HiyaHiya recently had the pleasure of speaking to Rachel (@amiguru.me) about her wonderful Amigurumi Creatures, and she has kindly shared with us her 7 top tips for crocheting them! Read below to find out more…
My 7 Top Tips for Crocheting Amigurumi Creatures
What’s cuter than amigurumi? Nothing.
Amigurumi is the art of crocheting (or sometimes knitting) stylized, cartoonish creations.
The art form is defined by teeny tiny and adorable creatures, which can be anything – a cat, your favourite TV star, an elephant, a refrigerator. It’s also the cutest thing ever. And best of all, it’s pretty easy to master, so even beginners will get some great results.
Amigurumi were one of the first things I learned to crochet. Heck, amigurumi were one of the reasons I learned to crochet!
Here’s my 7 top tips for crocheting amigurumi creatures:
1. Pick your materials
First, choose your crochet hook. There is such a thing as knitted amigurumi, http://amiguru.me/knitted-amigurumi/ but it’s primarily a crocheted art form. Be sure to pick a hook you’re comfortable with, as all those tiny, tight stitches can be hard on the hands. Visit www.hiyahiya-europe.com/crochet-hooks to see their entire range!
Next, the yarn. Amigurumi is best worked with a smooth yarn which doesn’t split. Don’t use fun fur, as tempting as it is – it’s almost impossible to work at a small gauge. If you want an adorably fluffy creature, take a stiff brush and firmly brush your tightly stuffed creation. This will fuzz up your yarn nicely!
Amigurumi only uses scraps of yarn, so examine your stash before heading to the yarn store. If you’re anything like me, you find it almost impossible to throw out leftover yarn. You may not have enough in your stash to create a hat, but you almost certainly have enough for amigurumi. This can cause some funny combinations though, like the Darth Vader I made out of leftover cashmere!
Although I prefer to work with natural fibres, I’m not fussy when it comes to amigurumi – acrylic comes in such a lovely range of colours and are affordable.
Sort your stash by weight and let the colours inspire you. Yellow and white? Crochet an egg! Red and green? A tomato! (Food is one of my favourite things to make, can you tell?)
2. For once, you don’t have to swatch
Because amigurumi is so small, I don’t bother to swatch – just chain on, and if it doesn’t feel right after a few rows, rip it out! Okay, I guess that’s technically swatching, but somehow it doesn’t feel the same.
Swatching or not, gauge is always, always important. Amis tend to be worked quite tightly, so that no stuffing shows through. I generally use a 2.5mm hook with DK weight yarn, but use whatever size hook works with your yarn and produces a fabric you like. How firmly you stuff your creation will also affect how tight you want to work.
3. Play with scale
Why are tiny things so dang cute?? A teeny-tiny ami elephant is sure to produce squeals of delight. But if you think about it, the opposite is true as well. Giant raindrops are just as cute (and so simple to work!). And I adore my giant, huggable Happy Pill.
Here’s three simple short cuts for some adorable amis:
- Make a tiny thing big, or a big thing tiny – how about a cat that will fit in the palm of your hand, or a tomato the size of the throw pillow?
- Exaggerate proportions – make a sausage dog loooong, or what about a giraffe with a neck so long you could tie a knot in it?
- Work with contrasts – what about a huge head on a tiny body, or a puppy with teeny-tiny feets?
4. Get a little technical
Amigurumi is one of the simplest things you can do with crochet. So once you’re mastered the basics, why not push your skills?
Mastering the magic loop will make your creations look amazing. Learning to read a chart which will unlock a new world of patterns. A new stitch like the invisible decrease or jogless stripes will give you neater results. Or study a few simple formulas like how to create a circle, http://amiguru.me/how-to-crochet-a-circle/ and start creating your own patterns!
5. Stuffing and Finishing
When should you stuff your amigurumi? If you try and fill it up too soon, it will be difficult to finish. But too late, and you may get weird lumps of compressed stuffing.
There’s no hard and fast rule, but stuff your ami when (assuming you’re working decreases in the round) the opening you are working is about as big as the tip of your thumb. Just pinch off a bit of fibre fill and poke it in there with a pencil. http://amiguru.me/how-to-get-started-with-amigurumi/
Toy stuffing always seems to be sold in impractically large amounts, so why not embrace it? I bought a large bag of fibre fill cheaply online, and stuffed a pillow with it, which nicely solves the storage problem!
Weaving in your ends is a vital part of finishing your ami. Leave a long tail when you fasten off, and carefully weave it in, adjusting the shape by pinching and pulling if necessary. To hide the end, thread it through one side of your ami and out the other. Pull tight, and snip your yarn close to the surface. The yarn end will pop back inside and disappear. Check out HiyaHiya’s adorable animal snips for this part.
This is where your ami really comes to life! I’ve worked a variety of different faces on these adorable raindrops, so you can see how a simple change makes a big difference.
Different eyes at slightly different spaces apart make a toy look sweet, or dopey or friendly. Different smiles are great as well, and eyebrows can make all the difference to an expression.
I have used toy eyes here (which are cheap to buy and make a real difference), but you can use little buttons or embroider faces. If you’re making amigurumi for children, be sure not to use anything which could pop off – embroidered faces are much safer.
If you’re not confident, either browse ami pics and copy a face you like the look of (there’s nothing wrong with that!), or keep it simple and work the Eyes further apart and close to the mouth. Guaranteed cuteness.
You can find the simple pattern for these raindrops on my blog http://amiguru.me/crochet-amigurumi-raindrops/ – worked in only a handful of rounds, they’re great for experimenting with.
7. Get creative
Finally – be bold! Doodle in a sketchbook and design your own cute creatures. Amigurumi is a great way to stretch your creativity – small projects take only a little time and scraps of yarn, so go wild! How about designing a toy based on your favourite fandom? Crochet a potted plant for a would-be gardener, or if you know any bakers, trade a wee amigurumi cupcake for the real thing.
If you feel inspired to create anything based on this article, I’d love to see it! You can tag me on Instagram at @amiguru.me. I’d love to hear from you.
We’d like to say a huge thanks for these excellent suggestions, and we look forward to working with Rachel in the future!
What amigurumis have you been inspired to make? Let us know in the comments!