About Me

My photo
I've been crocheting for over 30 years, and come from a family of yarn and fabric artisans. I learned to sew from my Grandmother who made several quilts a year entirely by hand...one for each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. Life situations and changes caused me to take a chance and open my first Etsy shop in Feb. 2011. A few successful months later, I opened my second Etsy shop as BeccaTheBaker...and later in 2011 opened my third Etsy shop as BeyondCrochetToo. I'm a single mother of 2 teenagers (a girl and a boy), plus 2 cats. I'm a 5th generation Native Californian (Northern California. And am happy to be back on the West Coast in the Pacific Northwest where I belong.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amigurumi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Two amigurumi animals
Amigurumi (編みぐるみ?, lit. knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features.

Technique

Amigurumi are usually crocheted out of yarn using the single crochet stitch. They can also be knit. Typically, crochet hooks or knitting needles that are slightly smaller than normal are used, in order to achieve a tight gauge that retains stuffing. Stuffing is usually standard polyester or cotton craft stuffing, but may be improvised from other materials. Plastic pellets may be inserted beneath stuffing in order to distribute weight at the bottom of the figure. Amigurumi are usually worked in sections and then joined, except for some amigurumi which have no limbs, only a head and torso which are worked as one piece.





It Started with a Bunny?

I wanted my first blog to be about how I got started selling my crafts. But, the truth is: I’m not exactly sure how it started. I just remember sitting at the computer one day in a panic not knowing what to do. I had just quit my job after having been in the hospital with what was first thought to be the beginnings of a stroke, and turned out to be an anxiety attack – an anxiety attack brought on by stress and high blood pressure. Not good.
We were planning on moving out of state within about 6 months, and I didn’t want to work another “dead-end” job, not even for that short of time….especially not for that short of time. I had other income, minor as it was, that would at least pay the bills until I moved. But, as always happens in these situations, that income stopped as well. So, I did the only thing I could do – I job hunted…and hunted…and hunted. And I got no call backs, no interviews, nothing. So…. a day came when I was on Facebook, and I saw an ad for a crafter that was selling hats and scarves (NotJustHats) through a website called: Etsy. I don’t normally pay attention to these ads, but something made me curious and I clicked on it and was taken to the shop page, and then to Etsy’s home page. I began reading all about the site and what they offer to crafters/artists – Like ME. It’s what I was hoping for….what I always wanted to do, but didn’t think was possible. I had no idea this site even existed for people like me – people that are passionate about what they make and create. To say it called to me would be an understatement – it didn’t just call…it SCREAMED: “Here I am! What are you waiting for??!”
I had been making lap blankets (lapghans) for Senior Citizens in a nursing home for several years, but they no longer ran the program for giving out blankets, so I had a few packed away that were never used, and beginnings of several others that I had put aside until I could find someone that would appreciate them. It was a start….but not enough. With Easter just around the corner I knew I should focus on Spring and Easter items. I went through all my crochet books and magazines and found my bunnies. I thought they were cute, and my kids and everyone else I showed them to thought they were cute – so, I thought okay I’ll make bunnies.
I made bunnies to the point that I have the complete pattern memorized. I had no idea at the time that I was making an “Amigurumi” animal. I had heard of Amigurumi, but I had no idea what it was – and I especially didn’t know the techniques to making it. (But, I sure DO now!!) Leave it to me to pick something that’s a popular trend and not even know it. LOL.
So, I guess you can say it started with a bunny. I’ve only sold 2 so far, and those were through a private sell and not through Etsy. But, it’s a start. Sometimes I freak out and panic when I think that I’m putting so much hope on this. And sometimes I freak and panic when I think about the possibility that my shop might actually be successful the way I hope it will be. But, that’s what it’s all about – taking the risks in life and not being too afraid to face our fears.
Whenever I get discouraged, I look at my circle and how it’s growing. Everyday at least one more crafter/artist is either adding me to their favorites, or including me in their circle. It’s a beginning….a path that keeps moving me forward instead of back. I feel like all of us are in this together – the reasons and events that brought us here may all be different, but in the end it’s all the same: we are here because we love what we do, and take pride in it. And we want to share that pride and love with others. Of course it would be great to eventually make a living from it, but it’s not even about that right now….for me, it’s about being seen and appreciated, and having an outlet for all I create. After all….you can only give away so many afghans to friends and relatives. ;-) 
And it’s about being able to say: I took a chance in life and I tried. I know I still have a long way to go, and a lot to learn before I really get where I want to be…..but I’m doing it. And that in itself, gives me the strength to know it will all work out.
Thanks for reading my first blog. I truly appreciate it.