Let’s break it all down; today, we’re talking about exactly what skills you need and how to use them for amigurumi!
As a general rule, the five basic skills required for amigurumi are the magic ring, single crochet, increasing, decreasing, and finishing off in the round. These are the fundamentals because they allow creation of a spherical shape, which is the building block of amigurumi toys.
First things first, let’s talk about the different techniques you will use most often when creating your project. It won’t take much for you to learn, so don’t get discouraged!
To start your project, you will first need to make a magic ring; this technique forms the base of any amigurumi.
A magic ring is the foundation of any project crocheted in the round, and is called a magic ring because it will expand or shrink depending on how many stitches are worked into it. It is commonly used as a seamless start for amigurumi and hats.
Since it will expand or shrink depending on how many stitches you crochet in it, it is the perfect base for any amigurumi. The advantage of a magic ring is that once it’s tightened, it will close up, leaving no holes in your project. This creates a seamless start for any part of your amigurumi.
The magic ring may seem daunting, and it might take some practice to get it right, but don’t give up if you can’t get it the first time. Practice makes perfect!
- Here’s a fantastic tutorial for creating your first magic ring!
Once you have gotten the magic ring down, you can move on to working the single crochet stitch, which are the basic building blocks of crochet fabric. After learning the magic ring, this will be a breeze! Since you created that beautiful magic ring; now you need to add to it. This is how you will continue your project throughout.
The single crochet is the most basic unit of crochet fabric, and is the basis of all other more complex stitches. It has a simple texture and is easy to learn, and only requires three steps. To work the single crochet, insert your hook into a stitch, pull up a loop, yarn over, and pull through both loops.
We only really need to learn one stitch for amigurumi, and it’s the single crochet. It also happens to be the most basic crochet stitch, with only three steps! It makes sense that the simplest crochet stitch is required for stuffed animals, because it creates the most even texture for the toy.
The single crochet is the shortest and most basic of stitches; this is the stitch that you probably learned when you first began crocheting. It is also the basis of all other crochet stitches, including the half double, double, and treble crochet stitch. Although amigurumi only really requires knowing the single crochet stitch, this in combination with others can form interesting and unique textures for garments or other types of crochet projects.
- Here’s an awesome tutorial for the single crochet!
Increasing and Decreasing
The next skill is the one used to make your crochet fabric wider or narrower: increasing and decreasing. Although it may seem intimidating, increasing and decreasing are really just simple variants of the single crochet stitch, and you’ll pick them up in no time.
Increasing a stitch is simply adding two stitches to a single stitch, rather than continuing with the single stitch chain. This creates two stitches for you to stitch on to the next time around the magic ring. When doing this, be sure to count your stitches so that you don’t add too many or too little, causing your project to be uneven.
Decreasing stitches is just the opposite; this is the method that combines two stitches into one in order to decrease your circle. Most times, your pattern will tell you to increase or decrease a certain amount so that the expansion will be noticeable.
- Here’s a tutorial to help you master increasing and decreasing!
Finishing off is the process of finishing your project and tying up your loose ends in crochet. This method is the method preferred over knots, since tying a knot in your work to finish your project can cause bumps which might show easily.
Also, when tucking in the end of the yarn from your knot, simply stuffing it into the project won’t leave the end securely wrapped inside. Don’t knot your hard work!
For most crochet projects, finishing off mainly implies the process of weaving in ends. For reference, here’s a quick video explaining this method on a non-amigurumi project.
However, for amigurumi, this finishing process is unique, since most amigurumi pieces are three-dimensional, which requires a slightly different method of tucking in the loose ends. This mainly entails cinching the hole closed at the end of an amigurumi piece and then hiding the end.
Specifically, finishing off is accomplished by pulling the last loop on the hook out so that it is impossible to unravel. Then, you thread the yarn into a tapestry needle and push the needle through the amigurumi limb or piece through to the other side. After cutting the yarn where it emerges from the crochet fabric, the end is tucked inside and invisible.
- Here’s a step by step to help you master finishing off!
How Long Does It Take To Learn Basic Skills?
If you’ve mastered the basics, you’re probably wondering what you can do next.
The world of amigurumi is huge, and once you’ve scratched the surface, the options become endless. There are some more skills that you will need to pick up to be able to crochet most amigurumi patterns. You can decide to learn them systematically like you did the basics, or learn them as you go!
I recommend the second approach because honestly, it’s much more rewarding! Once you know the basics it’s easy to find projects that have a skill or two that you may need to learn; but that’s the fun of it!
If you spend time every day working on your amigurumi, you could have all techniques learned in a month! If you only have time to pick up your project once or twice a week, it could take you six months or more in order to learn all of the techniques. Ultimately, it’s dependent on you and your commitment to your skills.
Don’t let this timeline discourage you! Whether it takes you a month or year, once you have mastered these skills, the world of amigurumi is never ending. This allows you to have endless fun and satisfaction with each project.
What Are Easy Beginner Projects?
After learning all the basics, you now know enough to make a basic ball-shaped amigurumi without much sewing. A good first project would be a whale, bear, or even a totoro. Reading patterns is another skill you will need to learn, and here’s an awesome blog post to help you do just that!
These projects are good to practice the basics while also helping you master amigurumi to start the more difficult projects!
I remember when I finished my first amigurumi whale; I truly felt like I could do anything. It’s pretty addictive to find out what you’re capable of, and starting out with an achievable, basic tutorial is the best way to do so!
When doing these projects, if you mess up, that’s okay! We all did when learning to master these skills. Just simply take out the stitch and keep trying. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, try walking away for a few minutes and coming back. Sometimes, you will find that it’s as if you have fresh eyes after stepping away, making getting through that difficult stitch a breeze.
What Are More Advanced Amigurumi Skills?
Once you have mastered your basic skills, you can begin to learn some of the more advanced ones.
Indenting eyes or embroidering noses are techniques that you won’t have learned right away in the basic skills learning, but it is just as important. Of course, no animal is complete without their eyes and nose!
When making the nose, be sure to pick a style that matches your project. You will find that many patterns will already have the type, size, and style of nose picked out for you. It is up to you to follow that or make it your own. Be sure to attach both the eyes and the nose as strongly as you can to ensure they are sturdy should you need to wash your amigurumi at any point. There are many different ways to create an eye or nose effect, so feel free to use your own creativity or stick to the pattern!
Working with different colors of yarn may be necessary for some patterns, but you will find that adding color work into your amigurumi is much like using multiple colors on other crochet projects. Be sure to hide your transition in the back of your work and count your stitches to ensure you are using the right amount of the second color.
When you are learning to work with more than one color, try a pattern that only has one other color for you to work with. This will ensure that you can learn a transition thoroughly before moving on to more advanced techniques.
What Can I Make With Advanced Amigurumi Skills?
Once you have mastered your basic skills, and you have discovered your favorite methods, you are ready to begin your advanced amigurumi archive!
With advanced amigurumi skills, you will be able to make medium to large multi-part amigurumi, such as teddy bears or any other stuffed animal that is great for cuddling. Other items like raccoons or dolls will be easier to make once you have mastered your amigurumi. Letting all of your creative ideas flow you will have the ability to add hats, scarves, multiple colors, and hair to all of your projects.
Your choices for what to make will be endless, many patterns can be found here!
So please, go explore and enjoy the wonderful world of amigurumi and all that your new skills have to offer in this creative world!