Moyashimon Pattern: A. oryzae

A. oryzae

A・オリゼー(黄麹菌)
This amigurumi pattern creates a 3″ (7.5cm) aspergillus oryzae when crocheted with worsted weight yarn. If you would like a smaller oryzae, simply use a lighter weight yarn and smaller hook.

In order to use this pattern, you should be familiar with the magic ring technique. It is also recommended that you use an “invisible decrease” technique (such as crocheting the front loops of two stitches together) rather than just skipping a stitch (which leaves a hole). Please read the notes regarding changing yarn color as this is especially important in this pattern to create a nice clean rectangular mouth for oryzae. I also recommend using a shade of yellow that is dark enough to contrast well with the white of the mouth.

As long as you are familiar with amigurumi basics this pattern should be fairly straightforward (and quick!). The only tricky part is perhaps the antennae. To create these you will make two consecutive magic rings. I included a photo of how to begin the second magic ring (I’m using a single strand base for the second ring, however you can wrap the tail around twice and use a double strand if you prefer). Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or are having trouble and I will see what I can do to help.

If you like this pattern, please let me know. If I see that people are enjoying them I will make more available (see more of my Moyashimon amigurumi microbes). かもすぞ~

DOWNLOAD PATTERN:
pattern_oryzae

VARIATIONS:
The pattern for Aspergillus oryzae is essentially the same as several other Moyashimon microbes. For example, you can create Aspergillus sojae by using 4 antennae instead of 5 (omit the top antennae). Or you can create Aspergillus niger by making 5 black antennae and switching to black yarn when crocheting the body (color change at R10).

A. sojae

A. sojae

A. niger

A. niger

Magic Ring Tutorial

The following is a step by step tutorial for the “magic ring” or “magic circle” technique to begin crocheting in the round. This is the method of choice for beginning amigurumi projects. The advantage of this method is that it produces a tight, stable ring to begin crocheting, and unlike the chain/join method there is no hole in the center of the ring.
I have also created a PDF of this tutorial which includes some arrow notations in case you are having problems following the pictures. > Download PDF tutorial

Keep in mind that this is simply the way I find easiest to create the magic ring. When it comes to how to hold/manipulate the yarn, different people may prefer different methods, so do whatever is most comfortable for you.

1. Begin by wrapping the yarn around your fingers as pictured. For this tutorial, I am using a double wrap (we will be crocheting around two strands of yarn). Whether you crochet around a single strand or double strand of yarn is personal preference … I find that the double strand is a little easier to work with (more stable with less twisting).
magic_ring_01

2. Pinch the two yarn loops together at the base (the yarn on the far left is your working yarn).
magic_ring_02

3. Transfer the loops so that you are holding everything in one hand.
magic_ring_03

4. Insert your hook through the center of the ring formed by the two loops of yarn. Wrap the hook around your working yarn, and pull back through the ring.
magic_ring_04

5. At this point, I adjust my fingers within the loop to set myself up for crocheting around the ring: insert your thumb into the ring from the front, and your middle finger into the ring from the back. Apply opposing pressure using these two fingers to stretch the ring out from the center and pull it taut.
magic_ring_05

6. Next, yarn-over with the working yarn and pull up a loop (in other words, pull a loop back through/under the portion of the ring that is laying across your hook). You are now ready to begin crocheting your ring. At this stage (once you have the single loop on your hook) the ring should feel very stable as long as you continue applying pressure from the inside of the ring to keep everything stretched out nice and tight.
magic_ring_06

7. Begin your first single crochet (SC): insert the hook through the center of the ring (going underneath/into the double-strand ring held open by your fingers). Wrap the working yarn around your hook.
magic_ring_07

8. Pull the loop on your hook back through the center of the ring.
magic_ring_08

9. Yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook.
magic_ring_09

10. You have just completed the first single crochet of your ring. Yay.
magic_ring_10

11. Continue with the next single crochet in like fashion (insert your hook through the center of the ring, wrap around the working yarn, and pull loop back through the center of the ring).
magic_ring_11

12. Yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook. This completes the second single crochet.
magic_ring_12

Finishing: You can now continue until you have the specified number of single crochet for your magic ring (typically 6). Once you have completed these stitches, you will close the ring by pulling on the tail end of the yarn. For a double stranded ring like the one in this tutorial, pull on the tail until one of the strands of the ring begins to move. Note which strand moves, and grasp this strand. Pull until tight (this will make the second strand disappear). You can now pull on the tail again to tighten the remaining strand (pull tightly and there will be no hole whatsoever in the center of your ring). Generally at this point I round off the ring by joining to the first single crochet with a slip stitch. You are now ready to continue your project and begin crocheting in the round. Good luck!

