The art of Amigurumi—which originates from Japanese culture—captures everyone’s attention and adoration with its intricate designs, cute shapes, and bright colors.
With all this hype around Amigurumi, you may want to crochet or knit your own as a gift for a couple with a newborn baby or for your own little one(s). So, if you’re going to make the cutest Amigurumi of all time, what is the best yarn to use?
The finest yarn that can be used for your Amigurumi designs is usually a medium-weight yarn (otherwise known as “worsted weight yarn”). The best types of medium-weight yarn for this case are acrylic and cotton. These two yarns will keep your stitches sit tight and allow fewer perforations so that the stuffing will stay inside.
Before we dive into the ultimate guide to making Amigurumi—including the necessary equipment, pattern ideas, and, of course, the best types of yarn to use—let’s learn a little about where the art of Amigurumi came from.
History of Amigurumi
The term ‘Amigurumi’ is the Japanese for the phrase ‘crocheted or knitted plush toys’. ‘Ami’ means using knitwork or crochet and ‘nuigurumi’ means ‘stuffed doll’. It is the art of making small, extremely cute, stuffed animal dolls using the techniques of crochet.
Amigurumi dolls vary in sizes and colors. There are no restrictions regarding the shape, dimension, and appearance.
One of the earliest records of crochet dolls were in China and Japan. Similar techniques in binding and weaving have been noted around the 1100s. Knitting came into existence once trade was established between Japan and the Dutch.
Only during the Meiji Era, which lasted from 1868 to 1912, Japanese women were taught to practice needlework. Crochet work with simple designs and motifs were made during 1920. By this time, crochet, needle, and knitwork were a part of women’s routine in Japan.
By 2000s, the art of amigurumi caught up with the rest of the world. Amigurumi was a rage and everyone was falling for it. Cute bears, kittens, cartoon characters, pandas, and other animals were knitted using this Japanese technique. It is one of the most popular giftings and accessory items that are sold online and offline.
How To Get Started With Amigurumi
Although Amigurumi is traditionally made with crochet, they can also be made by knitting. Even though knitwork on Amigurumi is possible, crochet is the preferred method.
There is one very important reason why I’d recommend crocheting your Amigurumi doll instead of knitting:
Density – Crochet work yields fabric that is densely knit. Knitting is more suitable for clothes, blankets, and apparels. Crochet work usually gives us a thick framework that is more appropriate for making dolls. Because of this, crocheting is naturally more inclined towards three-dimensional knitwork of any kind.
Amigurumi is a tactful skill that requires patience and practice. Once you have started working on Amigurumi, there is no turning back. Pretty much everyone in your life can expect these handmade dolls as adorable gifts.
There are different ways to get started with crochet work, but the most basic technique is to start with a small ring made of stitched yarn.
Progressing from this circle, crocheters can make their stuffed toy. No matter how complicated the Amigurumi design may look, most of them follow a single pattern.
If you’re wondering if you HAVE to make stuffed animals and toys only, the answer is of course not. You can explore further into the art of Amigurumi and make figures of people, cartoon characters, and anything your imagination might dream of.
With the ever-increasing popularity of Amigurumi dolls, you can get your hands on crocheting equipment and get started whenever they wish to. The brightest side of making Amigurumi is that they are cost-effective and eco-friendly in nature.
Necessary Equipment For Amigurumi
Amigurumi is a form of craft that involves both amateur crocheters and experienced ones. You can employ simple techniques that are basic to crochet and achieve the Amigurumi they want to make. However, certain equipment is necessary for making crochet dolls.
1. Crochet yarn
From a plethora of yarn options available in the market, choose what suits your project the best. However, it’s important to know that not every type of yarn is suitable for Amigurumi. The type of yarn you choose for crocheting dolls can either make or break your project.
Yarn that is too thin may be difficult to work with as it may get tangled up during work. Thin yarn will produce thinner weaves. Too fluffy of yarn can be challenging to work with while using a small crochet hook. Fuzzy or furry yarns can cover the details of your Amigurumi.
There are three types of yarns that are best suited for Amigurumi:
- Mercerized cotton and/or 100% cotton yarn
- Semi-cotton blend yarn
- Acrylic yarn
Pure cotton yarns go well with Amigurumi because they can be tightly knitted.
Semi-cotton blends are light in weight. They may be the best option for crocheting Amigurumi since the stitches do not pull out easily. Maybe the most attractive feature of semi-cotton blends are that projects made using this type of yarn can be machine-washed.
