Using a crochet hook and yarn, Dr Rachel Picot of Bayswater Veterinary Hospital in Victoria has become a practitioner of the Japanese art of amigurumi.
“About two years ago I felt I needed to do something different with my brain in order to stop thinking about work so much. I came across a beginner’s crochet book for kids and worked my way through all the projects in there. After I’d finished the book, I was looking for other projects to utilise my new-found crocheting skills. While searching on the internet, I found books about the Japanese art of amigurumi. Basically, it’s crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. I decided to give it a try.
“I bought a book of designs for amigurumi dogs and worked my way through that. Then I bought a book of amigurumi cat designs. My partner saw them and thought, ‘I know what I can buy Rachel for Christmases and birthdays so now I have more amigurumi books than I’ll ever need. My six-year-old daughter often looks through the books and picks which animal she likes best. That’s how I decide on my next project.
“I’m working on a piece at the moment that’s the largest amigurumi I have ever made. It’s a baby Yoda and is supposed to be ‘life’-sized. That’s a present for my husband. Most of my creations are given away or go to my daughter. Each amigurumi can be as big or small as you like—it all depends on the size of the yarn and the size of the hook.
“Amigurumi is popular worldwide but particularly in Japan. There are clubs and societies and competitions you can enter. I’m just doing this all on my own and have no intention of ever entering a competition. The whole reason I’m crocheting these little critters is to reduce stress!
“Being a vet, I love animals and have chosen a profession where I’m surrounded by them. While that’s part of the appeal of amigurumi, most of it is that they make me smile. I know they don’t have a practical use but there’s just something very nice about them. Some are based on real animals and some are fantasy animals but all of them are cute.
“Amigurumi is going to be my stress release for the next few years. I’ve got plenty of books to work through and my daughter has lined up quite a few different projects for me to complete. As long as I don’t run out of yarn, cotton or patience, I’ll be right.”