How to read the Japanese crochet instructions for Amineko, very roughly. Although I'm half Japanese, I neither speak nor read Japanese, so this is just from looking at the instruction sets and trying to figure out what they might mean. [If anyone who speaks/reads Japanese finds something horrendously wrong, please let me know. But I think I basically have it, because Ysabella came out ok.]
If you have the book, the instructions are on page 49. Don't use the instructions on page 60, those are for gigantic kitty. If you don't have the book but want to follow along anyway, there's a website with directions (thanks Myra!). If you're following along on the website, scroll down to near the bottom of the page until you see the tables with pink headings and a combination of numbers plus kanji/hiragana. There are seven of these tables.
In each table, the first column is row number, the second column is number of stitches per row, and the third column is instructions for that row.
Top to bottom on the website, the tables are:
1. head (20 rows)--make 1
2. body (32 rows)--make 1
3. arm (28 rows)--make 2
4. leg (24 rows)--make 2
5. tail (22 rows)--make 1
6. ear (5 rows)--make 2
7. muzzle (11 rows)--make 1
I listed the number of rows for each so you can check that against each table and make sure you're working on the piece you think you're working on. If you're using the book, the tables are connected to the body parts so it's obvious which is which (below).
OK, now to get down to trying to figure out what those tables say. The first row is almost always 6 stitches. These are all crocheted in the round (or at least that's how I did them), using only single crochet (sc) stitches. So, start with a circle. You can either chain stitch and then close the chain (making sure to do single crochets over the tail for the first row so that you can cinch the hole closed), or you can do as I think is suggested in the book (p. 70), which is to loop the yarn around twice, then start stitching. I made two loops, started with a slip stitch, then did 6 sc. After you get the 6 sc put down, you can pull on the free end to tighten it and close it up.
Now for the second and further rows. All I did was to see how many stitches each row should end up with, and get to that number. For example, the head. Row 2 should have 12 stitches, so I put 2 sc into each of the previous row's sc. Row 3 should have 18 stitches, so I would *sc, 2sc into next sc*, repeat all the way around. (Remember to mark the beginning of your circle with scrap yarn or a stitch marker.) Row 4 should have 24 stitches, so *sc in next 2 sc, 2sc into next sc*, repeat around. These are the increase rows. When you reach the decrease rows (16-20 for the head), you'll notice that the kanji changes slightly. So for row 16 (42 stitches), I would *sc in next 6 sc, sc2 tog*, repeat around. [Note: It's been a while since I've crocheted, so I don't remember the usual way of specifying directions. Let me know if these don't make sense.]
To make the arms, legs as pictured, you'll need to change colors at the paws. I did this at around row 5, you can choose where you want a different color.
The only piece that I found tricky was the muzzle. And it was just for row 11, the last row. Going from 14 to 4 stitches in one row was difficult. I can't quite remember now, but I think I went down only to 7 stitches rather than 4 sts, so I did a sc2tog all the way around.
After I made all the pieces, I stuffed the head and body and left everything else unstuffed. I attached the muzzle, then ears, then embroidered on the eyes, eyebrows, nose, and mouth. I then attached the head to the body, and the arms/legs/tail to the body.
I hope this helps!
p.s. This note from Myra: "I want to add that she does state on her site that all of her patterns are copyright protected and for personal use only, so please be respectful of that. Thanks!"