Archive for June, 2013

Amigurumi Inventory Day

Today is Amigurumi Inventory Day! I totally just made that up. I have no shame.

1) Amigurumi Day - ea1701

So, somehow I got it into my head the other day that I should do a check on all the amigurumi and supplies I’ve got stuffed away in my craft closet. Every now and then it’s inevitable that if I want to find anything I have to go through and reorganize ever skein, hook, and all the other artisan materials I’ve got. But for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of what I’ve got and how much.

I now realize this was merely one of the first signs of complete brain atrophy from too much summer heat and not enough sun. (It’s been incredibly hot and humid here, but rainy, dark, and stormy. This I view as insult to injury.)

Still, earlier this evening I set about this impossible task anyway. This morning I had to put aside some time to work on completely updating and overhalling my resume. Now that that’s finished (and fully awesome, if I do say so), I’ve gotten myself knee deep in yarn and plushies. Now that I think of it, I suppose there are much worse things one could find themselves knee deep in…

2) Amigurumi Day - ea1701 3) Amigurumi Day - ea1701

I have to admit, this is a much bigger undertaking than I had thought. I am such a hoarder. I’ve got stuff in my closet spanning probably 10 years of craftiness. Although I tend to focus mainly on amigurumi, I’ve always been a bit of the artsy type, so I dabble in knitting, sewing, and jewelry making. There are drawers full of felt and fleece and fuzzy fabrics, buckets of wire and beads and cording, and bins full of measuring tapes, pins and needles. Not to mention of course the mounds upon mounds of yarn I own! It’s all pretty neat and tidy though. Thankfully I’m not a hoarder and a slob. There are special shelves for the yarn, hooks for the knitting needles, and all that. I’m typically a highly organized person. I just have a lot of stuff. But what can I say, the creative spirit just overpowers me sometimes :)

So, so far my totals are:
• 50+ crocheted Amigurumi (not including the ones that’ve been sold or gifted)
• 25+ skeins of worsted weight yarn, assorted colors,
• 11+ balls of worsted weight yarn, assorted colors
• 13+ skeins/balls of novelty yarn or wool
• 28+ pieces of craft felt
• 15+ crochet hooks
• 12+ pairs of knitting needles (including several sets of double pointed needles)
• 2 cases of pony beads (a gift that I’ve been trying to find uses for for the past 8 years xD)
• About 150 pairs of safety eyes, assorted sizes
• 3 pairs of scissors
• 2 yarn needles
• 50 jump rings
• 10 spools of wire
• various pendants, charms, and beads
• 4 sheets of fleece
• 2 sheets of fuzzy novelty fabric
• 7+ pattern books

4) Amigurumi Day - ea1701 5) Amigurumi Day - ea1701

Believe it or not, this is just the beginning. I’ve got mini stashes of crafty supplies hidden throughout the house. And every drawer I open I seem to find more and more stuff I didn’t realize was there. Plus, since drawing was my first love, I’ve got drawing supplies: pens, pencils, markers, drawing books, sketch pads. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a crafters’ anonymous I should go to :)

Crayons will never go out of style...

Crayons will never go out of style…

I’ve been at this for about two hours or so now. I can only tell it’s been that long because the sun has set and it’s getting quite dark out. Pretty soon I’ll have to turn the music down, to avoid bothering the neighbors. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love my music, and I have a stereo system so awesome you can feel the music vibrate the walls and hear it from down the street. Tonight I’ve been listening to my Completely Random Oldies Playlist: Chesney Hawkes, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Adams, Soft Cell, Information Society, the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Monkees, .38 Special, The Tubes, Bruce Springsteen, the Traveling Wilburys… I know it’s a totally subjective thing, but I very much think good music makes everything better.

Anyway. In addition to the supplies inventory, I’ve finally gone ahead and done up an ideas inventory, a to-do list that’s been long overdo.

• Dinosaur amigurumi (current WIP)
• the Chocolate Milk Cow (story and amigurumi pattern)
• “Not a morning person” digital illustration
• Nebula space paintings
• the Sad Cephalopod pattern (etsy store!)
• the Day of the Octopuses (free pattern and story)
• Previous pattern updates
• “Talking to myself” digital illustration

These are some of the long-term and short-term projects, crafty or otherwise, I’ve been thinking about doing. Now that I’ve got them written down, I think the lure of being able to cross them off will be a new source of motivation and inspiration.