Peacock Amigurumi Pattern

finished_peacockI originally created this pattern for my penpal who likes peacocks, but I have decided to write it up so others can make it as well. The finished size is about 7.5″ in width, and once fully assembled the peacock will stand up on its own. The pattern is fairly straightforward and should be relatively easy to follow as long as you are familiar with amigurumi basics. In addition to the typical techniques (single crochet in the round, increasing, decreasing, etc), you will also encounter a few HDC (half double crochet) and DC (double crochet) … primarily in the shaping of the head/neck. The PDF pattern also includes photos of assembly on page 2. If you have any problems feel free to contact me (this pattern is also available on www.Ravelry.com).
peacock_ami_pattern_preview

shark pinwheel

shark pinwheel
I’m thinking of expanding the downloads section of my Papersharks.org project to include patterns for additional paper crafts. With that in mind, I started working on a pattern for a “paper shark” of a different kind – a shark pinwheel. This is my first attempt, and it spins surprisingly well. I think I will also create a pattern with a more basic pinwheel shape that can be printed out with some of the typographic paper designs I have already created. I am also currently working on a third typographic design (to go along with the “save the sharks” and “say no to shark fin” designs) … this one will be “shark” in different languages. I will hopefully be adding these patterns to the papersharks.org downloads page soon :-)

Paper Sharks project

paper sharks

paper sharks

My recently launched website www.papersharks.org is my latest project in an effort to raise awareness and support for shark conservation.

In the tradition of folding 1,000 origami cranes (千羽鶴) in the hopes of making one’s wish come true, I have designed origami patterns for folding paper sharks … naturally with the wish of saving sharks! As a personal project, I am folding 1,000 paper sharks (千羽鶴) and updating the site with my progress. I have also created downloadable patterns and tutorials, and a collection page where people can upload photos of their finished paper sharks to show their support for shark conservation. It’s still a work in progress, and I would like to expand parts of the site to include a gift shop, etc … but this is at least a start.

I realize that the whole idea is kinda lame, but hey, that’s what I’m all about ;) I have been frustrated for a long time that the vast majority of shark conservation groups out there have nothing that people like me can do to help. I understand that more outspoken, social people can make a greater difference since they can directly influence others, but surely there is something that people like me can do as well. Granted, people like me may never make much of a difference, but even those of an “inferior” skillset can make *some* difference, especially when they join together.

So a couple months ago, after a recent failed attempt (I had contacted a shark conservation group to volunteer & ask whether there was anything someone like me could do to help … I never even received a response), it got me thinking about the types of things I’m good at, and I was reminded of a classic movie …

Lucky: “In a way, all of us have an El Guapo to face some day. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo, for others a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big dangerous guy who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be the *actual* El Guapo.”

Villager: “We want to defend ourselves, but how?”

Ned: “By using the skills and the talents of the people of Santa Poco. This is not a town of weaklings! You can turn your skills against El Guapo. Now, what is it that this town really does well?”

Villagers: “Hmm … hmm, umm [long pause] …. We can sew!”

Yep … it’s something like that. So I have decided to fight my personal El Guapo (those who are driving sharks into extinction) by using what skills I have … even if they happen to be just as lame as sewing.

“Sew, very old one! Sew like the wind!!”

Knitting Methods: comparing Western, Eastern Uncrossed and Combination knitting

eastern uncrossed knitting (stockinette stitch)

western knitting (stockinette stitch)

The three factors that will be explained in this article (stitch mount, direction of yarn wrap, and needle direction) constitute the major differences in knitting methods. Other considerations, such as which hand the working yarn is held in (in the right for “English” or “throwing,” or in the left for “picking” or “Continental” style) are really just differences in style/technique, and while they are worth considering, they do not really affect how the actual stitch is manipulated.

Although Western (or “normal”) knitting and Eastern Uncrossed methods are primarily going to be considered here, there are other methods as well … notably “Combined” or “Combination” knitting. As you might expect, Combined knitting is a combination of both Western and Eastern methods (and although there is a lot of misinformation floating around that seems to indicate otherwise, Combination knitting and Eastern Uncrossed are not the same thing).

