Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Literally Loved to Pieces: Amigurumi World

What the hell does that have to do with Amigurumi World?!
We'll get to that.
I love Little Big Planet. Have you ever played it? It's adorable. It was probably the first game I purchased for my PS3. Sackboy (that's their mascot on the cover of the game there) was one of the oddest things I had ever seen when the game came out. Here's this little toy full of character, and made of yarn. And you can customize him as much or as little as you want! I love that weirdo little toy... Loved him so much I wanted to make my own.

Oh, you're still waiting for me to get to the point, huh? Well, thing is, Little Big Planet is what got me interested in making amigurumi. I had no idea what they were, had never heard of them before, and had even fewer clues as to how to make them. Lucky for me, the internet exists, and I was able to ask the Magic Google-ball what the heck Sackboy was supposed to be and how I could go about making one. That's where Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet by Ana Paula Rimoli comes in...

But what's an "amigurumi" anyway?
It's basically a stuffed toy. According to Wikipedia, amigurumi literally translates to crochet or knit stuffed toy. The word is derived from combining the Japanese words ami (for knit or crochet) and nuigurumi (for stuffed doll). At first, I thought they were all knit. Sackboy in Little Big Planet is knit. I have a unique set of skills. Knitting toys is not one of them. However, I did know the basics of crochet, and I figured that I could pick up the rest as I went along. Enter the resource books.

Okay, NOW enter Amigurumi World.
 I did a lot of shopping around on Amazon before I finally purchased this book. I picked it because I liked the look of the toys, the reviews were mostly positive, and most importantly it was legible. Remember, I didn't have a lot of experience at the time, and I wasn't completely certain on how to read a pattern. Besides being seriously cute, this book is also seriously easy. The patterns each come with two sizes (a mommy/daddy and a baby), and are easy to follow. Best of all, in my humble opinion, is how easy it is to play Frankenstein with these patterns! Since I bought this book, I have made almost every single pattern multiple times! I've fiddled with patterns, borrowed pieces from different animals to create mythical creatures and humanoid dolls. I love making these so much that I've had to start selling them, just to make room for all the other stuff I inevitably make.
Thurston: Magic Bunny
Named after a great
magician. Made for a
great magician.

The first toy I ever made on the
left compared to my current work.

If you've never crocheted before, but are interested in doing it now, this is a great book to start with. The beginning "guidelines" are an easy-to-follow, crash course tutorial on crochet. Also,  as I mentioned previously, the patterns are simple to follow. (That's one of the beauties of crafting and especially crochet: if you can read the pattern, it's awfully tough to mess it up.)

Amigurumi World features about 22 patterns of different animals. You'll notice, if you make multiple toys out of this book, that a lot of these patterns are a repeat of one basic toy with different details. The type and color of your yarn, and the details (like nose, eyes, mouth, and accessories) are what will make your creations unique to you and different from each other. They'll still be based on the same basic pattern, but no one else needs to know.

Even if you're not a novice to crochet or amigurumi, I would still recommend this book. It has cute ideas, is good for inspiration, and the basic patterns are versatile. Your creations will only ever be as amazing as you make them, but the tools to help you are there. ... Except for the crochet hooks and yarn. You'll have to buy that stuff separate. Oh, and speaking of crochet hooks and yarn... If you want a cheat sheet to what you'll use most often if you're following the directions to Amigurumi World, you'll want to have the following handy:

  1. Crochet hooks sizes F & G (that's American for 3.75mm and 4.25mm) These are the most commonly used hooks in this book.
  2. Medium Worsted Yarn. (That's size 4, on the label of yarn. It's the most common size, so it'll be the easiest to find in a wide variety of colors.)
  3. Felt, Buttons, Safety-backed eyes. For faces. ... If you want to give your toy a face, that is.
And that's pretty much it! So again, if the rest of the review didn't already impress this upon you: If you don't own this book, you're missing out. I love it, and I highly recommend it. Mine is in pieces from how much I've used it over the years. It is definitely worth the money!
Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet on Amazon.com

Kristi from TechGal comics by Timothy James
Available Here
Tune in next time when I tell you how I really feel about something else! It may or may not be about Creepy Cute Crochet. See you then!

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