Meet Mario the Italian Chef Cat – my entry in the Amigurumi Patterns’ Design Contest! I’m sorry that lately my posts have been competition related – I promise that it will be the last for some time. However, if you would be so kind as to spare a moment or so by clicking HERE, and voting for Mario I would be ever so grateful! Thank you in advance.
I thought in this post I’d also share a bit of my process in putting together Mario. When I watch animations, I’m always interested in the nerdy commentaries about the production… so I hope you find this brief “behind the scenes” of my pattern making somewhat interesting!
When I first heard about the Amigurumi Patterns’ Design Contest I was still in a holiday withdrawal kind of phase. So when I discovered the theme for the contest was “Animals at Work” my inspiration, naturally, was drawn from my travels. In Italy, Greece and Turkey I had encountered a LOT of stray cats. (The picture below is a cat eating a cupcake in Ephesus.) Therefore I decided I would create an amigurumi cat.
As for my cat’s occupation – because I had loved so much of the food I had eaten, I decided that my cat would be a chef (so I would have an excuse to crochet little foods too… haha). Mario’s name came from this bit of graffiti I found carved into a train in Rome.
As Italy has a lot of iconic meals, I decided that my little chef Cat would be an exclusively Italian Chef. That set, I went about sketching Mario’s “look”. (Yay! Finally! Some illustration in my posts!)
As you can see, my sketch of Mario, compared to his finish self only changed a little. I omitted Mario’s moustache as I felt it was a bit distracting to his face. I also omitted his apron as I ran out of time. Despite this, I was still happy with how Mario turned out.
To give Mario a bit more character I alternated between a dark brown yarn and the multi coloured yarn to give him distinct markings – such as a patch around his eye and an odd coloured ear. I also applied this technique to his tail.
I had a lot of fun too crocheting Mario’s little foods – a pot of pasta, a pizza and a tomato. I also (crazily) built Mario’s little table out of balsa wood which I then painted (yes, I was the crazy one painting a miniature table at 10pm even though I had to wake up at 5:30am the next morning…). The backgrounds were some pictures I printed then arranged to create a small makeshift ‘scene’ for Mario to be photographed in… quite a bit of effort… but I felt that having put effort into every other part of the project it only made sense to finish it with equal dedication!
Even if Mario doesn’t win any prizes, I enjoyed the experience of designing and creating him. Using techniques like joining his legs and body as one piece and interchanging yarns to create an eye patch challenged my crocheting skills. It was also pretty cool to translate a idea and sketch into something tangible! I hope to do more of this in the future.
When/If you create your own amigurumi patterns, how do you go about your design/creating process? Do you start with a sketch or do you crochet and see what happens?
I hope you enjoyed this little insight into how Mario the Italian Chef Cat came together. Please do vote for him if you haven’t already via the link at the beginning of this post. Many thanks!