The pictures above show two swatches of stockinette – one knit using the Eastern Uncrossed method, and the other knit using the “normal” Western method. (As a side note, the naming for these is incredibly stupid, but it seems to be how people are describing it, so it’s what we’ll have to go with). As you probably noticed, the swatches look pretty much the same … and they are. One difference is that the yarn itself appears more tightly spun on the Western swatch, whereas it seems looser on the Eastern Uncrossed swatch. This has to do with two factors – the direction the yarn itself was spun (yarn can be spun with either an “S” or “Z” twist), and the direction that the yarn is wrapped in each method (more on that later).

Western knitting and Eastern Uncrossed are more or less opposites of each other, and both methods produce the same result. The “uncrossed” in Eastern Uncrossed is meant to indicate that, like normal Western knitting, the stitches are not twisted or “crossed,” (standard “Eastern” knitting purportedly produces a twisted stitch … though as another side note, this whole “East,” “West” business as it relates to actual geographic locations and people is vague at best). More on twisted stitches later …

Since most patterns are written assuming that all knitters use Western methods, Eastern Uncrossed and Combination knitters will need to modify patterns in order to knit them properly. This can be challenging at times, but I am hoping this information will help out ^_^

In order to understand the differences in knitting methods, we have to look at 3 factors …

1. Stitch Mount

TOP: Eastern Uncrossed stitch mount
BOTTOM: Western stitch mount

This refers to how the loops sit or are “seated” on the needle. One side (or “leg”) of the loop will rest slightly more forward (towards the tip of the needle) … this is the “leading leg.” Sometimes it can be hard to see which leg is more forward, but if you pull slightly on the working yarn, the leading leg will move forward and be more obvious. The stitch mount is determined by the direction the yarn was wrapped when that stitch was made on the previous row (see #2 below).

EASTERN UNCROSSED: stitches are mounted with the leading leg in back
WESTERN: stitches are mounted with the leading leg in front

2. Direction of Yarn Wrap

This is closely related to stitch mount, as the direction you wrap the yarn will determine the stitch mount. If you wrap the yarn counter-clockwise, the resulting loop will be mounted with the leading leg in front (Western mount), and if you wrap it clockwise the loop will have the leading leg in back (Eastern Uncrossed mount). Note: when I refer to “clockwise” and “counter-clockwise,” I mean the direction the yarn is wrapped around the needle when looking straight at the tip.

EASTERN UNCROSSED: yarn is always wrapped clockwise
WESTERN: yarn is always wrapped counter-clockwise

3. Needle Direction

The final consideration is the direction the needle enters the loop … whether it enters through the front or back of the loop, and whether you approach the loop from the left or the right. In general, Western stitches are worked into the front of the loop, and Eastern Uncrossed stitches are worked into the back of the loop. The direction the needle is inserted (from the right or from the left) will vary depending on what kind of stitch you are making (knit stitch vs. purl, etc).

TOP: Eastern Uncrossed knit stitch
BOTTOM: Western knit stitch

For a knit stitch, you will insert the needle on whichever side the loop “opens up” towards (determined by the stitch mount). For Western knitting, the leading leg is the front one, which means the loop sits angled with the left side more open (facing towards you) … so you will insert the needle on that side. For Eastern Uncrossed, it is the opposite – the right side of the loop is angled towards you, so that is the side you knit into.
Purl stitches are the reverse of knit stitches, so for Western you would insert the needle from the right, and Eastern Uncrossed would go in from the left (still keeping in mind that Western stitches are worked into the front, and Eastern Uncrossed will be worked from behind).

EASTERN UNCROSSED: stitches are worked into the back loop, and the needle inserted from the right for knit stitches, and from the left for purl stitches

WESTERN: stitches are worked into the front loop, and the needle inserted from the left for knit stitches, and from the right for purl stitches

Twisted Stitches

A variation in any of the preceding factors (within a given method) will usually result in a twisted stitch. For example, if in Western knitting you knit into the back loop instead of the front (keeping other factors for that method the same), then the result would be a twisted stitch.

LEFT: normal untwisted stitches
RIGHT: twisted stitches

You can also produce a twisted stitch by changing the direction that you wrap the yarn. This changes the direction of the stitch mount, and if (when you come to that loop again), you work the stitch as you normally would for a given method, then the result will be twisted. The exception to this is Combined knitting, which manages to avoid twisted stitches by knitting into the back leg with a counter-clockwise wrap, while purling into the front leg with a clockwise wrap.
However, twisted stitches are not really “bad”… sometimes they are used intentionally to create an interesting design. Although a stitch can become twisted by reversing the direction you wrap the yarn, the effect is not immediate, and changing your normal yarn-wrapping direction is pretty much never called for. Instead, a twisted stitch is worked by reversing the way you insert the needle … so for Western knitting, you will be instructed to Ktbl (knit through the back loop … much like a normal Eastern Uncrossed knit stitch). Eastern Uncrossed knitters who are modifying a pattern written for Western knitters can replace “Ktbl” with “Ktfl” (knit through the front loop … like a normal Western knit stitch). Likewise “Ptbl” (purl through the back loop) can be replaced with “Ptfl” (purl through the front loop).