Overall life has not been altogether pleasant lately, but I’m doing my best to fill this summer with all the good things I can think of. With all the scifi, amigurumi, painting, anime, music, crafting, and drawing I’ve managed to work in already, I think I’m doing pretty well so far :)

a Rose by Any Other Name

Today was a day that slipped through the cracks, and my plans along with it. It made me think of the saying “The best laid plans of mice and men often come to a terrible end.” I guess that’s not typically the way it goes, but I know I’ve heard it that way before. In any case I’d have to say this phrase fits into my life pretty well these days. Not that I mean to complain. But, suffice to say more than a few of my important plans of late have fallen through a bit.

Thankfully today’s goings-on weren’t of the utmost importance, so the fact that I wasn’t able to carry them out isn’t too much of a letdown. And even though I didn’t get the opportunity to do what I had wanted on this day off of mine, I did get the chance to take some photos of the roses that just bloomed. It’s been raining here for the past week, with no signs of letting up, but, rainy pictures are better than nothing, I thought.

1) the Rainy Day by Karissa Cole 2013 2) the Rainy Day by Karissa Cole 2013 3) the Rainy Day by Karissa Cole 2013

I wonder if the roses feel sad too, because of all the rain. I miss the sun.

Positive Vibe

Look! Pretty things! Well, it’s just one thing. And I suppose some may not find it pretty. But, at the moment, I like it. Although admittedly something about the planet doesn’t sit well with me… Anyway. “Positive Vibe”, so called because I think that’s what it has:

positive Vibe by Karissa Cole 2013

“Positive Vibe” by Karissa Cole 2013

It’s certainly been a while since I’ve done this. I mean, I haven’t done too much digital art lately. I fall into slumps a lot, it seems. Although, I did this weekend throw this poster together. I may tweak it though, and perhaps mess around with a few other ideas that fit that theme and make a post about them here…In any case, it’s a bit like falling off a log, making spacescapes, working digitally. Pretty easy to do, even if you haven’t done it recently, although it might not always be too graceful. Practice makes progress and all that, though :)

Sky on Fire

The sky was on fire tonight:

Sky on Fire by Karissa Cole 2013 2 Sky on Fire by Karissa Cole 2013 5 Sky on Fire by Karissa Cole 2013 6


All bloo–blooty? All blooty is bootyful.

It has come to my attention that time has been passing entirely without my permission. Summer is going by too fast for my liking. I MUST SAVOR EVERY MINUTE!

Hmm. I kinda sound like a complete spaz in that introductory paragraph, huh?

Today is an amazingly beautiful day, almost perfect. I don’t want it to end. Being the amateur photographer I am, I thought, as I often do, that it might be nice to take a few photos. I wish I had someplace to go, somewhere new that I could explore with my camera. But for the time being I’m confined, so, I just have to make do with what I have :)

3 Karissa Cole 2013 2 Karissa Cole 2013 1 by Karissa Cole 2013Promising by Karissa Cole 2013 Pure Sunshine by Karissa Cole 20134 by Karissa Cole 20135 by Karissa Cole 2013 6 by Karissa Cole 2013

It’s all pretty fleeting. As soon as it comes it goes. I don’t think people were meant to live fast-paced lives. I think we were meant to go slow, to enjoy every minute.

Blue Eyes, Bubble Gum (Short Story + Amigurumi Pattern)

I stood there with my eyes locked on my opponent. He simply sat there, with no readable expression. Even after our epic battle. there seemed to be a cool vibe emanating from every inch of him. I looked down at the weapons I had chosen at the beginning of this assignment: an HB pencil and a standard white eraser. Before this epic battle, each item had been in perfect condition. Before my pencil had touched that formidable warrior, that bleached 18″ x 24″ sketch pad, my simple yet effective writing implement had been perfectly sharpened, ready and able to draw for me whatever I asked of it.

But as soon as I laid led to paper, I realized I had met my match. We struggled as I tried to draw a couch in two-point perspective. I tried every maneuver in my grand arsenal. I brought in reinforcements, the flexible cork-backed ruler, but even that was no match for the sketch pad. He was too strong for me, he refused to concede, to show for me the couch I had in mind. My HB worked magnificently, and for a time I thought I would actually win. But the paper, this unbeatable foe, broke the pencil led as if it were thinner than a blade of grass and laughed in the face of my eraser.

I threw my ammunition down on the table. Forfeiting, and failing at my couch drawing mission.

“I think you’re just thinking too much. Just, clear your head, don’t think”, my instructor calmly told me at the end of class. I couldn’t help but notice he possessed the same coolness the sketch pad had displayed. A cohort perhaps? I realized it wouldn’t surprise me.

“We’ll cover it again in the next class. But feel free to practice until then.” he said. To me or to the other students in the class I couldn’t tell. He struck me as an unusual teacher, but not in any identifiable way. An admirable trait to some extent.

Even though I found it a possibility that he was part of the conniving pad’s plan, and I found his teaching method offbeat, his advice seemed to warrant more exploration. I decided it would be wise to clear my head, and prepare myself for the next battle that I knew wouldn’t be far off. I had heard of accomplished artists seeking the outdoors as a way to clear their mind or find inspiration. Being a city dweller by nature, the thought of traversing through actual nature looked to me like it would have the opposite effect I was seeking. But there was a discreet bench, on a simple corner near my well lived in 4th floor apartment, that I thought might offer the desired serenity and inspiration. So, with the November weather being astoundingly agreeable on the day it all happened, that is where I went.

It wasn’t a particularly incredible street: nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing of much exciting interest.

Setting my sketch pad down, I took up residence on a small wooden bench that served as the bus stop on the corner. The bench had been green at one point but a good deal of the paint had worn off, leaving the natural light tan color of the wood. Sitting in the right corner of the bench I twisted myself slightly to my left, effectively nestling myself into the curves of the seat. I then pulled my left knee up, hugging it to my chest. Considering the hard nature of the wooden bench, this was as comfortable as I could get, but it suited me just fine.

I’d been on this bench dozens of times before, and I’d passed it by hundreds more. Still I took in my surroundings, the sights and sounds of the buildings around me. Behind my seat was an empty office building for sale. It lacked any great luster and seemed to me as though it would be for sale for quite some time. It also seemed to me that it oddly resembled the settings of several horror movies. I made a note to mention it to the AV students at the college.

Across from me was the edge of another large office building that wrapped around to the front of the street. This building was very similar to the one behind me except this one was generally occupied on a regular basis. I’m not sure if anyone knew exactly what went on in this building. All that was certain was that well dressed men and woman came and went from the structure, with bland looking briefcases and terribly bored expressions on their faces. Next to that building was a smaller one story shop. The large window boasted attractive cardboard cutouts of various singers and musicians, some decorative objects hanging from the ceiling and a bright neon sign that read “Spin Cycle”. It was a trendy music store, carrying mainly records and retro memorabilia. But it pretty much cost money just to look in the window.

To the right of Spin Cycle was a small coffee shop. Not being much of a coffee drinker myself, all I can tell you about the place is that the lettering on the logo in the window matched the faded color and quality of the bench I sat on. Beyond the coffee shop and the building behind me were several more utterly nondescript offices and apartment buildings, interspersed with the occasional old fashioned lamp post and “Keep Our City Clean” trash bins. To the credit of the city council those small red and white signs urging pedestrians to clean up their trash seemed to have done their job well. The entire street was simple but clean and tasteful; a rare sight in a city.

Although on that day the street I sat on felt nothing like a typical city. There was one car parked a few hundred feet to my right. It was an older car, maybe from the 1950’s. It was red with gray and gold paint randomly splattered and strewn about on the body of the car. From this observation alone I surmised that the owner of the vehicle suffered from complete color blindness.

Aside from this car there were no other vehicles in sight; not even the occasional motorist passing by on his way to whatever his destination might’ve been. There was, in fact, no evidence of life anywhere on the street, beyond myself that is. I began to think that this was not the most excellent location for inspiration to strike. Unless by some miracle the crumpled newspaper that flew by when the wind picked up struck gold within me.

To no great surprise, I suppose, no miraculous epiphany occurred.

I pulled my knee closer to my body and looked up at the sky. It was late in the afternoon by then; still light out but the sun had hidden itself behind some grey clouds, apparently finding this once lively street as dull as I did.

