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15,000 hits…

23 Jun

Thanks to all of you for reading my blog. I just wanted to post that one of my tutorials, The Sakura Brothers – Amigurumi Tutorial #1 for Knitters, has now reached more than 15,000 hits! Amazing that so many people have read and linked to this post.

Promise that when I have time I’ll update my post on how to make amigurumi shapes and post a pattern or two.

More FOs

12 Feb

Here are a couple of more FOs — the baby blanket and an amigurumi…

blanket 

Alex’s ‘Bouncin’ Baby Blanket

resting turtle 

turtle profile 

Nemui (Sleepy) The Turquoise Turtle 

Amigurumi for Kiddo

31 Jan

I usually make amigurumi for my friends, but it’s been hard to plan for a baby and make the time to make them for myself. But, a couple of months ago I asked Doug what kind of animal he thought I should make for Alex that was somewhat unusual. He thought for a moment, and then said,

A platypus!”

Since I’m not really a fan of patterns, I had to wait for a time when I could think about how to design and think of a way to make a platypus. I tried some fuzzy yarn but then realized that it would be harder to wash and for kiddo to chew on. I started and stopped several times because of holiday knitting. But, finally a couple of weeks ago I finished Polly the Purple Platypus.

ami pic

Polly

I then wanted to make a zany zebra with some leftover yarn from Alex’s baby blanket. I quickly crocheted up the head and the body. As I was working on the mane and ears, though, I realized that this amigurumi was destined to be something else — either a dragon or a martian. I put it to Doug, and he immediately said,

A Martian!”

So, a Martian it is. Don’t have a name for him yet, but have been kicking around a few. For now he’s just Little Martian.

Martian

Little Martian

Have another knitted amigurumi I’m working on. Might even have time to post the pattern (if kiddo doesn’t come within the next week or two!).

 

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Show Me Your Ami…

1 May

There are some really fun knitting/crochet blogs that I love to keep up with (see the blogroll for many of them, others yet to be posted…). It’s fun, though, when someone tries your pattern. Joan at the Local Needle in Florida posted a picture of her knitted kumochan amigurumi, ‘Vera BRATley’. Vera’s a cute little spider putting her many arms to good use — with tons of shopping bags!

Some of the other blogs I have seen with great amigurumi:

  • Owly just posted her first crocheted amigurumi pattern, Sarita, a really cute Mexican doll with sweet braided hair and such a cute face.
  • Kinoko has a whole gallery of critters posted.
  • Bittersweet has a lot of amigurumi (complete with charming stories) and some great free patterns (even a few knitted ones…). Her latest is a really awesome purple owl.
  • Amelia at Ask The Bellweather just posted a FO/OWL named Wowl who is also extremely sweet (and purplely).
  • Calypso has a cute little monkey – her first amigurumi which is just adorable (I love his smile!)
  • Patti Haskins has a couple of super fun and colorful crochet cats.  One of her colorful creations was posted recently on the Softies Central website.

I know that there are tons of great amigurumi bloggers out there who create really cute things and are also willing to share their patterns. If you know of any or if you would like to share your amigurumi creations, feel free to post a link!

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Kumochan — The Easy Version

6 Apr

Kumochan in tree

As promised in the tutorial, here is the Kumochan (little spider) knitted amigurumi pattern.

Yarn: Naturespun Worsted (but any worsted acrylic, wool, cotton or blended yarn will do)
Needles: 4 DPN sizes 6 & 3

Head
Size 6 DPN

CO 6 sts, place 2 sts on 3 DPN

Rnds1 & 2: k6

Rnd 3: M1 every st (6 inc made, 12 sts)

Rnd 4 & every even rnd: k

Rnd 5: k1, M1 6 times (18 sts)

Rnd 7: k2, M1 6 times (24 sts)

Rnd 9: k3, M1 6 times (30 sts)

Rnd 11: k4, M1 6 times (36 sts)

Rnd 13: k5, M1 6 times (42 sts)

Rnd 15: k6, M1 6 times (48 sts)

Rnds 16-22: k

Rnd 23: k2tog, k6 6 times (42 sts)

Rnd 25: k2tog, k5 6 times (36 sts)

Rnd 27: k2tog, k4 6 times (30 sts)

Rnd 29: k2tog, k3 6 times (24 sts)

Rnd 31: k2tog, k2 6 times (18 sts)

Rnd 33: k2tog, k1 6 times (12 sts)

BO

 

