Monday, March 28, 2016

Weird or Cute Gudetama?

I'm undecided.  Still not absolutely sure if I'm more disturbed or charmed by the idea of a depressed egg yolk as one of Sanrio's latest characters.

If you haven't encountered him before, Gudetama (roughly translates to 'Lazy Egg') is a depressed egg yolk.  He's yummy and full of nutrients but he thinks life as an egg is futile, because it's inevitable that he'll end up being someone's dinner.  So he lazes around in a permanent state of pathetic 'meh'.

Now I'm a MASSIVE Sanrio fan. I grew up with countless Hello Kitties around me so I've always connected Sanrio to child-friendly, OTT cute designs.  Picture my 'WTF' face therefore when I watched a Gudetama cartoon, where an egg yolk with buttocks complains of having a shell stuck in his arse and a man in an egg yolk leotard costume dances a routine to a theme tune sung by kids (don't believe me? Watch it yourself!).

Sightly violated was my first reaction.  Morbid fascination my second.  Then it was an appreciation that Gudetama is "Kimokawaii", the Japanese Gross-Cute trend (usually skulls or severed body parts with a cute face). Now?  I'm not quite sure.  I did think 'OMG cute!' when I saw a plushie of Gudetama lying on his egg white trying to sleep with a piece of bacon as his blanket.  But I'm not sure I've gotten over the man in the yellow leotard yet...

While you make up your mind, here's an amigurumi pattern to make Gudetama-under-bacon which is definitely more cute than gross.  Enjoy!

Gudetama under Bacon Blanket

What you’ll need:
You can use any type of yarn you like since slight variation in size won’t matter.  I used a very soft acrylic yarn similar to a 4ply. The yarn manufacturer's hook size recommendation is 3.5 but I used a 2.5mm hook for a tighter finish.  I always use a smaller hook than recommended for amigurumis to make my work tighter to better keep in the filling.  

Here’s what I worked with:

  • -          Yellow, white and dull red yarn (gauge 22sts x 28rows for 10cm swatch)  
  • -          2.5mm crochet hook; 
  • -          Black and white felt;
  • -          Tapestry needle;
  • -          Polyester filling; and
  • -         Permanent black marker.

ch                    chain stitch
sl st                  slip stitch
sc                     single crochet
sc inc               single crochet increase, i.e. work 2 single crochets into the same stitch
sc dec              single crochet decrease, i.e. crochet 2 stitches together
st                     stitche(s)

( )                     numbers in brackets denote total stitches for that row
*                      when a stitch pattern is repeated several times, it is enclosed by asterisks.  E.g. *2sc, sc dec* x2 - means single crochet twice, decrease, single crochet twice, decrease.

The body, legs and egg white are worked in joined rounds, so remember to start those pieces with a ch st at the beginning of every row AND end each row by joining the ends with a sl st.

Body: (in yellow)
R1: Magic ring, 5sc into ring, tighten ring, join round with sl st. (5) [If you find magic ring difficult or a hassle to do, just make a slip knot and ch2] 
R2: *sc inc* x5 (10)
R3: *sc, sc inc* x5 (15)
R4: *2sc, sc inc* x5 (20)
R5: *3sc, sc inc* x5 (25) 
R6 to R11: 25sc (25)
R12: *3sc, sc dec* x5 (20)
R13: *2sc, sc dec* x5 (15)
[stuff yolk with polyester filling at this point before the hole closes up]
R14: *sc, sc dec* x5 (10)
R15: *sc dec* x5 (5), end and leave a long yarn tail for sewing the 'bum'. See vid tutorial below:

Arms x2: (in yellow)
R1: 6ch (6)
R2: Starting from 2nd chain from hook 5 sl sts, end and leave a long yarn tail to sew arms to body.

Legs x2: (in yellow)
R1: Magic ring, 4sc into ring, tighten ring, join round with sl st. (4)
R2: 4sc (4), end and leave a long yarn tail to sew legs to body. 

