Tips to Learning Amigurumi


Whether you are new to amigurumi or you've made you're fair share, this post is intended to provide helpful tips to learning the joyous techniques of the trade!

We will cover common language used in amigurumi patterns along with photos to help you learn the basics.


My goal here was to make this a resource that you can come to anytime you're met with something that seems unfamiliar in amigurumi. So, it's kind of lengthy, feel free to PIN this to your favorite board so you can refer back to it anytime!


I absolutely love questions! If I don't know the answer I enjoy researching it so I can learn it too! Joining the Grace and Yarn Crochet Group on Facebook is a great way to reach out with your questions (or to share what you've made and your favorite go-to patterns!). 

Amigurumi is usually worked in the round, meaning you won't join each round unless otherwise noted. 


You will want to use stitch markers to mark either the first or last round as you go so you don't lose your place. They can be purchased or you can use a scrap piece of yarn, bobby pin or safety pin!  

When you are stuffing be sure to stuff it firmly (you are working to find the point just before the stitches start to stretch). Over time your stuffing will settle and 'squish' down, stuffing firmly to begin with help it to stay firm!

If you are new to amigurumi and have any questions about what materials to use, read this post here to see my favorites! 

This post may contain affiliate links, please click here for more info. Thank you for supporting Grace and Yarn!

Below are some of the common abbreviations and terms you are likely to come across in amigurumi patterns:

US Crochet Abbreviations -

MC - Magic Circle
SC - Single Crochet
SC INC - Single Crochet Increase (complete 2 single crochets into one stitch)
HDC - Half Double Crochet
HDC INC - Half Double Crochet Increase (complete 2 half double crochets into one stitch)
DC - Double Crochet
DC INC - Double Crochet Increase (complete 2 double crochets into one stitch)
INV DEC - Invisible Decrease 
Rpt - Repeat
Sl St - Slip Stitch
Ch - Chain
Blo - Back loop only 
Flo - Front loop only 
YO - Yarn Over

Magic Circle-

A magic circle (also called an adjustable loop) is the most common way to start amigurumi. 

1. Leaving about a 4 inch tail wrap the yarn into a circle as in the photos below. 
2. Hold the loop by placing your fingers over the part where the working yarn crosses over the tail.
3. Insert your hook into the circle, yarn over, pull through and chain 1
4. You're magic circle is now ready to start as your pattern instructs (ex: if round one says 6 SC you will complete 6 SC around the loop)
5. Pull your tail tight to close



Invisible Decrease- 

This is the preferred way to decrease in amigurumi, it keeps the decrease tight and avoids the 'bump' of a regular SC decrease.  

An invisible decrease happens over two stitches, insert your hook into the front loop of the first stitch and then into the front loop of the second stitch (you will have 3 loops on your hook), yarn over, pull through two loops (you will have 2 loops left on your hook), yarn over again and pull through all loops on the hook. 

You've just made an invisible decrease!



Invisible Color Join - 

When changing colors it can have a jagged look because we are working in rounds. This method helps the colors change smoothly.

When you are completing the last stitch before you are instructed to change colors you will complete the first half of the stitch with your old color and finish the stitch with your new color.

Meaning, you will insert your hook into your stitch, yarn over with the old color and pull through, now drop your old color and use your new color to yarn over and finish the stitch by pulling through all loops on your hook.



You now have your new color on your hook. I like to tie off my old color here if I'm not carrying it to change again, (like in Mia and Marshall the Frog). 

As you start your next round, complete the first stitch as a slip stitch instead of a sc. When you come back around to start your next round be sure to sc into your slip stitch as a regular stitch.

Above I mentioned how you can carry colors when changing often. I used this in my frog patterns to create their striped outfits. Because, I was changing back and forth quite often that would create a LOT of loose ends. 

Instead, I would drop the yarn, change to the new one and when it was time to change again I would drop and go back to the color I had. I continued this all the way up and then tied off when I was completely done. This saves time, which is quite nice!


Here's an example of the inside of Marshall the Frog, you can see where I carried the yarn and only had to tie off at the end!



Front and Back Loop Only-

This is usually used in the feet or bodies of amigurumi. In a foot it helps it to have a flat bottom to work up (like in this cow pattern).

 I also like to use it to attach to later and make a skirt or ruffle along a dress (see Holly the Honey Bear for an example. The pattern uses back loop only on one row of the body, we later attach to it and make the ruffled part of her dress!)

When crocheting, the front loops are closest to you and the back loops are away from you (on the inside of the round)



Tension-

This section is short and sweet. You want a tight tension so that your stitches are close together, if they are loose they will have gaps that your stuffing will show through.

I like to have my hook help control my tension, we don't want your hands to hurt from trying to crochet really tightly.

I recommend starting with a 3.5mm (or one close in size if you don't have this on hand). If you feel your stitches are too loose go down a size (maybe try a 3mm or 2.75mm).

If your stitches are too tight (meaning you are having trouble getting your hook into the stitch) try a 4mm hook. Once you find your favorite hook size to use you will find yourself reaching for it every time!

These recommendations are based on using #4 worsted weight yarn. You can also use chunky yarn or cotton yarn, but because they have a different thickness you will want to adjust. Example, I use 4-4.5mm for chunky yarn and 3mm for cotton!

Sewing Parts Together-

I like to use the whip stitch to sew on my limbs and heads. A lot of you have shared that you enjoy it too!

Most patterns will have this noted, but it is good to leave a long tail when fastening off (we're talking probably 12 inches long) to use later for sewing that part on.

As I mentioned in my materials for amigurumi post, the bent tip needles really work wonders to get into the stitches!



Using pins to hold each part in place can help you line them up where you want them, this is completely optional.

Example with the picture above we're sewing on the arm, you would insert your hook into a stitch on the body and then into a stitch across the top of the arm, pull through. Complete this across the arm to secure. I sometimes will go back across to add extra strength. Secure with a knot and then push your needle through the body and bring the yarn out the other side, cut the string and it's done!

Crochet Eyes and Plastic Safety Eyes-

Most amigurumi are made with plastic safety eyes (some with plastic safety noses)! These are super easy to install. They come as two parts, the eye and the washer. 

Insert your eyes into the desired stitches (move them around if needed to get the look you are going for, once the washers are on there's no getting them back off to move them!). 

If you are sewing on eyelashes be sure to do so before attaching your eyes, it will be much easier to have them lined up!


Your washer will have a curve to it, you will want the curve to cup your eye to be installed properly. Push the washer tightly to bring together (you will hear some clicks).



Plastic safety eyes are recommended for children over 3, if you would like an alternative I have a tutorial for crochet eyes here!

I hope this has been a helpful tutorial! If you're looking for a pattern to get started check out the Cuddly Caterpillar, she's great for beginners!

What is your favorite tip for making amigurumi? Have I missed something you would like added? Leave a comment below!

No comments

Powered by Blogger.