Body

Size 6 DPN

CO 6 sts, place 2 sts on 3 DPN

Rnds1 & 2: k6

Rnd 3: M1 every st (6 inc made, 12 sts)

Rnd 4 & every even rnd: k

Rnd 5: k1, M1 6 times (18 sts)

Rnd 7: k2, M1 6 times (24 sts)

Rnds 8-12 : k

Rnd 13: k3, M1 6 times (30 sts)

Rnd 15: k4, M1 6 times (36 sts)

Rnds 16-18: k

Rnd 19: k2tog, k3 6 times (24 sts)

Rnd 21: k2tog, k2 6 times (18 sts)

Rnd 23: k2, M1 6 times (24 sts)

Rnds 24-26: k

Rnd 25: k2tog, k2 6 times (18 sts)

Rnd 26: k2tog, k1 6 times (12 sts)

BO

 

Legs (8)
Size 3 DPN

CO 3 sts

Work i-cord for 3 inches

BO

Finishing
Stuff body and head with polyfil or cotton batting. Join with mattress stitch. Using 2 small round black buttons (or safety eyes) sew eyes on side of head 2/3 from top). Embroider mouth and eyebrows. Attach legs to body.

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Kumochan: Amigurumi Tutorial #2 for Knitters

3 Apr

zen kumochan

‘Zen’ Kumochan (Little Spider)

While cleaning tonight I found this little guy sitting in my flowerpot. At first I was so shocked to see such a huge spider in my living room! But, he had such a nice expression and was so Zen-like, that I just knew that he was the sort of guy who wouldn’t ‘hurt a fly’. I hope he decides to ‘hang’ around for a while….

I had promised last week in the tutorial about heads that I’d add another one this week about making bodies for knitted amigurumi dolls, and here it is…

Amigurumi Knit Tutorial #2 – Bodies

A characteristic of most amigurumi (from what I’ve gathered from Japanese craft books) is that the head is larger than the body, which gives them a sort of anime-character look. Generally when adding a body to this type of toy, the stitches on the head are cast-off when there are 12 sts remaining (and the tail is not threaded through the remaining stitches and tightened). When the body stitches are cast off, there should be the same number of stitches as the head.

There are so many different variations of body-types, but in this tutorial, I’ll describe how to create 4 main ones. Each one is based on one basic type and then ‘tweaked’ to give different shapes.

First type – Round Shaperound

The round type is similar to the earlier crochet/knit dolls of yore. It is basically a round shape that (if updated to be more contemporary) is slightly smaller than the head.

If we take Kumo-chan as an example, since his head is 48 sts in diameter, we’d follow the same pattern for the head, but make the body only 24 or 36 sts max in diameter. (See head post for pattern.)

Second type – Cylinder Shape (Crochet example of shape: Dragonfly)Cylinder

Making a cylinder is the most simple of all the shapes. It is simply one or two increases knit in the round until the desired length is reached.
CO 6 sts
Rnd 1: k
Rnd 2: k
Rnd 3: M1 every st (6 increases made, 12 sts)
Rnd 4-end: k
BO

If greater width is preferred, follow head pattern until the desired number of stitches is reached and then k every rnd until end.

Note: Make certain that the number of sts that are BO are the same as the BO number of head sts.

Third type – Vase Shape (Crochet example of shape: Bumblebee & Butterfly)Vase

This is simply a variation on the cylinder shape. For this type of body, simply increase to 18 [24] sts following the head pattern for increases until desired length for bottom of body and then:

Dec Rnd: k2tog, k1 (6 times, 12 sts) [or k2tog, k2 (6 times 18 sts)]
k every rnd until desired length
BO

Note: Make certain that the number of sts that are BO are the same as the BO number of head sts.insect

Fourth type – Insect Shape (Kumochan)

This is a variation on the vase shape. Working with an increase of 24 sts based on head pattern, after desired length of bottom half of body:

Rnd 1: k
Rnd 2: k2tog, k2 (6 times, 18 sts)
Rnd 3 (for more dramatic mid-section shaping, otherwise skip): k2tog, k1 (6 times, 12 sts)
Rnd 4: k (if greater mid-section shaping is desired, k another row)
Rnd 5: k1, M1 (6 times, 18 sts)
Rnd 6-end: k

Note: Make certain that the number of sts that are BO are the same as the BO number of head sts.

Finishing

Stuff head with cotton batting or poly-fil. Mattress stitch head to body matching head sts with body sts (whip-stitch will work, but your creature might look a little Frankenstein-ish..). Tuck in ends.

