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Part 1 – Crochet & Amigurumi Basics

Crochet that I learned was strictly used to create lace doilies, appliques or little accents to outfits. I wasn’t interested in any of these which is why I was happy to discover amigurumi. Crochet usually involves intricate patterns and designs which require you to finish several lines of before the pattern makes an appearance or makes any sense. Amigurumi usually requires only the single stitch crochet done in the round. Since you aren’t distracted by the pattern, you’re concerned about the shape that you are creating which is a lot easier to imagine.

There are many resources already available on the internet, which will also be referenced later here, but I’m writing this series of tutorials on amigurumi the way I am able to understand it. Most crochet or amigurumi patterns are “written out” which I have some difficulty following. As a result, I usually end up rewriting it in something that looks like short hand code so that it’s easier to follow. When you’re reading a written out pattern, you’re sometimes bogged down with so much description that you lose your place as you are working.

For those who are completely new to crochet, crochet is a process of creating fabric out of yarn. It’s similar to knitting with the exception of using one hook instead of two. Both crochet and knitting involve a series of knots and loops which can also achieve different textures on the finished product.

 

Materials:

Hook

The crochet hook comes in many sizes. My favorite hook is a size US 1.30mm/10 hook which is commonly used for lace doilies and very small. Size is based on the diameter of the hook’s shaft which is what you use to determine the gauge of your work.

It is recommended for beginners to use a much bigger hook size to easier see your stitches. I’ve developed a preference for smaller hooks in general since they guarantee that my stitches are tight and I have an overall preference for miniature amigurumi… which brings us to yarn.

Yarn

Yarn like crochet hooks come in many types and sizes. I’m not very knowledgeable on this so I’ll stick to what I know. Since I have a preference for miniature amigurumi, my favorite yarn size is size 10 crochet thread. They’re perfect for small miniature plushies and key chain type items. I’ve also favored size 10 crochet thread since it’s common and comes in many colors which allows the uniformity in the threads to create very colorful amigurumi.

It is recommended for beginners to use worsted acrylic yarns which are commonly sold as skeins (hanks). Different brands will sometimes have descrepancies in weight or gauge which is why I never got used to it. However, worsted acrylic yarns are cheap and result in huggable sized plushies. If you are going to start out with worsted acrylic yarns, I’ve used a size US 2.75mm to 3.24mm hook.

 

Gauge

Gauge is something that isn’t particularly important in amigurumi though I mention it here since there are occasionally patterns that require it to achieve certain effects. Gauge is the number of stitches per inch and the number of rows per stitch. It gives you an idea of how big the finished work is going to be.

The yarn size and the hook you use may already give you a sense for it but gauge does vary from stitcher to stitcher, even when they use the same exact materials.

For more information on gauge and how you can figure out your own gauge, please follow this link: http://www.smart-knit-crocheting.com/beginner-crochet.html

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