Monday, April 18, 2011

Amigurumi Unite!

One thing that can make or break an amigurumi is the way it has been joined together and finished.
So much can go wrong...  One arm flapping listlessly on a loose seam, one leg jutting akimbo on stitches so tight that the yarn is puckering, missed and protruding stitches, tottering heads, lumpy tummies, stuffing showing through gaping stitch holes, woven loose ends peeking out, the list goes on and on.

The most important piece of advice is to take your time!  Plan what you need to do.  Read (and reread) your pattern.  If you don't know how to do something, don't guess - look it up!  And then, when you're ready, go slow.  Be precise and neat.

The second most important thing to remember is don't be afraid to try again!  You can undo and redo stitches as many times as you need to until you get it right.  Frog it!  Have you heard the term?  Just rip it, rip it, rip it - pull those stitches right out and try again!  Just don't forget to not weave in any loose ends until you know you're happy with what you've done (doing so makes it harder, though not impossible, to go back and fix mistakes).

Here are some more useful tidbits:
  • Amigurumi should have fairly tight stitches, so that the stuffing won't show through.  If you notice holes in your work, use a smaller hook and/or thicker yarn.
  • Even the best fiberfill stuffing can be lumpy if it isn't handled correctly.  Don't shove wads of stuffing into your ami.  Take a smallish lump, fluff it to remove any bunched pieces, and pull it so it is a wider, thinner piece.  Place the piece as far into the ami as it can go, spreading the edges to the sides.  Keep doing this, layering the fluffed pieces, until the ami is completely stuffed.
  • If you are making a long, thin piece that you stuffed as you went along (like a snake), it can look lumpy at the end.  Roll the finished piece gently between your palms to even the stuffing out a bit.  This technique can work wonders.
  • Always use invisible decrease so that your finished piece will have a neat and smooth look.  To invisible decrease: when you get to the place where you need to decrease, insert into the front loops only of the next two stitches, yarn over, pull the hook through two loops, yarn over, pull through the remaining two loops.  Invisible Decrease complete!
  • Use pins to fasten pieces together before you start stitching.  This makes it so much easier to get pieces sewn on straight and even!
  • Weaving in loose ends.  There are a lot of tutorials out there - many of them different.  
    What I do in most cases is this:  
    Make sure the tail is sticking out of the wrong side/back of the fabric.  Thread the yarn onto an embroidery needle.  Run the yarn under two to three back loops in a straight line (make sure you don't go all the way through both loops, or it will be visible from the front).   
    Pull the yarn so that it is snug, but not too tight (you don't want to affect the fabric itself or pull gaps between the stitches where stuffing might show through).
    Run the yarn through the next back loop, double back the way you came.  Run the working yarn right through the yarn tail itself, skip the next back loop that you stitched under, and run the working yarn under the next yarn back loops that you used.  You can repeat this step again to make the weave extra secure.  Cut the yarn and you're done!
    When the tails are the result of joining yarn, I double knot the yarn on the wrong side/back of the fabric before weaving in the loose ends.  This keeps the join from loosening and showing later.
    When the tails are the result of a tiny piece having been attached or from embroidery, I double knot the yarn on the wrong side/back of the fabric.  Then, I make a multi-strand simple knot and pull it tightly.  I do not weave in the ends.
  • Many patterns will leave you with a small hole that you'll need to sew closed.  Here's a great explanation from MyGurumi: closing final holes.  
  • Here are two different important techniques for joining pieces:
Do you have a cool trick or tip?  Please share - your comments are always more than welcome!

Here are a few super-cute and free projects - because we all need to keep practicing!  
Happy Monday and happy crocheting!

Crabby from Nareeoo

Little Mermaid from K & J Dolls

Bee from

A huge thank you to the designers who provided these patterns!

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