If you have even a passing interest in the fabric arts, lately you may have seen cute little creatures popping up in your forums and message boards, on Instagram, and even at your local meetups. These are examples of amigurumi, the Japanese word for “crocheted or knitted stuffed toy.” It’s been popular to crochet them in Japan for decades, but the practice has spread around the world in the past 15 years – probably because they are so much fun to make!
Amigurumi are also a perfect summer activity if you love fibre arts. No one likes to swelter in the summer heat while trying to make an afghan. Here, you’re working with such small quantities of yarn you can keep cool and still do your favourite hobby!
If you’re considering trying your hand at amigurumi, we have some tips below for you. But be warned – making amigurumi can be addictive. Are you ready to make something totally kawaii?
What Supplies Do I Need to Make Amigurumi?
If you’re going to make amigurumi, you’ll need a few supplies on hand. Fortunately, many of them are inexpensive, which makes it easier to take up the hobby.
Tools for Amigurumi
You’ll need a small-gauge crochet hook. 2.5mm is the most common gauge used for amigurumi, but the gauge needed depends on the pattern and yarn you are using. You can start with one hook, then splurge on a full set later so you’re prepared no matter what gauge you’re working in.
Yarn for Amigurumi
While you could theoretically use yarn you have on hand to make amigurumi, it’s best to use something that is tightly spun so you can clearly see the stitching. An 8-ply yarn with little to no halo is the ideal yarn for the job.
There is purpose-made yarn specifically for creating these cute critters. The most famous one may be DMC Happy Cotton, which comes in 20-gram balls perfect for making something small. It’s available in 50 different colours and is budget-friendly, so you can make something colourful at a great price. But you aren’t limited to cotton. You can also use an 8-ply wool, such as Broadway’s Purely Wool DK, which is another budget-friendly yarn you can buy in many colours.
Stuffing and Findings for Amigurumi
One of the things that makes amigurumi so adorable are the little eyes. You can stitch an eye shape out of thread, but there are also shiny plastic eyes available.
In order for your new toy to develop its perfect shape, you’ll need to use some sort of stuffing. Cotton batting and polyester fill are very common, but of course here in New Zealand we also have wool as an excellent option. Some folk are even known to save all their offcuts from weaving in ends on bigger projects to use as stuffing!
If you want your amigurumi to be poseable, you will need to get pipe cleaners or wires to insert inside. And if you want to make sure that it stays standing, you can insert pebbles into the bottom of your creation to weigh it down in one area.
Free Amigurumi Patterns
There are heaps of free amigurumi patterns on the internet. Here are four to get you started.
This amigurumi monster pattern is specifically designed for beginners to learn basic skills such as stitching in the round. Plus, in the end you will have a little monster, who can both be your adorable friend and scare away anyone who tries to get shirty with you. It was designed by Allison Hoffman, who has written several crochet books.
The Chubby Bunny pattern is a step up in difficulty from the Little Monster, because it adds in ears and limbs. Lauren Espy, the designer, has also published several books on the craft.
They’re too cute to eat! (Also, too cottony. This is not what your doctor meant when she told you to eat more fibre.) These cute little veggies would look absolutely adorable on your table. This is just one of many free food amigurumi patterns that Anneris has created.
These beauties are made for lounging on the beach – or on the bed of a young friend – all summer long. They’re designed by Jillian Hewlett, who has created many other designs worth scoping out. If you are gifting it to a child, you can change up the yarn used for the hair and skin and other elements of the pattern so you can make one that looks just like them!
Amigurumi Pattern Books
Free patterns not enough? There are plenty of books out there to sate your need to create a wide variety of amigurumi! We have a tightly curated collection of some of the best amigurumi books, including the ones below:
That’s everything you need to get started! Now we want to see what you create! Post to our Facebook group or send us an email to show us the cute creations you’re working on.