Written by Brent
Amigurumi is a type of pattern design that is made specifically to create dolls, whether that be animals, people, or even objects. The name is a combination of Ami (crocheted or knitted) and Nuigurumi ([sewn] stuffed doll). These patterns can be knitted but are almost exclusively crocheted. They can be worked as one piece but are usually done in sections before being connected.
This style of craft can be traced back to early China with sewn dolls. Japan took on a lot of their techniques until Dutch traders brought crochet and knitting. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 80s that Amigurumi as is stands today really took off, thanks to Japan’s kawaii culture. The early 2000s brought Amigurumi to the west, where it soon took over online craft shops like Etsy.
Unlike most forms of crochet, Amigurumi is almost always worked tightly in rounds, with no seams or edges. You begin with a Magic Ring, then work the hook through the ring with a single crochet stitch to create a circle. Further techniques to know: single crochet, increases, decreases, single- and double-loop cast-on, and a few embroidery stitches (for small details such as the eyes, nose, and other decorations).
The most common yarn used for these dolls would be worsted weight yarn with a smooth texture. Most people use acrylic. Hooks should at least be two sizes smaller than the yarn’s recommendations, but it’s best to use 2mm to 6mm. Beginners should stick to 2mm to 4mm, as the bigger the hook, the bigger the holes in your project.
A Yarn needle, stitch markers and pins would help a lot on a project like this. Stuffing can have a lot of variety for preference. Fiberfill or cotton is most commonly used, but if you want to add weight (either to the base or the limbs), you’ll want to use polyethylene pellets. Dried beans or rice, or even perler beads or decorative flat marbles are also commonly used for weight but remember to put anything like this in a pouch or bag before stuffing your doll. You don’t want anything forcing its way back out through your hard work.
Lastly, a few extra ingredients some crafters use are safety eyes (unless you plan to stitch on the eyes), or even wires like pipe cleaners or floral wire to make the doll posable.
There are plenty of free patterns for Amigurumi online, and they all tend to be very beginner friendly.