Photo credit: Wen Rou via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

A to Z Challenge: A is for Amigurumi

Photo credit: Wen Rou via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Wen Rou via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

AAmigurumi is a Japanese word meaning crocheted or knitted, stuffed doll (Ami = crocheted/knitted; Nuigurumi = Stuffed Doll). Most of the pieces for these stuffed dolls, are worked by crocheting in the round.

The art of amigurumi had been widely enjoyed in Japan for decades, before making its way to the United States. It was in the early 2000s that it gained in popularity with sites like Etsy (an online marketplace for handmade goods) and Ravelry (specializing in knit/crochet patterns only).

Not only could you now purchase these amis handmade from creative artists themselves, you could also buy patterns or find free patterns (see my Free Happy Sunflower pattern) if you were daring enough to try your hand at making one yourself.

Photo Credit: J.H. Winter
Photo Credit: J.H. Winter

The first amigurumi I ever made came from the book, “I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting!” by Leisure Arts. I had purchased the book from Michaels craft store. The pattern was for a koala bear, shown in the back of the book.

My yarn tension was terrible and I stitched inside out when I started (not intentionally—you can imagine my dismay when I realized). The gaps between the stitches of the black nose were so large, you could see the white stuffing inside!

Photo Credit: J.H. Winter
Photo Credit: J.H. Winter

I was proud of the fact that I’d made one all by myself. At a young age, my mom had taught me how to crochet granny squares, but since that time, I had forgotten all the essential knowledge.

In order to re-learn the basics, I looked through books on crocheting and watched YouTube videos stepping me through the process of how to make each stitch. They even had videos on how to assemble the pieces once they were made, a technique I’d never done before, even in my earlier years with crochet.

Going from something 2-dimensional to a 3-dimensional toy was a bit of an adjustment and seemed daunting at first. Taking my time as I crafted each piece, and being okay remaking a piece if it didn’t come out quite right, was all I needed to begin creating these adorable plush toys!

What was the first thing you ever crocheted?

2257694675_93cd3a95c5
Photo credit: :: Hello Mizu :: via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

44 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: A is for Amigurumi”

  1. I have only crocheted a Star Trek Enterprise in 3D and I remember that was hard, I am not sure it qualifies as an amigurumi though. I am much better at 2D things, but one of these days I will make a bunny. Since I love bunnies I think I will have more of a drive to finish even if I struggle with it. ^^ I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

    1. Thank you, Vilje! If you ever get stuck on anything while you are making amigurumi, let me know and I can help step you through the process. I am always happy to help a fellow crocheter with a question!

  2. Same pinch 😉 The first things I crocheted were also granny squares!
    I made a baby blanket with them. I still do crochet off and on but I’m yet to transition to 3-dimensional objects. I’m looking forward to my first amigurumi.
    @freya3377 from Life as Freya

  3. Love all your amigurumi creations! I’m always impressed when I see ones you made :). Can’t wait to see what you’ll make next!

  4. The first thing i ever made, was a scarf. It took me about 5 years and it’s still my favourite :)
    I love your drawings and the cute orange cat 😀 maybe one day….

    1. There are so many practical things I want to make for myself and others, but every time I pick up a crochet hook and yarn, an amigurumi begins to take shape. They are very eager to be made. Thank you for the compliments on my work. I’m sure you’ll pick back up that hook one day and something new will come from it. I’m also following you over on your blog as well! I’m glad you found me!

  5. I haven’t yet tried my hand at Amigurumi yet, but one of these days it will happen.

    I cannot remember the first thing I crocheted. Probably a scarf. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was very young. I remember she handed me some yarn and a hook and I just did the same stitch over and over until I made a really long “scarf” like thing. :-)

    Stefani | Dreams of Nyssa

    1. I am a big believer that you should try it! Crocheting is a lot of fun. I will have how-to videos up soon on my YouTube channel if you’d like me to help you learn. There are lots of great resources out there as well.

  6. Hi there!

    Just hitting you back for the A-to-Z blog challenge.

    I’m glad that I finally know what to call these dolls now! A friend of mine has been making them for a while and sharing pictures, but never called the craft by name. I really like your koala too. Keep up the crafting. :)

    1. Hi J.R. Thank you for coming by! The koala amigurumi picture is actually from the how-to book I had used to create one like it. Mine, unfortunately, did not come out quite so cute, since it was the first amigurumi I’d ever made. I hope you keep checking back to see more. I’ll have posts on writing, illustration, and crafting as well. I’m looking forward to reading your posts too!

    1. I love your first post and the visual of your wedding in Delhi. I’m your newest follower. Good luck with the challenge and I hope you keep checking back here as well!

