Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. The word is a compound of the Japanese words 編み ami, meaning "crocheted or knitted", and 包み kurumi, literally "wrapping", as in 縫い包み nuigurumi "(sewn) stuffed doll". Most amigurumi are crocheted, but you CAN knit them. The reason it is more of a crochet trend is simply because of the fabric each craft makes. Knitting creates a stretchy fabric, where as crochet results in a dense, thick fabric.
Safety eyes are inserted through a stitch like a screw, then a washer is placed on the back so that it can not be pulled out. If a small child will be playing with this Amigurumi (or do it just because, you never know where a toy will end up years down the line) make sure to use safety eyes instead of buttons for eyes. While buttons are an extreme choking hazard (especially if the child is teething) you can avoid that hazard by using safety eyes. The safest way to make facial features on an Amigurumi toy is to embroider them.
The placement of the eyes, nose and mouth can make or break your Amigurumi project. Use pearl-headed pins prior to sewing up to play around with the eye placement. It is not possible to remove safety eyes from a project once it is stuffed and sewn up, so you’ll want to make sure you’re placing them exactly where you want them, and the first time!
An easy way to make sure you’re placing the arms, legs and ears evenly is to use the lines of your crochet! If you place one ear 5 rows down from the magic circle make sure the second is also placed 5 rows down. You can also count how many stitches between the front and back which is particularly helpful if you’re making an animal with four legs.
While tension and maintaining the gauge is always important no matter what you’re crocheting, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re focused and on track when creating Amigurumi. We want all four legs or both arms to be the same size, right? One thing I do that I find helpful is making both feet at the same time to make sure they are identical before moving on to the legs etc.
Since amigurumi is typically on the tight side, it is rare that stuffing will start to work its way out. You can, however, use your worn out tights to put the stuffing in to make 100% sure that it won’t. If necessary, you could buy different coloured tights for different projects!
Increasing in crochet is as simple as placing two stitches where there would normally only be one. By spacing your increases out (evenly around) your project will be more round and professional in appearance. If following a pattern, increases should be calculated for you, just make sure to count as you go.
While counting your crochet stitches is always a good idea, it is imperative in Amigurumi. When you’re increasing and decreasing you need to know that you are on track after each and every row completed. It’s a pain, but we all know that ripping out stitches is worse.
Stitch markers are not an option when crocheting Amigurumi; they are a must! Because we are not joining at the end of each round we need to know exactly which stitch marks the beginning (and/or end) of each round.
You may decide to use a running stitch marker in addition to a regular stitch marker. Simply weave a different colour strand of yarn back and forth (in and out of the project) as you complete each row.
In order to keep your Amigurumi heads, bodies, arms and legs as professional appearing as possible, do NOT join at the end of each round. Joining creates a line that will be clearly visible. Instead, work continuously without joining and keep track of your rows with stitch markers and/or running stitch markers.
Amigurumi needs to have tight stitches so that stuffing does not come out and so that the project looks more professional overall. I recommend going down at least one hook size than what is suggested on the yarn label. For example, if the yarn label suggests that I use an H/4.00mm hook, I would use a G/3.00mm hook instead.
The most basic Amigurumi usually take 1-2 hours to crochet, while multi-part Amigurumi (such as teddy bears) without embellishments will take around 6. After that, more complex Amigurumi can take many more additional hours— there's no limit to creativity!
To make a larger Amigurumi, use a heavier (thicker) yarn than that recommended in the pattern; to make a smaller Amigurumi, use a lighter (thinner yarn). You'll also need to change your hook size accordingly.
You'll probably find that when you start crocheting an Amigurumi piece, this is the way the piece will naturally want to curve. You can just flip it inside out so it faces the 'right' way after you've crocheted a few rounds, and then continue to work around the outside rim after that.
The best yarn for Amigurumi patterns is generally a DK weight yarn in either acrylic or cotton. I prefer cotton as it is less stretchy and it is easier to get a nice tight tension and is therefore less likely that the stuffing will show through the stitches. However this type of yarn may be harder to work with if this is your very first crochet Amigurumi pattern.
Amigurumi is a great way to break into crocheting. Even if you're not familiar with knitting or crocheting, you can still make Amigurumi without too much of a learning curve. Although some Amigurumi may look complicated, it actually doesn't take too long to create.
Double Crochet (UK Term) or Single crochet (US Term)
Is a stitch that is usually used in Amigurumi patterns. It's one of the simplest crochet stitches. Insert the hook into the second chain from hook (1) and wrap the yarn over the hook.