Amigurumi Mistakes: Part 1
Amigurumi is the art of knitting and crocheting toys. In order to make the best stuffed animals and dolls, you need patience and a little skill. But there are amigurumi mistakes you will want to avoid so that your pieces are as cute as the hours you put into creating them.
It’s no secret that I adore amigurumi. It doesn’t matter if they are knitted or crocheted, I love making them. My journey began in December of 2017 with a Youtube tutorial from Wooly Wonders Crochet. From the moment I finished that awkward and technically troublesome bunny, I’ve been hooked.
These mistakes are all ones that I have made myself many many times. I like to learn the hard way, I guess. There’s nothing worse than spending hours upon hours on a project only to be disappointed at the final product. No one wants to waste time and effort.
This will be a two part series all about amigurumi mistakes. I originally was going to share everything in one post but I found that I had a lot to say….a whole lot. So next week I will dive into the other half of the mistakes so stay tuned. Better yet, subscribe so it will show up right in your inbox!
I regularly receive messages from frustrated makers about their amigurumi mistakes and I want to help. I want you all to know that mistakes are inevitable and aren’t the end of the world. Perfection isn’t the goal! These tips will help you improve your amigurumi projects and help you achieve the results you are looking for.
These are just my own opinions and advice from crocheting and knitting amigurumi obsessively for the past couple of years. Take the advice you like and leave the rest. If something is working for you…don’t change it! These are just the tips that have helped me avoid the most common amigurumi mistakes.
Focus on the Face
If I could give only one piece of advice this would be it, focus on the face. If you can get the face right then the rest of the project is typically a piece of cake. I always feel butterflies in my stomach when I’m working on the facial features of a new project. It’s make-it-or-break-it time.
- Symmetry – work to make your toy’s facial features symmetrical (unless it is asymmetrical on purpose). One way to achieve that is to use pins to place the ears, snout, eyes, etc. It helps to keep everything in place and you can move the pieces around until you like the position.
- Use Embroidery Floss – another tip that immediately improves the look of facial features is using embroidery floss. If a pattern calls for embroidering the snout or mouth I almost always use embroidery floss instead of yarn.
- Work on Embroidery Stitches – embroidering is hard, at least it is for me. It’s the one thing that I struggle with the most. I can knit and crochet my little heart out and then totally mess up the embroidered bits. Practice, practice, practice.
- Rip it out – don’t be afraid to rip out your embroidered facial features if you know they aren’t right. I wish you could see how many times I redo eyes and noses. Seriously. I usually never get it right the first time.
DMC Embroidery Floss Thread, Black
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- Count your stitches – Counting stitches is a pain, I know. But doing so can help you avoid huge amigurumi mistakes. There have been countless times that I have gone into a decrease round only to discover that I don’t have the correct number of stitches. I’ve learned that by checking my stitch count every few rows helps a great deal. A pound of prevention is worth an ounce of cure.
- Frog it – When in doubt, rip it out. Don’t be afraid to frog your work when you know your stitch count is off. It’s not worth the inescapable headache and frustration from having the wrong number of stitches.
The most common question I receive is about stuffing. My response really is a two-part answer. While almost all the other tips are universal for knitted and crocheted toys, stuffing is where the roads diverge.
Fairfield Poly Fil Premium Fiber Fill, 32-Ounce
For Crocheted Amigurumi:
- Overstuff – Stuff your toys really well. Make sure they are full. You may even feel that the toy is overstuffed. That’s ok. The fiber fill will begin to deflate and if you’ve stuffed it on the low side you may be disappointed with the result down the road.
- Pencil Eraser – Use the eraser end of a pencil to help stuff. The rubbery texture grips the fiber fill and makes stuffing a bit easier.
- Bamboo stick – You can also use a bamboo skewer or chop stick. I accidentally found out that a broken end of a wooden one works really well and grips the fiber fill perfectly.
For Knitted Amigurumi:
Stuffing knitted amigurumi is a little more nuanced. You can’t just overstuff and call it a day. Because knitted fabric is so much stretchier, the stuffing is actually part of the shaping of the toy.
- Stuff the right spots – Stuffing a knitted toy actually begins to create the desired shape. Add more stuffing to areas that you want more full. The face is a perfect example of this. You may want fuller cheeks so add a little more stuffing.
- Don’t overstuff – for knitted toys, you definitely do not want to overstuff. It will distort the shape and produce an undesirable effect. Stuff until you’re happy with the shape and stop.
Universal Stuffing Tips
- For arms – typically for arms I only stuff the bottom 2/3 of the piece. If you stuff the top 1/3 of the arm, near the shoulder seam, the arm is going to stick out and look awkward. By leaving that top portion unstuffed allows the arms to lay nicely at their sides.
- For legs – I like to stuff the feet and legs really well, even for knitted toys, so that they will stand up if propped against something. Lightly stuffed feet and legs will result in a crumpled look. If you want your toy to sit nicely leaving that top 1/3 of the leg unstuffed will allow the toy legs to bend easily.
Stay Tuned for Part 2
Next week we are going to dive into Part 2. We will be exploring tension, yarn choices, color palettes and seaming. If I think of a few more things I will include those as well.
Let me know if you have any questions that you would like me to address and I will try to include them as well! Thanks so much for all your support.
In the meantime check out these posts:
Knitting Toys 101: How to Knit and Purl
I love your work. That grey and white bunny in the yellow sweater is soooo sweet!
Thanks so very much! That is one of my favorites and now is in his forever home with my mom.
Brilliant post and great tips! I do wish I’d found a post like this before I’d made any toys to be honest, your have saved me a lot of issues! Comforting to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with faces. ☺️
Thanks so much, Sandra! Faces are the hardest parts! I redo them multiple times before I call them done!
Great lesson. I agree, not to overstuff it can ruin the look! Someday, I will try this❤️ You’re so good at conveying how to’s!
Thanks so much, Jersey! There is definitely a stuffing sweet spot!
I just love that little gal in her glasses! I haven’t worn glasses since I was little (contacts and then LASIK) but that’s still how I see myself so I relate to her. I just love everything you do. 🙂
Thanks so much, Emily! She looks just like my oldest child! Isn’t that funny that a bunny looks like a human! But she wore glasses when she was little and so now her name is Meg, after my Meg! 🐰🐰🐰
What a great tutorial! Thank you for making these mistakes so we don’t have to make them 😂. Just kidding about the last part but really, thank you, this is so helpful!
Thanks so much, Anja! 😘😘😘
Great tips, Elise! Your amigurumi are the sweetest!
Thanks so much, Jen!! 😘😘😘
These are so stinkin’ cute! You are super talented.
Thank you so very much!