Crocheting is always a favorite hobby among crafters. Today let’s learn with me how to crochet amigurumi for beginners from scratch with this complete guide.
This post contains everything you need to know about to start making your first crochet toy. I will show you the best yarn for amigurumi and how to choose the crochet hook accordingly, other materials, and tools. Then we will figure out how to read crochet patterns, learn basic crochet stitches with easy step by step video tutorials. We also go through 16 systematized lessons covering all the basic techniques required for amigurumi making.
Even if you are not interested in making amigurumi (I wonder who doesn’t like such cutie creations?), this post still can help you with basic knowledge about crochet, that you can apply to any crochet project.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Hi, I am Joy and I am the amigurumi designer behind Anvi’s Granny Handicrafts. It has been 28 years since I learned crocheting from my talented mother for the first time and more than a year since I started to design amigurumi. It is a beautiful journey and I enjoy being an amigurumi designer.
Through the last few months, I have received more and more messages from amigurumi lovers, asking me to teach how to crochet amigurumi for absolute beginners. I spent 3 weeks writing this blog down (yes 3 weeks because I worked only 1-2 hours per day while taking care of 3 kids at home).
After this comprehensive post about amigurumi for beginners, you can confidently start your first kawaii amigurumi ever. Are you excited? Let’s jump into the class.
1. What is amigurumi?
Amigurumi (pronounces /ɑːmɪˈɡuːɹuːmɪ/), a Japanese word, is an art of knitting or crocheting stuffed animals or dolls from yarn with hand. Most of the time, people prefer crocheting than knitting amigurumi, with a few simple basic crochet stitches. If you want to know more about amigurumi history, check Wikipedia
Frankly, amigurumi is an addictive art and very popular among crafters because there are so many lovely amigurumi creations and both making or playing with them can bring you joy.
Is it hard to make amigurumi?
The answer is no, even you never touch yarn and hook, you still can learn how to crochet amigurumi from the beginning. All you need is basic knowledge about crocheting and patience to practice. Everyone can crochet amigurumi.
How long does it take to make amigurumi?
Honestly, amigurumi is a time-consuming handicraft compares to other kinds of knitting or crocheting. It will take around 7 days to learn how to crochet beginner amigurumi and a small project can take 1-2 hours. The bigger and more complicated amigurumi, the more time you need. But good things take time, you will love the amigurumi you make, and your kids as well.
2. Which materials and tools needed to start with?
Well, if you are just beginning to learn how to crochet, not many things you need to start making amigurumi. I have made a list of required materials and tools for amigurumi here:
- Crochet hook
- Safety eyes
- Stitch marker
- Scissors or a yarn cutter
- Yarn needle and tapestry needle
Yarn for amigurumi
What is the best yarn type for amigurumi?
As you know, there is a variety of yarn types and sizes in the market, but you will need something unstretched and anti-pilling to keep the form of the crochet toys longer. There are three types of yarns that are the best for amigurumi:
- Organic 100% cotton or mercerized cotton yarn: Best for small amigurumi projects for babies. Some my favorite brands: Lion Brand, Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn
- Semi-cotton blend yarn: light in weight and easy to crochet, suitable for medium size of amigurumi. The best thing with semi-cotton blends is they are soft, machine washable and machine dryable. My loving yarns in this type are Jeans Yarnarts, Alize Cotton Gold, and Milk Cotton. Most of the amigurumi crochet products in our shop are made of semi-cotton yarn.·
- Acrylic yarn: one of the less expensive yarns in the market, but not good for beginners because they are not tight-stun, as well as not kid-friendly. Acrylic yarns are the best for amigurumi decoration, amigurumi keychains. I don’t use this type of yarn but I heard that people like Red Heart Super Saver yarn.
Yarn size (Yarn weight)
Depending on the thickness of the yarns, there are some different sizes of yarn weight. I think it is necessary to know about yarn size when you put your legs in one of the most interesting arts in the world – Crochet.
For an amigurumi beginner, you should start with DK or worsted yarns for the best practice. When you are comfortable with crocheting, you can move on to other sizes of yarns like lace or superfine for miniatures or plush bulky for big amigurumi.
How to find alternative yarn for amigurumi projects?
It is very common when you cannot find the exact yarn recommended in the amigurumi pattern. What you should do right now? Do not freak out, I am telling you how to substitute yarn to have a similar size of amigurumi as the pattern.
Actually, there are so many tips but then it is the easiest way to find yarn alternation for your crochet product. Simply enter the name of recommended yarn to https://yarnsub.com, and they will do the rest. Find the most suitable yarn that you would love to crochet, tada, done!
If you have already a lot of yarn at home without a label or any information, Lovecraft had brilliant tips to figure out yarn size. That article helps me a lot especially I run over of yarn in the middle of the project. Ms. Cleaver also gave an amazing tip to find alternative yarns with Ravelry, I think you also will love to check out.
Of course, you need a crochet hook to crochet anything, but you need to use a smaller hook while working with amigurumi. Why, because the smaller the hook, the tighter the stitch, and that help your amigurumi have a beautiful outlook without any holes and visible stuffing from inside.
The same as yarn, there are some different sizes of crochet hooks in different systems. There are metric sizes, US size, UK size, and Japanese size. Make sure that you choose an ergonomic and comfortable hook that helps you make those small stitches over and over.
How to choose the right hook for your yarn while making amigurumi?
This is also a very common question that I have heard a lot, not only from crochet beginners but also from people who crochet for a while.
Well, when you buy a yarn ball, look for the information on the label to find the recommended size for the hook. Then downsize the hook for 2 sizes. For example, for DK, light worsted yarn, the recommended hook size is 4.5 – 5.5mm, but to make a proper amigurumi, you should use the hook size of 2.25-3.5 mm.
Another way that will make sure you will have the perfect hook for your yarn is by making some gauges with different sizes of hook. Make a circle with single crochet stitches, then put the gauges in front of a light source. If you see light coming through the holes, it is not a right hook, you will want to choose the tightest gauge with the smallest holes. Not very difficult, isn’t it?
Stuffing for amigurumi
What is the best stuffing for amigurumi or soft toys?
There are many materials that you can use to stuff amigurumi: cotton, wool, small pieces of fabric, dry beans, cardboard, toilet paper…depending on the makers’ wish.
But if you want to make washable amigurumi, the most commonly used filling for handmade crocheted toys, knitted toys or other DIY soft toys is Polyester fiberfill, also called “polyfill” stuffing. Polyfill is created from a mix of various synthetic (polyester) fibers that are loosely spun to keep the light, airy texture.
Easily you can find polyfills on local craft shops, bedding shops, or online. When I ran out of polyfill in the middle of the process, it seemed a little bit silly but I just opened any pillow in my house and used the filling from it. The only inconvenience of this is that my husband needs to buy new pillows all the time, haha.
Safety Eyes and nose
For amigurumi, a simple way to give your toys soul, add cuteness is to use plastic safety eyes and noses. These eyes and noses are installed before stuffing, and the two-part mechanism prevents the eyes and noses from falling off. Check this video to know how to install safety eyes.
But if you make toys for infants or children under 3 years old, I highly recommend you to embroider the eyes and nose instead of plastic safety ones.
Other tools that make your life easier
Stitch markers are small things but will impact your whole amigurumi projects. While you work on continuous rounds, you need to mark the first stitch of each row. If you don’t keep track of those first stitches, there is a high potentiality that your amigurumi will end in a mess.
Personally, I prefer using another strand of abstract color yarn to mark the first stitches, then you can remove it later. This method is very easy and convenient for me because I am so lazy to remove and attach a stitch marker every new round.
Besides all the main materials and tools, I suggest you have good and sharp craft scissors with the pointy tips to support stuffing into small holes and of course, cut your yarn. Also, you should have one or two different yarn needles and tapestry needles when you sew parts of amigurumi or embroider eyes or noses.
