Amigurumi: A japanese art of making stuffed toys

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Author: Gauri Kshirsagar

Amigurumi (Crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is a Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, usually cute stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is a portmanteau of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. What got me hooked to this art? My Kid’s love for books and story-telling! My twin daughters are not much of stuffed toy fans, but some of their favorite characters are sometimes not available or marketed commercially. In that case the only option left is to ‘make’ toys, hence I found amigurumi as a fun way to gift them with cute toys. I remember when I  used to knit (not crochet) in my childhood as a hobby, usually making caps, hairbands, baby dresses it was real fun and exciting to create beautiful objects out of fabric and yarn. But somewhere later all the free time was taken was taken up by  college and work. Now I am just fascinated by this art! I would encourage any of you who have thought about picking up a new hobby to try crocheting.  It’s inexpensive, therapeutic and portable (you can work on projects while waiting or whenever you have free time!).  It gives immense pleasure when you see something just getting created infront of your eyes.

Typical amigurumi toys have an oversized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities, usually termed a ‘chibi’ style outside Japan. Although amigurumi originated in Japan, the craft has become popular around the world. Amigurumi are usually crocheted out of yarn using the single crochet stitch. They can also be knit. Each part of an amigurumi is made separately and then the parts are stitched on the torso, except for some amigurumi which have no limbs, only a head and torso which are worked as one piece. In crochet, amigurumi is typically worked in spiral rounds, which is increased or decreased according to the pattern. Typically, crochet hooks or knitting needles that are slightly smaller than one would use in a typical project, in order to achieve a tight gauge that retains stuffing and does not allow the stuffing to show through the fabric.Stuffing is usually standard polyester or cotton craft stuffing, but may be improvised from other materials.

The above photograph is of amigurumi stuffed toys of the characters ‘Wanda and the Alien’ of whom my kids are great fans of. They literally sleep, play and eat with them! Below is a photograph of them checking out their story books with the amigurumi toys.

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