One of the first things I taught myself to crochet was an amigurumi cupcake – I have never been one to start with a simple project, and I thought a cupcake would be fitting to go with the name I was crafting under. I have come a long way since that little cupcake (please excuse the dust on the top, she has been sitting on a shelf above my desk for almost eight years now).
If you are unfamiliar with Amigurumi, it is simply the term used for the art of the creation of small stuffed crochet or knitted creatures and/or dolls. The term is derived from two Japanese words: ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.
Generally, crochet amigurumi are constructed using a very small crochet hook (usually ranging in size from 2.5mm to 4mm). The smaller and more complex the creation, the more difficult it is to prefect. Amigurumi are created using a single crochet stitch and are done in the round. This term refers to the fact that the “rows” are worked into a circle and are not joined with a slip stitch – there is no visual beginning or end to a round so a stitch marker and/or counting stitch method is necessary to keep track of where you are in the pattern. I promise you, it really is not as confusing as it sounds. The Crochet Guru on YouTube has an excellent tutorial for crocheting in the round. We will dive into more amigurumi tips and techniques in future posts.
Embellishments are also an important part of amigurumi. Safety Eyes (or buttons) are required for facial features. I purchase mine on Etsy – there are so many bulk crafting shoppes there to chose from. Embroidery floss is also often used to create facial features or to shape the ami’s face. Felt is a great media to use for creating clothing for your creations. Pipecleaners are another item that is frequently used in the creation of amigurumi to produce poseable limbs.
When using embellishments, you must be sure to keep your target customer in mind. For example, if you are creating toys for small children, buttons and safety eyes are not the best choice as they may be a choking hazard, alternatively, you will have to stitch facial features on. Also, the use of felt and pipecleaners makes your ami unable to be washed… if you are creating toys for small children, parents may request that the toys be washable, so you will need to get creative in how you make your characters. Washing has never been a concern for my amigurumi as the majority of them are created for collectors and are not used for toys.
There are hundreds of adorable amigurumi patterns available online, both free and for purchase. Regardless of which patterns you choose, always try to add a modification to make your creation unique… change up the colours or make a small addition. I frequently add additional facial features or use a sewing technique to shape faces. But note – regardless of the addition of modifications, this does NOT make a pattern your own, copyright is still maintained by the pattern author.
Have you created amigurumi of your own? I would love to see them! Comment below or share them on twitter.