Hints and Tips for Crocheting Amigurumi
Amigurumi is a Japanese word for crochet (or knitted) dolls. Amigurumi have swept the crochet world and crocheters have taken these little dolls or toys to their hearts. Amigurumi are usually quirky and can be dolls, animals, plants, food or anything else that ingenious crocheters can dream up. There are some truly original and amazing Amigurumi patterns and many designers kindly post patterns for Amigurumi on line free for crocheters to use. Amigurumi patterns may look a little scary to some crocheters because some of the techniques and ideas are a little different. However, as Amigurumi all use basic crochet stitches, they can make a very suitable and fun project for beginning crocheters. Here are a few hints and tips from an experienced crocheter to help you when crocheting Amigurumi.
Print a copy of your chosen Amigurumi pattern, even with a purchased pattern it is permissible to do so, providing the copy is strictly for your own use. Amigurumi patterns may require lots of counting and it is easy to lose your way in the pattern. A paper copy on which you can write notes, cross out each round as you go, or scribble notes to yourself, makes life much easier.
One generally crochets Amigurumi in the round, rather than in rows. Many patterns tell you to begin using the magic circle, or ring, technique and this certainly makes for a tighter and more professional finish. Video tutorials are available on line to help you to learn this useful skill. It is a very simple trick to learn and will transform your Amigurumi. The magic circle technique also makes for a neater centre to granny squares, doilies and other crochet articles. There are also video tutorial for other techniques useful to know, when crocheting Amigurumi.
Crocheting in rounds can be a little confusing and many patterns tell you to use yarn scraps in a contrasting colour to mark the beginning or end of each round. Many crocheters find that these work themselves out, when constantly handling and turning the work. The special lockable safety pins, which mothers use for fastening babies’ cloth diapers, or nappies, which come in different colours, make much better, and more definite, stitch markers, or you can buy lockable stitch markers in some craft shops.
When crocheting Amigurumi your gauge or tension needs to be firm and tight, otherwise the stuffing will show through the crochet stitches. You might need to use a smaller hook than the pattern says to get your tension gauge right.
Stagger increases and decreases, otherwise you will get visible lines which will spoil the finished appearance of your project. The invisible decrease technique will save your project from bobbly decreases. Bobbly decreases will show, detracting from your finished article.
Your Amigurumi figure will stand and hold its shape better if you fill it firmly, stinting on filling is a mistake. It is sometimes easier, especially with smaller pieces to fill each part as you go rather than waiting until you have crocheted the whole thing before filling it. If you want your Amigurumi to sit or stand, consider using plastic pellets, available at craft stores, to weight it in the right places. You can put the pellets into nylon knee high or cut an old (clean) pair of panty hose or tights at the knee and use it to hold the pellets in the correct place, tying the sock off to make a tight sack. To use this contraption, place a little soft stuffing in first, then the sack, and then more soft stuffing on top.
Finally, do follow safety rules, when crocheting Amigurumi, especially for children, babies, and pets. Do not attach anything to your Amigurumi toy that could become detached and cause a choking or swallowing hazard. You can either embroider facial features or ask your local craft or yarn store to recommend the safest option. Use safe, machine washable stuffing, your local yarn or craft store will advise you as to the best filling to use. Speciality and fluffy yarns can shed fibres, which can block windpipes and cause choking hazards.
Amigurumi are fun, interesting and exciting to make. It is thrilling to see a distinct personality emerging from your hook. They make a great project for novice crocheters, who can learn many crochet techniques, which will be very useful to them on other crochet projects, furthering their crochet knowledge. By following the above hints and tips, you can enjoy making these fun, quirky figures.