In our research you told us about the things you sometimes dislike about amigurumi, which mean you often don't get the results you want to achieve. In this post we give you advice to help your work be the best it can be, so you can stop any frustrations and enjoy your ami!
1. Go large!
Amigurumi can sometimes be fiddly. It may involve crocheting lots of small pieces, or using stitch markers on tiny limbs that are only a few stitches around. If you're new to ami, try making the pattern with a thicker weight of yarn and a large hook, which will make smaller pieces less fiddly while you get used to the technique.
This blog post from Kristi Tullis has more detail on using different yarns, as seen in the example below.
2. Keep it loose
Amigurumi needs to be tighter than regular crochet to make sure the stuffing doesn't show through the gaps in the fabric. Many of us respond to this by crocheting our ami really tightly.
You should be working with a hook size that is smaller than recommended on the ball band - but if it is too small your work will be very hard and the fabric too stiff and tight. Don't rely on the hook size recommended for the project. Try it, and if it's too tight then go up a size and see how that feels. We recommend a 3.5mm hook for the Three Bears Yarn Affection Aran Cotton that we use in in our projects, but if this feels too tight for you then try a 4mm or 4.5mm. One of the great things about ami is that gauge doesn't matter, so use a hook that suits you.
3. Consider colour
Some amigurumi projects involve colour changes to create features like different coloured stripes, clothing or facial details like noses and ears.
Start off by keeping it simple with a one colour project, like this simple teddy. Many projects that recommend multiple colours will work very well with just one colour. Try using a colour changing yarn to do the work for you - we recommend 'Party Time' by James C Brett for an instant hit of colour with very little effort. Build up gradually to introducing colour changes in your work. Try a project that has different coloured paws, or clothing that can be made separately. For more tips, see this YouTube video from Planet June.
There is more involved with amigurumi than crocheting in rows with lots of repeating stitches. They are generally patterns that will change every round, and therefore need a bit more concentration. There are ways to help this - if you have access to a printer, try printing the pattern and crossing off the rounds as you go. If you can't print it out, use a notepad to mark when you have completed each round. As well as using stitch markers to mark the beginning of each round, for round with lots of stitches use markers to count every 10 or 20 stitches.
For amigurumi, it also helps to understand the 'basic increase'. This is a standard way of starting 3D crochet that creates a flat circle, which is then shaped to create the desired form. It usually goes like this (UK terms):
There's a great tutorial on crochet circles by Crafternoon Treats here.
For some of us, the thought of sewing something is terrifying! Most amigurumi projects are crocheted in separate pieces that need sewing together, which can seem daunting. We have some tips to help you.
6. Weaving in ends
One of the benefits of amigurumi is that you don't really need to worry about weaving in ends. When you finish a piece, simply attach the loose end to a tapestry needle, and push it through the finished project and out the other side. Easy! This tutorial by hookabee makes it simple.
Amigurumi patterns will often say 'stuff head' or 'stuff body' without much further instruction. There are a few tips to make it more successful.
8. Maintain momentum
The need to repeat certain parts, or going round and round in a spiral can make amigurumi seem boring or tedious. We recommend planning your project to maintain your interest. For example, if the pattern calls for 4 legs, make one, then make the head. Then make another leg before making the body, Then another leg before the ears, and the last leg before the tail. This mixes up the order of the pieces so you are always working on something different. Putting your own stamp on a pattern can also help make it more personal to you, for example by choosing different colours or accessories.
One of the scariest things for many people is making the face look good. Nobody wants their project ruined after all that hard work by sewing a sub-standard face. It's surprising how little detail can create an expression - this is another situation where less is often more. A simple 'V' for a mouth can be enough to represent a smile. Often, a project only needs eyes to give it a 'face'.
If you are nervous about sewing eyes or noses, using safety eyes and noses can be a big help and take all the work out of it. For the more adventurous, try needle-sculpting the face using stitches through the head to recess the eyes and corners of mouths - there's a great tutorial on this here by Planet June.
We hope all these tips will help you get the most out of your amigurumi. Let us know if they do - and share any other tips you may have to help others!
Hi, I'm Jess - the founder and creator of ami2u. I have been crocheting for a number of years and particularly love amigurumi. I co-admin a local crochet group with over 700 members (Norfolk Crochet Club). I have a background in business and project management.