Guest post by Allison Hoffman from Crafty is Cool.
When people ask me, “What do you do?” I always laugh. I never know how to explain it.
“I make dolls” sounds kind of strange. “I crochet” sounds like I’m just telling them my hobby. So I usually have to go into a long-winded description of what I actually do. Most of the time people are surprised and think it sounds really interesting. Of course sometimes people still think its strange.
So I’ll tell you that long-winded explanation and see if you think its interesting! Hopefully not too strange.
I got started crocheting when I saw the word “amigurumi”. I Googled it and fell completely and helplessly in love. I had to learn to make these adorable little creations! Many YouTube videos later, I learned the basics. Then I started following patterns. I got a couple of books (I loved Elisabeth Doherty’s “Amigurumi: Super Happy Crochet Cute”. ) I was so inspired! I wanted to design my own, and within a short time I was. I made toys for my kids. I made toys for my friends’ kids. It was so fun!
I didn’t step into the “celebrity” realm until I made a Conan O’Brien doll. My husband encouraged me to do it after our favorite talk show host was fired from The Tonight Show. I eventually gave him one and he told me it sits in his daughter’s room.
After making my first “human” doll, I was hooked (pardon the overused pun). I made Pee-wee Herman, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, the list goes on and on. I got requests from all over for lookalike dolls. There were dolls to look like kids, husbands, and celebrities as well. Eventually, these millions of ideas in my head turned into my book, AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People. Now anyone with a crochet hook can make a doll of whomever they wish!
My design process is pretty simple. I get full-length and headshots of the subject. I like to know what the person usually wears, or if its a celebrity, a famous outfit that makes the person recognizable. After that, I make a detailed sketch of exactly what the doll will look like. Everything is labeled: hair color, texture, and length, clothing colors, and the all important face. I can’t tell you how many times I usually sew and re-sew the mouth. I usually do it then come back the next day and reexamine it. It just really makes a difference. My book goes over all the different ways to make the mouth and there really are very many ways. People usually smile the same way in almost every picture. Starting there, you’ll get a good gauge of what your doll’s mouth should look like. The rest is just crocheting, stuffing, and assembling, and I love every part of it!
Probably my favorite thing I’ve made is a piece I made for an art exhibit at iam8bit gallery in Los Angeles called “Guadaloope”. It was a crocheted portrait of “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. It isn’t all that similar to other work I’ve done but it was really beautiful in person. I loved making all of the details and I was really proud of it. It sold on opening night but I would have loved getting it back and keeping it for myself!
I’m really excited to share with you photos of a doll I made for Christine, editor of AllFreeCrochet (photo at beginning of post). She sent me a couple of pictures of herself, and using patterns in AmiguruME, I was able to make a doll that I think captures her really well! I hope you all get a chance to make your own AmiguruME too!
Are you excited to make your own doll? We’re giving away one copy of AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People to two lucky winners! This book is truly taking amigurumi to a whole new level. Make a mini version of yourself, or create a crocheted version of a friend, family member, or even your favorite celebrity. Inside AmiguruME, Allison will teach you how to advance past the traditional techniques of Amigurumi to create customizable versions of real life people. Contest ends November 27, 2013 11:59pm EST. Enter now for your chance to win.