Tag Archives: toys

Amigurumi Tips

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!

Garden Mouse Mobile Amigurumi

Photo: WhiteMageKnits

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.IMG_20150708_035943

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!

Elephant Amigurumi Knit

Photo: WhiteMageKnits

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Quick craft update & poor photographs

My daughter is turning 2 in just a few days and I have been sewing away as often as possible for a few weeks now. I finished these up five or so days ago but decided to take some quick pictures before wrapping them up. Some I made the patterns for myself, some  printed from Google images, and some I winged it on. I will do a video on the subject soon (after Marley opens them) and provide sources for the patterns I printed both here and in the description.

The pattern for the strawberries I did myself. I looked at many photos for inspiration but pretty much followed the process shown here. I found the photo collage of the process on Google images when searching “felt strawberries”.

The pattern for the pancakes I printed this image. The page can be found here. I opened this template in paint, cut out the ones I didn’t want to do, and printed the ones I did all on one page. I try to save paper and ink as much as possible!

For the bread I looked at a a bunch of templates but ended up taking the bread part of this one and adding it to the breakfast one. The page for this sandwich post can be found here. Looking at her post it looks like she did her stitching outside (I did mine inside and flipped it) so our end products look a little different.

The banana pattern I drew my own template for. This was my first felt food item I made. I had looked at a bunch of different ways to do them on my tablet. I was tired and too lazy to go to the computer and find/print a template so I just drew up my own on the back of a botched Christmas card. You just make a rounded diamond shape, cut 3 white and 3 yellow. I wanted to add a small dark brown circle to the bottom but I never made it to the store to get the felt. I sewed two of the peel parts down and left one up. The hardest part was shoving the banana into the peel. There are many more realistic ones I saw online but I was going for simple.

For the ice cream cone (which was my favorite) I used this template. I did not cut any Velcro, and ended up cutting the circle for the scoop much larger. First I embroidered the detail on the cone, then sewed the top to it and stuffed it. Then I threaded around the outside of the scoop circle, pulled it tight, stuffed it, then sewed it to the scoop bottom (it’s referred to as edge in the pattern and I’m unsure how she did it but I only cut one and didn’t cut out the inner circle). My sewing is never neat or tidy, I probably nearly broke my needle threading it in and out of the ball and the bottom piece over and over. I tied it to secure, then did the same thing (messily sewing round and round) stitching the ice cream to the cone. When I was satisfied with the way it looked I tied it off.

The template for the eggs came from the same place as the pancakes. [See above] However, this one would be the easiest to free-hand!

Lastly, the sandwich toppings. The cheese, lettuce, peanut butter, and jelly all came from this template here. I had to cut two pieces for the peanut butter and sew them together because the only felt I could find in the right color had leopard print on the back of it.

So there you have it! They look so much better in real life! When I record and post the video of all of them I will post the link here. I love hand-sewing and these food items were so much fun to make! I would be sewing more if I weren’t so busy. Happy crafting!