Hey Hey all you wonderful Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs!! As most of you already know, I crochet and back in July I decided to open up an Etsy store to sell my various crochet projects. While I specialize in faceless amigurumi dolls, I can make a wide range of crochet items, from hats and scarves to afghans to keychains and knickknacks., I’ll try anything at least once….
Since crocheting takes up a large part of my free time, I haven’t been as active on WordPress as I once was (I’m working on finding a balance, I promise), so I wanted to integrate my crocheting into this blog and the best way I could think of to do that was with a brand new post series…. yeah, I know, there are plenty of those here as it is… but, for my sanity (and the good of the universe), this series won’t follow a strict schedule. So, some weeks there will be one or two Crocheting While Otaku posts and other weeks, there won’t be any, it’ll depend on my moods… Also, this won’t be anything fancy, just a bit of insight into my crocheting process and some of the projects I’m currently working on. From time to time, I’ll go back and spotlight one of the dolls from my store, and give you guys a bit of background on the character and/or why I chose to make it, etc.
So, for the inaugural post of the Crocheting While Otaku series, I thought it’d be fun to just talk a bit about how I got started with crocheting and answering some questions I’ve been asked quite a bit over the past few months…
What is Crochet?
Well, that’s a bit hard to explain, but I usually just describe it as knitting, but instead of using two needles, you use one… and it’s not really a needle but a hook… I’m butchering this, so how about we try this again?
Crochet (krōˈSHā) is a form of handcraft in which yarn is used to construct woven fabric by continuously looping yarn with a hooked needle . The word itself is dervived from a French word that means “small hook”. Unlike knitting that allows individuals to work several stitches continuously, crochet only works one stitch at a time. Though there are a few crochet stitches that mimic knitting by allowing individuals to work multiple stitches at once (ie. Tunisian stitch), but they use longer needles to achieve that knit like appearance.
It can be used to make any number of crafts from clothing to blankets to toys, the skies the limit! There are several subsets of crochet that focus on specific items and techniques, however, I primarily focus on amigurumi crafts.
What is Amigurumi?
Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knit or crochet doll making. The word amigurumi literally means crochet/knit stuffed doll, and while the practice has been going on in Japan for generations it didn’t really obtain worldwide appeal until the early 2000’s.
Honestly, that’s about it, there are no restrictions or rules when it comes to amigurumi crafts, you can pretty much make anything and call it amigurumi… stuffed animals, dolls, food… whatever you can think of can be made into a plushie!
How I Got My Start…
So, now that the basics of crochet are out of the way, I suppose I should share how I got my start with crochet. Now, this is something people as me a lot, and honestly it isn’t all that exciting:
My mom used to crochet all of our baby blankets, so each of my brothers and I all have a handmade baby blanket sitting in storage somewhere collecting dust. I believe mine was rainbow colored with this really cute ruffle trim (I’d post a picture, but making a trip from DC to Atlanta just for a picture seems a bit overkill). Anyway, so when I was about eleven I saw my mom crocheting a blanket for my new baby brother, so like any other curious kid, I asked her what she was doing.
She taught me how to make blankets and scarves mostly, small things with simple stitches, but I was a curious kid and I wanted to learn more, more than my mom could teach me, so she did the next best thing and bought me one of those beginner crochet books and a crap ton of yarn and sent me on my merry way. Mind you I can’t read crochet patterns to save my life, so I mostly just looked at the pictures and taught myself from there. Yeah, aside from the initial hands on teaching my mom gave me, I’m mostly self taught and since I can’t read crochet patterns I rely heavily on sight to make things… I wing it LOL.
What I Make and Sell…
I am pretty proficient in most things, but my bread and butter are my amigurumi dolls. Right now, I mainly focus on character inspired dolls, but I also take on a few custom doll orders from time to time as well. But, the bulk of my dolls are inspired by anime and/or otome game characters, since my interests lie there, though I can make dolls inspired by characters from other media as well (I recently took on an order for two Star Trek dolls).
I specialize in faceless dolls, for reasons I will explain in the FAQs section, but if someone is hellbent on having a doll made with eyes I’ll accommodate (though, I won’t exactly be thrilled about it).
Frequently Asked Questions…
These are just some things I have been asked over the years, some are specific to the Etsy store and others are just general questions I get. If you have a question that isn’t here, just ask me an I’ll add it to the list.
What took you so long? I’ve been telling you to sell this stuff for years!
Up until recently, I just crocheted whenever, it was something to do to keep my hands busy if I was watching something or just bored out of my mind. I never dreamed I’d actually be selling my work, because I’m notorious for taking forever to finish projects. It took me about six years to finish a blanket ( I started it my sophomore year of high school and finished it my junior year of undergrad), but I’m loads better than I used to be about finishing stuff. In fact this was the main reason I was hesitant to even start selling in the first place, I never thought I’d have the energy or time to stock a store let alone maintain it for very long, but here we are four months later and I’m crocheting just about every day!
