The World of Muppet Crap: Crocheted Cuteness

Published: April 6, 2015
Categories: Feature, Fun Stuff

The following article was written by Whitney Grace.  If you missed her previous installments of “The World of Muppet Crap,” click here to read about a strange Big Bird eggbeater, Skeksis-inspired clothing, official Wilkins and Wontkins merchandise, and more.  Thanks for your dedication to weird Muppet stuff, Whitney!

knitclassicsWelcome to another installment of the World of Muppet Crap! In the course of my Internet thrift store browsing, I come across an item that makes my mouth drop and say, “That’s so cute and adorable! I will name it George, and hug it, and pet it, and squeeze it!” I love cute things, which is the reason why one too many visits to Petfinder left me with three dogs and a litter of seven puppies in the past eight years. You can agree, however, that each one of us has this urge inside of us to cuddle and snuggle cute things, be they puppies, anacondas, or lamps (assuming Gonzo is involved).

A recent visit to Etsy and browsing through the mounds of Muppet crap yielded these darlings:

I admit I may call this article series The World of Muppet Crap, but only in the satirical sense. These little crocheted cuties are by far not crap, they are sweet, tiny, precious handmade objects that must be protected, sheltered, and loved. As it is commonly said in shojo anime series and PewDiePie videos: “KAWAII!”

knitmuppetsCuteness aside, these minuscule Muppets are well-crafted pieces of yarn. They are made by Thuy Mai Thu of Vietnam and she sells them through her LamLinh Easy storefront. She calls them amigurumi critters and I had absolutely no idea what that meant…until I looked on Wikipedia. As a professional researcher, I always take Wiki articles with one or two handfuls of tossed salad, meaning I throw them out of a catapult until I can verify the facts (unless it’s the Muppet Wiki which is well-maintained). When it comes to Internet jargon and Asian trends, I usually rely on the Wiki, because it usually is the only concise source I can find.

I then learned what amigurumi is…

“…the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.[1] Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features,[2] as is typical in Japanese culture.”

After learning the origins, I’m not at all surprised that the Japanese created amigurumi. The Japanese, like myself, are obsessed with cute/kawaii things. It is a HUGE part of the Japanese culture and literally cute encroaches on all parts of daily life in the Land of the Rising Sun. Rather than bore you with my explanation about why the Japanese love cute things, here is another Wikipedia quote:

“As a cultural phenomenon, cuteness is increasingly accepted in Japan as a part of Japanese culture and national identity. Tomoyuki Sugiyama author of Cool Japan, believes that “cuteness” is rooted in Japan’s harmony-loving culture, and Nobuyoshi Kurita, a sociology professor at Musashi University in Tokyo, has stated that “cute” is a “magic term” that encompasses everything that is acceptable and desirable in Japan.

DMC ThreadsOkay, back to the Muppets. As you can see, these petite Muppets are teeny, tiny. Crocheting usually requires yarn, but these critters are actually not made from yarn. According to Thuy, they are crocheted from DMC threads, better known as embroidery floss, so in other words very fine, pretty thread. Coming from someone who knows how to crochet this is hard to do. As a crafter, I know the smaller you make something the harder it can be to control the material trying to make it look right.

And these things are fantastic!

Amigurumi BertLook at the level of detail on Bert’s saddle shoes!

Amigurumi GroverGrover wants to dance away into your heart.

Amigurumi Miss PiggyMiss Piggy is fashionable diva in miniature form.

Amigurumi Cookie MonsterShow this Cookie Monster a regular sized cookie and he’d think he’d died and went to cookie heaven.

Amigurumi KermitKermit has an iddle-widdle banjo!

Amigurumi ErnieErnie even has the yellow border around his shirt!

Amigurumi Big BirdDon’t you want to gently pat Big Bird’s fluffy tummy?

Or pretend to be a giant ruling over some small Muppet kingdom? (You can also do that with the Palisades figurines.) Or have it sleep on your pillow next to your head at night?

The Muppets are perfect for amigurumi, because of their large eyes, multicolored skin hues, and for Crazy Harry’s sake, most of them are anthropomorphized animals.

Knitting or crocheting the likeness of Muppets isn’t new at all. It’s been done for years. Most recently, I’ve seen knitted hats at the Disney theme parks and at flea markets. I would love to have some of these on my head, but others look like they want to eat me.

Murray HatNot too bad for Murray.

Agh! hatAgh! A Fraggle with male-pattern baldness.

Disco Gobo hatIt’s disco Gobo, play dat funky afro Fraggle!

Kermit hatI would wear this neat Kermit hat.

Elmot hatElmo wants to swallow your head.

Beaker hatBeaker is appealing to the heavens to be put out of his misery.

Animal hatYou too can be just as confused as Animal wonders where his mouth went.

Baby Piggy hat front Baby Piggy Hat BackEven babies get Muppet crochet hats! This Miss Piggy cap will not only protect a little one’s head from a chill, but the curls on the back are so sweet!

Janice hatDue to the lack of Janice merchandise there, I would love to be stylin’ in this little number.

Animal headphone hatIt looks like someone cranked the music up on Animal and he’s been up for a week or had way too much caffeine.

Knitting Book CoverCheck out The Jim Henson Muppets Knitting Book circa 1980 something I would feel very hip, even today, with the sweater on the cover or on this page.

Clashing fashion choicesThough judging by Kermit’s dazed look and Animal’s “Wahaha!” they’re confused about 1980s clashing fashion choices.

Kermit Letterman SweaterI’ve always wanted a letterman sweater with Kermit written on it and pretend I played on some Muppet related sporting team.

Then we have the knitted stuffed animal Muppets. Yeah, these won’t be sleeping by head anytime soon. My dogs would tear these up from fright. If that wasn’t enough, there appears to have been another Muppet knitting book, but I was only able to find part of the cover photo. I’m guessing the rest of the book ran away in fright, judging by Gonzo on the right and Kermit melting into himself there.

Knitted KermitKnitted Piggy

These knitted Kermit and Piggy (whom I kind of want to cuddle). They originate from the first knitting book, which looks like it was published by a more professional company.

Piggy is channeling Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, while Kermit looks like he’s trying to pose for a GQ cover.

So what have we learned today?

Amigurumi is a fantastic new hobby and miniature Muppets are marvelously cute.

Some knitted Muppet hats want to keep you warm, while others want to eat your face.

I want a whole row of those amigurumi Muppets to sit on my desk and keep me entertained while I write my book, but they do have a hefty price tag $60-100 a DMC head. Maybe I’ll look into buying some old McDonalds Muppet toys, while singing the “The Doozer Knitting Song.”

Knitting Book Half of cover

Click here to knit one, purl two on the ToughPigs forum!

by Whitney Grace

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