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How to Improve Your Amigurumi Crochet Skills

 

How to improve your Amigurumi Crochet Skills

It’s no secret, amigurumi is adorable and rewarding. But when you’re first starting, it can be very frustrating. Amigurumi skills take time and practice, and even some techniques you’ve never thought about.

Anyone else start crocheting just to make amigurumi? Well, I did! And most of my crochet experience has strictly been amigurumi. So let’s just say that I have learned quite a bit along the way. I’d like to share with you some techniques that will change your entire amigurumi game! But as a quick note of encouragement: Here is an early amigurumi project compared to my most recent.

2016 vs 2017

2016 vs 2018

2017 vs 2018

  Free Crochet Pattern Bear Baby Cute Toy Amigurumi

2018 vs 2019

Free Crochet Pug Amigurumi Pattern

Pretty funny, right? My improvement seen in these pictures are thanks to the tips I will tell you about.

Work with a smaller hook

Working with a smaller hook (3.0mm-4.0mm) is ideal for amigurumi because it makes the stitches smaller and closer together, thus, the amigurumi looks cleaner and more uniform. Think about it, an amigurumi done with a 5.0mm-6.0mm is likely to have larger holes that often times, you can see stuffing in! To eliminate this problem it is best to work down to a smaller hook.

When you first start crocheting, it’s likely you start out with using a bigger sized hook. By “bigger” I mean 5.0mm+. That’s completely fine for when you’ve got the hang of amigurumi, but when you’re looking to improve, try out a smaller size. Start out by doing a few projects with a 4.5mm hook. You wont notice a huge difference, but the stitches may be a little more challenging. Just keep up the practice. By the end of a few projects you’ll feel just as confident with the smaller hook! Repeat this process until you can work down to ideally, a 3.0mm-4.0mm hook. Be sure to take progress photos of your projects when you do this. You will notice your improvements!

Get Tighter Tension

Tension is how tight you hold your yarn. How tight you hold your yarn then impacts how tight your stitches are. When you first started crocheting, it is likely you had very loose tension. Your stitches were likely far from perfect, but that’s okay! Let’s learn how to fix this.

Tighter tension is something we often built without even thinking about it. It’s like a tiny muscle we build to hold more weight for a longer period of time. Much like first learning how to write, your writing gets better because you learn how to hold your pencil. Try to hold your working yarn firmer and not too tight. It’s a happy medium between the two. You’ll notice that holding your working yarn too tight, especially with a smaller hook, makes your stitches too tight and hard to get a hold of. The goal is gradual. Gradually hold the tension a little firmer paired with a slightly smaller hook.

Placement of Limbs & Eyes

Far too many times I have seen someones great amigurumi work ruined with horribly placed eyes. Much like a dog trying to stare down a cat with one eye and a bone with the other. Don’t go for that look! Instead, let’s try to learn how placement of eyes, limbs, nose, etc. is crucial for perfect amigurumi work.

Symmetry is key. As simple as it sounds, it is hard to pull off. When you’re ready to sew on all your limbs, don’t just start sewing! You need to invest in some pins. They’re very inexpensive and can take you a long way. Put your limbs in place and secure it with contrasting color pins. Trust me, if you place pins that match the color of your amigurumi, it’s gonna be a pokey-bad time. Once you have all your limbs, nose, ears, etc. in place with pins, take a step back and analyze your work. Get opinions from your husband or your kids on if anything looks off. Now you can unpin anything that needs to be replaced, and simply pin it on a better area again! Now you can sew them on! Please don’t forget: symmetry, symmetry, symmetry.

Now eyes are a different story. Depending on the type of amigurumi you’re making, the placement of eyes will be different. Try to find something you can align your eyes with. If your amigumi has a nose, count an equal amount of stitches apart from the nose and secure your eyes there. Make sure the eyes are on the same row! Get a ruler or use your crochet hook and line it beneath the eyes. Do they line up? Are they spaced out a good amount?

Yarn UNDER


Ready to learn a new way to crochet? There’s actually an awesome stitch that gives your amigurumi the ultimate clean look. Instead of yarning OVER when you crochet, yarn UNDER. That’s right! Pull your yarn towards you, under the hook, then over the hook, the opposite way we usually yarn over. This makes the stitches look more “square” and very tight. To be honest, I haven’t even mastered this technique yet! How embarrassing! In my personal experience, I get caught on my loops and take a much longer time doing a round with this technique. But these things take practice! I would suggest taking this step once you’re comfortable with a tighter tension and a smaller hook. It’s definitely worth the effort!

Invisible Decrease

If you’re noticing big gaps while you’re decreasing, there’s two possibilities as to why. The first being that the pattern may include too many decreases in one area. The other (and more likely) is you’re not aware of the invisible decrease. The invisible decrease is definitely worth including in your crocheting routine!

Next time you’re going to decrease, don’t go through both loops. Instead, do your decreases in the FLO (Front Loops Only). Make sure to not yarn over when going through the loops, only yarn over and pull through when you have both front loops on your hook. Also, don’t have too tight of tension, or else your decrease stitch will be too small and hard to get a hold of.

