What is Amigurumi?

iradumi crochet amigurumi bunny

Amigurumi crochet bunny by Iradumi


If you have spent any time in the world of crochet then there’s a good chance that you have heard the term “amigurumi”.  Browsing through amigurumi crochet patterns, you might get a sense of what this niche of the craft is, but you may not know for sure. That is because some people have a really strict definition of amigurumi and others use it more broadly. Basically, though, amigurumi is when you make a small stuffed crochet item, typically worked only in single crochet stitches.

Amigurumi Crochet Dolls

The most common type of amigurumi is crochet dolls. These are small dolls that are made using single crochet stitches, typically worked in spirals (rather than joined in the round) and made using lightweight or worsted weight yarn with relatively small crochet hooks. The idea is that you create a tightly joined spiral with no gaps because you stuff the doll and you don’t want the stuffing to come through. Amigurumi is usually made in separate pieces (the head, the body, the arms, etc.) and those pieces are stuffed individually and then joined together at the end to create the final doll.

These amigurumi dolls usually have faces. The faces may be made using stitches (such as embroidery) or mixed media (such as glue-on craft eyes). The dolls may be designed to represent humans or animals or fanciful creatures. The faces are often designed to have a very cute style representative of the anime / kawaii style of Japan where the niche of the craft originates. That said, people sometimes make the dolls creepy or work them in other styles.

Are All Crochet Dolls Amigurumi?

This is where the definition starts to get tricky. Some people will call any doll made in crochet an amigurumi doll. Other people say that amigurumi is more specific – that it’s the single crochet big-eyed doll described above. Other people differentiate by size – big stuffed animals are not amigurumi but small stuffed toys are. Many crocheters are somewhere in between. The word “amigurumi” itself, when translated from Japanese, broadly encompasses any  knit or crochet stuffed doll or toy.

betibettin crochet art

Chicken or egg amigurumi by Betibettin

Are All Amigurumi Dolls?

Amigurumi doesn’t have to be a doll toy although this is very common. In fact, what might be even more common is stuffed crochet food. Many times the food is also designed with a face similar to those of Japanese cartoon characters. However, not all crochet food will have a face added on. Again, whether or not you call it amigurumi depends on your how strict your definition is of that word.

A Few Fun Things To Know About Amigurumi

Here are a few other things that you might want to know as you begin playing with amigurumi:

  • This technique is very commonly done in crochet but amigurumi can also be created through knitting.
  • Because it uses only basic crochet stitches, you can easily learn how to crochet amigurumi even as an advanced beginner to the craft of crochet.
  • You can begin learning amigurumi by simply learning how to make a three dimensional stuffed crochet ball.
  • You only need to know a few things in crochet to begin making amigurumi. You need to be able to make slip stitches for joining. You need to be able to crochet in the round. And you need to know how to single crochet including how to increase and decrease in single crochet.
  • There are many amigurumi crochet patterns written in English. However there are many, many more written in other languages. Those patterns often include symbol charts so if you find out that you love amigurumi, you might want to learn how to read crochet symbol charts.
  • Some people create teeny tiny amigurumi; look up micro-crochet to see some amazing creations!

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