Happy Holidays! This was actually a project I did over the summer, but as it was a Christmas gift, I didn’t want to spoil the surprise and post it online until it had made it to it’s new family.
My aunt had asked if I could make her a Totoro doll like the ones you see in asian toy shops (you know, the really big ones you marvel over in the store and ultimately leave behind because they are too expensive or too difficult to carry home). I was quite certain I would be able to find a pattern online, and I did!
This pattern was for a much smaller doll using thinner yarn and a smaller needle. I simply followed the instructions using thicker yarn and a needle that was appropriately sized to create this larger version (Loops & Threads Impeccable; 5.0mm hook). He ended up being about 14″ tall from the base to the tip of his ears. To give him a little bit of weight, I sewed about a cup of rice into a square of scrap fabric (like a little bean bag) and stuffed it about 1/4 of the way up from the base. I also didn’t have the typical beads used for the eyes of stuffed animals, so I settled for some regular black buttons sewn with black yarn on top of the white circles I crocheted (which rather than following the pattern, I eyeballed, no pun intended). The only other minor difference was in the belly. I had originally made a circle that was too small by overlooking a step in the pattern. I attached it on, only to realize later when something seemed off about the proportions. Rather than unpick the stitches, I simply started a new circle and stitched it over top, which I actually liked better as it gave him a rounder-looking belly and some depth (yay happy accidents). For future re-creations I would recommend just putting a thin layer of stuffing between the white circle and the body before sealing it shut. The stitching details on the face and belly took a little bit of time and effort to perfect, probably because my stitching skills are not up there yet, though in my defense, stitching on thick yarn feels a lot like trying to adjust a picture that keeps snapping into a grid–it’s a little frustrating to find a solution.
For my first crochet amigurumi following a pattern, I was quite proud. I was still at the stage where I had to look up the symbols and watch youtube videos on how to do them, so the fact that the proportions turned out correctly was pretty cool. I do wish he was slightly chubbier, as I feel it would more accurately represent the character, though I’m not sure if this was just the way the pattern was, or if I stuffed him insufficiently. Ultimately though, I felt a rush of excitement upon finishing him up and was eager to share him with the world (privately, until now of course).
**Update: since I originally wrote this post, I have made ANOTHER Totoro doll in a smaller size, following a different pattern. This one was a gift for my favorite human (aka Patty Walters, singer of As It Is). I love this so much because it brings my nerdy granny crafting world together with my pop punk world. (: