A guide to amigurumi

Published on April 30, 2019 4 min read

If you’ve fallen for the Japanese art of amigurumi, you’re in good company. These adorable crocheted or knitted creatures boomed in popularity in the early 00s, charming yarn lovers with their sweet features. Meanwhile in Japan, crafters have been in on the secret for decades! The word amigurumi is a combination of two Japanese words: “ami”, meaning crocheted or knitted, and “nuigurumi” for stuffed doll. You can make them any size you want but they’re mostly small and crocheted in fingering weight or DK weight cotton. Adorable little dolls and tiny animals are big favorites in this trend – and you can even bring your favorite movie characters to life in amigurumi form!

Techniques for amigurumi crochet

Want to try out the techniques before you start to crochet amigurumi? Perfect, let’s do it together! Here’s what you need to know. Learn how to crochet in a spiral, a continuous stitching process that doesn't stop for the end of each round – it’s useful for arms, legs and bodies. Practice your color changes, keeping them as neat as possible, and check out a couple of sewing techniques. You’ll need them for sewing up, and so you can embroider faces and other little details.

Amigurumi patterns

There are tons of amazing patterns out there to choose from, but here are a few great ones to show you what amigurumi crochet looks like.

FREE Playing Cats pattern by Little Bear Crochets

Little Bear Crochets has a fabulous range of amigurumi patterns to explore, including these adorable kittens! There are bears, frogs, pandas and rabbits to make - and the patterns include step-by-step photos and lots of information to help you!

Playing Cats Crochet Amigurumi Pattern
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Playing Cats Crochet Amigurumi Pattern

By Little Bear Crochets

FREE Mike the Monster pattern by Stacy Trock

Favorite characters from movies and video games are often brought to life by amigurumi magic. Stacy Trock has a fabulous collection of patterns including this version of the Monsters Inc favorite, Mike, as well as some very tiny amigurumi too, for those of you who love a challenge with a tiny hook.

Mike the Monster
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Mike the Monster

By Wendi Gratz

Amigurumi Goldfish by Heather Sonnenberg

Heather Sonnenberg has a range of darling amigurumi patterns. We love these goldfish, and they're a great first amigurumi project for beginners because they're created in worsted weight yarn rather than in fingering weight. The fish measure 7" from front to back - perfect for little hands to hold! Make a whole aquarium of critters with Heather's sweet Amigurumi Whale and Amigurumi Jellyfish. All her patterns are written in American crochet terms, with lots of detailed pictures to follow!

Amigurumi Goldfish
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Amigurumi Goldfish

By Heather Sonnenberg

Animal amigurumi

Crochet your own yarn menagerie with these cute and colorful amigurumi animals. Make friends with an amigurumi octopus or create a sweet as honey amigurumi bee - the possibilities are endless! And guess what? The patterns are the perfect start for amigurumi for beginners.

Doll amigurumi

Crocheting an amigurumi doll is kind of magical – just watch as their personality starts to show! You can put together a fancy new friend with just a few materials, and we’ve picked out some awesome crochet doll patterns to get you started. Will you sail away with an adventurous pirate doll, make an amigurumi ballerina girl who's as cute as a button, or make the littlest crocheted matryoshka doll around?

Amigurumi yarn and accessories

When you first crochet your favorite amigurumi characters, it helps if you have tons of different colors in your stash! Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK has 60 fabulous shades, and DMC Natura Just Cotton is a fingering weight cotton with 74 shades. As you build up stocks of color, you'll have all the shades you need for your favorite little ami friends! A selection of hooks is an absolute essential, and most amigurumi patterns call for small sized hooks: 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm and 4mm to create dense fabrics. Stitch markers are super helpful for color changes and keeping track of where you are, and grab some small scissors and tapestry needles for sewing up. Last but not least, a good selection of different sized amigurumi eyes will bring those sweet creatures to life!

Browse Crochet Tools

FREE beginners amigurumi tutorial

Can you say adorable? This fun cactus pattern is great if you’re a beginner starting out on your first amigurumi project. It comes from the awesome indie designer Flo and Dot.

Materials

Finished size: Approximately 18cm tall by 19cm wide

This pattern is written in UK terms (1dc is equivalent to 1sc in US terms)
ch - chain
st - stitch
dc - double crochet
dec - decrease (dc two together)
sl st - slip stitch

US Terminology

Now the boring bit. Go ahead and make and sell the items created from this pattern, but please do not reproduce or distribute the pattern as your own. Please credit Flo and Dot as the designer and link to her if selling online.

Cactus (front and back)

1

Let's get started.

Ch 17
Row 1 Dc 1 in second chain from hook, dc in each ch to end, ch 1, turn (16)
Row 2 to 7 Dc 16, ch 1, turn
Row 8 Dc 16, at the end of the row ch 9, turn 2
Row 9 Dc 1 in second chain from hook, dc in each ch and in each st from previous row to end, ch1, turn (24)
Row 10 Dc 23, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (25)
Row 11 Dc 25, ch 1, turn (25)
Row 12 Dc 24, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (26)
Row 13 Dc 26, ch 1, turn (26)
Row 14 Dc 25, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (27)
Row 15 Dc 27, ch 1, turn (27)
Row 16 Dc 26, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (28)

2

To form the first arm upright.

Row 1 to 10 Dc 8, ch 1, turn (8)
Row 11 Dec, dc 4, dec, ch 1, turn (6)
Row 12 Dec, dc 2, dec, fasten off. (4)

3

Rejoin yarn to the main body.

Leave a 4 st gap between arm and the body
Row 17 Dc 16, at the end of the row ch 9, turn
Row 18 Dc 1 in second chain from hook, dc in each ch and in each st from previous row to end, ch 1, turn (24)
Row 19 Dc 23, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (25)
Row 20 Dc 25, ch 1, turn (25)
Row 21 Dc 24, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (26)
Row 22 Dc 26, ch 1, turn (26)
Row 23 Dc 25, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (27)
Row 24 Dc 27, ch 1, turn (27)
Row 25 Dc 26, 2 dc in last stitch, ch 1, turn (28)

4

To form the second arm upright.

Row 1 to 6 Dc 8, ch 1, turn (8)
Row 7 Dec, dc 4, dec, ch 1, turn (6)
Row 8 Dec, dc 2, dec, fasten off. (4)

5

Rejoin yarn to the main body.

Leave a 4 st gap between arm and the body

Row 26 to 33 Dc 16, ch 1, turn (16)
Row 34 Dec, dc 12, dec, ch1, turn (14)
Row 35 Dec, dc 10, dec, ch 1, turn (12)
Row 36 Dec, dc 8, dec, ch1, turn (10)
Row 37 Dec, dc 6, dec, fasten off. (8)

6

To finish.

Attach the safety eyes and embroider a mouth. Place the two pieces together and sew together using a length of yarn, remember to stuff the cactus before you fasten off. Weave in any ends.

Congratulations, you've just completed your first amigurumi crochet project!

Browse Amigurumi Patterns

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