3. How to read a crochet pattern
When you are new to crochet, written crochet patterns probably look like a foreign language for you, all the codes make you confused and have no idea where to start with. But no worry, I will show you here all you need to read a crochet pattern at any level.
Let’s say that you find an awesome pattern for an amigurumi or any other crochet project, but how to start? Right now we will break down the pattern so that you will understand the pattern without feeling so haunted.
About is the section where the designer notes the type of the pattern: amigurumi or a blanket or a bag. You will want to choose the project that you want to make but also have the ability to make. There are four crochet skill levels that you will want to keep in mind: beginner, easy, intermediate, advanced/experienced. An advanced crocheter can crochet anything but a newbie should choose a beginner pattern, which uses only basic stitches with the small size, to start with.
Yarn, materials, and tools
Make sure that you have the proper yarn, as well as other necessary tools and materials. For amigurumi, most of the time you will need yarn, crochet hook, polyfill, safety eyes or embroidery threads, stitch marker, yarn needle.
Gauge and tension
In other crochet patterns, you will find this section is written like this:
12 sts = 10 cm (4″); 12 rows = 10 cm (4″) in single crochet using a 2.5mm hook
What does this mean? Let’s decode this: You will use crochet hook size 2.5mm with the noted yarn, make single crochet stitches to create a square of 10x10cm. The width is formed from 12 stitches, the height is formed by 12 rows of single crochet.
Now you need to make your gauge to make sure that you have the right size of yarn and hook.
In amigurumi patterns, normally you will not find the gauge information but only the size of the finished item instead. Different sizes of yarn and hooks can lead to different sizes of your finished toys. As a beginner, try to follow the yarn and hook size of the pattern to have the precise size to the design.
Abbreviations Used or The crochet terms
A very common issue which many crochet beginners face is that not understanding the crochet terms, that leads to weird crocheted items. So before starting to crochet anything, make sure that you acknowledge the abbreviations used and the crochet terms.
There are some kinds of crochet terms: American term (US Term), British term (UK term), the universal term (symbol term), and symbol charts. Most of the time you will find patterns that are written in US or UK terms, but when the designers are from China – the patterns are in the universal term, and the designers are from Japan – the patterns are in symbol charts.
Look at the board below to understand what are the differences between them.
These are still some popular abbreviations commonly used in crochet patterns
- MR – magic ring/ magic circle/ adjustable ring/ magic loop
- beg – beginning
- cont – continue
- rep – repeat
- inc – increase
- dec – decrease
- ws – wrong side
- rs – right side
- sk – skip
- yo/yoh – Yarn over
- FO/CO: fasten off/ cast off
- BLO: Back loop only
- FLO: Front loop only
- St/ Sts: Stitch/Stitches
- FP: front post
- BP: back post
Besides, designers from Spanish, Russian, Portuguese technically use specific abbreviations for their languages but still based on such major terms of crochet. In my patterns, I prefer to use universal symbols, which everybody from any place of the world can read without any translating application. Moreover, all my free patterns on this website can be translated into multiple languages immediately on the site, are you happy with that?
Decoding the pattern
After knowing all the sections of a crochet pattern, it is time for decoding the pattern. There is no pattern having the same structure as others, it depends on the designers individually. But normally there are some commons in the structure of crochet patterns that you need to keep eyes on:
The number of row/ round: Main instruction (total amount of stitches after finishing this row/ round).
For your flexibility to understand all types of patterns, I will go from row to row with my crochet tutorial: How to crochet a perfect ball with 3 different types of written patterns. There are few more types but once you know how to read the abbreviations and structure of the pattern, you can read any pattern and in any language (using Google Translate).
Let’s start to be a decoder!
1) MR6X (6) This is my style of pattern
Row 1. 6sc in a magic ring (6)
Round 1: Create a magic circle with 6sc
What is the breakdown? First, you need to make a magic ring or magic circle. Second, crochet 6 single crochet stitches into the magic ring. We have 6 stitches in total after this round.
Move onto Round 2:
2) 6V (12)
Row 2. 6 inc (12)
Round 2: sc inc in each st (12)
Crochet 6 single crochet increase around round 1. We have 12 stitches in total in this round.
3) (X, V)*6 (18)
Row 3. (sc, inc)* repeat 6 times (18)
Round 3: sc in the first st, sc inc in the next, repeat around (18)
Crochet 1 single crochet in the first stitch, then a single crochet increase in the second stitch, keep crocheting 5 more times around Round 2. After finishing this round, we have 18 stitches.
3) (2X, V)*6 (24)
Row 3. (2sc, inc)* repeat 6 times (24)
Round 3: sc in the first 2sts, sc inc in the next, repeat around (18)
Crochet 2 single crochet in the first 2 stitches, then a single crochet increase in the third stitch, keep crocheting 5 more times around Round 3. After finishing this round, we have 24 stitches.
And go on with the pattern:
4) (3X, V)*6 (30)
5) (4X, V)*6 (36)
7) (5X, V)*6 (42)
8-14) 42X (42)
Row 8-14. 42sc (42)
Round 8-14: sc around (42)
Crochet all single crochet stitch around 42 stitches of these 7 rounds.
Now we start to decrease
15) (5X, A)*6 (36)
Row 15. (5sc, dec)* repeat 6 times (36)
Round 15: sc in the first 5sts, inv dec in the next, repeat around (36)
Crochet 5 single crochet in the first 5 stitches, then 1 invisible single crochet decrease in the sixth stitch, keep crocheting 5 more times around Round 14. After finishing this round, we have 36 stitches.
Go on with the pattern:
16) (4X, A)*6 (30)
17) (3X, A)*6 (24)
18) (2X, A)*6 (18)
19) (X, A)*6 (12)
Now we crochet the last round
20) 6A (6)
Row 20. 6dec (6)
Round 20: inv dec around (6)
Well, I hope that everything is clear to you right now! Now, let’s learn how to crochet basic stitches using for amigurumi (actually for any kind of crochet).
4. Basic crochet stitches for beginners
For crochet beginners or amigurumi beginners, we just need to know a few crochet stitches to start with: chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, triple crochet, and slip stitch. (I am using American terminology here).
I will write down the information in this order: Symbol Abbreviation (Universal and what I use for my patterns) – Name of stitch + abbreviation (US term) – Name of stitch + abbreviation (UK term).
Let’s learn to crochet right now
CH – Chain stitch (ch) – Chain stitch (ch)
Instruction: Yarn over hook (yo), pull through loop.
SS – Slip stitch (Sl st/ SS) – Slip stitch (Sl st/ SS)
Instruction: Insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, pull through loop on hook.
X – Single crochet (sc) – Double crochet (dc)
In making amigurumi, it is the most used stitch because it will form small holes and keep the stuffing invisible inside the finished crochet items.
This stitch forms a square (Width = height)
Instruction: Insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
T – Half double crochet (hdc) – Half Treble crochet (htr)
Technically a half double crochet stitch’s dimensions equal to 2 times of single crochet stitch’s dimensions. But with my experience, I feel that 1T = 1.5X in height
Instruction: Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over, pull through 3 loops on hook.
F – double crochet (dc) – Treble crochet (Tr)
This crochet stitch is very popular when you crochet tops, scarfs, or blankets, but not with amigurumi. You can meet this stitch when you make a dress or hair for crochet dolls.
1F = 3X in height
Instruction: Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over, pull through 2 first loops, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
E – Triple crochet (tc/ tr) – Double Treble crochet (dtr)
When you want to make tall stitches (like a flower), this crochet stitch is very useful. Because 1E = 4X in height
Instruction: Yarn over (2 times), insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over, pull through 2 first loops, yarn over, pull through 2 first loops on hook, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
Watch my video tutorial here for X, T, F, E
V – Single crochet increase (sc inc) – Double crochet increase (dc inc)
When you wanna expand your crochet sheet, you need to add more stitches. That’s when you need to use an increase: create2 stitches at 1 stitch of the previous round. Here is the formula for a single crochet increase but you can apply for other stitches.
