Amigurumi Guide - Japanese Crochet Dolls

Amigurumi is a Japanese technique of creating small plush or crochet or knitting dolls. In this guide we will share lots of curiosities, stories and information about these crochet dolls, including how you can learn how to make them.

This guide is quite extensive and complete, so we will leave a summary below to help you find what you are looking for:

What does Amigurumi mean?

The word amigurumi [編み包み] usually written only in hiragana, represents the junction of amimono [編み物] which means knitting and crochet with the junction of the word nuigurumi [ぬいぐるみ] which means stuffed animal. Literally meaning crochet plush.

The word itself is composed of ami [編み] which can refer to the knitted yarn and kurumi [包み] that gives meaning to art, literally meaning something like wrapping, grouping or packaging. Any creature made with knitted thread can be considered a friend.

Some dictionaries translate the word as a small stuffed animal or anthropomorphic crochet creature. Both knitting or crochet techniques can be used to make amigurumi plushies.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

How are Amigurumi?

The main feature of the doll is its large head. In Japan characters with big heads are called Chibi. In anime, the term is used to refer to characters with heads equal to or larger than the size of their own bodies.

The word chibi [禿び] literally means small child. It is also common to find dolls of common size, with large bodies and small heads, animals of different sizes, anime characters, game characters, heroes and others.

An amigurumi usually has between 10 and 30 cm, joints made of wire are widely used so that the doll can hold itself in certain positions. Parts like mouth, nose and eyes can be made in different ways like buttons or plastic.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

How are crochet dolls made?

Basically, the easy way to do amigurumi it is using crochet and knitting, but there are also Amigurumi that use the knitting technique with two bar needles. Other materials such as cotton can be used to compose the animal's interior filling.

The first steps to making an amigurumi is to create its geometric shapes that make the head, trunk and body, usually spheres and cylinders. The making of a crochet amirugumi is made with medium wool and a 4mm needle.

There are many techniques, but the most popular is the use of a low point combined with the magic ring that prevents the hole near the center of the sphere, in order to prevent the filling from leaking, using invisible reductions known as invisible decrease.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

What is the Difference between Knitting and Crochet?

You may not know the difference, as the Japanese language uses the same word to refer to both. The word amimono [編み物] because it is an object, it can mainly refer to the knitting fabric, which are interlocking knits.

The crochet produces a stroke similar to in mesh or lace and a wider variety can be used in wires. The name of the crochet technique in Japanese is Kigibariami [かぎ針編み]. In this technique, only a hooked needle is used.

At the knitting two needles are used, but without a hook! This technique is mostly used for woolen pieces and is usually more elastic. The technique that uses knitting with two needles is called boubariami [棒針編み].

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

The History and Origin of Amigurumi

Japan is known for its ancient weaving techniques, such as Kasuri and Shibori, widely used in the textile industry. According Yoshihiro Matushita, There are records dating back to 1185 about Japanese techniques for creating fabric prior to knitting and crochet.

It is not clear when Amigurumi was invented. Knitted dolls have long been made as educational toys and toys for young children. Records indicate that 3D mesh dolls have Chinese origins.

Knitting is believed to have been introduced in Japan by the Dutch in the Edo Period (1603-1867). Knitting evolved with the samurai, who were experts in creating clothes and decorations for their katana swords and winter clothes.

During the Meiji Period (1868–1912), more than 3,000 Westerners were hired to teach modern science, mathematics, technology and foreign languages in Japan. In this medium, crochet and knitting techniques were more introduced into Japanese society.

According Dai Watanabe, "Women were invited to teach Western embroidery at that time." The first three-dimensional Japanese crochet is dated 1887 and is called seiyo-keito-amimono-kyouju [西洋毛糸編物教授]. It is a branched loquat with a leaf and fruits.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

The popularization of crochet dolls

The term "Amigurumi”Became popular because it was featured on NHK’s liberal arts programs in the late 1980s. The boom came thanks to the birth of Kawaii Culture and phenomena like Hello Kitty.

The high demand for cute things popularized the practice to the point of creating a Japanese Amigurumi Association on January 10, 2002. In time, thousands of crochet animal books and tutorials have emerged that can be easily found.

With the popularization of Japanese culture around the world, the amigurumi it has also become known in the West, mainly through forums and blogs in which recipes are created and distributed. Today it is easy to find some tutorials on YouTube.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

Amigurumi Learning Courses

You can find several courses or recipes E-book being sold digitally. It can be a great advantage for those who don't know anything about the business and want to learn how to make these crochet plushies.

It is not cooking, but in the world of crochet dolls, we call the recipe sewing tutorials. Some of the recommendations below are Books with video lessons, then we will only recommend books with recipes. Hope you like it!

Amigurumi Crafts - Course

Learn from scratch to advanced to create and profit from Amigurumi clothing. You will learn how to make over 1000 pieces of crochet animals, as well as receive recipes for dolls, animals, cartoon characters and much more.

Everything with step by step in this ebook. Always with updates, we have a members area for students' questions and a Student Group on Telegram with a channel and chat to exchange tips and experiences.

Accessing below you will already download a free basic recipe for those who want to learn how to make this type of crafts with crochet. If you already want to go deeper, just buy the complete product Amigurumi Handicraft.