I returned my gaze to the Spin Cycle store front when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. Something new, something I hadn’t seen before. It was small, black and somewhat round. It looked to be no more than two feet tall. This new object could have been easily mistaken for some inanimate item; a small trash bag, a miniature black bean bag chair, a tire, anything of the like. Had it not moved I’m sure I would have written it off as nothing of importance. But the little creature shifted from one tiny foot to another. By doing so he turned himself just enough for me to get a better look at him. He was shaped like a teardrop, with two very little yellow feet supporting him. His feet appeared to come straight from his round belly, as his legs, if he had any, were too small to be visible from my vantage point. His head was round, jet black, and shone a little in the small rays of light that began showing through the clouds. Set perfectly in the center of that head were two very round, blue-green eyes, spaced a couple of inches apart. Just below his shining eyes sat a small yellow beak. Below his beak a small white patch on his chest was visible, but the majority of it was apparently blocked by the small black hooded sweatshirt he wore. Just below his neck, if he even had a neck, on ether side of his body were two chubby arms that were comparable in size to his entire torso.

If I had to put forth a guess, I would have said it was a small penguin wearing a hooded black sweatshirt. In fact that was the only logical conclusion I could come to, which I imagine might sound ridiculous, what with that statement lacking any apparent logic whatsoever. But I am known for being logical and barring any recent brain injury I had no knowledge of, I knew my guess must have been correct.

So the newcomer to the street across from me was a two foot tall penguin. He didn’t quite look like a Gentoo, he had no white on his face. Of all the penguins I’ve ever seen, I’d have said he looked remarkably similar to an Adélie. Not that I’ve ever encountered a penguin on the city street before, especially not one that wore a tiny sweatshirt. But I gathered almost instantly that this was a situation that not many people had come across before.

The penguin stood on the street a few dozen feet from the record store and the coffee shop. He shifted his weight back and forth a few times, padded down the pockets at the front of his sweatshirt, then shifted again. It looked as though he was waiting for someone. He lifted his left arm and looked at a nonexistent watch.

Impatient little fellow.

But as if cued by the little bird’s anxious manner the door to the record store suddenly flew open, revealing a tall, thin, and overall rather lanky figure. As the newest arrival to this previously empty street made his way out of the store I could see him more clearly. He was a young, in his early twenties most likely. He wore a grey shirt under an olive green jacket. His jeans and sneakers were both quite dark, so much so that I could hardly see where one ended and the other began. His hair was light brown, parted on his left with some of it falling over the right side of his face. His large blue eyes were almost completely hidden behind even larger black rimmed glasses.

In his left arm he held several large books with paper sticking out at odd angles. He had over his left shoulder a messenger bag, tan and well worn. I couldn’t help but wonder why it was that the heavy books were held in his arms rather than in the bag. The boy wrestled with the tomes he carried as he looked down at a watch her wore on his left wrist. He had an air of haste about him, as if he were running late and couldn’t quite compose himself. But even with his hurried expression he stayed where he was, standing just outside Spin Cycle.

The penguin immediately noticed the boy’s arrival and began marching steadily towards him. For such a small fellow with incredibly tiny legs he walked with an amazingly speedy determination. In just a matter of seconds he had crossed the few dozen feet that had been between him and his human target. The young man though, still appearing hurried for some reason, didn’t seem to be waiting for anyone, especially not a penguin I dare say, so I believe it came as somewhat of a shock to him when he looked down and saw a short, unusually anthropomorphized penguin tugging gently on his right pant leg.

The boy looked down at the penguin and, with more composure than anyone ought to display in such a situation, he slowly knelt down, bridging the 4-some-odd foot distance between him and the little creature begging his attention.

The penguin’s demeanor was that of someone who had just discovered some wonderfully exhilarating news and if he didn’t share it, it would most certainly cause a fantastic explosion. Not wanting to experience this explosion, the penguin excitedly hopped up and down, his eyes shining with urgency, as he began speaking to the boy. The boy stared at him with an incredulous expression on his face, his eyes wide in amazement. I imagine his wide eyes were also due, at least in some small manner, to the weight of the books he still held. But he didn’t put his books down, nor did he move even an inch from the penguin.

