History of Amigurumi: What is Amigurumi? (2020)
What is amigurumi?
Amigurumi means "crocheted or knitted stuffed toy," in Japanese. The first crocheted motif appeared in Japan in 1920. Despite it's expanding popularity, there is still a gaping hole in its history. What I have concluded in in my own research, was the resurgence of crochet in the late 90s to early 2000s due to the internet and anime craze in America.
I thoroughly enjoyed this article from Little Yarn Friends who has a more sociological take on the subject.
So, what is amigurumi? To me?
Amigurumi is art.
It is purposeful.
It is not just a “crocheted or knitted stuffed toy.”
It is so much more.
To me, Amigurumi is…
- A one of a kind birthday gift,
- A gorgeous piece of fan art,
- A solo meditation retreat,
- A brainstorming session,
- Self discovery,
- And legacy, etc..
Amigurumi saved my life.
But before we get into the how, let’s start with the who… shall we?
Hello, friends. My name is Chy. I began crocheting in the spring of 2015. This was ten years after I gave it up as a junior in high school. Then the internet happened, and I picked it back up again.
Several things I learned from crocheting amigurumi for the first time:
- I accelerated my crochet skills in a short period of time,
- Finally discovered my own academic learning style (a little too late, post-high school) https://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/
- A spark in my self confidence, during a horrible time in my life.
- In an area where alcohol addiction was inherent, substance abuse was prevalent, and mental health had an outdated social stigma, crochet was my safety net. It was free therapy.
I crocheted bags for a year and a half until I realized that if I wanted to improve, eventually I was gonna have to learn how to use a sewing machine. I did not want to learn this back then, because I hated the noise.
The first amigurumi I made in 2017, was a bear:
- Hook size 3.5 mm [I used the hook to sew the pieces together!]
- Red heart super saver yarn
- Stuffing from a old throw pillow,
- And orange kitchen scissors!
But I wanted to make the bear, so I made the bear, and you know what? It was the most beautiful thing in the world! Because it brought me joy.
I wanted to make more, so I did. I wanted to try a new technique, and so I did. Youtube was a God send!
Here’s the channel I watched back then.
Mind you, her intro jungle is loud, but she is brilliant. I am totally biased when it comes to her.
Anyways, onto the why…
** Note: For a more in depth story time, there will be a separate post. Just because there is so much to tell and it’s not relevant to this post. Sorry, friends.
I was grieving the loss of my baby, and I did not take it well. I showed many symptoms of depression. I had suicidal thoughts, was prone to violent outbursts, had debilitating fatigue, massive weight gain… the list goes on… like I said, I did not take it well.
Grasping on for dear life, I clung onto a crochet hook.
Here's how amigurumi helped me with my grief: [this from my own experiences]
- It calmed me down tremendously. No more temper flares or violent tantrums.
- It put me in a meditative state to think of more than myself. Because, goodness me, grief is such a selfish bitch. And you wont know it til its too late.
- While crocheting, I felt accomplished. So I wondered what else I could get done that day. I gained back small bits of energy again.
- I could actively be a part of my family again. I could be there for my children and not on mopey autopilot.
So amigurumi is more than just a trend, or a popular character. To me, amigurumi is healing and self love. Amigurumi is life!
Here are some free patterns for you to try, click here.
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Keep count & stay creative, my friends!