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Learn Amigurumi: The Adorable Art of Knitting and Crocheting Small Creatures

Crochet Amigurumi

Stock Photos from Elena Schweitzer/Shutterstock
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Learning handcrafts like crochet can bring you joy for a lifetime. The skills gained offer you the chance to exercise your creativity while challenging you to produce bigger and better things. Although the endless possibilities might seem daunting, crochet is easy to get started; there are just a couple of tools and basic techniques you need to know. From there, you can grow increasingly advanced in your work and try different facets of the field.

When you’re first learning crochet, scarves are a popular place to start; after all, it’s simply a long rectangle! But once you grow more comfortable with your crochet hook and are ready to take on more challenging projects, there are ways to create your own small sculptures. Using the techniques of amigurumi, you can construct plush toys that are as cute as they are fun to make.

What is amigurumi?

Amigurumi is a popular type of crochet. The word is a portmanteau of two Japanese terms: ami, which means crocheted or knitted; and nuigurumi, a stuffed doll. It often takes the form of an animal or fantastical creature with an aesthetic that’s best described as kawaii or cute. This makes amigurumi ideal for kids or anyone that likes button noses and rosy cheeks.

Amigurumi exploded in popularity in the early aughts, particularly because it caught on in the West. Thanks to sites like Etsy, Pinterest, and the online knit and crochet community Ravelry, the influence of these dolls only grew. Now, you can buy them fully formed by a crocheter, or craft your own using a pattern—many of these directions are available to purchase online. (We’ve selected some of our favorites here!)

Crochet Amigurumi

Stock Photos from Oksana_Slepko/Shutterstock

Supplies Needed for Amigurumi

Amigurumi is an accessible form of crochet that both beginners and seasoned crafters can enjoy. It uses basic techniques that include the single stitch, double stitch, and invisible decrease. Before you get started crocheting, make sure you have these tools on hand.

Yarn — There are a lot of yarns that exist on the market, and not all of them are good for crochet amigurumi. A yarn that is too fluffy can be challenging to work with (especially when using a small hook), and the fuzzy fibers can obscure the details in your doll. Here are three popular types of yarn for amigurumi:

  • 100% cotton and mercerized cotton yarn. This type of yarn is tightly spun so you won’t see any fibers.
  • Semi-cotton blend (50% cotton, 50% acrylic) yarn. If you select this yarn, it will be more lightweight and can be machine washed. Depending on your project, the semi-cotton blend might be the best choice. It’s not as heavy as 100% cotton yarn, meaning stitches won’t as easily pull out of shape the larger your project gets.
  • Acrylic yarn. If you are budget conscious for your crochet, then acrylic yarn will get you the most bang for your buck. There are some drawbacks, however; it can be fibrous and be hard to see details, and the yarn can pull out of shape easily if it’s not stitched tight enough.

Small gauge crochet hook — You’ll want a small gauge hook for amigurumi because you don’t want the stuffing of the doll to show through. Refer to your pattern for what size of hook to use.

Stuffing — Stuffing (such as polyester or cotton) will give your doll shape and bring it to life.

Pipe cleaners or floral wire — Some, but not all, amigurumi have posable features. Pipe cleaners or floral wire can be used as armatures to make the doll “move.”

Pebbles — If you want to ensure that your creation will stay standing, small stones can be used to distribute the weight on the bottom of the doll.

Where to Learn Amigurumi

What is Amigurmi?

Photo: Kawaii Amigurumi Crochet: Adorable Animals & Friends

The online learning site Skillshare has a couple of classes that will teach you the basics of the craft as well as demonstrate how to design your own creature.

Try these classes:

YouTube also has tutorials available, and many of the free videos break down the process into simple steps.

Studio Crafti, for instance, shares how to make a standard head and body shape.

Chisette Designs demonstrates the best way to connect your amigurumi pieces.

 

Amigurumi Patterns to Try Today

Ready to start crocheting your cute doll? Here are some of our favorite amigurumi patterns, kits, and dolls available now!

 

André The Anteater Pattern

 

Pikachu Pattern

What is Amigurumi?

Aradiya Toys | $4.99

 

Master Yoda and R2D2 Pattern

 

Happy Veggies Toys

 

Ollie the Soth Pattern

 

Carlotta the Fawn Pattern

 

Marla the Unicorn Pattern

 

Budgie Pattern

 

Crochet Bunnies

 

Flying Saucer Kit

What is Amigurumi?

Lalyla Supplies | $46.04+

 

Pedro the Donkey Pattern

 

Sheep Pattern

 

Oh My Llama Pattern

 

Crochet Kitty Pattern

Amigurumi Crochet

Ami Amore | $4.25

 

Percy the Squid Pattern

 

Horace the Stegosaurus Pattern

 

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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