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What does Amigurumi mean?
At first glance, this may seem like a meaningless tongue-twister word such as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, instead it has a specific meaning.
It originated in Japan from a combination of the words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.* Source: Wikipedia
Amigurumi are dolls, animals or imaginary creatures of various sizes, soft as a plush, but completely handmade with yarn and a crochet hook.
How to make amigurumi?
To get started, you need some tools: crochet hook, yarn and pattern. You must know the basic stitches of crochet: ch (chain stitch) and single crochet (double crochet in UK terms).
You only need to study a few technical things: the magic loop (called also magic circle or ring) and how to work in a continuous spiral.
How to learn crochet?
You can learn in many ways, the basic requirement is to have a great desire to slowly discover this beautiful technique – there is no hurry! You can start with a Google search to find local crochet courses, groups or workshops. Learning with other people may be more challenging and fun! You can also ask friends and family if they know someone who knows how to crochet, and you’ll probably get the phone number of an old aunt in five minutes, but I would not be so surprised if a young friend confessed his/her secret passion for yarns.
There are lots of ways to learn, set up your hook and yarn and go!
How to learn knitting?
Just as in crochet, you could look for specific courses in your area, seek advice from friends and family (just as you would if you needed a plumber) or go to a wool shop where they likely have beginner classes or workshops, sometimes they’re also free.
If you prefer to learn on your own, perhaps because you are really busy during the day, you can buy a book with the basics of knitting (eg. Knitting for Dummies) and spend some time on YouTube looking for your favourite knit-youtuber.
Which yarns do you use?
It isn’t always the same; the only common feature is the quality. Knitting and crocheting are time consuming activities and does not seem worthwhile to use materials that could wear out more easily. Each type of yarn is suitable for a particular project, for example, if I think of a small amigurumi to be used as a collection among books in the library I’ll choose cotton yarn (like DMC Natura Just Cotton or Silk Estate), if I want to make a warm and soft Teddy Bear for a child’s room, I’ll use wool (such as merino rather than alpaca that tends to be hairy) and so on, for each pattern there is a suitable yarn. However one’s personal taste has a significant role in the game of choosing yarns.
What kind of crochet hook do you use for your amigurumi?
Most of my amigurumi are made with cotton yarn (DMC Natura Just Cotton or Silke Estate) and I use an old (seriously! It is more than thirty years old, it was my mom’s) 2 mm crochet hook with a very worn-out head. It looks like a very small hook, but allows me to easily insert the hook through the crochet work avoiding wrist fatigue. This is my personal preference and it does not fit all! Trying and trying again is the only way to understand what works comfortably for you, choosing how to hold the crochet hook (as pencil or knife) and the preferred hook material and shape (metal, with soft or rigid plastic handle, wooden, ergonomic).
How to you write a crochet pattern?
As with any subject, although here we just talking about crochet toys and garments, before you can write a pattern on your own, you have to study and practice. Then it will be natural, sometimes also easy, because you will know the “crochet language” and how to carry on the project from the sketch to the final item. Obviously, behind every pattern there is an idea and its development. These steps are very personal, there are those who can work only with paper and pencil (like me!) or who start to crochet and imagine the design in their mind.
Where can I buy your book Amigurumi Winter Wonderland?
I am happy for your interest! Here you can discover all the 15 amigurumi patterns. The book is available:
- PDF edition in English
- Paper book in English
- Paper book in Italian
- Paper book in Dutch
- Paper book in German
- You can also find it in bookshops!
Question/answer you are looking for is not on this list?
Contact me via email, I’ll be happy to reply!