going to make a diaper bag, a teddy bear, and a bib set. I started hooking it the instant my package arrived. I know it will have a home soon enough.

I visited Knit Picks for my yarn needs. I love their colors and yarn textures. And the plus: They’re 100% cotton, so anything I make with it will be easily washable (always a thought when I make anything baby related!)

The pattern can be found available for FREE here.

This beauty features 8 outside lined pockets, and a large inside carry-all pocket. A mom can never have enough pockets!

I found as I made this bag, the crocheting part went extremely fast. In all, the pattern has you make 9 pieces (Front, Back, Gusset, Straps, Big Pockets and Small pockets). It was easy and flew off my hook with little effort.

The hard part was lining all the pieces, and then constructing the whole thing. Construction was partial hand stitching, and using a sewing machine. It was certainly a trial and error process. This was the first time I’d ever lined a bag.

I used this blog to help me out with the process. Thank you FutureGirl!

I was lucky to find a fabric that was light, fun, kiddish, and had BROWN as the outlining color, to go with my red and brown motif.

All in all, this was a fabulous piece to make. It is very large, just as a diaper bag should be. Mom should be able to carry lots!

Unfortunately, the bag will not be needed right away. It will sit in the closet, waiting patiently for the right time. I put a little piece of my heart in to it for Momma and Baby.  And it will not go to any other home.

Little Bear

28 Jun

This is my second attempt at making a little bear out of my Little Bears to Knit and Crochet. This little guy is the basic bear crochet pattern. Since I tried my first time, I’ve mastered the art of Amigurumi (crocheting in the round to make figurines).

What really surprised me about this pattern is HOW EASY it is! I completed this little guy in about two days.

Day one consisted of making the pieces.

Day two consisted of putting him all together and stitching the pieces together.

He’s stinkin’ adorable. He’ll be paired with a diaper bag I made for a friend. Keep your eyes peeled for that beauty in a future post.

The Stand (Book Review)

27 Jun

I have wanted to read this book for a long time. My mom gave me her copy when I was 17. The sheer size of it is impressive, and intimidating (1200 pages!) As a young person and teen, I watched my mother gobble up Stephen King like porn. And I wasn’t allowed to read it. Or at least, I didn’t think I was. Those were “adult” books.

My limited experience with King was, at 5 years of age, having a terrible mishap of peeking around the corner during “mom’s time” – she was watching IT (you can imagine what happened), reading Carrie at 14, and being terribly curious about Matthew’s Game at 16, and being terrified of sex for years afterward (hey, it taught abstinence!).

The Stand has been a favorite mini-series film of mine, (Nadine, anyone?) and I’d always wanted to read the famous book behind the beautifully crafted film.

I always was in awe of the make up on the corpses. It was hideously fabulous. My favorite was in the first clips… The lady at her desk in a white Dr’s coat at Ground Zero, head rolled back, neck blackened, and coffee spilled over her front. She was so BEAUTIFULLY done up.

And now the book falls in to my favorites pile, right next to my cherished Harry Potter and The Ship Who Sang.

Freaky, terrifying, and beautiful. From cover to cover, it was a glorious read.

Brilliant Teacher

25 Feb
I am a brilliant teacher.
Sometimes, in the hubbub and rush of the day, I forget that. I come home feeling defeated after writing 10 detentions for pointless things like uniform infractions, talking back, arguing, etc. Sometimes I cry when I think about going back to work the next day. And I can’t stand it.
My idea to change it around is not new, by any means, but it will give me a new perspective on my job, my kids, and give me stronger classroom/behavior management skills. It will allow me to enjoy my job, instead of focus on the negatives.

I have decided to start a “Toy Shoppe”. Each day I give out tickets for good behavior. Every kid should earn at least one ticket per day of they do what they’re supposed to. Those tickets become currency for the “Shoppe”. I will open it on Fridays so they can cash in their earnings.

I went to Oriental Trading Company and ordered a bunch of stuff. While I probably spent too much, I don’t mind it. What I did purchase will last me through the rest of the year.

The Plan:

1 ticket = 2 pieces hard candy, or small eraser

3 tickets = pencil or small fun note pad

5 tickets = 1 Hall Pass, or a pen, or a Small Toy

10 tickets = gummy wrist band

15 tickets =  Medium Toy

25 tickets = little stuffed bear that says “star student” on its belly

35 tickets = free candy bar

I sell candy for Student Senate (I’m the Adviser – best part about my job!) They’ll have free pick of “The Drawer”.

50 tickets = Free assignment

I will give the student who “buys” this option one of my elusive golden tickets (I give them out now and then to the student who goes above and beyond). The coupon can be used on any single assignment worth 100 pts or less.
Through my time as a teacher, I have learned that a dialogue and a certain amount of debate is healthy in a classroom. It allows the kids room to understand and figure out the boundaries and rules of expectations and authority, and why it functions the way it does. I just haven’t been able to figure out a GOOD way to do this, without starting all-out arguments and conversations that take class periods to control. I would really like to actually teach something. I know – shocking! This “Shoppe” should do the trick, I think. I’m pretty excited!

Das Beardhat

23 Feb

My husband requested a Beardhat.

Why, I’m not sure.

But he sure looks cute in it!