Amigurumi Fun!

Amigurumi (Japanese - 編みぐるみ) a crocheted or knitted stuffed toy. 

Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. The word is a portmanteau of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.

I have always liked stuffed animals and dolls.  I think that they convey so much with so little.  My first amigurumi was a turtle that I had when I was very little.  I think that there may have been other ones after that, but I can't readily remember.  I do know that I had wanted to make something for my daughter when she was small, but I didn't understand how it was done and my crochet skills were lacking.  Instead, I did other kinds of dolls and stuffed animals for her.

But now, I have finally figured out the trick to making amigurumi - working in the round!  

I have always had a bad habit of making everything into rows, neat or not.  And it took a little for me to understand that was not how the critters are made.  Working in the round means that you don't finish each row, you just keep crocheting.  

I didn't realize that until very recently.  (Kinda dense over this way)  I made plenty of things that would fall into an amigurumi category, but was always working to make them into nice neat rows, which sometimes made them kind of wonky.  

But now, that has all changed.  I have gotten the handle on it and have already made a lovely little doll.  She is more of a primitive style doll than I had anticipated, but I really like how she came out.  The shirt is crocheted as part of the body and the arms, but the skirt and the neck ruff that I made are separate items.  She has a wig cap sewn onto her scalp that I pulled the hair through.  This is done so that if the hair is a little thin in places, it won't be too obvious.  I didn't give her a mouth as I couldn't decide what I wanted to do and I am generally really bad at mouths.  

While I was working on her, my daughter decided that she wanted a doll based on Emma Bloom from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  The movie was a lot of fun and she has already cosplayed this character at least once for a school day.  The character from the movie is different from the character in the book.  Apparently, according to my daughter since I haven't finished reading the book yet, in the movie they switched the characters of Olive and Emma.  But, she was not deterred by this and she really enjoys both the book and the movie.  So when she asked me for a doll based on Emma, she wanted the Emma from the movie.  I thought that it would be fun to try to do a doll based on her, so I set out to figure out which pattern to use.

Legs and Body 
Body and Head
When I did my doll, I used to combination of patterns because I liked parts of one and not another.  I used the pattern from Two-Little-C's and from Free Patterns Amigurumi.  For my doll, I used the head, body and arms from the Free Patterns option and the legs from the Two-Little-C's option.  I liked how her head came out to be larger and how it made it look a little more primitive and innocent.  However, when I set about doing the one for Emma, I wanted it to be a little more "human" looking.  So, I used the head, body, and legs from Two-Little-C's, but I didn't like the arms, mostly because of the hands.  The yarn that I was using, Loops and Threads Impeccable Heather, used an "H" hook and the pattern wanted a "D" hook and a smaller gauge yarn.  With that thought in mind, I couldn't really do the arm pattern anyway, so I used the Free Patterns arm.  

I followed the guidelines for changing colors on the body to make it look like the shirt was part of the body itself, but I did adjust the legs slightly.  The top three or four rows are the same color as the shirt part of the body.  These are white to emulate the under clothes that Emma wears in the movie.  She has a thin white undershirt and a pair of under shorts.  I didn't want to make her dress part of her body as I was trying to get as close to the character as I could.

I didn't care for the eyes that came with the Two-Little-C's pattern as I thought that they made the doll look tired.  I just didn't find that appealing, so I made my own eyes following a picture that I found.  I think that they came out looking just fine.  Maybe a little bigger than I wanted, but still all right.  I used the Loops and Threads Woolike Yarn for this part of the doll.  I wanted them to bright and lively, but had to use something easy to work with that wouldn't be too large.
I used black, denim blue and white for the eyes.  The center (black) is a magic circle with 6SC and closed with a slip stitch.  I then changed to the denim blue and continued the circle around with increases (total 12SC) and closed with a slip stitch.  Now changing to white, I did 1SC, 1 INC until I reached 10.  At 10, I did 1 DC and then continued around with the 1SC, 1 INC (total 18), then slip stitched closed.  I did the DC to make it appear a little less than circular.  I think that they came out just fine and my daughter liked them.  

When I laid them out next to the head, I thought that they looked a little too large and that they may have made it look too much like anime, but it turned out just fine.  

Now, I attached them, keeping in mind where I wanted to put the wig cap and the hair.  I put them up a little higher, mostly cause the way that the hair is meant to lay (take a look at the picture of Emma above and you will see what I mean).  I also want to make her a small smile, which I didn't do on my doll, but I don't have the yarn with me at the moment and will have to do that later.  

 I got the legs and one arm sewn on (I didn't have any stuffing with me at the time, so I had to wait to attach the other arm later).

Time for the clothes!  The skirt was actually fairly easy to do.  I followed the skirt pattern from the Free Amigurumi Pattern, but I extended it some so it was longer.  Emma's dress falls below the knees, so I wanted to make sure that this would at least be close to that.  I think that I ended up adding about 5 rows.  For her shirt, at least the lower half of it, I followed the body pattern, stopping it so that I could attach it just under the arm.  I knew that I had to come up with some sort of plan and I am not really good at crocheting doll clothes (yet!) so I kind of pieced it all together.

I got the other arm stuffed and attached, so I could go ahead and continue to piece together the top of the shirt and make the sleeves.  So for the yoke of the shirt, I pretty much just crocheted something until it looked like it would fit and then sewed it on, stretching it to make it fill in all of the gaps.  The sleeves were supposed to be longer as Emma's were three-quarters length, but I didn't estimate the number of rows right and they ended up shorter.  My daughter didn't care.  So, for the sleeves, I really just followed the top of the arm pattern until I got to the length that I wanted and then pulled them up and sewed them into place.  I wanted to make a collar for the dress, but I just couldn't wrap my head around how to do it, so I didn't.  Instead, I just looped through some yarn and tied a bow, just like Emma's.  

Now, in the movie, Emma wears huge lead shoes, because (SPOILERS!) she can float.  Without these shoes, she would float away.  I am still learning how to do all of this, so I didn't really have a plan on how to make the shoes big and heavy.  Which was fine, since my daughter really wanted her doll and didn't care about the shoes.  Instead I followed the pattern from Two-Little-C's and adjusted it slightly.  I added a row and then crocheted on two straps so that they looked a little different.  It's hard to see the straps in the picture, but they are there.  After adding the straps, I crocheted another row onto the back and them slipped them onto her feet.  They fit perfectly.

Now with her head sewn on, hair attached, and a happy smile, we have Emma Bloom!  I realized that I forgot to take pictures of how I attached her hair.  Basically, I made a wig cap from the same color as her hair and sewed it down to the head to make her scalp.  From there, I took lengths of yarn and pulled them through with a smaller crochet hook, making a small loop.  I filled it in until my daughter told me that it looked fine and finished it off.  

As you can see, she is quite happy with Emma Bloom.  My only complaint would be that I think the eyes are too big and the feet lay a little too much to the side.  But, for my second attempt with more detail, I think that she is very cute and I am happy with her.

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Have a nice day!


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