5 Easy Tips to Make Your Amigurumi Better
Have you ever found a really great amigurumi pattern or gotten a great idea for one? Then you grab some yarn and your hook and get to work. But maybe your end result is not quite what you were expecting. We’ve all been there. That’s why I wanted to share these 5 easy tips will make your amigurumi better.
From gappy stitches that reveal stuffing to yarn that breaks or a floppy head, it’s easy to get frustrated.
Here’s one of the very first amigurumis I ever made.
HOWEVER, I learned some tips that massively improved not only my skills, but the overall appearance of my amigurumis in general. If it seems too easy, that’s because it is! These 5 easy tips will dramatically improve your finished project!
5 Easy Tips to Improve Your Amigurumi
1. Hook Size
When you first learn to crochet, generally you’ll follow the yarn label and use the recommended hook size. I know I did, even though sometimes it didn’t seem to make sense (but more on mislabeled yarns later…)
And especially if you’re making a sweater or a hat, going by the recommended hook size isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Amigurumi is different.
You don’t want any stuffing showing through at the end, so your stitches need to be not only tighter, but SMALLER.
Go down a hook size (or several).
Yup. It’s seriously that easy.
Here’s an example:
If you’re not sure what size to use, make a little swatch. Grab the yarn you’ll use and go down to the smallest hook you think will still be able to grab the yarn. If you can crochet easily (the yarn isn’t falling off or splitting every second), then it’ll probably work.
2. Materials vs. Purpose
Sometimes you’re in a yarn shop and you freeze because you just caught sight of the most beautiful yarn ball you’ve ever seen. You HAVE to have it! (No judgement. Totally did this last week.)
Stay with me through this hypothetical, I promise I have a point.
So you take your prize home and decide it would be beautiful worked up in say, a teddy bear pattern. You immediately get to work and halfway through the yarn starts fraying and breaking…
I’ve had this happen on several occasions. Unfortunately, amigurumis generally require sturdier yarn, ESPECIALLY when you’re seaming. Nothing is more frustrating than having your yarn snap midway through sewing on an ear.
BEFORE you dive into a project, it’s a good idea to consider your materials vs. their purpose.
Is this a toy that a child will play with or will it decorate your shelf?
If this will be a kid’s toy, how young are they?
These are important questions because some materials are not suitable for really young kids or will not hold up well to play over time.
Let me give you an example.
My stepdaughter is 6, soon to be 7, and she LOVES playing with all the toys I’ve made. Now because she’s older I’m not worried about safety eyes being a choking hazard, but some of my older toys are made out of wool blends that are much more delicate than the cotton I use now.
Thankfully she also doesn’t have a wool allergy.
Those older toys are showing signs of wear much faster and the yarn is fraying. Some of my older toys made out of cotton though are faring much better.
I generally use 100% cotton for my amigurumi, but some people don’t like how rough some cottons can be. In which case, acrylic is fine too. It’s up to you and your project.
And if you’re just making that adorable bear so it can decorate your wall or desk, use whatever yarn you want!
3. Yarn Under Technique
I’ll be totally transparent here and say that some people hate this technique. If you try it and hate it, just use the regular single crochet. It’s totally up to you.
That being said, have you ever seen a really beautiful amigurumi on Instagram and wondered how the maker got their stitches to look like an x and so tight?
I kept seeing this on social media and it kept bugging me that my stitches didn’t look that clean like theirs. I felt like I was missing something. After some web sleuthing through tutorials and blogs I found the answer.
You just yarn under instead of over when you single crochet.
I’m not kidding it’s THAT easy.
As a disclaimer, this technique only works in the round because the back of the stitch doesn’t match the front.
4. Invisible Decrease
Have you ever noticed that decreases leave big gaps or that they stick out like a sore thumb?
You’ve probably seen beautiful Instagram photos of amigurumi that look absolutely seamless and wondered how they did it.
The Invisible Decrease! It is exactly how it sounds and it’s super easy:
Insert your hook into the front loop of the next stitch, then insert your hook into the front loop of the next stitch, yarn over, pull through the 1st loop ONLY, then yarn over again and pull through all 3 loops.
If you’re a visual learner, check out this quick video where I demonstrate the invisible decrease.
This creates a seamless appearance that is not only tighter, so stuffing won’t show through, but keeps all your stitches looking uniform and even.
When you first start making amigurumi it’s really easy to either not put enough stuffing or put way too much.
Knowing exactly how much to add is something that will get easier with practice, especially because some designs work better with varying amounts. But these tips will ease some of that confusion.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to stuff an amigurumi with more stuffing than you think it needs because it does deflate over time. However, if it is so packed that your stitches are becoming gappy, you’ve put too much.
Smaller parts of amigurumis needs to be stuffed a little differently depending on the pattern.
For example, really thin tubes that make a doll arm probably need minimal stuffing if none at all. If your toy needs to stand on its own, the legs most likely need to be stuffed much fuller than the arms.
In my Sammie the Turtle Pattern the tail is worked in a cone shape, but isn’t stuffed at all.
- Go down a hook size.
- Match your materials to your purpose.
- Yarn Under.
- Invisible Decrease
- Adding the right amount of stuffing.
These 5 easy tips can take your amigurumi projects to the next level. Leave a comment below if this article was helpful or if you would like more tips like this from me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re itching to give these tips a try, check out my free Nico the Narwhal pattern! Subscribe to my email list to stay up to date with new posts and receive some exclusive goodies!