What is Amigurumi? Answering Beginner Questions

Getting starting with amigurumi? I’ve got you covered!

Amigurumi is the art of crocheting or knitting toys or dolls, although crocheting is much more commonly used. I’ve tried my hand at many crochet projects, but amigurumi is BY FAR my favorite to make. If you’re new to amigurumi and want to learn more about it, this blog post is for you. I want you to be as obsessed with it as I am, so I’ve answered all of the top questions that beginners have about amigurumi.

If I missed any of your questions, leave them in the comments section and I will answer it and add it to this post!

Many amigurumi dolls laying on a wooden floor

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What’s the difference between amigurumi and crochet?

Amigurumi is a type of crochet. Instead of crocheting blankets or sweaters, you are crocheting a stuffed toy or doll. So if you’ve made a three-dimensional crochet doll or toy before, you’ve already crocheted an amigurumi! Hooray!

While you can knit amigurumi, crochet is much more commonly used as it creates a thicker and tighter fabric better suited for stuffed toys.

For amigurumi, you’ll mainly be crocheting in the round. There’s also a few extra steps you may encounter like attaching pieces, stuffing, and embroidering a face.

How do you pronounce amigurumi?

Amigurumi is pronounced ah-mee-guh-roo-me. Like origami, which is the art of folding paper, amigurumi is a Japanese word. It’s a combination of two Japanese words – ami which means crocheted or knitted and nuigurumi meaning stuffed doll. To read about the history of amigurumi, check out this interesting post over on Felt Magnet.

Is amigurumi easy?

As with all crafts, there is a spectrum of difficulty when it comes to amigurumi. There are amigurumi patterns that are very easy and perfect for a beginner and there are more complex patterns for a more experienced crocheter.

What makes amigurumi potentially easier than other types of crochet is that it involves only a few crochet stitches and the projects are smaller and take less time to complete.

If you’re a seasoned crocheter, you’ll have to get used to crocheting with a smaller hook than you’re used to.

Whether or not you find amigurumi easy also just depends on how your brain works! While “normal” crochet patterns baffle me, I find amigurumi to be very straight-forward. You never know until you try!

crochet apple in a hand
Easy Pattern Apple ā€¢ Free
crochet octopus in someone's arms
Advanced pattern – Apollo the Octopus by Projectarian ā€¢ $10

What supplies do you need for amigurumi?

crochet owls surrounded by amigurumi crochet supplies
My Day & Night Owls pattern is a great one for beginners!

START WITH A PATTERN

The first thing you’ll want to do is start with an amigurumi pattern. While you can certainly make up your own pattern, if you’re just starting out it’s much easier to follow someone else’s pattern! I have lots of free amigurumi patterns available on this blog.

If you don’t know how to read a crochet pattern, you can also follow full-length pattern videos where you see how to make a crochet toy from start to finish. I have 2 full-length pattern videos you can check out on YouTube here!

THE BASIC SUPPLIES

Hooks – My favorite hooks are Clover Amour size B 2.25 mm, size C 2.75 mm, and size D 3.25 mm. If you’re a beginner, I would start with a size D 3.25 mm hook paired with worsted weight cotton or acrylic yarn. I would definitely recommend getting a hook with a rubber handle. When you’re using a smaller hook, a fully metal hook starts to hurt your fingers.

Yarn – I prefer using cotton or cotton blend lightweight yarn for amigurumi because there is less fuzziness which equals more stitch definition. Cotton yarn can be hard on the wrist and arm if you’re not using the right yarn, so start with a more forgiving acrylic yarn like Caron Simply Soft. And if you want to jump right into cotton yarns, check out my blog post all about the BEST cotton yarns for amigurumi.

Toy stuffing – The best toy stuffing I’ve used is Poly-fil. It’s soft, fluffy, light, and NOT lumpy. I’ve also seen people use yarn scraps, beans, or other things they have in their house. I’ve heard great things about cluster stuffing, but I haven’t personally used it.