Directional Decreases: SSK vs. K2TOG

In Western Knitting, a SSK (slip-slip-knit)* produces a left leaning decrease (\), and K2TOG (knit 2 together) produces a right leaning decrease (/) [when viewed from the right side of the fabric]. In Eastern Uncrossed, this is exactly the opposite – SSK leans right, and K2TOG leans left. The reason this is, is because Western SSK is basically the same thing as an Eastern Uncrossed K2TOG … the only difference is the direction you wrap the yarn (still always counter-clockwise for Western, and clockwise for Eastern Uncrossed). What you are actually doing when you slip the two loops is reversing the stitch mount … so in Western, the stitch mount now looks like it normally does in Eastern Uncrossed, and vice versa. Then the “knit” part of the SSK (and this has always bugged me) is always done the opposite of what would usually be done for either method.** So in Western, the last part of SSK is done by “knitting” the two loops together by going into the back loops from the right***, and into the front loops from the left for Eastern Uncrossed. So that is why the decreases for Western and Eastern Uncrossed slant opposite directions … what you are doing when you do a Western SSK is basically the same thing as an Eastern Uncrossed K2TOG, and a Western K2TOG is the same as an Eastern Uncrossed SSK.

*Note 1: In Western knitting you “slip” a stitch knit-wise (from the left, insert your needle as if to knit, but just slip it off onto the right needle). This flips the loop around, reversing the stitch mount. To do the same thing in Eastern Uncrossed, you need to “slip” your stitches purl-wise (insert your needle as if to purl, from the back-left, and slip it off onto the right needle)
**Note 2: The word “knit” is used both as a noun (as in a piece of material, or the physical stitch), and as a verb (to knit a stitch) … however, as a verb, it can get confusing. I have found it best not to think of it as an ironclad set of actions. As we have seen with slip-slip-“knit,” the “knit” is not actually performed the same way as your method’s normal “knit” stitch … however, the resulting stitch is “knit” in the sense that when you look at it, the loops that were on the left needle have flipped towards the back of the fabric (creating a horizontal bump on the backside). So try instead to think of “knit” as meaning “the thing you do to get the loop to flip towards the back,” and “purl” as “that thing you do to get the loop to flip towards the front” … and as you’ve already figured out, there is more than one way to get that job done.
***Note 3: Western knitters often take a shortcut when doing SSK … instead of moving the slipped stitches back onto the left needle, they move the left needle into the loops on the right. However, it’s essentially the same thing.

TIP: If you have a tendency to forget which direction SSK and K2TOG lean, just remember that for either method (Western or Eastern Uncrossed), the slant will lean the same direction as your right hand needle when you are making the stitch. Eastern Uncrossed K2TOG has the needle coming from the right and angling up towards the left, so this is the same angle that the slant will have (so long as you’re looking at the right side of the fabric). Western knitters will K2TOG by entering the loops from the left and have the needle angling up towards the right (when you’re coming from the left side you’ll probably have to exaggerate the direction you are holding needle in order to see this clearly), so a Western K2TOG will lean towards the right. As I mentioned before, the “knit” of SSK is always worked from the opposite direction from your “normal knit,” so the slant of SSK will lean the opposite direction.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the direction of the decrease does not always make a difference. In lace patterns, it will usually be necessary for Eastern Uncrossed knitters to swap SSK and K2TOG … however, sometimes you are decreasing just for the sake of making 2 stitches into 1 (and not to create a design) … and because K2TOG is generally faster and easier than SSK, it is generally preferred when the direction of the slant is not an issue.

