23 June 2010
I've got a few amigurumi patterns I've been working on, but find myself rewriting the same general advice over and over, so I thought I'd collate my general advice here so I can link to it :)
Helen's tips for successful crochet amigurumi:
1. Eyes (and mouths)
I've found that toys usually look better if you use safety eyes, rather than sewing them on. I tend to buy the little black plastic ones by the bucketload. Button eyes are only really good if you're going for ultracrafty/shabby chic/vintage, otherwise they tend to look a bit amateurish. I've never felt the need to give my amigurumi mouths. This is probably psychologically indicative of something.
2. Eye placement
This is probably the most important tip. Take time with eye placement, it is the number 1 thing that defines the personality of your amigurumi. Howie Woo has written a great article on this: Fundamentals of Cuteness 101 . As a general rule, I tend to favour widely spaced eyes about halfway up the head (depending on the physiology of the animal in question, of course).
Second most important tip! Take time with stuffing. Make sure any small appendages are stuffed first, using a crochet hook or DPN or barbeque skewer or whatever is to hand (lick the barbeque sauce off first). Make sure each part is firmly stuffed (but not so stuffed it starts to poke through the crochet!) so it is nicely rounded. As with people, if your amigurumi is nicely rounded it will be more pleasing.
You can amigurumi with anything. Seriously. The cheapest, nastiest acrylic you can find will provide just as good a finished product (although the squeaking on the crochet hook may drive you mad).
My gauge is screwed (I crochet pretty loosely). But as a rule of thumb, you should be using a crochet hook that gives you a fabric that is nicely floofy but tight enough to not have gaps when slightly stretched.
6. Approximate is OK
Amigurumi is forgiving with errors, mathematical inconsistencies and, um, design innovations. Because stuffing is so important, if your stitch counts don't add up, don't worry. Chances are everything will look fine at the end, even though it may not correlate exactly with the pattern.
I'm a lazy, lazy pattern writer. Here are the abbreviations I use:
sc: single crochet (in American, double crochet in UKese.) It's the awesome little square stitch with only two loops, anyway.
inc: sc twice in the same stitch
dec: one of these
fo: fasten off
magic ring: nifty way of beginning without leaving a hole. Instructions here
*things in asterisks* - repeat until end of round/row
Pick up / pick up and sc - To avoid sewing on, I often crochet small extremities directly onto the amigurumi. Just stick your hook through a stitch and pull up a loop, ch1 and sc in same stitch, and then carrying on scing into as many stitches as you need.
I'm sure I'll add to this in the future!