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Mary Nguyen crochets advanced stitching techniques into adorable amigurumi 

click to enlarge HUYEN HONG
  • Huyen Hong
Some days after April’s First Friday festivities, I noticed on the desk of a colleague an adorable crocheted fish doll, one Fred by name. Fred came from a fiber arts demonstration at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, made by CC student Mary Nguyen.

Fred, like many of Nguyen’s pieces, is an amigurumi — petite knitted/crocheted stuffed animals, popularized in Japan over the course of the 20th century before websites like Etsy, Pinterest and Ravelry exposed Western audiences to them in the mid-2000s. That’s how Nguyen found out about them as a high school student in her hometown of Aurora, Colorado. Her mother, Huyen Hong, taught her to crochet as a child, but it took finding amigurumi for her to decide to get serious about it.

In the six years she’s been crocheting, she’s moved to making her own designs and incorporating more advanced stitching techniques into her pieces, like a hexagonal flower design first made prominent by South African women’s magazine Sarie.

“I saw this one lady had made an owl with it,” she says, “and I [thought] that’s so cool!” She made 64 tiny flowers and assembled them into a stegosaurus, dubbed Steggy. Lately, she’s also been branching out into larger works, like blankets. They’re more time-consuming, but amigurumi have their own challenges, too.

“It takes more dexterity than a bigger work does,” she says. “I also use thinner yarn and smaller crochet hooks.” Further, bigger pieces tend to be more repetitive — amigurumi require constant attention.

“There’s a formula for making a circle or for making a certain shape, but when it comes to decorating... then it’s different every time.”

Her works are viewable on Instagram at @stitchesbcute.

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