4 Tips for Crocheting Amigurumi Figures

“Amigurumi” is a Japanese term that refers to crocheted or knitted toys. It is a style of crafting to make stuffed figures that look like people, animals, food and other inanimate objects. Crocheting in the amigurumi style entails working in spirals and increasing and decreasing stitches to shape figures’ bodies. Once you have learned the basic techniques for amigurumi, you can start crafting your own pieces right away. However, to ensure that you make the best possible figures, it is important that you use quality materials and special creative techniques as you grow in your experience with this unique crafting technique.

1. Sketch out how you want your amigurumi figure to look.
Drawing a sketch of how you want your finished amigurumi figure to look is a good habit that is helpful to the creative process. Even if you are using a pattern with charts and photographs of the intended project, sketching out how you expect the figure to look allows you to better visualize the finished piece. You can consult your sketch as well as the provided illustrations as you make your amigurumi figure to ascertain that it is developing as both you and the pattern’s creator planned. The drawing also helps pick out any problems that may occur as you work. If you a crocheting a figure without using a pattern, the sketch will be very useful in informing you where to make increases and decreases, where to attach appendages and how the piece should be stuffed to give proper bulk to the body.

2. Select quality yarn.
Choosing cotton, acrylic, wool or another fiber for crocheting amigurumi figures is mostly a matter of personal choice, although you should keep in mind that certain natural fibers are susceptible to shrinkage if you ever plan on washing your finished project. To a newcomer to crocheting, inexpensive yarn may seem like the best choice for beginner projects. Though cheap yarn may seem more cost effective for amigurumi projects, you must keep in mind that you are creating a stuffed animal or similar piece that will potentially be around for a long time. Crocheting in the amigurumi style makes tight, somewhat bumpy stitches. If you use a cheap, scratchy yarn, your finished figures will be about as cuddly as a scrubbie used for washing dishes. Regardless of what type of fiber you choose for your crafting, make sure that you use a soft yarn when crocheting amigurumi pieces. One way to test whether your yarn is soft enough to make an amigurumi stuffed animal is to rub the skein gently against your cheek. If it feels abrasive, choose a different yarn that feels more comfortable against your skin. The better quality yarn you use, the better quality your amigurumi projects will be.

3. Use a “magic ring” to begin your project.
There are some different ways to begin “working in the round,” the circular method of crocheting used in amigurmi. One method is to crochet a small number of chain stitches and join them into a circle by making a slip stitch into the first chained stitch. You can then either make single stitches into the chain stitches themselves, or work directly into the circle, crocheting around the chain stitches. Both of these methods are useful. However, they often create unwanted gaps or bumps that might diminish the quality of your amigurumi figure. The solution is to use the “magic ring” technique, which creates a tight starting point without any holes or unsightly bumps. To make the magic ring, wrap your yarn once around your finger to make a loop. Insert your crochet hook into the loop, catch the yarn and draw up a slip stitch. Remove your finger and make the prescribed number of beginning single crochet stitches into the center of your loop following your pattern’s instructions or your envisioned design. Once all of the starting stitches have been made, pull the loose end of the yarn tightly to close the loop. The gap will disappear and you can proceed normally with the rest of your project.

4. Choose “safety eyes.”
You have a few options when adding eyes to your amigurumi figures. You can sew on buttons, embroider over the crocheted stitches with thin yarn or embroidery thread, or possibly glue on felt circles. Another option is to attach “safety eyes.” These embellishments are normally used for manufactured, store-bought stuffed animals. They feature a round, semi-spherical top attached to a post. You attach them by poking the post through the crocheted stitches, so that the actual eye part is on the outside of the amigurumi figure’s body. This must be done before you have stuffed and finished crocheting the figure’s head, so that you can access the inside of the work. A washer is attached to each post to keep the eyes in place. Safety eyes give your amigurumi projects a professional look, and can increase their cuteness or realism. Safety eyes are also typically safe for making toys for pets and babies, as the embellishments are permanently affixed to the stuffed body. Unless you absolutely wish to use alternative choices for eyes, safety eyes are your best option. They are sold at relatively inexpensive prices by craft supplies and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, so you are sure to find a set that fits in ideally with the rest of your creative amigurumi design.

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