Although they are one of the least expensive yarns available in the market, acrylic yarns make for great crochet plush toys. They will not burn a hole in your pocket and still make a sturdy stuffed toy for even the most rambunctious of toddlers.
Acrylic yarns are, however, rough and fibrous which makes crochet work less suitable. The stitches pull out relatively easy if they are not stitched tight enough.
2. Small crochet hook
There is a variety of crochet sizes, but for Amigurumi you want something specific. This is because the stitches are required to sit firmly one over the other so that the doll does not lose its shape and structure over time.
A small crochet hook not only makes for quick crocheting work, but they also make tight stitches so the fluff stays where it belongs (and not all over your living room floor).
All stuffed dolls or plush toys require stuffing to have a fluffy appearance and softness. They provide support to the doll and shape them well. You can make use of cotton or polyester to fill the insides of your Amigurumi to bring all the cuteness to life.
4. Pebbles or weights
Certain Amigurumi figures have special structures and pose in a particular way. To make this possible, pebbles are used with the stuffing to keep them put in a place. Amigurumi without pebbles lay in a place or are not capable of staying upright.
5. Floral wire or pipe cleaners
Pipe cleaners or floral wires are bendable. They add tiny details to the Amigurumi structure and shape them in a specific way. Amigurumi dolls with special poses can be made to bend their limbs using floral wire or pipe cleaners.
Thus, crocheted plush toys are made more attractive and your little ones will love them even more knowing that their poses are customized according to their wish.
Amigurumi Ideas For One And All
Amigurumi projects are super cool and fun to work on. If you are looking for quirky Amigurumi, new ideas or interesting patterns, below are a few ideas that utilize Amigurumi crochet work and could easily be your next project. So, keep reading!
Crochet your heart away making cute animals for your home. Some of the most commonly crocheted items are pigs, cows, pandas, bunnies, dogs, cats, and bears.
Delightful pastel colors can be used for the projects to make them pop out in a shelf of showpieces.
You can make tiny Amigurumi animals and use them as plush toys. Curtain holders with Amigurumi dolls are another lovely idea. Miniature Amigurumi can also be knitted to your toddler’s winter wear.
Crochet Amigurumi and use them to fill empty spaces in your room. If they are well-made, they could very well be the centerpiece of your living space.
Amigurumi Needle Holder
Here comes an idea that is different compared to the usual stuffed Amigurumi that serve as toys. Make use of these to keep your needles from pricking you every time you need to find them. Amigurumi needle holders keep your needles stashed in one place.
Bunny Ears and Ear Mufflers
Are you a fan of cute head accessories? Are beanies your kind of fashion statement? Make adorable bunny ears as ear mufflers to beat the chill in the air. Sport them as a style statement and protect yourself from the cold at the same time.
Amigurumi can make for the cutest fridge magnets that will brighten your day anytime you are scouring the fridge for your next snack. Use brightly colored yarn and elaborate designs to turn your fridge into a showcase for quirky fridge magnets.
Amigurumi crochet work can be used to make brooches. Attach pins at the back of your stuffed Amigurumi and you are good to go. You can make a fashion statement each day by attaching a new Amigurumi to your sweater. If you’re a kindergarden teacher, you could very well become your students’ favorite teacher!
Best Yarn For Crocheting Amigurumi
As I mentioned earlier, it is essential to select the right kind of yarn for your Amigurumi project.
Stay away from fluffy and soft yarns as they make crocheting a challenging task and the fluff will overpower the intricate detail that you worked so hard to achieve. Since Amigurumi is tricky to master, make sure you use a medium-weight yarn that will make your project more enjoyable.
As far as yarns are considered, you can select from a variety of colors and combinations. Listed below are some of the best yarns for Amigurumi that are available in the market.
1. Mira Handcrafts 40 Assorted Colors Acrylic Yarns Skiens
Mira Handcrafts Assorted Acrylic Yarns are custom-made for beginner Amigurumi crocheters. This is the ultimate starter kit for any small scale project or DIY that you wish to take upon as a beginner.
With 40 assorted shades, they offer a great range of colors for their price which makes several combinations on Amigurumi possible.
The kit has 24 different hues of acrylic yarns and 16 doubles in case you run out of the primary colors too soon.
Made of 100% soft acrylic fiber, these yarns come in hand-folded balls and offer 7 e-books in the kit that work as the perfect starter guide for every enthusiastic learner.
The most important advantage of acrylic yarns is that they can be machine-washed and dried. However, they cannot be bleached or ironed.
Offering a total of 875 yards of vibrantly colored yarns, Mira Handicrafts will not let you down.
