Amigurumi is the art of creating three-dimensional stuffed toys with yarn, most commonly using the craft of crochet. There is an unlimited amount of creativity and imagination with amigurumi. It is one of my personal favourites to create and design. And, I am warning you; if you dare to travel down the rabbit hole of amigurumi on Pinterest make sure you get a snack first because you’re going to be a while!
I have seen some say they are intimidated by Amigurumi because the patterns do tend to be longer and well… ummm… it’s 3-dimensional, that in itself can be overwhelming. But I assure you, even if you have just basic crochet skills it is much more simple than it looks. Since I am super excited about my BBQ Play Food Series starting next week. I thought I would share some tips on how to get started with Amigurumi. These are the basics of what you need to know to start your first stuffed project. If you are new to crochet or struggle with reading patterns, check out my Reading Crochet Patterns & Abbreviations post for help and a free printable!
Amigurumi can be done with any weight yarn or even thread. You can find patterns for large stuffed animals using super bulky weight yarn or tiny key chains that are made with thread. I tend to use Worsted weight because it is the most common to find in stores and I always have a variety of colours to work with on hand. Regardless of the weight of the yarn, you are going to want to go down a hook size or two from what is recommended for your particular yarn. This will keep your stitches tighter and prevent the stuffing from peaking through. I like to use a 4mm/G-6 hook, but if you crochet loosely you may want to use a 3.5mm/E-4 hook.
Amigurumi tends to be worked in continuous rounds without a join to eliminate the appearance of a seam. Because of this, it is almost impossible to identify the start of a new round unless you have some superpower counting ability. I have been known to struggle with counting on a good day, so I always, always, always use stitch makers. It is most important to mark the start of a new round and move it up each round as you go. Now back to counting, you will need to count when making amigurumi, just do it, trust me, COUNT THE STITCHES! It is much easier to count and check your work than realize 7 rows later you have to frog! If you are like me and struggle with counting, more specifically remembering what you counted, a row counter will save you from having to do extra counting.
Next, it is helpful to know a few simple techniques to get the best results possible. There are a couple of different ways to begin working in the round, my favorite is the Magic Ring. To begin, leave about an 8″ tail end, twist the tail behind the end (step 1), pinch where the yarn crosses, insert your hook into the circle and pick up the working end (step 2). Pull the working end through the circle and hold both firmly on both sides of the circle (step 3), chain 1 to lock the magic circle (step 4). If done correctly the tail end should be able to slide to make the circle larger or smaller.
Next, you will start your first round by working your stitches into the circle, be sure to work them over the tail end as well (step 5). To finish off, pull the tail end to close the magic circle (step 6) and start round 2 by working into the first stitch, this is where you will place your stitch marker and move it up each round.
The majority of Amigurumi consists of single crochet with strategically placed increases and decreases to created the 3-dimensional shape. To achieve super tight stitches, you will always want to go through both loops (as shown in the photo below) of your single crochet unless specified in the pattern.
When you see an increase stitch, you will simply work 2 single crochets into the same stitch. For a decrease, you will be making two stitches into one by crocheting 2 together. The most common way to decrease can be found HERE but for amigurumi when the backside is hidden, I prefer to use an invisible decrease. You can see in the comparison photo below it creates less of a gap and is much less obvious than the regular decrease.
To work the invisible decrease, you are going to insert your hook into the front loop only of two stitches beside each other (step 1). This is a bit tricky at first but gets easier with practice. Next, you will yarn over, pull through the two front loops and single crochet as usual (step 2). You can see in the second photo this decrease looks very similar to regular single crochet.
The last technique is to close the final opening of a project. A pattern will generally decrease until there are only a few stitches left (step 1). After you have stuffed your piece you will want to close the opening. To do this insert a yarn needle to sew through the front loop of each stitch, always from the outside inward (step 2). After you have picked up all the stitches, pull the yarn and your opening will now be closed (step 3). You will want to stitch back and forth a few times to weave in the end and secure everything in place (step 4).
Now get practicing! I promise if you use these tips and techniques, you will be well on your way to learning the basics of amigurumi. If you found these tips helpful I would love for you to follow me on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with my latest crochet patterns and blog posts. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for my BBQ Playfood Amigurumi Collections Series starting next week, it is the perfect project to perfect your new skills!
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Check out my Unicorn Amigurumi Pattern!