Amigurumi (編みぐるみ): The Japanese Crochet
Amigurumi literally means "crocheted or knitted stuffed toy". It is one of the Japanese art styles of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures that can be used both as toys and for decorative purposes. The term Amigurumi is a compound of the Japanese words 編み ami which means "crocheted or knitted", and 包み kurumi, which means "wrapping", as in 縫い包み nuigurumi "(sewn) stuffed doll".
Amigurumi vary in size and there are no restrictions since it's an art style where the people are free to create however they want. Although the art of amigurumi has been a renowned practice in Japan for several decades now, this craft first began to attract public interest in other countries around 2003. Amigurumi has an interesting history which we will talk about now.
There are multiple records that date back to 1185 of the analogous techniques that were used in Japan like the technique used for the creation of fabric through knitting and crocheting. It is also believed that knitting was introduced as a technique during the Edo period in Japan around 1603-1867. Knitting evolved with the samurai, who used to be ace in making garments and decorations for their winter wear. During the Meiji period in Japan, the country was transitioning from being a feudal society into a more modern state. This was also the era when the industrialization movement began in the country.
The most significant characteristic of amigurumi is that the crochet fabric is usually very dense and devoid of any holes. The reason for this is that amigurumi are crocheted toys which should always be stuffed with polyfil or other types of soft stuffing healthy for children. This is why the crocheted fabric is required to be dense so that the stuffing does not come out and feels sturdy and lofty enough to play with. It is said that cotton yarn is usually the ideal choice for beginners because it has a good stitch definition which enables the creator to see the position of the stitches which can be really feasible when the stitches need to be located and placed carefully.
Although Amigurumi can be knitted as well, they are usually crocheted out of yarn or thread while using the basic techniques of crocheting that's known by almost everyone who likes to knit. Amigurumi can be created as one piece but they can also be stitched together as sections which are sewed or crocheted together. It is important to note that amigurumi are typically worked in spiral rounds to prevent "striping", a typical feature of joining crochet rounds in a project.
There are very specific tools that are needed for amigurumi such as small gauge crochet hooks or knitting needles are usually used to create a tight gauge that secures the stuffing in place. The said stuffing here can be of wool, standard polyester or cotton craft stuffing. Moreover, even glass pebbles, and stones are placed beneath the stuffing to divide the weight at the bottom of the figure to make a good foundation. Amigurumi is a very creative hobby to take up as it opens the doors of your creativity along with providing you a mental space to relax as you focus on crocheting.
Written by Ayusshi
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