Tapestry needle – You need a tapestry needle for weaving in your ends and closing your project. A tapestry needle is a needle with a dull tip and a large eye for threading yarn through. I like to use a thin tapestry needle and these are perfect for the job.

Stitch marker – Because you’re mainly crocheting in the round without joining each round (just continuously crocheting around), you’ll need a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of each round. You can use a safety pin or bobby pin if you have those already. But, I love using these Quick Locking Clover stitch markers. They don’t leave big holes in my work and opens just by giving it a tug.

Scissors – If you’re just starting out, use what you have lying around your house. And then when you get obsessed, switch to a cute and sharp pair of scissors like these amazing Gingher Stork scissors.

Supplies needed for adding a face

You can make amigurumi without a face – like crochet food – but faces make them so much cuter! You’ll need to add the following supplies to your toolkit for making a face. I usually embroider my faces because I prefer the look, it requires less supplies, and it makes it safer for young kids. It does take more practice to get embroidered eyes right, so if you want to keep it simple I’d recommend starting with safety eyes. But, if you’re up for the challenge, I wrote a whole blog post about how to embroider faces for amigurumi.

Embroidery needle – An embroidery needle has a sharp pointed tip with a larger eye than a sewing needle. The larger eye lets embroider thread pass easily through the eye. I use this set from DMC.

Embroidery floss or thin yarn – You’ll need black embroidery or fine yarn for embroidering the eyes, nose, and mouth. I use DMC Embroidery Floss (this link includes floss and embroidery needles!) which has 6 very fine strands in the thread. I’ll use 4-6 strands depending on how large my amigurumi is.

Safety eyes (optional) – If you don’t want to embroider the eyes, safety eyes are super simple to use and look really cute! For a small amigurumi made with worsted weight yarn, I’d recommend 9 mm black safety eyes.

To see all of my favorite supplies for amigurumi, check out this blog post!

Should I try amigurumi?

Short answer – YES ABSOLUTELY! But if my emphatic yes didn’t sway you, here are my top 5 reasons for trying amigurumi.

  1. It works up quickly – For a simple pattern, it could take only a couple hours from start to finish which I love. Most crochet projects take way longer than that!
  2. They make great gifts – Stuffed dolls and toys make perfect baby shower gifts. Crochet ornaments from amigurumi patterns are a great Christmas gift, too.
  3. There are endless patterns to choose from – There really is something for everyone. Like cats? You can find 1000s of different amigurumi patterns to chose from. Does your kid like frogs? Here’s a pattern for you!
  4. There’s only a few stitches you need to know – If you know how to single crochet, you’re 80% of the way to a finished crochet doll!
  5. They are the cutest things you can crochet – Tell me what’s cuter than a huggable bunny or a tiny snail made with yarn? NOTHING!

Where do you learn amigurumi?

I learned how to make amigurumi by watching YouTube videos. There are video tutorials for every technique you can imagine.

The following stitches and techniques are the main ones used in amigurumi. I’ve either linked to a great tutorial on it or included a YouTube video below it for you to reference!

Magic Ring
The magic ring starts most amigurumi patterns and makes it so your work doesn’t have a hole where you started.

Invisible Increase
You can also just do a regular single crochet increase (two single crochets in one stitch), but if you want even less stuffing show through, you can try an invisible increase!

Invisible Decrease
Unlike the invisible increase which isn’t mandatory, the invisible decrease IS ESSENTIAL!

Finishing off
Close your piece perfectly every time!

Attaching pieces
Attaching pieces is most amigurumi crocheters least favorite part of the process. But this tutorial makes it so much easier!

Embroidering a face
As I mentioned before, embroidery eyes and a face can be challenging, but hopefully I can demystify the process for you. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Free beginner amigurumi patterns to try

What is Amigurumi? Answering Beginners’ Questions

2 thoughts on “What is Amigurumi? Answering Beginner Questions

  1. What a great post, K! I love amigurumi! My youngest son has so many handmade toys and he loves all of them. Thanks for writing this up, I’m going to share it on my FB!

    Have a great day,
    Janelle

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