Crochet from scratch..

There are so many amigumis that look cute, scary, funny and weird. Btw.. what does that word mean? An amigurumi is small stuffed toys either knitted or crocheted. It’s a Japanese thing as far as I know and it can be something from your home, dolls, figures, characters from movies or games, animals or something from nature like trees, flowers, insects, birds and so on. I haven’t found an end to the list yet.

I want to make an amigurumi and I can’t crochet. What do I do?
Many amigurumis are made with single crochet stitches. There can be other stitches involved but if you know how to make a magic ring, slip stitch, single crochet, and if you know how to increase and decrease you’re well on your way to make an amigurumi. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Oh yeah; get some yarn and a crochet hook πŸ˜‰

What kind of hook should I use?
It’s a jungle. Some have a handle, some don’t. Some have light built in, others don’t. Different materials are used, so it’s difficult to give solid advice other than: the hook and you are going to spend hours together, so it’s important that you’re comfortable. Try different types and find out what feels the best. There shouldn’t be any strain on your fingers and hands. Personally I prefer plain steel hooks with no “extras”. Others hate this kind. It’s really up to you. One of my favorite hooks is from a second hand store:

Crochet hook size 2,5 mm with a narrow handle. I found it in a second hand store and it's my favorite.

What size hook should i use?
The yarn “decides” that. Let’s say cotton nr. 8. On the label it says what kind of yarn it is, how much there is and how to treat it. You’ll also find a picture of knitting needles and a crochet hook with information about size, in this case 3-3Β½ mm. The colour and dye lot numbers are nice to have if you need to get some more in the exact same colour. The gauge (tension) picture is for knitting and IMO it’s kind of irrelevant when crocheting amigurumis.

The information on a skein of yarn

What yarn should I use?
What ever you want. That’s the easy answer and maybe not that helpful. If you want to follow the pattern, designers are usually really good at providing a list of materials needed, including what type of yarn you should use. Some prefer “knitting yarn”, others prefer something else. For amigurumis I prefer cotton nr. 8 or similar, because it nice to work with and comes in a variaty of colours. It goes perfectly with 2,5 and 3 mm hooks. Nice and easy.

Anything else I should know?
Yes. A couple of things that are nice to know:

Stich markers are necessary when you work in rounds, but they don’t have to be fancy. A string of yarn will do beautifully. If you want “real” stitch markers, use those. It’s up to you. What I’m saying is; it doesn’t have to be expensive to start up. Use what you have and change it later if you like. My stitch marking looks like this, because if I made a mistake (and I do!) and have to go back more than one round, its nice to be able to follow the rounds without loosing track. This test-piece will have holes where the red yarn was, so be sure to use a thin piece of yarn or thread πŸ˜‰

Round crocheted piece showing the different rounds marked with a piece of yarn

Also:
An english pattern can be confusing. The pattern can be written in US english or UK english. It’s important to know. For instance: a single crochet stitch in US is a double crochet stitch in UK. I’ve made a couple of blunders that way, until I found out about it. So now I make sure I know where the pattern comes from before I begin, it saves a lot of time and headache. There’s usually some way of finding out, and the easiest way is to look for a single crochet (sc) in the pattern itself. UK doesn’t have that stitch, so if it’s there, it’s US. Look for a “skip” or “gauge”. If those are there, it’s US. The UK version would be “miss” and “tension”. Nice and confusing, right? Don’t worry, it’s like converting dl. to cups and back again. You get used to it πŸ˜‰

As a service to you, I’ll provide the stitches I know of in US and UK, so you can see the differnce and how to spot if it’s US or UK (if there’s a stitch missing on the list please let me know):

USUK
single crochet (sc)double crochet (dc)
half double crochet (hdc)half treble (htr) OR:
half treble crochet ((htc)
double crochet (dc)treble (tr)
treble crochet (trc)double treble (dtr)
double treble (dtr)triple treple (trtr)
skip (a stitch)miss (a stitch)
gaugetension

Still wanna learn? Yarn and hook ready to go? Easy pattern found? Great! Let’s go to the post “Stitches and techniques” and dive in!

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