What Counts as Amigurumi in 2024?

If you’ve just ventured into the world of amigurumi, you might be a bit confused about what exactly the line is between a regular crochet project and “amigurumi.” This term is frequently thrown around to describe all manner of crochet projects, so it may be difficult for beginners to determine what exactly constitutes amigurumi.

If you’ve just ventured into the world of amigurumi, you might be a bit confused about what exactly the line is between a regular crochet project and “amigurumi.” This term is frequently thrown around to describe all manner of crochet projects, so it may be difficult for beginners to determine what exactly constitutes amigurumi.

Any animal, doll, or object that is crocheted in the round counts as amigurumi. Also, since amigurumi often have faces on them, anything that has an amigurumi-style face on it also counts as amigurumi. Crocheted objects big and small can count as amigurumi, as long as they are personified and made to portray the likeness of an object.

This definition may seem a little vague, but that’s just because the definition of amigurumi has expanded over the years, with more people in the amigurumi world getting more creative with these adorable projects. The main commonalities between amigurumi stay the same — they’re all extremely cute and will make you want to squish them!

What does amigurumi mean?

“Amigurumi” means crocheted or knit stuffed toy. These plushies take the form of animals, dolls, plants, food, characters, and objects, and they generally are personified with faces and crocheted in continuous rounds.

The term “amigurumi” comes from the Japanese word for woven stuffed objects, and originated centuries ago.

Although amigurumi can be both crocheted or knit, they are predominantly crocheted, since this craft lends itself better to 3D shaping and building. Also, creating amigurumi through crochet is relatively more accessible to beginners, whereas knitters need to be at least at an intermediate level before attempting knit amigurumi. For the rest of this article, I will be referring to the crocheted version of amigurumi.

Amigurumi are generally crocheted in continuous rounds, meaning that there are no joins created by slip stitches between the rounds. This results in a spiral look that is normally undesirable in other crochet projects such as bags or home decor, but is suitable for doll making since the purpose of crocheting each part is merely to form a building block for the entire doll.

What size are amigurumi?

Amigurumi can range from giant amigurumi to micro amigurumi. The largest amigurumi projects can be up to three feet tall, crocheted with extremely large yarn, or can be less than a centimeter tall when crocheted with thread.

These amigurumi are out of the norm, since the jumbo owl uses a crochet hook that is larger than 15mm (the largest size in most sets), and the miniature bunnies are crocheted using thread and hooks that are smaller than 2mm (the lowest threshold for conventional hook sets).

Essentially, amigurumi can range from huge to tiny, but most amigurumi fall in the middle, being about palm sized or the size of an average stuffed animal.

The main limitations to size are weight of yarn and time constraints. To size up an amigurumi, it can be accomplished either by using thicker (heavier weight) yarn, or crocheting more rounds. There’s an upper limit to how thick yarn can be, unless you specifically source unusually thick yarn (and accompanying hook), and also a limit to how many rounds one person is willing to crochet! Since an average amigurumi can take anywhere from 5-10 hours, adding significantly more rounds to make the amigurumi larger can double or triple the time it takes to make one.

However, recent trends in using blanket yarn (one of the heaviest weights out there) to crochet amigurumi means that there are lots of opportunities to whip up giant plushie sized amigurumi in a relatively short period of time.

My heart pillow amigurumi is made of blanket yarn and works up so quickly!

Do amigurumi have to have eyes?

This is a question that falls in a gray area. The defining feature of amigurumi seems to be that they must have a face, since wearables or home decor items that don’t appear to be plushies can be “transformed” into amigurumi, but sometimes there are cute stuffed toys that do not have eyes or faces.

The main example of this is for amigurumi food. Food items are an enormously popular category of amigurumi, from donuts, to sushi, to avocado toast. However, sometimes artists choose not to personify these food objects and leave them be. Since these obviously still fall into the definition of “knit or crocheted stuffed toys” even though they might not resemble the majority of amigurumi, they definitely don’t fall into any other category of crocheted item, so this exception is perfectly fine.

How are knit amigurumi different from crocheted amigurumi?

Knit amigurumi are only different from crocheted amigurumi in that they are created through knitting. Since knit fabric is thinner, knit amigurumi are more soft and squishy. They are also more difficult to make for knitters than crocheted amigurumi are for crocheters.

Knitting and crochet are similar in that they both are methods of forming fabric out of yarn, but fundamentally differ in the building blocks that eventually produce the fabric.

The main reason why amigurumi is significantly more popular among crocheters is simply because crochet is more conducive to working in 3D, as well as creating extremely small parts. The technique of crocheting does not change when working in small rounds as it does in knitting, so it makes amigurumi a much more beginner friendly project for crocheters than it is for knitters. Further, the magic ring technique for crocheting in the round means it is very easy to build the many small rounded shapes needed to create teddy bears, dolls, and other animals, with a little sewing at the end.

On the other hand, knitted fabric is not as easily created in small rounds, requiring either magic loop or skill with double pointed needles, both skills that beginners might not be expected to be familiar with. Further, stuffing knitted amigurumi requires more skill, since knitted fabric is thinner and more susceptible to lumpiness if stuffed unevenly.

The result is that there are significantly fewer knitted amigurumi designs than there are for crochet, even though knitted amigurumi have their own charm.