One of my favorite things to knit is amigurumi. Amigurumi is the art of knitting and/or crocheting stuffed toys. These projects mostly take small amounts of yarn, can be done with any weight, and can be easily customized. It took me a long time to figure out the ins and outs of creating lovely little stuffies. I decided to put together a list of tips for anyone new to knitting or crocheting amigurumi. I hope you find it helpful!
Gauge doesn’t matter. – You want to use a hook or needle two sizes smaller than recommended. If you’re a lose knitter you can even go another size down. It’s better to knit with a smaller needle than to try knitting super tight.
Don’t over stuff. – With crochet you can stuff a bit more than knit. If you want a firm toy, go for crochet. If you soft and squishy, go knit. Reason being, it’s easier to see stuffing through knit stitches. Remember it’s easier to stuff as you go for skinny items like some arms, horns, etc.
Stuff with stuff! – You can stuff with just about anything! I prefer to use polyfil for toys that will be given to children because they will need more washing and it stays nice and fluffy. If it’s something for an adult (or myself) I prefer to use wool. You can also stuff with rice, pellets, yarn or fabric scraps, etc. I’ve even taken the stuffing from an old ripped up stuffed animal Marley Jane didn’t want anymore. (Reduce, reuse, recycle!)
Customize! – Use different weights and textures of yarn. Make the ears or arms different than the pattern calls for. Change it up and make it your own. Pattern calls for safety eyes and you don’t have them? Try embroidery, buttons, or felt. I like to needle-felt some details such as the pink insides of ears, hearts, glasses, etc. For children under three use embroidery and sewing instead.
Assembly – Some people prefer to assemble after all of the parts have been made. Some prefer to do it as you go. If you pick up stitches where you want to place your appendages (instead of casting on and then attaching later) you’ll save yourself some time. Two detailed tutorials on this can be found here for knitting or here for crochet.
Weaving in ends – When you thread in your lose ends put the needle in close to where you are and bring it out on the other side of your toy. This way when you cut it the tail is left inside. The tail is less likely to come lose and begin sticking out this way. It is also very useful if you ever need to do maintenance on your toy. Always split the yarn before weaving in your ends with super bulky yarn.
Get in the loop! – For crochet use the magic loop cast on to avoid a hole at the beginning. For knitters that do not want to use double pointed needles (they can be intimidating) check out the magic loop method! You can also use this method to knit two things at the same time. This is especially helpful for legs, arms, and ears. When knitting toys for my twins I always do this.
So there you have it! My tips and tricks of the trade. Featured is the most recent amigurumi I have done. It is a mouse from The Garden Mice Mobile by Susan Anderson. I used worsted weight instead of the lightweight the pattern calls for. To see more of my amigurumi works you can find me on facebook and instagram. Once you’ve made a few it’s easy to begin designing your own. You can also mash different patterns together. The elephants below are modified. I free-handed the ears to add to Anna Hrachovec’s pattern, Bob. Any tips you would add? Let me know in the comments below! Happy crafting!