By this point my interest had been piqued considerably. I put both my feet on the ground and moved forward to the edge of the bench; to the point where if I had gone any further I would fall off. I hunched my shoulders so I could lean in as close as possible to this very interesting conversation. But even in this perfect information gathering (or as some misguided people call it, “eavesdropping”) position I was just too far away to hear any of the penguin’s words. So I simply watched as the penguin gestured wildly while carrying on his one-sided conversation.

Whatever sentiments this penguin had intended to convey he did so in a relatively brief period of time. Not long after he walked up to the young man on the sidewalk and began his dialogue he slowed his gestures to a stop. I realized then that he had stopped talking and he was looking to the boy, waiting for some kind of response.

The boy blinked and shook his head a little, bringing himself back from the penguin induced stupor. His expression clearly showed confusion, amazement, and still a hint of haste. Still kneeling by the penguin, he placed his heavy books on the ground beside him in order to free up his left hand. With this newly liberated limb he reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small, thin, pink box.

Not the item I had expected to see.

But whatever it was thrilled the penguin, as he squinted with joy, clapped his hands and jumped up and down.

With confusion still residing on his face, the young man looked at the box and then at the joyous penguin. He freely handed the box over to his most recent acquaintance, who gratefully accepted it. The penguin flipped open the box and pulled out a smaller pink rectangle. He tore off the pink paper wrapping and handed the trash to the boy, who took it surprisingly readily and placed it in his pocket. With the paper off, the penguin popped the little pink object in his mouth and began to chew. Apparently his new acquisition was bubble gum. The gum seemed to make this penguin extremely happy; His face lit up with complete joy as he chewed the sweet treat.

He chomped happily for a few moments, staring off into space before he turned his attention back to the young man. Still enjoying his gum, the penguin patted the boy on the knee and then extended his long black arm.Beyond any adequate definition of bewildered the boy gently took hold of the penguin’s offered up flipper. The penguin shook the boy’s hand enthusiastically but without saying a word. He then took off walking down the street, past Spin Cycle, the coffee shop, and the buildings beyond.The young and confused man stayed kneeling on the sidewalk, alone after the penguin had left. He looked as though he were trying his hardest to comprehend what had just happened.

Although, so did I, I’m sure.

He turned to look behind him and see the penguin walking off in the distance. Slowly he turned back and picked up the books he had laid down earlier. As he mumbled to himself, obviously distracted, he stood up and began walking towards the unique car parked to my right. After fumbling again with the large books he pulled out his car keys. He hesitated a moment before getting in, looking again in the direction the penguin had gone, although the little creature was too far now to be seen. He shook his head a final time, got into his car and drove off.

I watched as this unnamed man pulled away. The street was again devoid of any life. No cars had come or gone in the few minutes in which this spectacle took place, and no more pedestrians had made any appearances.

My sketch pad still sat beside me on the bench. After sufficiently recovering from my own bout of confusion this scene had caused I grabbed the pad; surely, if a two foot penguin walking and talking, chewing bubble gum and speaking with a confounded boy didn’t strike within me some sort of creative spark, I as an artist would be a failure.

I began scribbling wildly on the pad, not bothering to erase or attempt to fix any mistakes. Even as the sun began to set I stayed there on the bench, my eyes and pencil never leaving my paper.

After near an hour, maybe even two, I let loose a sigh of perfect contentment. Finished. My trip to this corner had not been in vain. I had finally produced a work of art without fighting with my medium.

So the result? The contents of the sketchpad that I had spent hours working in?

Well. This.


This is actually a very old story. I wrote it a few years ago, when I was still in school going for my design degree. A few days ago I decided to crochet a penguin, though, and this story just seemed to be perfect for it, so I thought I’d repost it with the pattern :)

Penguin Pattern by Karissa Cole 2013

I admit, I wrote this pattern up somewhat hastily and while very tired, so it’s not as neat and polished as I would’ve liked. But I’m writing it off as a casualty of my busy summer thus far. The important thing is that I’ve finally got a new freebie to give away. Right now, I’ve got a PDF file available for download that has the instructions for making your own micro penguin. I hope someone will be able to make sense of it and crochet up a black penguin for themselves; it’s the one color I haven’t done yet!