    1. This gave me a laugh! I have seen it pronounced many different ways, but from taking a quarter of Japanese in college, I pronounce it, “ah-me-goo-roo-me.” Just don’t pronounce it “Oragami” and you should be just fine :)

    1. Thank you for passing my blog on to your sister! I also blog about writing, illustration, and crafting as well, so I hope you will find many of these posts interesting and worth stopping a moment to read. Good luck with the challenge! You have a new follower as well!

  7. Popping over from the A to Z! I really love the style and how this crocheting looks. I’ve never done anything like this before but my husband’s grandmother was quite good and I’m so happy to have some of the delicate doilies and knitted pot holders she made.

    1. Hi Nancy! I’m glad you found me through the challenge. Amigurumi are a style all their own and make amazing gifts as well. You don’t see doilies and pot holders made as often anymore, so cherish those that you do have. They always add a personal touch, since you know the time your family member took to make them. I find those I give these amigurumi to, cherish them just as much. I hope you enjoy my posts throughout the month and beyond!

  8. I’ve never crocheted, since my mother did not know how to crochet. She knew how to knit, so I learned to knit. I’ll have to look up some knit amigurumi patterns.

    (Found you from the A to Z Challenge.)

    1. I’m glad you found me, Sarah! I knit as well, although I’ve only really made slippers and blankets made using circular needles. That is about the extent of my knitting knowledge at the moment. I’d love to branch out and make myself a nice long sweater someday. There was a book that came out I found intriguing called, “No Sew Knits” by Kristen TenDyke. Have you ever heard of it? It seems like without needing to sew, it might be a bit easier? I haven’t dug deep enough to see if this is true yet. Anyway, thank you for coming, and I hope you stop by throughout the month!

  9. I enjoy crocheting, too. I’ve mostly made simple things like dish cloths and some mittens. One year I found a pattern online to make a Totoro (from the anime movie “My Neighbor Totoro”) for my grandson. It was somewhat difficult, but I did it and it was fun! This is my first year for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I’ve seen so many great ideas!

    1. Hi Gayl! I probably made the exact same Totoro 4-5 times as gifts and for myself of course. In fact, he’s sitting right behind me on the bookshelf! I hope you keep checking back because I’ll have some freebies coming up soon!

    1. I look forward to sharing my posts with you! I just got back from checking out your blog as well and am wondering which musician you will pick for B :)

  10. These are fantastic. You mentioned Amigurumi in a comment on one of my posts and I had to look it up. Once I discovered what Amigurumi was I fascinated. My son has a knitted stuffie he got from the hospital last summer. My wife is into crocheting and I think these would fun for her to make.

    1. I’m sure she would love making these and they take far less time than the blanket she is working on! :) I plan to share some freebies later on this month, so keep checking back, Eric. I really enjoyed your “A is for Ask” post as well. Looking forward to the posts ahead!

    1. Thank you so much! I look forward to teaching what I know! Making amigurumi is so much fun. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a crafty bone in their body. If you don’t, I have other posts coming related to my other passions as well: writing, illustration, and more. A little something for everyone :) I’ve enjoyed your posts (well post so far) as well, and look forward to more!

  11. I like crafting and making things and have spent some time in Japan but I’ve never heard of amigurumi. Thanks for sharing. I love making dolls and I love the pictures you shared.

    1. I’m glad you came by then Stephanie! I’ll have a lot of fun posts for you this month, so I hope you keep dropping in to learn more. I’m very jealous that you’ve been to Japan. That is definitely on my list of places to see!

    1. How funny is that! Is it because you were overly careful not to mess up on the first? Do you still enjoy crocheting? I tend not to make things that need to be worn, only because having to get the size just right would set me up for failure. I make knitted slippers for my family as needed and that’s about it. I would like to venture out though in future. We shall see!

  12. These are really cute. I really wish I had the focus and hand-eye coordination to do something like this myself. Great stuff. I’m off to check out Ravelry, which I had never heard of before you mentioned it…

    Paul @ theironpact.com

    1. Thank you Paul! Ravelry is a lot of fun. I am over there as well, so I hope you come find me: jhwinterauthor! I’ve gone over to check on your post now. Looking forward to reading :)

  13. Great post :) the first thing I ever crocheted was coat hanger covers- my grandma taught me to make some for a stall at a church fete. I then used the same technique to make dresses for my Barbie dolls – I think I was about 10. Then didn’t crochet for years until I inherited a heap of unfinished things from my grandmother, including the beginning of a blanket. After I added a few inches to it, my housemate turned it into a skirt!

    1. I still have some hangers my own grandmother had made for us. How neat that your friend was able to re-purpose the unfinished blanket and make it into a skirt that could be seen by all! Sometimes the thing you think you are starting, isn’t what you end up with. This is true with any type of art. Thank you for the comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *