For our Handmade Kids Series, Christen Haden aka NeedleNoodles, master of “creepy cute” amigurumi, shares the Fuzzy Alien project for you to do with your kids (or with your friends!) and answers our questions on behalf of her ninjas, robots, and zombies. Her book, Creepy Cute Crochet is available through Quirk Books.
UPDATE from Lacey at Quirk Books:
Click to download the Fuzzy Alien How-To PDF:
Here’s Christen with the inside scoop on her relationship to those fuzzy and crochety creatures:
Can you tell us a bit about your book and how you got the book deal?
Creepy Cute Crochet is a collection of toy patterns for characters that are, perhaps, not always well represented in the world of crochet. A place for crocheted zombies, amazons and ninjas to get their chance in the spotlight, if you will.
The book deal came about a year after I started selling patterns on Etsy. The folks at Quirk books had seen some of my earlier patterns and contacted me about doing a book of patterns in a similar vein.
What is an amigurumi? How did you first hear about them?
Well, if we want to be purists, amigurumi are crocheted toys made of single crochet stitches worked in spiral, usually with a sort of Japanese aesthetic. However, since the word “amigurumi” is just Japanese for knitted/crocheted stuffed toy, lots of people are a bit more inclusive about what counts as “amigurumi.”
I think that I first started seeing amigurumi critters popping up online early in 2006. I remember having a lot of, “Hey, I could make that …but, I’d totally make it a ____ instead!” moments.
What was the first amigurumi you made? Any tips for beginner crocheters?
Albino chibi squid. It’s still one of the very few amigurumi projects that I’ve kept for myself.
As for advice for beginner crocheters, uh… fake it till you make it?
Your first few projects might be little bit shaky — particularly if you start out with difficult projects. Just stick with it, look up techniques frequently, and assume that you *will* figure it out eventually.
How did you get the idea for the book?
My characters borrow a little from gamer culture, and a little from internet memes, and a lot from stuff that I just think is cool. Basically, it all boils down to, “What do I think that people would enjoy making that isn’t already well covered by someone else?”
Do you have any anecdotes about kids using your book?
One of the most exciting things about the book is the number of emails that I’ve recieved about kids learning to crochet in order to make their own creepy cute toys. I think that crocheted toys appeal to young crafters in a way that doilies and sweaters maybe don’t, and they can provide a really nice opportunity for grown-up crafters to find enthusiastic students among their younger friends and relatives.
What is it about creepy cuteness that you like?
A little bit of dissonance can add punch to so many things. Adding just a suggestion of danger to otherwise totally cute and non-threatening designs makes people sit up and take a closer look, I think.
Crocheting patterns (and not just the finished items) seem to be selling well. Can you account for why this particular medium/technique/type of object works so well in this way?
It seems to be the accepted wisdom that patterns and craft supplies in general sell well on Etsy because most Etsians are crafters anyway, but I think that Etsy patterns also do well because they offer something a little bit more unusual (and convenient!) than the average mainstream brick-and-mortar craft store.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Creepy Cute Crochet is meant to be customized!
There are lots of places to share your own variations on the Creepy Cute projects:
Stay tuned for more projects and cuteness from the Handmade Kids series.