Chapter 1: Five Servings a Day: The Vegetable Basket
My first foray into the world of yarn was when I discovered crochet toys. I loved the intricate construction and how intuitive crochet construction was. Hungry for new shapes and designs, I spent years making various amigurumi projects soaking up all I could to create my own patterns. I think my affinity for sea creatures was in part due to growing up near the ocean and the octopus quickly became my favorite.
After I learned how to knit I stumbled upon the designs of Hansi Singh, specifically her amazing Octopus pattern. The delicate intricacies in shape made this the most accurate of any I had seen. I created swarms of them giving them as presents to kids and adults alike.
While shopping for something else (I have no idea what, and I definitely didn't end up getting it) I found her book Amigurumi Knits and had to buy it. The book is broken down into 4 chapters; Five Servings a Day, Get Your Barnacle On, Garden Variety, and Revenge of the Cryptids. So now I bring one of my favorite designers to you as I knit straight through each chapter.
Hansi Singh lives in Seattle and has her background in both the Sciences and the Arts. When looking at her construction this makes so much sense. There is a sense of realism that is often absent from the world of knit or crochet toys. She is not afraid to use multiple techniques to get the shapes just right.
You can check out her interview on Makezine to learn more about how she came to the world of knitting and the ever evolving process that leads up to the publication of each pattern. Her knitting is more like an artist sketching with many attempts before the shape is just right. Hansi talks about her pregnancy being a catalyst to learning to knit and how her husbands career influenced her work as a designer. It's a great read.
While some of the Hansigurumi patterns are delightfully difficult there are amazing tutorials before the first chapter. Her pictures are clear and the technique instructions easy to follow. Ranging from intermediate to advanced her use of increases, decreases, and short rows make these patterns stand out from others. She's a bit of a toy genius.
Do you have a favorite designer that is particularly inspiring? Or is there a pattern you have been thinking about but want someone else to be the guinea pig? Let me know, I'm happy to take on any challenge.