Summary

Below is a table summarizing the basic differences between methods – Western (“normal”) knitting, Eastern Uncrossed, and Combined (or Combination) knitting.

stitch Western Eastern Uncrossed Combination/Combined
KNIT leading leg in front; knit into front leg from left to right, wrapping yarn counter-clockwise leading leg in back; knit into back leg from right to left, wrapping yarn clockwise leading leg in back; knit into back leg from right to left, wrapping yarn counter-clockwise
PURL leading leg in front; purl into front leg from right to left, wrapping yarn counter-clockwise leading leg in back; purl into back leg from left to right, wrapping yarn clockwise leading leg in front; purl into front leg from right to left, wrapping yarn clockwise
LEFT SLANT DEC (\) SSK: slip 2 stitches knit-wise (reversing the stitch mount) and transfer back to the left needle, knit the stitches together through the back loops from right to left, wrapping yarn counter-clockwise K2TOG: knit 2 together (through the back loops from right to left, wrapping yarn clockwise) K2TOG: knit 2 together (through the back loops from right to left, wrapping yarn counter-clockwise)
RIGHT SLANT DEC (/) K2TOG: knit 2 together (through the front loops from left to right), wrapping yarn counter-clockwise SSK: slip 2 stitches purl-wise (reversing the stitch mount) and transfer back to the left needle, knit the stitches together through the front loops from left to right, wrapping yarn clockwise SSK: slip 2 stitches (reverse the stitch mount), transfer back to the left needle, knit stitches together through front from left to right, wrapping yarn counter-clockwise

tiny bunnies movement

tiny bunny left at the Seaside library


How it works:
Knit or crochet a tiny bunny. Write a little note saying something to the effect of “Hi, I’m a tiny bunny, made to brighten your day. Please take me home!”. Leave bunny & note someplace frequented by humans … public places, restaurant tables, coffee shops, libraries, appointment/waiting rooms, offices … places like that. When the bunny disappears, know that you’ve brightened someone’s day ^-^

It’s just a little thing, but it’s cute and sweet … two things that the world could use a lot more of. Lately for my tiny bunnies, I have been making a teeny little tag with a bunny graphic on the front, and “Tiny Bunnies Movement,” “Random acts of kindness” on the back. On the inside, I usually hand-write a message that includes a fabulous name for each bunny … Gavroche, Mokona, Kalypso, Parfyon, Wolfgang, Gillatt, Candide, etc. Anyone out there found one of these little guys?

Ginko presides over a small army of tiny bunnies ready to be released into the world

The pattern I’ve been using of late is a knit pattern from Mochimochi Land – Tiny Baby Bunnies Pattern. The only change I like to make is to use the end with the decreases as the butt-end rather than the face. I like to knit them with white yarn and black eyes after Ginko, my real-life tiny bunny (he may only be 2.5 lbs, but next to them he looks like a giant).

crochet tiny bunnies

Sometimes I crochet bunnies instead for a little variety … usually I just make up a pattern as I go along. Unfortunately, I never remember to write down what I did, so even if they turn out well, I probably won’t ever be able to make another just like it. But maybe being one-of-a-kind bunny is not so bad a thing …

Join the movement:
Tiny Bunnies Movement on Ravelry
Tiny Bunnies Movement on Facebook

amigurumi Moyashimon microbes

Moyashimon 『もやしもん』 (or Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture) is a great manga series … and I hear there’s a second season of the anime as well, so I’ll have to check that out.

The story follows college students at an agricultural university, one of which has the ability to see and communicate with microbes. It’s really mostly about the human characters, which include a professor & grad student at the university … but the storylines tend to revolve around microbe relate events (especially fermentation for food/drink and illness-causing microorganisms). For whatever reason, I find that sort of thing interesting, and it’s always nice to learn a thing or two while being entertained.

amigurumi microbes from Moyashimon

One day I was looking at the microbe characters, I thought I’d try crocheting a few of them. They turned out to be fun to make … they’re small & fairly fast to do, and I like the challenge of trying to make them look like the original designs. There are a *lot* more that I could make, and I’m really tempted to keep going since there are all so different and look like fun to make. I think I might have to give dysentery, nattou, candida, parahaemolyticus and alternata a try.

A. oryzae

A. oryzae

Aspergillus oryzae (koji)
A・オリゼー(黄麹菌)
A mold/fungus used in the production of sake, miso, soy sauce and other tasty things … he’s a superstar! Also, he’s more or less the “leader” of the microbes in the series, and spends a lot of time hanging around the main character. かもすぞ~
Pattern now available!
DOWNLOAD PATTERN HERE

P. chrysogenum

P. chrysogenum

Penicillium chrysogenum
P・クリソゲヌム
A common blue-green mold used to produce antibiotics including penicillin. I love this one ^-^ His head is all crocheted as one piece, though it was a bit tricky to get the bar thingies (conidia?) arranged right …

C. trichoides

C. trichoides

Cladosporium trichoides (aka Cladophialophora bantiana)
C・トリコイデス
This pigmented/dark fungi is linked to brain abscesses and skin lesions). I like how his bobble dealies turned out … it’s all crocheted as one piece (made pretty much the same way as P. chrysogenum, but with shorter bars & a twist in between).

