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 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- In an area where alcohol addiction was inherent, substance abuse was prevalent, and mental health had an outdated social stigma, crochet was my safety net.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 jingle 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 is 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 just myself. Because, goodness me, grief is such a selfish bitch. And you won't know it until it's 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!