Why faceless dolls?/ Why don’t they have faces?/ You should give them faces!
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this question I’d be able to treat myself to a fancy dinner and a movie…
The reason I don’t give my dolls faces is because, honestly, they creep me out when they have faces. I mean who ever heard of a faceless doll harming anyone (not a word about voodoo), I mean all the dolls in horror movies have faces… creepy, evil faces at that.
I have made dolls with eyes in the past, but most folks agree the eyes make the dolls look creepy af, so I leave them off. Plus, faceless dolls are unique, makes me stand out a bit.
Why do you sell dolls?
I looked at my bank account, and my bank account looked at me, and we both agreed that I needed to figure out a way to pay my rent. But, seriously, I have bills and whatnot to pay and while my doll sales aren’t going to cover my rent every month, they will help make things a bit easier on my bank account…. plus I like making dolls, it’s a win-win really.
How long do you plan on selling dolls for?
Until it isn’t fun anymore. I love crocheting, and unlike most of my other hobbies it has stood the test of time and that’s because I don’t make a chore out of it. If I want to make a doll, I make a doll. If I want to spend my entire weekend playing an otome game instead of crocheting, bet your sweet ass I won’t crochet a stitch till I finish that game.
Can you make X?
I take custom orders all the time, just drop me a line (either on Etsy, Twitter, or the Contact page) and I’ll let you know if your idea is possible for me or not. Though, don’t come to me asking for a life-sized dragon plushie, cus I’ll tell you right now, that ain’t happening…. nah!
What pattern do you use? Will you offer patterns?
Ah, well, you see… about that… I can’t read patterns, I learn either from sight or a whole hell of a lot of trial and error, so there aren’t patterns for my dolls. Every doll I make is a genuine, one of a kind creation, I couldn’t make the same doll even if I tried… I mean they’d be similar, but different because I learn and adapt as I go.
So, as of right now, I don’t know about patterns, maybe in the future. I much better at showing you what to do instead.
Do you ship internationally?
Yeah, I do.
What kind of yarn do you use?
I usually use Red Heart Super Saver acrylic yarn, since they have a huge selection of colors and they’re pretty affordable. But, if I can’t find the color I need/want there I’ll just default to Lion Brand or whatever I can get my hands on.
How much yarn do you have?
A lot. So much that I’m running out of space to put it all… just about every surface in my room is covered in yarn and I’ve been known to sit on it from time to time…
What’s the hardest part of doll making?
The hair, hands down! I fucking hate doing hair, if it were up to me my dolls would all be bald! It’s time consuming and depending on the doll it can take hours to finish! I just did one that required me to hand twist all the hair, and it took me three days….
Though I will admit that arms are a close second, they are tiny and it’s super hard to get the needle into such tight spaces. For scale, some of the arms are roughly the size and width of a pinky.
You should get a light box, the pictures don’t do your dolls justice…
Yeah, I am aware, thank you… I’m working on it.
Do you have a favorite doll?
Yes, I do, it’s the Scorpio doll. He’s my pride and joy and I was so sad to see him go to his forever home. But, at least I still have the memories!
And now the part you all have been waiting for…. the dolls….
I want to preface this by saying that theses are not all the dolls I have on hand, there are quite a few works in progress lying around my place…. off hand, there are six on my desk and I usually carry one or two with me so I can work on them at work or during my commute. But, these are all the dolls I had as of October….
I have about four dolls that are works in progress:
- Seven from Mystic Messenger
- Deku from My Hero Academia
- Lance from Voltron Legendary Defender
- Keith from Legendary Defender
But, believe me when I say this list is only going to get longer before the weekend is out… I have a few ideas for characters that I plan on making reality real soon. If you want to keep up to date on all of my works in progress and completed dolls, I Highly recommend following me on Instagram, @poke_ninja90, since that is where I post the majority of my projects. From time to time I’ll post on Twitter or Tumblr, but the bulk of my stuff goes up on Instagram first… or if I’m feeling especially motivated, Snapchat…
Also, definitely check out my Etsy store, Poke’s Amigurumi Pals and subscribe, that way you’ll be the first to know whenever I make updates to my listings!! Dolls generally range from $35 USD to $40 USD (it really depends on the details)!
Welp, that’s it for the first Crocheting While Otaku post, this wound up being super long (don’t expect the others to be this long). As always, if you like what you see be sure to LIKE this post and FOLLOW Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! Thank you for reading!