6 Tips For Improving Crochet Amigurumi

March 13, 2019

6 Tips For Improving Crochet Amigurumi

Hello crafters,

The launch of the Classic Miffy Amigurumi Crochet Kit and XL Miffy Amigurumi Crochet Kit saw Stitch & Story’s first venture into the wonderful world of crochet amigurumi. The response was overwhelming as so many of you enthusiastically embraced our new kits and started on your amigurumi journeys. Our beginner friendly patterns and kits contain everything you need to complete your Miffy projects but we’ve put together some additional crochet amigurumi tips and advice to help you truly master making your Miffy.

 

BEGINNER’S GUIDE - HOW TO MASTER THE XL AND CLASSIC MIFFY AMIGURUMI CROCHET KITS

How to make a magic ring (magic loop)

The magic ring (magic loop) is the foundation of every component and limb of our XL and Classic Miffy kits. It is a clever crochet technique that allows an item to be worked in the round while creating a tightly closed center. It’s such an important part of amigurumi that we created a separate blog post dedicated to the magic ring (magic loop). The post, which you can read here, includes an alternative chain stitch method if you’re not yet a magic ring (magic loop) fan.

 

The right side (RS) and wrong side (WS) of amigurumi

When you are crocheting the right side (RS) of your work is the side facing you. The same goes for crochet amigurumi. The general consensus for amigurumi is that it looks better with the RS of your work facing out. This side is smoother and the crochet stitch ‘v’s’ are defined. The back of a double crochet (dc - UK Terminology) stitch tends to be bigger than the front, so the wrong side (WS) can look more bobbly, and the horizontal bars of stitches are visible.

If you are right-handed, crocheting anti-clockwise in a round, you may find that your work curves inwards as you crochet amigurumi putting your right side (RS) on the inside. Working with the wrong side (WS) facing outwards you will find yourself putting your crochet hook through stitches from the inside of your amigurumi component to the outside. Some crocheters are happy to make amigurumi in this way and simply turn the components inside out before stuffing and sewing up. However, this method of crocheting amigurumi can be quite fiddly, particularly with small components.

If you crochet amigurumi with the RS facing outwards then you will work in a clockwise direction in the round, putting your crochet hook through stitches from the outside of your amigurumi component to the inside. Although it may feel odd to begin with, this way of crocheting amigurumi is easier in the long run and saves you having to remember to turn components inside out before stuffing.

Whichever direction you decide to crochet in just make sure that before stuffing and sewing up your XL or Classic Miffy the RS is out and the WS is in. Your Miffy will be neater with a much better shape, decreases will be less visible, and the stitches will be easier to identify for embroidering her face.

 

Counting rounds - stitch markers

To help you keep track of where you are when you’re working your stitches, undo mistakes, and count your rounds, you can mark your stitches. Personal preference generally dictates what stitch marking method people choose but if you’re new to crochet amigurumi, and have never used a stitch marker before, then marking the last stitch of every crochet round is advisable. By marking the last stitch of each round you know that when you’ve crocheted into that stitch again you’re about to start with a new round.

In amigurumi you should start using a stitch marker from the end of your 1st round. The easiest way to mark your stitches is by using a length of contrasting scrap yarn. Work your first round and count to make sure you have the correct number of stitches. Then using your hook pull the contrast yarn through the last stitch that you have worked in a round.

With your contrast yarn (stitch marker) in place you can continue to work the next round of instructions. You should find that the final stitch of this round will be worked into the stitch holding your contrast yarn (stitch marker).

Once more count your stitches at the end of the round to make sure you’ve correctly followed the instructions. Then, place your hook back into the last stitch of the round again and pull the contrast yarn up through. Continue in this way for each round.

If you’re feeling confident you can choose to just pull the contrast yarn back and forth, over or under, each round rather than through the last stitches. By experimenting with different methods of stitch marking you will find the best one for you.

Crochet amigurumi is worked in a non-stop constant spiral. Using a contrasting piece of scrap yarn as a stitch marker means it will track and spiral with you up your work, ‘leaning’ towards the right. This makes it easier to count how many rounds you have completed, either by noting how many stitches your contrast yarn has been pulled through or how many times your contrast yarn has been flicked forward or back. Once you have completed the final stitch of your amigurumi component you can simply pull out your contrast yarn without damaging your work in any way.

Some crocheters like to use crochet stitch markers, which are clips or hooked devices that can be attached to individual stitches and easily removed. Unlike the contrast yarn, which will continuously stitch mark and track with you up your work, you will unhook and re-attach the stitch marker to the final stitch of each round. Note: this means only the last stitch of your last round will be marked so it won’t be as easy to count your rounds or track the spiral up your work.

 

Counting stitches

Counting your stitches at the end of each row/round when you first start learning to crochet helps to keep you on track and follow the pattern correctly.

When you are counting crochet stitches you count the ‘v’s’ across the top of your work such as you would when counting chains, which you can see in our crochet video tutorial How To Count Chains here. This is the same whether you’re crocheting straight (Miffy’s dress) or in the round (XL and Classic Miffy).

Not including the loop on your hook, you count the ‘v’s’ working away from your hook the whole length of your piece or round. If you are using a stitch marker to count your rounds you can clearly see where each round begins and ends making it easier to count your stitches.

TIP: Sometimes the last stitch (v) of a straight row can twist to the wrong side (WS) or ‘back’ of your work. Flattening your piece and viewing the ‘v’s’ from the top when counting will help you see if the last stitch is curling around and still needs to be worked.

 

Fixing mistakes

When you first start with crochet amigurumi making a mistake or two is normal. You lose track of the last stitch you worked or put your hook through the wrong stitch and suddenly your round has “ended” before it was supposed to or you’ve got too many stitches. Everyone has little tricks or methods for keeping themselves on track - saying the stitches out loud, ticking them off on paper, using stitch markers and row counters - and it’s through trial and error you’ll find the best technique for you.

Thankfully if you do make a mistake, it’s very easy to undo stitches and fix it. You can watch our crochet video tutorial on How To Undo Mistakes here. With amigurumi, components and row lengths are small. If you discover a mistake - but maybe can’t identify exactly where or what the mistake is - it is easiest to undo all the stitches back to where your contrast yarn (stitch marker) indicated the beginning of the current round and start again.

 

Changing colors in XL Miffy

The arms of the XL Miffy Amigurumi Crochet Kit require you to change yarn color from the 3rd round on. When changing colors you always want to make the last loop of the previous stitch in the new yarn color. In the XL Miffy pattern this means making the last loop of the final increase stitch in the 2nd round in Color B.

a) Following the pattern, work the 2nd round, stopping before the last stitch.

b) Work the last increase stitch to the point where only two loops are left on the hook.

c) Loop the new yarn (Color B) onto your hook.

d) Draw the new yarn through the two loops on your hook. Pull and tighten loose ends.

e) Continue by working the 3rd, and subsequent rounds, with Color B.

 

Although the Miffy amigurumis may look like daunting projects for the novice crocheter, broken down into their individual components and steps they are surprisingly beginner friendly. Hopefully, armed with these additional tips, you’ll feel confident enough to take on the challenge and embrace Miffy and the art of amigurumi.

Happy crafting!


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