L. yogruti

L. yogurti

Lactobacillus yogurti
L・ヨグルティ
A lactic acid bacteria used to make Japanese yogurt. I love this little guy … he has the cutest expression and it makes me happy just looking at him. I love how the character talks too … so very formal ^-^

Hiochi

Hiochi

Hiochi 火落菌 (Lactobacillus fructivorans/homohiochi) … a type of lactic acid bacteria that spoils sake (T_T) I had a really hard time getting the face to look right :\ The tiny little ball thingies are attached to tatted thread, so they stick out without flopping around too much.

S. cerevisiae

S. cerevisiae

Saccharomyces cerevisiae S・セレビシエ , also known as brewers or bakers yeast. This budding yeast has been used in baking and fermenting alcoholic beverages for thousands of years. Neat. I need to make a few more of these, each with the bump in a different spot. かもす~

E. coli

E. coli

Escherichia coli serotype O-157:H7 E・コリO157(the strain of E. coli responsible for food poisoning). This guy is kinda ugly, but maybe that’s appropriate. For the flagella I tatted #10 black thread … which makes them somewhat poseable.

amigurumi microbes from Moyashimon

kumahachi amigurumi

kumahachi from Kyou Kara Maou ノギス~

Something about this little guy made me want to crochet him …

I really wanted to capture certain things (like the turned up nose & butt, and the shape/position of the arms & legs). Unfortunately the shapes turned out to be deceptively simple, and I had to rip everything out and start over soooo many times. I’m not sure what kept me at it, but I guess it was a good exercise in shaping, and by having an existing character that I was trying to replicate, it kept me from just saying, “eh, not what I was going for, but that works too …”

my amigurumi kumahachi

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how he turned out. He’s about 10″ tall (measuring to the tips of his ears), and, oddly enough, he turned out to be balanced enough to stand up on his own … cool bonus.

The head probably gave me the most trouble … I finally figured out that it worked better to start with an oval shape, rather than a standard circular magic ring. However, I didn’t like how beginning with a chain (because it’s a single strand of yarn) made it thinner at the top of the head. No matter how tight the chain, it still pulled apart slightly, leaving holes … and I didn’t want my kumahachi to have pattern baldness.

oval ring begun with double strand of yarn


What I ended up doing was to chain using a double strand (using both the tail and working yarn). The first stitch is a bit tricky, but once you’ve chained a few (I think I did 7 or so), then you just drop the tail and crochet all the way around the chain to form an oval. It worked great! I think I will be using this method a lot more ^-^

With the exception of the ears & tail (which were pretty straightforward), every other body part required some tedious shaping and a lot of trial and error. It was also tricky to get the right and left arms, legs & wings to match, since I couldn’t just use the same pattern for both sides … and the slight height difference on one side of the round (since it’s actually spiral) complicated matters. I’m not sure my efforts were worth it, but at the time I was determined to try and get things like shoulder/hip shaping, and to lengthen the upper/front part of the arms/legs (so the paw pads would be angled back a little).

It took some searching to find oval shaped eyes … I ended up finding some that were labeled as “noses.” For the antennae I used a single pipe cleaner and poked the two ends out from the inside (so that they wouldn’t be apt to fall out). I crocheted little antennae tips, and then wrapped black and yellow yarn around the outside.

So for those of you who are not hopeless nerds, and are wondering what a kumahachi is … it literally means “bearbee,” and they are from the manga/anime Kyou Kara Maou (also spelled Kyo Kara Maoh). In the story, they are an endangered species of sorts … they hatch out of cocoons, have an annoying habit of saying “nogisu~” and their crap is apparently used to make a high quality artist’s paint (that, not surprisingly, smells like crap). Kumahachi also come in yellow, so I am tempted to make another … everyone needs a buddy.

Gwendal knitting for “mental concentration”

Besides thinking kumahachi had a really cute shape and wanting to capture that, I also wanted to pay homage to Gwendal (a character from the same show) … because any guy who crochets and knits is pretty awesome in my book.

「趣味ではない。精神統一だ! こうしていると、邪念を払って無心になれる」

Anissina teaches young Gwendal how to crochet – 「そこ! 一目多い! 編み目の乱れは心の乱れ」

Gwendal’s amigurumi

Gwendal’s amigurumi