Saturday, June 30, 2012

Amigurumi Love

This year I will have worked at the same company for 16 years, and what this means is that I've made my co-workers just about everything that I could think of that's easy, quick and everyone would like. So I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what I could crochet for birthdays this year. Then the answer came when I asked my co-worker / best friend Sue (who's birthday is early in the year) what she'd like this year.

I've got a reputation for my beautiful crochet work, so I felt comfortable asking for ideas. Surprisingly, she chose an amigurumi maneki neko (good fortune cat popular in Japan).

Last year, I had brought in the sock monkey I made my granddaughter and a lot people fell in love with the amigurumi concept. So I wasn't daunted, but a little surprised at her choice. But that didn't stop me from locating a free pattern online (My Maneki Neko by Kathy Wishnie of Belgrade, Montana - Mountain Weaver Fiber Art Studio blog) and after getting Sue's approval, set off to make a traditional maneki neko!

First I had to determine which paw should wave (it makes a difference in what you wish for). The right paw waving, summons good fortune. The left paw means wealth. She chose the right paw. That was the only 'customization' I allowed. Luckily, these little  amigurumi don't take up much yarn, so I chose what I had in my stash.

I also find it extremely difficult to embroider faces on amigurumi, so was a little stressed when it came time to put this little guy together. Then I had an inspiration! Fabric pens!!!! I bought a set when I was quilting so that I could make quick labels on my creations. After studying the samples in the pattern, I chose this face and the rest was easy . . .

Of course, on Sue's birthday, everyone went crazy. I got three more orders (which is good because all 3 birthdays fall one right after the other.

First my boss wanted a magician's rabbit in the hat. (Inside joke about our recent web site project and the unorganized project management.) So I found Pull a Rabbit out of your Hat by Linda Green on Ravelry and whipped one up.

Since his birthday closely followed Sue's, I presented "Gompy" to him right away. As I often do, I made quite a few changes to this pattern. Instead of sewing the unstuffed head into the inside brim of the hat, I stuffed the head and sewed a crocheted base on it. then I attached a black yarn thread from the center top of the hat (on the bottom in the photo) and the center of the underside of the head (there's only a head in the hat). That way, the rabbit keeps its shape and the ears sit up beautifully. Also, over-enthusiastic admirers can't separate the bunny from the hat.

"Gompy" has turned into our department mascot. He has a prominent place in our work area. :)

Well, "Gompy" led to the next request from the department director. She lives with 2 floppy eared rabbits: grey and white and black and white. So I set about looking for the floppy eared amigurumi.

This is one reason why I just love Ravelry. They have such creative artists / designers and you can always find a pattern that just speaks to you. So it was with the Floppy Eared Easter Bunny by Jessica Legan. I showed it to Amy and she fell in love.

So here is what she received on her birthday! The grey bunny was the recipient of the fabric pen treatment, but I couldn't draw any color on the black bunny so I had to try my hand at embroidery on crochet. I used a pearly white embroidery floss and I'm not quite as happy with the affect as I am with the pen treatments.

Well, Amy's birthday is immediately followed by Alice's and she requested a monkey (she had fallen in love with the sock monkey last year).

So I once again went on the hunt and found Monkey with Banana by Betsi Brunson (again on Ravelry -- see what I mean?)

Isn't he ADORABLE?

Well, I've put aside my stuffed animal rush for the time being (the next birthday isn't until fall).

But that doesn't mean I don't have a dozen more projects planned and a few more in the works!


  1. All very cute and very well done...

  2. Thank you, kindly. I've always enjoyed creating stuffed animals. They were the first items I learned to sew well.