I love amigurumis. They just make my day. The endless possibilities to adapt and adjust your creation to maximize its level of adorable are so fun to toy with (pun intended). If you haven’t heard of this term before, here’s a quick breakdown.
Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting small yarn creatures. They are meant to be incorrectly proportioned because the main goal is to create something that will make you sob because you are overcome with cuteness.
Have you tried crocheting an adorable amigurumi, but it just doesn’t turn out right and you’re stuck with a saggy, floppy, holey mess? That was me when I first started out and it was beyond frustrating. I’ve come up with my top 5 tips for improving your amigurumi skills so you can create the perfect, plump, plush every time!
#1 – Your yarn choice matters!
Choosing the right yarn is imperative to creating the perfect amigurumi. While some yarns might seem like a great idea because they are soft and shiny, these are usually the worst choices. Your fabric will be too stretchy and slippery, which makes seaming and stitching more difficult. This will also lead to a risk of your amigurumi falling apart because your seams might come undone.
I always opt for a robust acrylic yarn. I don’t always choose the softest yarns available, because again, they are usually a bit slippery. You want something that will hold and almost fuse together once it’s been worked up. Here are some of my favourite acrylic options:
#2 – Choose a smaller hook than what your yarn suggests
Some might say I’m wrong, but this is my one trick that works every single time. Decrease your hook size by 0.50-1.00mm than what the yarn label suggests. If you are using a worsted yarn (4) and it suggests a hook size of 9-I/5.50mm, go down to H-8/5.00mm or 7/4.50mm. This will decrease the amount of space between your stitches. Decreasing the space between your stitches will help reduce the amount of stuffing you might see through the fabric. A solid piece of fabric is obviously ideal for a stuffed toy, but where’s the fun in that?! No crochet involved! Try your best to create the same effect with a smaller hook.
#3 – Maintain a tight gauge
This goes hand-in-hand with using a smaller hook. It’s really important to maintain a tighter than normal gauge. Not so tight that your fabric becomes warped and impossible to work with, but tight enough that you can’t see through the fabric. Your crocheted fabric should not be very stretchy. If it is, that means when you go to stuff your plush the fabric will stretch and you will be able to see the stuffing. I find gauge to be the most important thing to be aware of when working with amigurumi. As soon as I started paying more attention to my gauge, my creations tightened up, maintained their shape, and didn’t stretch out. This will take some practice, as everyone has a different gauge the find most comfortable.
#4 – Always opt for larger safety eyes
This is a secret of mine that I find adds to the adorable-ness of amigurumi creations. Safety eyes are plastic eyes with a post on the back that is inserted into your amigurumi. Each eye comes with a fastener/washer that clips into place, so the eye cannot be removed. Smaller eyes are cheaper, and for the longest time I wanted to spend as little as possible on supplies. Something about the amigurumi I was making always looked off! When I ran out of my tiny safety eyes and went to place a new order, my normal size was sold out. Begrudgingly, I increased the size of eyes I was using. And what do you know? I loved the way it looked! See the difference below:
The eyes on the left were 8mm and the eyes on the right were 15mm. It’s amazing what such a small difference can do! Amazon will be your best friend for purchasing safety eyes.
#5 – Stuff with larger handfuls rather than tiny pieces
This last tip was my saving grace when it comes to amigurumi creation, and I figured it out by accident. First, it’s important to always overstuff your amigurumi. Not to the point where the fabric is stretching, but so the poly-fil or stuffing you are using is very dense and can’t be compacted easily. Here’s the tip that will take your quality of amigurumi higher than ever: stuff with larger portions of poly-fil at a time, rather than tiny tufts. Using one large piece of poly-fil, squishing as much as possible into your crocheted piece, and then removing any leftovers, is the key to proportionate stuffing. Using tiny pieces at a time may seem easier, but it will result in a lumpy plush.
So there you have it, my top 5 tips for improving your amigurumi skills. Now that you have these tips and tricks, you are ready for my next free pattern release! Next Friday I will be releasing my beloved Mighty Cthulhu pattern. After years and years of requests for this pattern, I have decided it’s finally time to share it with the world, for free. Stay tuned!
Let me know in the comments if you have had any luck with these tips, or if you have any of your own to share! And as always, you can tag me in your amazing creations on Instagram @strings.and.things. Happy crocheting!