You can:

  • add i-cord or felt arms and legs..
  • make (4) 6-st cylinders for arms and legs..
  • embellish using buttons, safety-animal eyes or embroidery sts…
  • add i-cord tail…

…to make your own amigurumi creation.

That’s pretty much it! With these basic shapes, there are endless possibilities, so I hope you let your imagination run wild!

Have fun and feel free to post a link with your creations!

(See here for Kumochan’s complete directions…)

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The Sakura Brothers: Amigurumi Tutorial #1 for Knitters

30 Mar

SB hanging out

The coming of spring where I grew up (outside of Washington, DC) always meant cherry blossoms. They signaled that the winters were over and that there were only about 2 more months left of good weather before the hot muggy summers began. In Japan I loved cherry blossom season, walking along the banks of the Shukugawa River under the bowers of the cherry trees, the blossoms carpeting the ground like a blanket of soft pink snow.

Since there aren’t many cherry trees here in LA, I thought I’d create something to remind me of the energizing transition from winter to spring that I often long for (here in LA most of the year is spring…). And thus, the Sakura (Cherry) Brothers were born.

The red cherry, Suppai-kun (bitter) suppai is a little upset since he was made with really old yarn from my first knitted sweater project 16 years ago. His little brother, Amai-kun (sweet), however, is a much happier fellow hanging around without a care in the world being made out of a bright Naturespun wool.

I had been wondering how I could translate a crochet amigurumi pattern into a knitted one. After seeing the envious faces of the knitters in my Tuesday night Stitch and Bitch group who don’t crochet, I thought it would be good to write up a few basic patterns, which are more like tutorials, for designing knitted amigurumi. Many of the vintage patterns I have can be a little hard to follow for beginners, and the design principles of amigurumi are pretty basic. It’s just a matter of getting a few simple shapes down and the rest is simply creating more rows between increases and decreases to generate new shapes and sizes.

So, here it is – Amigurumi Knit Tutorial #1 – Heads

Most amigurumi are knit in the round and based on a circle that’s been divided into 6, so the number of stitches for each increase or decrease should be a number that is divisible by 6. The width of the head simply depends on the type of yarn used, the size of the needles and the final number of stitches at the circumference (most larger toys are generally 48-60 stitches). Even though I had followed a lot of patterns before, it wasn’t until I saw a diagram in a Japanese book that’s similar to my very basic one below that I finally ‘got’ how many stitches to increase and decrease and when…

circle scan

Each small circle represents the total number of stitches on each odd numbered round after the increase, based on 6 increases per round. To make a larger head, simply knit more stitches before each increase (30 would be K3, inc 1; 36 K4, inc 1, etc…). The decreases are simply the reverse of the increases except that the decrease is made before the knit stitches.

So, here’s the basic pattern in knit-ese for Suppai-kun. (Amai-kun was simply knit on smaller needles with one less increase…)

Yarn: Wool, Wool-Blend, and Cotton-Acrylic blends. Also acrylic yarns with a little fuzz work well for knitted objects (makes the increases and decreases look more subtle).

Needles: 4 DPN size 6 or 7

CO 6 sts, place 2 sts on 3 DPN
Rnds1 & 2: k6
Rnd 3: M1 every st (6 inc made, 12 sts)decreasing 2
Rnd 4 & every even rnd: k
Rnd 5: k1, M1 (6 times, 18 sts)
Rnd 7: k2, M1 (6 times, 24 sts)
Rnd 9: k3, M1 (6 times, 30 sts)
Rnds 10-12: k
Rnd 13: k2tog, k 3 (6 times, 24 sts)
Rnd 15: k2tog, k 2 (6 times, 18 sts)
Rnd 17: k2tog, k1 (6 times, 12 sts)
Rnd 19: k2tog 6 times (6 sts)

Cut yarn, leaving a 2 inch tail. Stuff with batting or polyfill. Using yarn needle, thread tail through rem sts & tighten. The head is done!

The stem was simply a 3 st i-cord tied into a knot and sewn onto the top of the head.

Add felt, crocheted or pipe cleaner/wire arms and legs. Embroider a face or use buttons/felt or googly-eyes to embellish. The ends can easily be hidden away inside of your creature, and that’s it! (Remember to embroider embellishments if you are giving these away to small children.)

With just this basic shape, it’s possible to make a variety of little guys, adding embellishments and such to give each its own character.

Sakura Bros

Next tutorial: Bodies

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