Penguin by Karissa Cole 2013 Penguin by Karissa Cole 2013

So here you go, and I hope someone out there can get some use of this pattern: Micro Penguin Pattern by Karissa Cole 2013

As soon as I get the chance I’ll neaten it up a bit, add some more pictures, better details, and all that jazz. But it’s good enough for now :)


Please remember that this amigurumi design, and the accompanying story are copyright Karissa Cole/ea1701 2013, all rights reserved. They are made available for personal, non-profit use only. For more information please feel free to contact me. Thank you!

the Sad Cephalopod

Weighed down, worn out. Too much stress, too much mundane, and far too many unanswered questions. Sometimes it just happens. Somehow you take a wrong turn and end up somewhere awful, dark and dreary. It wasn’t on purpose, you didn’t mean to. But you suddenly find yourself walking through endless caverns, an impossible labyrinth, terrible, and so lonely. And nothing ever changes. Each door you pass through leads you into a room identical to the one you were just in. They’re all the same, and soon you loose track of how many empty rooms have come and gone.

Shadows skitter about, crawling up the walls, hiding in the corner of your eye. All around you hear whispers telling you there’s a way out, there’s hope and light and goodness waiting for you, you just have to find it. But each turn you take leads you further into the darkness, the air becomes thicker with despair, and you become completely convinced that hope is just an illusion. It’s the poison apple. Its beauty is false, taunting, and ultimately destroys you.

In short, it’s really quite unpleasant, one of the worst things there is, suffering from depression and anxiety. But, anyone could’ve told you that. You don’t need to hear it from me. Besides, I’m not here to write about sadness and gloom. That wouldn’t really do anyone too much good. So, instead, I’m here to tell you about the day things started to change. I’m here to tell you about the day something different finally happened.

Left, right, left, right, left, left, left again, right, left, right, left, right. These are the turns I usually take when I head out for a walk, when I need to clear my head, when I feel so lost, and when it seems like I can’t get out of the endless tunnels and caverns that run through my mind. Left out the door down the driveway, right onto the street, left at the corner, right onto the quiet road with the rolling hills. I’ve taken all these lefts and rights so often, my feet just seem to know the route now, and I don’t even have to think about when to turn or where to walk.

I’d been feeling particularly troubled, and it was starting to take its toll. So one morning I laced up my sneakers, slipped on my sunglasses and bounced down the front steps headed out for a much needed, head-clearing walk. The sun and the soft breeze seemed to instantly energize me, and I moved along the street confidently and easily, as if the world around was made just for this kind of walk. The anxiety didn’t exactly disappear while I was outside, but it always seemed so much easier to think. Maybe I couldn’t find my way out of my labyrinth, but I could at least take a break from running around madly in it to try and sort things out. A little fresh air and some pleasant sunshine provided a nice escape from myself.

As I went down my road, I looked up through the canopy of bright green leaves toward the sky. I’ve noticed that if you ask some people to describe the sky a lot of them will tell you it’s blue (or perhaps grey on those rainy, gloomy days). And it’s true, more often than not, that if you look at the sky briefly, you will indeed see blue. But, if you look at the sky the right way, you’ll see so much more. Sometimes you’ll see a soft baby blue sky, with long wisps of clouds slowly meandering across the horizon. Such a calmness in this kind of sky makes the whole world slow down a bit. Other times, you might see a rich, dodger blue sky, dotted with big, white, fluffy clouds that almost seem to be inviting you to come play. Still other times you might look up and see the deepest of azures, with no clouds in sight; a sky that looks so swimmable, you can’t take your eyes off it. Each day the sky is different and it’s one of the many things I tend to think about when I’m out walking.

As I strolled along, deep in thought, I stopped paying much attention to the direction I was going. Vaguely I glanced across the typically empty street before I took my first turn, then gazed absentmindedly down the road as I reached the corner. It wasn’t until I had walked several feet before I realized I hadn’t taken a left, as I usually would have. I stopped in my tracks and thought about where I was going. Turning left would’ve taken me downhill, along the path I knew so well. But turning right, which my feet had apparently decided to do while I wasn’t looking, took me up a steep hill, a path I’d traveled very infrequently. I stood there for a moment trying to decided if I should turn back and take the route I knew better. After a bit of internal dialogue, I decided to just keep going this new direction, uphill. In the end I figured “Why not?”

