For some crocheters, making stuffed dolls and toys is an entirely new realm of crafting possibility. For others, like myself, those are the types of projects that inspired them to pick up a crochet hook in the first place!
Amigurumi can be a bit overwhelming, so I have prepared a three-part amigurumi series to help! In this series, I’ll cover the some basic amigurumi information, the tools you’ll need (and what I recommend), and some essential amigurumi tips.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Amigurumi Basics: Getting Started
(Part 1 of 3)
So what is amigurumi?
The term “amigurumi” is a combination of the Japanese words ami (meaning “crocheted” or knitting) and nuigurumi (meaning “stuffed doll”). The practice of making amigurumi figures has been around for several decades, and it is becoming incredibly popular!
Basically, amigurumi figures (or “amis” for short) are just three-dimensional crocheted shapes that have been stuffed and sewn shut. These figures get their shapes through strategically-placed increases and decreases throughout the pattern. Different combinations of stitches result in a different look, style, and even functionality for each amigurumi.
Using the stitches and techniques outlined below, you can make practically anything imaginable! Amigurumi figures are my absolute favorite things to make because they are (usually) quick to work up, and they turn out just so darn cute.
The ami patterns here at Two Hearts Crochet are mostly designed to follow the same sort of pattern/shape. I have designed them this way not only because it makes it easier for me to come up with new character designs, but also because their size and shape makes them look nice and uniform with each other, even though I have an assortment of dolls ranging from Disney princesses to tiny vampires. Plus, their small size just makes them so totally adorable!
Other crocheters and pattern designers have written amigurumi patterns to fit their own needs and desires. That’s the beauty of amigurumi: there are endless possibilities!
Just how difficult is it?
This style of crocheting can be intimidating to amigurumi newcomers. If you’re unfamiliar with the practice, I’d recommend that you do a little bit of reading. Find yourself a nice, easy pattern and jump in!
Amigurumi patterns vary in difficulty, which depends highly on the pattern’s level of detail, shaping, and repeating motifs. Et cetera, et cetera…
While I can’t speak for every pattern writer, I can tell you that all of the amigurumi patterns here at Two Hearts Crochet have been marked with a skill difficulty level rating in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Craft Yarn Council. You can read more about those difficult levels here.
Check the pattern to see if it has a skill level rating. If it does not, give the pattern a quick read-through. Patterns with fewer pieces are usually the most simple to make, so looking at the pattern or even the photos of the finished object can be an indicator as to how difficult the object might be for you to make. When in doubt, you can always reach out to the designer and ask!
There are several tips and tricks that can help you as you get further into an ami pattern. Part three of this Amigurumi Basics series will address several of these tips, giving you the knowledge necessary to create polished, professional-looking amigurumi figures.
What stitches/techniques do I need to know?
Amigurumi patterns usually rely on the most basic of crochet stitches. This means that if you’ve just learned to crochet a short time ago, you can definitely dive into making amigurumi figures (provided that you know how to do the stitches outlined below).
My ami patterns usually call for the following basic stitches (using US terms):
- chain stitch
- slip stitch
- single crochet
- half-double crochet*
- double crochet*
- treble crochet*
I honestly can’t think of an amigurumi pattern that calls for a stitch more than those listed above. Stitches in this list marked with an asterisk * are stitches that are only used some of the time in my patterns – the rest are used for every pattern. If you can do these, you can make amigurumi!
You will also need to know the following techniques:
- Magic Circle
Personally, I’ve found that video tutorials can be a big help for visual learners like me. For increasing and decreasing, try this video from b.hooked crochet!
The Magic Circle can be tricky, especially if you are new to amigurumi. I’ve found that video tutorials can be a big help for visual learners like me. I like this video by Hopeful Honey!
I think the most difficult thing about working with amigurumi is the small spaces with which you have to work. It can be hard to work with a small hook, and sometimes sewing on each piece can be difficult and even frustrating. But don’t let that worry you! Working in a well-lit space can make all the difference (as I’ll explain in part three of this series, “Amigurumi Basics: Essential Amigurumi Tips”).
Trust me – if I can do it, you certainly can, too!
I’m ready to get started. What do I do now?
If you’re ready to jump on in and work on your first amigurumi pattern, go for it! (Seriously, you can totally handle this. You are amazing!)
I’d recommend a pattern with only a few pieces to sew together, or a pattern than has few color changes and/or simple stitches. Of all of my amigurumi patterns, I think my Dean Winchester pattern OR my Princess Leia pattern might be the easiest. But almost all of my amigurumi patterns fall into the Easy range of skill levels! Take a look and give amigurumi-making a try!
There are thousands of ami patterns available on the web. Some of these are free patterns, other are paid.
As a general rule of thumb, I would say that most paid patterns are usually worth their small fee; these patterns are usually well-written and contain pictures, tips, and even detailed explanations from the designers. Of course, every rule has exceptions, and you may come across a paid pattern or two that just isn’t worth paying for.
To get started, I suggest checking out some of the free patterns available on the web. There are some truly great free patterns available – you just have to know where to look! Just try searching for “free ________ amigurumi pattern”, and fill in the blank with whatever type of item you’re looking for (example: “free eagle amigurumi pattern” or “free Iron Man amigurumi pattern”). You can also search for “free ________ crochet doll patttern” or “free ________ stuffed toy pattern”. Try it out and see what kinds of results you get.
If you’re looking for a solid amigurumi pattern library (other than my own, of course! *wink*), try Amigurumipatterns.net or Amigurumi Today. But really, there are so many great resources out there. Get to Googling!
I’m definitely not ready to start yet. Will you be giving some more advice on amigurumi?
Absolutely! Sometime soon, part two of this Amigurumi Basics series will be posted right here on the blog. In that post, I’ll be talking about all of the tools you’ll need to make amigurumi. I’ll even share my favorite tools for the job!
Part three of the this series will cover some essential amigurumi tips and tricks that I think every crocheter should know. They’ll help you get started, help you problem-solve along the way, and help you put the finishing touches on your amis.
Stay tuned for the next part of this Amigurumi Basics series! A link to the next part of the series will be posted HERE when it becomes available. Happy crafting!
So tell me…
Are you new to amigurumi? Are you an old pro? Leave a comment and let’s talk ami!
Sign up for the 2018 Mystery Ami Crochet-Along!
Click on the link below to read more about the mystery crochet along project planned for 2018. We’ve already started, but you can jump in and join us at any time!