What is Amigurumi?
If you're new to crochet, you may have come across the term 'Amigurumi', but what does that mean exactly? We explain all about these terrific toys!
Amigurumi are crocheted or knitted stuffed toys with a big cute factor. They come from Japan – ‘ami’ meaning ‘crocheted or knitted’, and ‘nuigurumi’ meaning ‘sew and wrap’. These cute dolls and animals soared in popularity during the 1970s in Japan, and it was from this craft form that the ‘Hello Kitty’ brand was born.
The toys are still hugely popular today and are characterised by an oversized head, with sweet human-like features and a small cylindrical body with undersized arms and feet, or no limbs at all. Some amigurumi toys just have a head and body that is crocheted as one piece.
Animals are the most popular form, but there are many examples of other items, such as food, furnishings and household accessories, that are given human features.
Really quick and easy to make, amigurumi suits beginners because the technique only uses double crochet, and the figures are always small so materials are inexpensive and light to carry around. The dolls and animals are usually worked in the round using double crochet, but some makers prefer to work in a spiral.
Amigurumi uses crochet hooks that are smaller than you might normally choose and the result is a firm, dense fabric. The toys are then stuffed and sewn together – the dense construction means the polyester stuffing doesn’t show. Finally, the details are added to the stuffed forms, to bring the creature to life. The details are often added using embroidery thread, felt or beads.
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Do you love to make your own toys? If you enjoy making things out of fabric as well as yarn, take a look at our rabbit sewing pattern by Jo Carter and Simply Sewing magazine.
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.