Learn Amigurumi Basics

Love the look of amigurumi, but not sure you can do it? Here are few tips to get you started on these Japanese-inspired critters, like the Country Music Pig in our Jan/Feb 2013 issue, below.

Choose the Right Hook size

Most amigurumi are crocheted more tightly than say, a sweater, to make sure the stuffing doesn’t show through the stitches and the toy keeps it shape when stuffed. But you don’t have to change the way you crochet--just look at the recommended hook size on your yarn’s label, and choose a hook that is a couple of sizes smaller than what the label says. This will automatically make your stitches smaller and tighter. For example, if the yarn label shows an F (3.75mm) hook, use a B (2.25mm) instead. (NOTE: if you're following a pattern, the hook size will already be smaller than what is usually recommended for that weight yarn, so you don't have to change it).

Select the Right Stuffing

The generic name for polyester stuffing is fiberfill. For your amigurumi, you’ll want to choose a good quality brand that is not TOO fluffy, like Mountain Mist, because over time, the fluffier fillings will tend to compress and your toy will end up looking sadly under-stuffed. Also, if the toy is for a child, you’ll want to use stuffing that can be easily machine washed and dried.

Get Off to the Right Start

Instead of crocheting a chain, joining with a slip knot to make a round circle, and working stitches into the middle of the circle (which always leaves a little hole), try the Magic Ring or adjustable loop method. It’s super easy (see our tutorial and video) and means the beginning of your circle will have no hole.

Counting Stitches the Right Way

Because so many amigurumi patterns are worked in the round in spirals (so you work around and around without turning or joining the rounds), it can be a bit difficult to keep track of where the end of the round is, exactly. That’s why many patterns tell you to “place a marker” at the end of the round. You’ll need to move it at the end of every round, so choose a removable or “locking” stitch marker (you can also use a safety pin).

To get started making your own amigurumi right away, download the FREE pattern for Saved by the Bell from our Sep/Oct 2009 issue.

Helpful Links on Other Sites

Fresh Stitches—download a free “Beginners Guide to Amigurumi"

Planet June—view the crafty tutorials

Mochi Mochi Land--check out the How-To's

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Love the look of amigurumi,

Love the look of amigurumi, but not sure you can do it? Here are few tips to get you started on these Japanese-inspired critters, like the Country Music Pig in our Jan/Feb 2013 issue, below.
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