What is……amigurumi?

Use double crochet stitches in the round to create adorable toys with human features and lots of charm.

Amigurumi are crocheted or knitted stuffed toys with a big cute factor. They come from Japan – ‘ami’ meaning ‘crocheted or knitted’, and ‘nuigurumi’ meaning ‘sew and wrap’. These cute dolls and animals soared in popularity during the 1970s in Japan, and it was from this craft form that the ‘Hello Kitty’ brand was born.

The toys are still hugely popular today and are characterised by an oversized head, with sweet human-like features and a small cylindrical body with undersized arms and feet, or no limbs at all. Some amigurumi toys just have a head and body that is crocheted as one piece. Animals are the most popular form, but there are many examples of other items, such as food, furnishings and household accessories, that are given human features.

Really quick and easy to make, amigurumi suits beginners because the technique only uses double crochet, and the figures are always small so materials are inexpensive and light to carry around. The dolls and animals are usually worked in the round using double crochet, but some makers prefer to work in a spiral.

Amigurumi uses crochet hooks that are smaller than you might normally choose and the result is a firm, dense fabric. The toys are then stuffed and sewn together – the dense construction means the polyester stuffing doesn’t show. Finally, the details are added to the stuffed forms, to bring the creature to life. The details are often added using embroidery thread, felt or beads.

Written by Emma Clegg

See more of Janie’s beautiful projects and photography at www.lemonstale-blog.blogspot.co.uk