Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting or knitting small stuffed animals. The word is a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. While amigurumi have been popular in Japan for several decades, they only blew up in the West in 2003. Amigurumi have since become some of the most popular items in online crafts marketplaces.
Step by step instructions are demonstrated for all students, making the art of crocheting quite easy to pick up.
RESOBOX, a Japanese gallery/studio/restaurant held its first World Amigurumi Exhibit one year ago, which was a huge success in exposing this art form to New York City. Jing N. Leong, a skilled crocheter, couldn’t help revisiting the exhibit over and over until RESOBOX took notice and asked her to teach a class at their studio/restaurant.
Leong-Sensei creates an atmosphere of comfortability and fun, making her class a great evening activity to wind down the work or school day.
Experiencing the adult class for myself, I learned how to do several types of crochet stitches, how to read patterns, and how to pick out good crocheting materials (all in one day)! Leong-Sensei provides amigurumi projects, patterns, and/or instructions on how to make the pattern you bring to class. Students who had been in the group for two classes were already working on their first crocheting project. The first project for a new student is to make a cute little yellow ducky as it is an easier pattern. Each new student learns how to crochet a body, head, wings, beak, and little hat for the ducky. They then learn to stuff and assemble all of the pieces to complete the doll. After you make your first amigurumi, Leong-Sensei encourages students to bring in patterns that they find and really want to make. She offers guidance and tips as you tackle your crochet project of choice.
Reading patterns can be intimidating and confusing for a new student, but Leong-Sensei has a way of making them seem easy.
Small Tips and tricks, like what type of yarn and how it is rolled, are taught along the way.
While chatting with other students and Leong-Sensei, it became apparent to me that this class brings together people from different places for different reasons. Some students come all the way from Long Island just to experience this amigurumi class. They come to enjoy themselves and unwind after work, others after college classes, and some are even retired! It’s a wonderful feeling to find a common space where people of different backgrounds and ages can come together. The groups run a weekly meeting for adults, and one for children at RESOBOX’s Gallery. The excellent instructions, cute finished pieces, laughter, talking, delicious drinks and food all made me feel like the class was a dream come true.
With practice, students can learn to alter patterns to make their own custom creations, just like the tall bunny and pig shown above.
—- Reported by Melissa Perrier
RESOBOX 41-26 27th St., Long Island City, NY 11101
TEL: 718-784-3680 | www.resobox.com