I often hear that making crochet toys looks like a rocket science, something difficult and requiring advanced or even magic skills. Well, however flattering that may sound to me, this statement is so not true. Reality is that you only need to learn 4 easy techniques to start making amigurumi that everyone will love and admire.
In this post I will first list accessories that you will need to start crocheting. This way you’ll have what you need handy once you start learning and practicing. After that, I will go over the 4 basic techniques and provide some links to resources you may find extremely useful for a start.
Lastly, as a matter of explanation, I will provide links to Red Heart Yarns free YouTube resources. I do this for two reasons. First, as a newbie you will probably be better off watching video tutorials, rather than reading descriptions. At this stage phrases like ‘yarn over’ and ‘pull through’ may not mean a lot. Second, over the years I have watched thousands of various tutorial videos, and basing on my experience, Red Heart Yarns videos are best. They are short, clear and to the point. I used their YouTube resources many times over the past years and was always happy with it.
Note that I am not affiliated to Red Heart Yarns in any shape or form.
OK, let’s get started then..
Crochet starter kit
The beauty of crocheting is that really and truly you only need two things to start:
Basing on my experience I would recommend starting with 3mm (US D-3) or 3.5mm (US E-4) hook. It’s small enough to let you practice stitches, and large enough to get you comfortable with holding the hook. If you are willing to spend few more bucks, get a hook with an easy grip handle. It’s a bit comfier to work with.
Additionally, there are two accessories, which I would consider ‘nice to have’, but as a newbie you may find extremely useful. Those are stitch markers and a row counter. Stitch markers are used to mark the first stitch in each row, which helps a lot when working around. Row counter helps you follow the pattern and recognize where you left off in case you need to. I know that at the beginning counting stitches may be a little bit challenging, so if you want to make your life easier you may want to invest couple $$ in them.
Also, if you’d like to read more about supplies suitable for beginners then check out my Crocheting for beginners – basics blog post.
Psst: If you purchase an item from this post, I may receive a small cut. There is no extra cost to you and it helps me keep creating free content and patterns. Thank you for your support! Note that each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.
4 Techniques needed to start making amigurumi
Fortunately, those 4 techniques are easy to learn. Of course, as with everything, it may take you some time to master each one, but overall, it would only take you couple of days to know the basics.
Before we dive into basic techniques though, you probably need to learn how to hold a crochet hook. In general, there are two ways of holing a hook – like a knife and like a pen. Both ways are correct and neither gives any advantage over the other. It’s more of a personal preference to be honest. I am mentioning this fact here because once you start watching various video tutorials, you will probably notice that some crocheters hold the hook differently than others.
This Red Heart Yarns tutorial nicely explains how to learn to hold the hook.
Slip knot & foundation chain
Making a slip knot and a foundation chain is one of the most basic ways we can start our crocheting work. Taking a piece of yarn, we need to create initial loop by making a slip knot. Then we crochet a foundation chain, into which we make the first row.
To start crocheting, you need to learn and practice making slip knot and foundation chain. I list recommended videos below:
How to make a slip knot
How to make foundation chain
How to turn
This is the most basic stitch, which is widely used across all types of crocheting projects. Amigurumis are made mainly using single crochet stitches because the work comes out tight. This is a desired effect since we don’t want the toy stuffing to shine through. It wouldn’t look esthetic.
To start making amigurumi then, you need to learn and practice single crochet stitches. This video nicely shows how to make single crochet.
Magic ring and working around
If you take a closer look at various crocheted toys, then you will surely notice that the base of the body and joints is nearly always some sort of sphere or cylinder/tube shape. We start such shape with a magic ring and then crochet around.
Here one digression. Some folks say that making a magic ring is super difficult, which I greatly disagree with. I would highly encourage you to learn this technique as it makes the outcome look much neater and nicer. But in case you feel that it’s too hard, I will include the link to alternative method too:
If you’d like to explore the other method (comparison of magic ring and chain method) then you may check out this video.
Increase and decrease
We use increases and decreases to shape the objects. Increasing makes the object wider, decreasing makes it shorter. By applying both techniques at various stages of the project, we can create curves and various other shapes.
Increasing, also referred to as ‘two in one’ or ‘2 in 1’, means that we make two stitches in one stitch of the previous row. Decreasing, also referred to as ‘two together’ or ‘2tog’, works the opposite way. We join two stitches to create one, therefore decreasing the overall number.
Below videos will show you how this is done:
Once you decide to start making amigurumi and have a chance to practice the above, then you may want to check out resources by Club Crochet. They have easy amigurumi video tutorials, which are perfect for a start.
If you’d like to find some written patterns suitable for beginners, then feel free to research my Amigurumi Patterns section of the blog. If you still don’t find what you need, then Ravelry would be a good place to look for free patterns for beginners. You can also research Pinterest and Etsy, although the latter one has paid patterns only.
All in All
If you’ve seen the resources provided above, then more likely then not you will conclude that learning crocheting basics is not that difficult. And it really only takes mastering of those 4 techniques to start making amigurumis everyone will love and admire. So don’t wait and start your journey to creating incredible and memorable toys today. Whish you best of luck!
If you have any questions or need help with anything feel free to shoot me a note to email@example.com, or leave a comment in the section below.