Moving slowly but steadily up the formidable hill, I soon reached the top, and was pleased to see the road begin to level out. Not having been up this way recently, I took in the layout of this quiet neighborhood. Houses dotted the landscape here and there, each one boasting enormous front lawns that seemed to stretch on for miles, all covered in the brightest, perfectly trimmed, green grass that was gently rustled by the breeze. All was quiet, and the further along I went, the further apart the houses seemed to get. I walked on for several minutes, enjoying the peace and tranquility. Eventually I encountered a narrow street jutting out to my right. I dimly remembered that there was a long curving street that met up somewhere along this road that, if taken, would end up leading back toward my starting point. Assuming this was that very street, I turned down it, continuing my meandering.

Lush trees decorated the sides of this road, blanketing the ground with the dancing shadows of the leaves. I was beginning to notice there seemed to be very few, if any houses along this street, when I suddenly spotted a large white sign up ahead. As I  neared it I was able to clearly make out the words. It read simply:

Welcome to Inkfish Park

The sign sat firmly in the ground, and looked as if it had for many years. The letters were slightly faded, but they still managed to look bright and happy, welcoming. Underneath the sign laid a perfect circle of bright red mulch, and around the base of each of the sign’s two legs small yellow and blue flowers nested.

Even though it had been a long time since I had been down this way, I couldn’t remember ever coming across any kind of park, especially one with such an unusual name. But since I wasn’t too far from home I saw no harm in perusing the grounds. I was out walking to get away from the stress of life, and what better way than to stroll through a quiet park?

The narrow road I had started on continued to wind and curve, surrounded now by trees and flowers and grass, and even a few small ponds teeming with fish and frogs and all sorts of life. I had just been wishing I had my camera with me, when I spied up ahead a few park benches set up along the edge of the road. All of the benches were empty, save one. On this one bench sat a large, orange blob of some kind. As I walked closer, curious to determine what this was, I was stunned to find that the orange blob was in fact a squid. Even more stunned was I, though, to find that it was a living breathing and really quite depressed looking squid. It sat there, completely deflated, drooped so low over itself. Its enormous, shiny, dark brown eyes glinted in the light. There was such a sadness in them though, I felt a sudden and strong pang of empathy. I knew what it felt like to be that sad, for whatever reason. And no one, nothing, should ever have to be that way.

Ignoring all common sense completely, I walked carefully toward the miserable little creature. He sat near the edge of the bench, which left room for me on the other side. He sighed heavily as I gently sat down. I uttered a tentative “Hi,” not sure if I’d get any kind of response. To my delight, though, he replied with a “hello” of his own. Although, it was laced with such dejection, I nearly started crying. Still, for my first ever conversation with a squid, this was going remarkably well so far.

Making my naturally soft voice seem even softer somehow, I questioned him, asking what was wrong. Without hesitation, he told me: “I’m lonely,” he said. I nodded understandingly, as I told him I knew what that felt like. He gave me a sideways glance. “You do?” I nodded again. “Mmhm. It’s terrible to be lonely,” the full weight of my own sadness filled my words. “It is,” he sighed again. “Terrible. I mean, no one ever looks at a squid and thinks ‘hey, he looks cuddly, I bet he’d love a hug’ or ‘he looks like he could use a friend, I’ll go talk to him.” He paused for a moment, and glanced at me again. “Well… usually,” he added carefully. He looked at me now as if seeing me for the first time, a bit of curiosity lightening up his glossy eyes. “Sometimes it’s sad being a squid,” he said, looking directly at me this time. “You’re not a squid,” he said, straightening up ever so slightly, scrutinizing me a bit. I had no idea what expression might be written on my face. “But I think you know what it’s like.” he said, in a strangely discerning way.

Of all the things I had ever pictured myself doing on any given day, bonding with a large orange squid on a park bench was most certainly not anywhere among the scenarios I’d conjured. But that is exactly what was happening.

I thought about what he said, and, although I didn’t know what it was like to be a squid (a fact I’m thankful for, now that I think of it) I realized I did know what he meant.