Instruction: Insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook. Repeat 1 more time in the same stitch.
In my patterns, sometimes I use single crochet 3 stitches increase (W, that means you crochet 3 new stitches in 1 stitch of the previous round.
A – Single 2 together (sc2tog/ dec) – Double 2 together (dc2tog)
When you wanna make your crochet sheet smaller, you need to reduce stitches. That’s when you need to use a decrease: crochet 2 stitches together to make 1 new stitch. Technically, in making amigurumi you will not use normal decrease but the invisible decrease which helps you to have an even surface of amigurumi.
Invisible decrease for the right side: Insert hook into the front loop of the first stitch, insert hook into the front loop of the next stitch, yarn over, pull through the loops, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
Invisible decrease for the wrong side (when you work inside out): Skip 1 stitch, Insert hook into the back loop of the second stitch, twist the hook to wrong side and insert hook into the back loop of the skipped stitch, return to the original position (right side), yarn over, pull through the loops, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
5. Basic Techniques for making amigurumi
After knowing basic crochet stitches, you also need some other useful techniques specifically used for amigurumi. Do not worry, everything is clear after you follow this blog post.
I also made a full Youtube series for you to learn and practice: Amigurumi school – Basic class for absolute beginners. There are so many free amigurumi video tutorials and crochet tips videos, remember to visit, subscribe and turn on the notification for my channel to be the first one to know about new videos.
I highly recommend that you watch over all the videos before you start to make your first amigurumi. The reason is to help you have all the basic foundation strongly and decently, that will lead to beautiful amigurumi even for the first time you crochet.
Some crucial techniques you need to know are:
- How to hold a crochet hook and yarn the right way
- How to make a magic ring or adjustable ring, or magic circle
- Define cross stitch single crochet (X single crochet) and normal single crochet (V single crochet)
- How to start an amigurumi for beginners (and follow the pattern)
- How to change colors while crocheting amigurumi
- How to crochet a perfect stripe without cutting yarn
- How to stuff amigurumi in the right way
- How to close a hole at the end of the amigurumi part
- How to sew parts of amigurumi for beginners
- How to insert safety eyes and nose
It seems a long list to go, but I created very short and clear videos so that you can pick it up easily without feeling overwhelmed. I suggest that you should learn each by each in 7 days or more because I want you to practice well before any official project.
Let’s dance, oops, let’s jump into the class!
Note: Learning how to hold a crochet hook and yarn is a very important pre-step that will impact your tension, your speed of crocheting. There are some different ways of keeping yarn and hook, both for right-handed or left-handed people. You can check this video from Forever Bliss Crochet to learn 4 yarn holds and 2 hook holds and experiments your most comfortable way.
6. First amigurumi project you should make
Actually you can choose any amigurumi pattern that you want to make to start with, but in my opinion, you should go with small projects. Believe me, you will be happy and motivated when holding your first finished amigurumi ever. Choosing a big amigurumi project might kill your excitement and eagerness because it will consume so much time and effort to fulfill.
Most of my patterns are small, fun crochet amigurumi for beginners, you can find many cute designs in my shop (Etsy, Ravelry, Pattern shop). However, I also give many free amigurumi patterns and amigurumi tutorials videos that you can begin with, just enjoy!
Congratulations! Finally, you have finished my Ultimate guide about amigurumi for beginners! I hope that whatever I have given here satisfies your need and possibly helps you to crochet your first amigurumi. Show me your creations in my VIP Facebook Group and make friends with like-minded people from all over the world.
If you love the guide, please save to your Pinterest, comment here what you think, share, and tell the world about it. Do not forget to subscribe to this page, my Youtube channel for free crochet patterns and crochet tips. If you want to contact me in person, do not hesitate to email me, drop a message on Instagram or Facebook.
From Joy – Anvi’s Granny with love!