Stuffing Correctly

Who would have thought that something like stuffing would impact how good your amigurumi comes out? Well… it’s true! If you’re stuffing incorrectly, your project will come out lumpy, floppy, or squishy. If you want a firm and non-lumpy toy, your best bet is to pull apart your stuffing before you stuff your project. Imagine you’re pulling apart cotton candy, but with stuffing. Now when you have some pieces separated, go ahead and stuff your project. Pulling out stuffing the wrong way is wrong because if you just pull out a lump of stuffing, then shove it in your work, your project will reflect that. It’s likely to take on the shape of the lump. Give the new separating technique a try!

Conclusion

I hope you learned something from reading these little tips! Trust me, these are all things I learned the hard way, and I would have loved to know some of these tips when I first started crocheting. Remember, everything takes practice and nothing happens over-night. Crocheting is supposed to be fun, so if you get frustrated – take a break! Try again in a few hours. Let me know if you learned something new. Happy crocheting!

13 Comments

  1. Hi, Thank you for sharing yours tips and tricks, it was very well expkain. Me too I started again trying to crochet watching how to do amigurumis, about 8 years ago. I did a lot since!My firsts one where a lot different from the one «I make today!!!LOL I never heard of the technique “yarn under”…but »I will give it a try!

    1. Hi! I’m so glad you found some of it helpful 🙂 I would love to see the collection of amigurumis you have built up over 8 years, that’s impressive! I’m sure they look wonderful <3 Let me know if you like the new "yarn under" method, I'm honestly not too sure if I prefer it or not haha.

      Thanks for your comment Chantale, have a great day!

  2. I have recently got into crocheting much to my mother’s delight ( she taught me when I was barely old enough to hold a hook). I never got into it till I got pregnant with my 2nd child though. Anyway. The yarn under method looks like you have your project inside out. I am fairly certain if you turn your project inside out you will get the same look. All it might do is just add more tension. I say all of this because my mom and I recently got in an argument about what is the front side vs back side or wrong side vs right side of crochet. I was proven wrong and was crocheting my pieces inside out. My pieces all looked like your picture. If you turn your next piece inside out I think you will see. I could be wrong but that is what it looks like to me. I should note my mom is one of those people who is never seen without a crochet hook and has been constantly doing so since she was 8. She knows the craft well.

    Cheers and happy crocheting.

    1. Hi there!

      I know the wrong side vs right side all too well, as well! It’s very common for beginners to accidentally have the wrong side out because it’s hard to tell the difference when you first start. I think the best way to tell “wrong side” from right is the wrong side stitches kind of resembles the purl stitch from knitting, or you could describe the wrong side stitches as bulkier and less distinctive. Here is a great example of right side vs wrong side. The left image is right side out, and the right image is wrong side out. Here is also another good example of wrong vs right side out, left image is right side out and right image is wrong side out.

      It is something you will get an eye for the more experience you have with crocheting 🙂 Kind of like how most can’t tell knitting from crocheting until they start crocheting. It can become easier to tell wrong side vs right side with practice!

      As for the yarn under, it does look quite different from the regular single crochet. My image is actually is right side facing out, but looks fairly different because the yarn under method makes the stitch quite tight, changing how the stitch looks! So compared to regular yarn over single crochet it looks different. Some prefer this method and others don’t. It’s just preference!

      I hope this helped a bit!

  3. Thanks for replying.
    After I wrote my first comment I went and searched out the difference between yarn under and YO. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about. Which is super helpful AFTER I make a public comment. Maybe I like being proven wrong? Idk. Anyway. I now can easily tell the difference between right and wrong side.
    Anyway, happy crocheting. Keep up the good work. I love your different patterns. I so wish amigurumi was popular when I was young. I might have got into it sooner.

    1. I’m so glad that you know yarn under vs yarn over! Honestly, a little different of a movement can change a lot in crochet. Yarning under/over can change the look a lot, going through only the front/back loop can change a lot, the wrong side/right side is hard to distinguish, so it can be confusing! Especially for a newer crocheter.
      Happy crocheting to you as well! It’s never too late to start crocheting, and the craft is more popular now than ever since the internet allows us to share crochet so easily. Maybe you can pass on your skill to your kids!
      Thanks for your kind comments Sara <3

  4. I’ve been crocheting for quite a few years, but I’m brand new to amigurumi. Thanks for these helpful hints.

    1. Hi Lucille! I’m really glad that this has helped you. If you ever have any questions or need some help, please don’t hesitate to ask me!

  5. Oh my gosh! Thank you! I was just looking around your blog cause I saw your Halloween set (which is super adorable by the way!) And I was *just* complaining yesterday about how I seem to have such noticeable gaps when I decrease! Def. going to try the front loop technique! Thank you!

    1. Hi Anna! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m really glad that you learned something new from this post, and I really hope the invisible decrease method will work out for you! I used to have pretty big gaps when decreasing, and I think personally what helped was doing tighter tension during the decrease part. I would love to know if it works for you! And feel free to let me know if you have any questions 🙂

    2. Def me too! On my first project, the frog, the bottom was super gap-y.

  6. I Incorrectly taught myself how to crochet and I’ve always used the yarn under technique, I’ve only just mastered the yarn over technique and I’m learning to crochet a little bit looser too … I’ve never had issue’s making my amigurumi pieces but stuffing, faces and symmetry

    1. How funny you learned to crochet the yarn under way! Maybe that’s a good thing since the stitches look cleaner that way 🙂 And yes, stuffing is oddly a hard thing to get right sometimes. All you need is practice!

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