Does your amigurumi really need a mouth? I mean NEED it?
Why So Serious?
When you draw a face, how does it go? You draw a set of eyes, a nose, then one, long, curve for a BIIIIG smile. After all, you want your face to look happy all the time, right?
I beg to differ.
Plushies, whether they are set on a shelf as a lovely display or hugged on a regular basis, are her to provide us with a friend when we need one. To be a good friend, they also need to be able to “feel” what we are feeling.
A permanent grin (or frown) steals away the ability for them to change their emotions with us.
If you need a kitchen dance partner Bosco can be happy.
If you need a cuddly friend to catch your tears after a bad day, Schnitzel can give a somber hug.
“She doesn’t have a mouth so she can feel what you feel. When you are happy, she can be happy. When you are sad, she can be sad.”A great mom
We Don’t Have Permanent Emotions, Why Should They?
When I was just starting out, I used to leave mouths off my dolls because mouths were hard. Frankly, I could never get them to look right, no matter how many different types I tried.
One day at a craft fair, I was peddling my wares and a child stopped and picked up one of my mermaids. She looked her over, gave her a hug, then turned to her mom.
“Mommy. I like this one, but she doesn’t have a mouth.”
The mother smiled at me then her daughter.
“Honey, she doesn’t have a mouth so she can feel what you feel. When you are happy, she can be happy. When you are sad, she can be sad.”
I thought that was so profound.
Amigurumi mouths just never looked right, and maybe it was because I was always in a different mood each time I tried to add one. I just couldn’t choose a fixed emotion for my mermaids because I never had a fixed emotion myself!
The mermaid went home with her new owner that day, and I decided I would never again put a mouth on an amigurumi face that didn’t need one.
Sometimes, We Don’t Want A Smile
I don’t want to assign a permanent emotion to a toy who needs to be a good friend.
Just think! What if our friends met our every conversation with a big old smile? There are time it just wouldn’t work.
For example, when my doggo, Iggy Pop, passed away after 15 long years of friendship, I needed to talk to someone.
I called a dear friend who immediately responded with, “Oh, honey. I’m so sorry. I’m hurting with you.” It made me feel better. I could open up to her about it being hard. I could cry with her.
If my friend had been smiling like a demented clown when I told her my beloved dog had died, I would have punched her in the face!
My friend needed to also be sad in that moment, and sometimes, so does a plushie friend.
Amigurumi Mouths Are Optional
The vast majority of my designs are lacking mouths.
Yes, there are a few that have open mouths, like Boris the Bullfrog, but for the most part, if the plushie doesn’t need it to eat flies, I leave it off.
But a mouth should be optional for everyone. If you want your amigurumi to have a mouth, I will not hunt you down and yell at you. Promise.
That’s the great thing about art — it is yours and no one else’s.
But now you know why my designs are mysteriously lacking amigurumi mouths.
I’m just leaving them open to be the best friend they can be.
Did you favorite stuffed toys growing up have mouths? Did they perhaps have “emotionless” ones, like pacifier holes or straight lines?
I’d love to know about your favorite childhood plushie and the emotions you shared. Email me or leave your story in the comments!
Until next time,
Kati is the designer behind Hooked by Kati. With thousands of patterns sold around the world, Kati prides herself in creating innovative, easy-to-follow amigurumi patterns. She has designed for several publications, including Crochet!, Crochet World, Simply Crochet, and I Like Crochet. Kati finds her inspiration in science fiction, video games, and numerous visits to the zoo — all passions she shares with her husband and two boys.