2. TYH Supplies 50 Skiens Acrylic Yarn Assorted Colors
Unlike the previous product, TYH Supplies does not provide doubles on any color of yarn. They are dedicated to bringing a wider variety of colors to you and thus, come in 50 different colors for your Amigurumi DIY project.
Being an acrylic yarn, it is possible to machine-dry objects crocheted out of them. However, TYH suggests giving the iron a skip.
Each and every skein is 22 yards in length which makes the pack have a total of 1100 yards in length.
One of the light worsted yarns, TYH Supplies Acrylic yarns make for some of the better yarns in the industry and happily finds itself a spot on the bestsellers on online shopping websites.
3. Katia 100% Cotton Amigurumi Yarn
Katia 100% Cotton Yarns have 10 distinct colors of yarns incorporating variety and vibrancy in the color palette.
Apart from Amigurumi, use these yarns to make thick blankets, shawls, and crochet accessories.
For more help, crocheters can refer to the PDF files that are offered with this pack. They can be downloaded from their website for interesting patterns and ideas.
A total of 360 yards comes with this pack. Thus, smaller DIY projects are possible with this kit.
4. Lion Brand Cotton Yarn
Being one of the stalwarts in the knitting and sewing industry, you can almost never go wrong with Lion yarns. Pick up Lion 24/7 Cotton Yarn for your projects to retain a new look for a long time.
This is a worsted weight yarn with cent percent natural fiber that is mercerized making it the ideal yarn for your Amigurumi crocheting work.
Crochet some of the cutest Amigurumi dolls with Lion and watch them retain their color and luster even after multiple washes.
Enjoy lovely pastel colors that instill interest and charm in your project every single day while you crochet your way through the day.
5. Premier Yarns Cotton Fair
Finally a yarn that is a cotton blend perfectly hand-crafted for crochet and Amigurumi project work. Spoil the artsy side of you by purchasing the Premier Yarns Cotton Fair and watch them work their magic.
Easy to loop in using crochet hooks, these make for wonderfully bright, soft, and washable yarns.
Premier Yarns Cotton Fair are semi cotton blends that comprise 52% of cotton and 48% of acrylic fibers. Offering 317 yards per ball, they have various colors like cream, cocoa, slate grey, red, peach, lemon, green, lavender, and pink.
To make things all the more interesting, Premier Yarns Cotton Fair manufacture multi-colored yarns like Multi Sunshine Day and Violets to add variety to a single yarn.
What are some of the Amigurumi sewing tips?
Keeping in mind that Amigurumi is tricky to master, here are a few tips to make accustomed to the art of Amigurumi. Use these while you amble through your project to crochet like a boss.
- Make sure to know what you want to work on. The shape, size, color, and orientation should be pre-planned before you start working on the project.
- If you have separate parts to your Amigurumi, attach them to the main body using pins or stitch markers. This helps you to check if they look right in their place.
- Leave tails while you fasten the crochet. Depending on the dimension of the seam that you plan to sew, a tail should be left. Tails at the end of crocheted parts can also be for weaving purposes.
- Keep stuffing while you sew. You would not want your Amigurumi to be saggy or over-stuffed. To work around this problem, use a chopstick or a pencil to ease the stuffing into the crocheted structure while you crochet through your project. Keep checking for under stuffed areas.
- Make sure to line your stitches up. If the portion of a body part gets accumulated at one end while sewing, then that is an indication that the seams do not lie flat in one line. The idea is to sew along the same line.
What is a Magic Circle?
While crocheting Amigurumi, all body parts i.e. heads, ears, limbs are made to take shape around a basic structure which is in the form of a circle. This is referred to as the Magic Circle.
The main objective of a Magic Circle is to provide a framework for the stitches and leave a clean and clear start with zero gaps or holes.
The Magic Circle method is much better compared to the Chain Method.
What other factors should I consider while buying yarns for Amigurumi?
While buying yarns for Amigurumi, check if it is machine-washable. The type of yarn also depends on the purpose of the Amigurumi project. The yarn should be more durable if toys are being made with Amigurumi. Depending on the texture and budget, you can select your yarn as well.
Choose The Finest Yarns For Amigurumi. It’s Worth It!
Amigurumi is one of the finest ways to channel your knitting and weaving skills as it finds wide applications in arts and craft. They make for adorable gifts which are best gifted to toddlers and infants. As home décor items, they serve pretty well too.
Crochet to your heart’s content and fill your living space with these Japanese handmade cuties.