Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Making Crochet Sushi Toys


Two example of completed crochet sushi pieces.
Assemble Your Own Sushi - Crochet Sushi Toys

Children love to take things apart and put them together, again. Gifts that celebrate that inquiry and creativity are often appreciated and used for years.


One common type of toy that encourages that creative type of play is a food set. However, those food sets can often be expensive. Making an amigurumi (Japanese for "cute crochet") set of sushi ingredients is a great way to create a child's gift in only a few hours and for only a few dollars.


Decide Which "Ingredients" to Crochet

If you're an intermediate or advanced crochet artist and would like to work on your own patterns, a quick look at SushiFan can help you decide which pieces and ingredients you'd like to make. If you'd prefer to stick to a pattern, the items pictured in the attached images include my simplified interpretations of the following ingredients:
  • Tamago (egg) - The square yellow pieces
  • Amaebi (shrimp) - The pink pieces
  • Maguro (tuna) - The red pieces
  • Shari (sushi rice) - The white pieces
  • Wasabi (spicy horseradish paste) - The light green pieces
  • Nori (seaweed wrap) - The dark green pieces

 

Gather Crochet Supplies

Brightly colored acrylic yarns work well for this project, as children love bright colors. However, depending on the level of realism you're trying to achieve, more subtle food colors are available. As for crochet hooks, use the smallest hook possible for the type of yarn you choose. The stitches should be very tight for the pieces to hold their finished shapes.

I used worsted weight yarns and craft yarns for my pieces. Most of the yarns I chose would normally require an I-9 hook (5.5 mm), but I used an American size F-5 (3.75 mm) hook and an H-8 (5 mm) hook to keep the stitches as tight as possible.
  • Caron Simply Soft - Pink
  • Red Heart Super Saver - White
  • Red Heart Super Saver - Red
  • Unlabeled bargain - Yellow
  • Unlabeled bargain - Sage green
  • Unlabeled bargain - Dark green
  • F-5 (3.75 mm) hook 
  • H-8 (5 mm) hook
  • Scissors

Crocheting the Sushi Pieces

As you can see from the images, my "sushi ingredients" are not all the same shape and size. However, all of the pieces utilize only two stitches, and those are the chain and the American single crochet (called a double crochet in the British pattern terminology) with variations created by increasing or decreasing stitches. Some pieces are worked flat by turning, and others are created by joining and working in the round.

Creating this set requires the following skills and techniques:
  • Chain
  • American Single Crochet
  • Single Crochet Increase
  • Single Crochet Decrease
  • Join a Chain
  • Turn
  • Bind Off
To create the set pictured in the attached images, you may use the following set of instructions:
  1. Tamago (egg) - The square yellow pieces were created by chaining 4, then reversing and adding 1 sc per stitch for 5 - 6 rows, then binding off and weaving in the ends.
  2. Amaebi (shrimp) - The pink pieces were created by chaining 3, joining the chain and creating a round of 6 sc, then increasing by alternating 2 sc, 1 sc for 2 - 4 rounds. After the increase, crochet 3 - 4 rounds with only 1 sc in each stitch and a final 2 - 4 rows decreasing down to close the round. The variations in the number of rounds and increases is a personal preference.
  3. Maguro (tuna) - The red pieces were created by chaining 3, joining the chain and creating a round of 6 sc, then increasing by alternating 2 sc, 1 sc for 2 - 4 rounds. After the increase, crochet 3 - 4 rounds with only 1 sc in each stitch and a final 2 - 4 rows decreasing down to close the round. The variations in the number of rounds and increases is a personal preference.
  4. Shari (sushi rice) - The white pieces were made two ways. The "rice" balls were created by chaining 3, joining the chain and creating a round of 6 sc, then adding 8 - 10 rows of 6 sc until decreasing to close the end. The "rice" wraps were made by chaining 8 - 12, then reversing and adding 1 sc in each stitch for 12 - 15 rows, then binding off and weaving in the ends.
  5. Wasabi (spicy horseradish paste) - The light green pieces were created by chaining 3, joining the chain and creating a round of 6 sc, then adding 2-3 rows of 6 sc until decreasing to close the end.
  6. Nori (seaweed wrap) - The dark green pieces were created last to fit the size of the previously made and assembled pieces. Begin by chaining 16 - 24 (depending on the size of the "sushi"), then join the ends and crochet 2 - 3 rows of sc, neither increasing or decreasing. When complete, bind off and weave in the ends.
One last hint before you begin to crochet: Tight knots and carefully woven ends will strengthen the pieces and help ensure lots of playtime for years to come.


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Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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