Not wanting to forget my manners, I decided I’d better introduce myself, and give him my name. “Hugo,” he replied, his demeanor having made a marked improvement since we began conversing. And so there we sat, Hugo and I, just chatting away as if we’d been friends for ages. He told me all about his life, and I found myself telling him all about mine. I learned he was terrified of Japanese restaurants and loved to read; he learned that I liked to solve problems and that I worried about being alone. He loved to count things and watch the sky; I loved to listen to music and daydream. We talked for quite a long time on that bench. By the time the sun began to set we each had a new friend, and I knew we’d both be leaving that quiet park in slightly higher spirits than when we had entered. We each still had things we would be sad about; such things can’t always be fixed in a single day. But it didn’t matter all that much, because I realized that when you focus on trying to make someone else feel better, sometimes it gives you a little bit of hope yourself.

As the first signs of nightfall started to appear, I stood up and stretched. Hugo yawned, stretched a bit, too, and then thanked me for coming to sit next to him. I smiled at him in return. I had a feeling that I might never see Hugo again, but I also had a feeling that meeting him was one of the most important things I could’ve done. “It’s nice to know that even when you think you’re completely alone, someone might just come walking up to let you know you’re not,” he said thoughtfully. At that I crouched down to his level and gave him a quick hug, remembering one of the first things he’d said had been making him sad – ‘no one ever looks at a squid and thinks ‘he looks cuddly, I bet he’d love a hug’. His incredibly shiny dark eyes widened in surprise before a tremendous smile stretched across his face. He then flung his two gangly arms around me, giving me another hug. Hugging a squid, I found, was just like hugging a warm jar of grape jelly, only, with no jar. I chuckled and hugged him back. He smiled at me, genuinely happy to have made a new friend that day. I could tell it was not something that had happened to him often before, and I realized, it wasn’t exactly a common occurrence for me, either. We then said our goodbyes and each moved off on our separate ways just as a few distant street lamps flickered to life, signaling all that the sun had set and the evening had arrived.

I knew there was a good chance sooner or later all the stress I’d been under would come back around and make things difficult again. As much as I wished it, I knew things didn’t always have quick fixes. But right then, at that moment, things were okay. I had done something nice for a sweet little squid who just needed a friend. I had made someone happy, someone who had been sad before I arrived. I would let that thought comfort me for as long as I needed. And with that, I walked back home.


My mind tends to wander, and it often travels to very unusual places. Half the time I can’t even try to explain my train of thought. This is one of those times. Actually, I don’t even know what it was that lead me to it, but several months ago I thought of a sad orange squid sitting on a park bench saying: “No one ever looks at a squid and says ‘hey, he looks cuddly, I think I’ll give him a hug.” And from that, this story was built. These days whenever I come up with a story, I like to create amigurumi to go with it. So, I present to you my cephalopods:

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (2)

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (8)

I was walking though the yarn aisle at the store a while back and I saw this pinkish-purple color that is such a gem of a hue, no photograph could do it justice. I plucked the skein off the shelf and dug my fingers into the incredibly soft and squishy yarn. I’d already had the sad cephalopd story in mind and instantly I thought “this will be perfect for a squid army.” I haven’t quite completed an entire battalion with this yarn yet, but I have made this one. I call her Juice. Crocheted her up while I watched Doctor Who one weekend.

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (7) the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (9)

The second squid I finished (although, he was the first one I started) is the character from my little story. Hugo, the sad orange squid who just wants a hug. Don’t worry: he’s not sad anymore! He gets plenty of hugs regularly, and is just as happy as can  be.

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (6)

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (4)

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (5)

My third and final (for now) squid is Hubie. One squid isn’t enough, and two doesn’t quite cover it, so naturally I had to make a third. This little guy is crocheted from Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn – my absolute favorite yarn to make amigurumi with.

So, to date I have these three delightful little squids floating about my domicile, always there for a hug if one is needed.

I haven’t decided what to do about this pattern yet – whether I’ll release it for free, or perhaps include it among the patterns I will offer for sale. I’ll have to see what kind of interest there is in these little guys first. I’m really not sure how many people are in the market for squids :)


9/13/2013: Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know if you haven’t found out already, this pattern is now available here


Please remember that this amigurumi squid design, the accompanying story, and all photographs are copyright Karissa Cole/ea1701 2013, all rights reserved. No reproduction in any form is currently permitted. For more information please feel free to contact me. Thank you!

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