May 2008

Last week Chris asked how I got started making Amigurumi and for some advice about how to design your own and I thought some others might be interested too.  I have a background in costume design, so when I decided to start creating my own patterns, I went at it in a very systematic way.

I had been crocheting for years, but I had only ever made two dimensional objects, afghans, doilies and the like.  I had seen the Amigurumi on Craftster and, like many others, I fell deeply in love.  The first one I made was the classic Amineko.  I made two of them, one for each of my kids.  It was a great way to get started thinking in three dimensions.  When I finished with the first one I was able to look at it and see what I liked and what I didn’t and I made some changes to the second one to make it a little better proportioned to my eye.

Now I had some knowledge of some basic shapes.  Circles for heads, pears for bodies, triangles for ears, long cylinders for legs and arms.  What else could I make with these shapes?  What if I moved the decreases and increases around to different places?  What if I elongated the head or shortened the arms.  What if I flattened a shape that was usually round?  I found that once I new the basic shapes and the pattern formulas to make them, that I could just plug them into each other to make new creatures.

I looked at lots of pictures of other Amigurumi.  There are lots of different patterns available for free online.  If there was a pattern that had a shape I had not made yet, I went ahead and made the pattern to learn the new shape.  I sketched.  Part of my design process was to sit with a piece of paper and draw thumbnail sketches of Amigurumi I had seen and liked, ideas that popped into my head randomly,  things I saw pictures of that I thought might make interesting creatures.  I also had a notebook where I wrote down names of people or things that I thought of that I might like to try creating.

After all the sketching and designing, I found that simpler and smaller is better for Amigurumi.  You aren’t going to be making a photo realistic representation of something, but a cartoon caricature.  Picking 2 or 3 characteristics (or more for a more complicated creation)  I broke the sketch I had drawn down into the basic component shapes I knew and began creating.  I experimented with adding different stitches, like bobble stitches for fingers, to add more detail.  I kept detailed notes of every stitch I made.  When I wasn’t working on a specific project, I was experimenting with new shapes. 

I sure hope this is helpfull in answering your questions.  If you have more, please let me know!

It turns out that my summer is going to be insane, so I am putting the shop on hold for a while.  There are a few bags available now, but there won’t be any new ones added to the shop.

I will still be crafting and blogging.  I will still be around the fiberverse.  I have been spinning up a whole whack of fiber the past couple weeks for my livingroom rug, so I will try to get some photos up soon!

So, I have been a busy little bee recently, but I still got a little crafting done.  I took these Romney singles

and holding two strands together as I crochet, I made this rug for in front of the back door

It was a fun and fast rug.  I started working on my next rug.  No photos yet, but it will be the largest project I have ever worked on!  It is a rug for the living room I have been planning for a while.  I love the look of those old fashioned oval rag rugs and I wanted one forever.  I had some trouble finding an oval crochet pattern, and the ones I tried left large holes in the fabric, so I am going with a circle instead.  So far it is about the size of a salad plate.  I am using a knifty knitter loom to make a 5 stitch cord and then I am crocheting it into the rug.  I will get photos soon once it gets a bit bigger.

I have been trying to find time to make more Craft Cubes and there will be more in the shop on Friday!  So far this one is my favorite

Here is the interior fabric

I LOVE this fabric and I had to go back and purchase as much as I could afford for my own stash!  I have two of this bag and I am tempted to keep one for myself.  There will be other bags too.  Here is a peek at the fabrics I am currently working on.  I am going to try and have as many of these bags assembled as possible for the Friday Update.