Bacon: (in red)
R1: 17ch (17)
R2: Starting from 2nd chain from hook, 16sc, chain 1 then turn (to work on reverse side) (16)

R3 to R4: 16sc, chain 1 and turn (16)
R5: 16sc, [using white yarn] chain 1 and turn (16)

R6: 16sc, end and leave a short yarn tail. 
Using white, do two lines of slip stitches on top of the bacon between rows 1 and 2, and rows 3 and 4.

Egg white: (in white)
R1: Magic ring, 6sc into ring, remember to join with sl st (6)
R2: *sc inc* x6 (12)
R3: *sc, sc inc* x6 (18)
R4: *2sc, sc inc* x6 (24)
R5: *3sc, sc inc* x6 (30) 
R6: 1sc, sc inc, *4sc, sc inc* x5, 3sc (36)
R7: 3sc, sc inc, *5sc, sc inc* x5, 2sc (42), end and leave a long yarn tail to sew yolk and bacon onto egg white. 

Making up:
[Using a darning needle, follow the instructions below.  When you finish sewing, weave the yarn tail into your work a few time to secure then cut off.]

1. Sew arms onto sides of egg yolk, between rows 7 and 8. 
2. Sew legs onto egg yolk, over rows 13 and 14, at the front of yolk. 
3. Weave in yarn tail from egg white stitch by stitch towards the centre, then sew egg yolk onto egg white, aiming for his head to be near the edge of the plate and his bum just over the centre.  Use same yarn tail to sew bacon onto yolk.  

Eyes and mouth: 
Using black felt, cut two tiny ovals for Gudetama's eyes.  I've found them best positioned over rows 6 and 7, slanted downwards at the outer corners.  
Using white felt cut a bigger oval and using black permanent marker, rim edge in black.  Glue over rows 7 and 8.  The best glues for this are UHU or E6000.  

Tip: You may find cutting such small bits of felt difficult.  It will help to use a super sharp pair of scissors, e.g. sharp nail scissors for very well.  If it's still too difficult, try dabbing clear nail varnish onto the felt.  This stiffens the felt and allows better control.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Free sewing lessons continued - Woodland Animals!

My absolute favourite animal of ALL time has to be the sloth.  Who doesn't like cute and lazy?   Whenever I get half an excuse I'll include a sloth just for fun.  So for the second set of free workshops in collaboration with the Singapore National Library Board, we'll me making these hanging sloth pins.

Aren't they cute?  When worn they'll look like they're hanging off the safety pin on wearer's lapel. Kinda like they were too lazy to move so decided to hang around for kicks.  A major plus (since there will be young crafters at the sessions) is how simple they are to make.  The little face is a bit fiddly but other than that they're just 5 shapes plus features.  Really looking forward to see how they'll fare in April.  Maybe I'll turn some of my students into crazed sloth fans!

Since it's a woodland theme I can't not include a bear! I found Benjamin Rowling's fabulous book "Cute Felt Bears" in the library and really liked the idea of a bear shaped cushion with a protruding head.

So I created a single layer bear body and added a squarish head (inspired by the bear on my daughter's play tent).  Add on black snap button for eyes and voila - bear.

I've kept the shape as simple as possible to make him achievable within the sewing sesison but I really like the way he's turned out.  The simple lines have the advantage of making him the BEST MODEL EVER for accessories! Somehow his face was just the right size for my son's quiet book pieces so I gave the bear glasses, a bow tie, a pirate eye patch and I crocheted a red scarf for him because red is so this season's colour :)

To finish off the trio I wanted to include a rabbit for Easter.  I wanted some functionality as well so I made her into a card holder.

The pocket is made with see-through plastic (using plastic table cloth material actually) so when your train card/bus pass etc is inserted, it looks like the bunny is hugging the card for safe keeping.

If they sound like your cup of tea then please join me this April 9th, 16th and 23rd at Bukit Merah Public Library and take a stroll through the woodlands via a sewing needle.  Again, my classes with the NLB are TOTALLY FREE - all you have to do is register.  Go to and search for threaded tales - woodland animals.  Hope to see you soon!