A bit of history

Most of us have experienced seeing a crochet hook in our lives, perhaps in the hands of a grandmother or aunt, as they spent their winter afternoons creating hats or socks for their loved ones. Fortunately, I still have a pair of socks from those days.

If only those crochet hooks could speak, imagine the stories they would tell us.

Did you know that the Samurai, yes, those valorous Japanese warriors, not only wielded the famous Katana but also used crochet hooks to add some decorations to their battle companions? They prepared for winter by crafting warm gloves and socks. I’d be curious to see them, wouldn’t you?

Of course, when referring to the Samurai, we are talking about Japanese tradition, and it is there that the art of amigurumi was born, although some historians attribute the origin of the first crochet dolls to China based on findings dating back to the Shang Dynasty.

Now you might be wondering: Did Amigurumi not originate in Japan, then? The answer lies in the origin of the word Amigurumi (編みぐるみ), which, when broken down into “ami” (crochet) and “nuigurumi” (stuffed doll), gives rise to this beautiful art.

But how did this technique spread? The answer is simple: through trade. Initially, through the interaction between China and Japan, and then reached the Western world at the end of the 19th century through the Dutch.

When I think of amigurumi, the first two things that come to mind are their “cuteness” and the “simplicity” of the shapes that identify them, because the characters produced with this art follow the Japanese tradition of Wasabi (ordered and simple) and kawaii (cute).

Let me share some more information about the Eastern influence that characterizes them. This influence is present in the rounded shapes that represent them. Primarily, we’re talking about geometric shapes that describe not only animals but are also considered charms for Japanese women, following their tradition.

Today, the amigurumi technique has gained popularity worldwide, and it’s evident how Western influence has made its way over time. We notice this in the change of shapes, no longer exclusively round but more detailed and realistic.

If any of you are “wonderingwhich of the two techniques I prefer? The answer is: Both. Because I firmly believe that the combination makes a difference. Being ready for change allows us to develop new concepts and techniques, but the past enables us to understand their essence.

After this article, I feel like making another small and cute amigurumi.

See you soon…