Amigurumi Seabed Theme

With the Practical Crochet Method, you will learn the Amigurumi technique (Deep Sea Theme). Develop this beautiful craft at home, whenever you want, and learn how to make beautiful crochet work. Surprise everyone with your art and start your own business.

This course offers you:

  • Complete Walkthrough with E-Book and Video Lessons;
  • Unlimited and Immediate Access;
  • Support for Students;
  • You will have at your disposal excellent content, where you will learn;
  • How to make the stitches used in Amigurumis;
  • What are the materials to be used;
  • 5 pets on the seabed theme (crab, dolphin, fish, octopus and turtle);
  • Exclusive bonuses;

Amigurumi Easy Learn Course

You can learn the Japanese Amigurumi technique to charm your loved ones or even to guarantee an Extra income. In the Learn easy course You will have access to several Recipes and Graphics and also videos Lessons by Artisan Deisiane Dias.

Course content:

  • Lesson 1 - Learn to Make the Chain Stitch
  • Lesson 2 - Learn to Make the Magic Ring
  • Lesson 3 - Learn to Make the Low
  • Lesson 4 - Learn to Make the Point Very Low
  • Lesson 5 - Learn to Make the High Point
  • Lesson 6 - Learn to Make the Double High Point
  • Lesson 7 - Learn to Read Amigurumi Recipes
  • Lesson 8 - Learn to Finish the Amigurumi Piece
  • Lesson 9 - Learn to Wash the Amigurumi Piece
  • Bonus - Learn How to Sell Amigurumi on Instagram

Baroque Atelier Club

Hello friends! Welcome to this corner created especially for you who love the Dolls of the Baroque and is part of our circle of crochet friends.

In this club I will put all exclusive news, you will learn the fairy collection, the Anne doll, the Little Prince and other incredible creations. You can attend the course without leaving home and anywhere in Brazil, with video lessons in Portuguese

Books to learn Amigurumi

There are many books of amigurumi on Amazon Brazil, the vast majority with free shipping for members of Amazon Prime. Below are the main book recommendations on amigurumi do Suki Desu:

Amigurumi materials

For do an amigurumi you will need threads, needles and acrylic filler. Some other additional materials may be needed, such as scissors, tape measure, buttons, felt and glue to give the pets the final finish.

Some use their own mesh to make the crochet bear, it can be purchased for an affordable price in online stores. You also find ready-made parts, own lines and other materials to make your own amigurumi in the recommendations below:

Where to buy an Amigurumi?

If you don’t know anyone selling Amigurumi in your area, you can turn to online stores. Below I want to share some amigurumi that I found in Suki Desu partner stores like Amazon Brasil and others.

Because they are a complex art, they are generally not as cheap as teddy bears. In fact, in online stores abroad crafts can be found from 10 to 100 dollars, taking into account the current dollar value, see:

Tomoko Takamori - Japanese Artist

Tomoko Takamori is a very popular Japanese amigurumi artist who was born in 1964. She has been active as an illustrator for magazines such as POPEYE and Seventeen. She made her debut as an artist when she attended the Teddy Bear Fair in the spring of 1993.

She appeared on the NHK Television Educational women’s program “Oshare Koubou”, which started the amigurumi boom in 1998. Fans from all over the country come together for the individual show due to the originality and cuteness of the work.

His works, which are excellent in color and modeling, usually appear in fashion magazines. Takamori Tomoko’s work even has a serial number. Their arts are usually sold for a limited time with a lottery system.

At the auction, the price of an amigurumi made by Tomoko Takamori can reach 100,000 yen or more. From 1994 to today Tomoko has published more than 15 magazines on the art of making crochet dolls, including several popular recipes.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

Yoshi Wooly World - Amigurumi

A great example of amigurumi in games is Nintendo’s famous Yoshi Wooly World game. Every game, characters, scenery is made with skeins, applying the technique of making crochet dolls.

Hamanaka, a Japanese company specializing in crochet and dolls, has even launched its own kit for making Yoshi along with the recipe and instructions. I found it important to highlight the game as it is one of the only ones that apply Japanese technique.

Something similar happened in the game Kirby Epic Yarn, but different from the three-dimensional models, in Kirby the scenery and characters are assembled in 2D using a skein line. This is not the Japanese technique of making crochet dolls.

If you want to buy the official Yoshi Wooly World doll directly in the fabric that serves with amiibo, you can buy by clicking here on the Play Asia website. If you want to know how to buy games and anime products without being taxed, read our Play-Asia article.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

Why doesn't amigurumi have a mouth?

Its popularization came at the same time as Hello Kitty, which also had no mouth. The reason has nothing to do with devil’s pact as the Fake News of old used to say. It is just an art style, a facility and a characteristic.

The main reason, like that of Hello KItty, is that the absence of a mouth allows the characters to express themselves in different ways. Allowing the crochet pets to express the feelings that the person wants to see.

There is even a saying about Hello Kitty that says she has no mouth because she "speaks with her heart". In fact, this statement comes from the Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger, creator of the Tildas Dolls, who also has no mouth.

The reason for the success of amigurumi as well as Hello Kitty is due to its empty design making it more attractive to different types of people. Even if the person is sad or happy, the doll will sympathize with that feeling.

But the claim that amigurumi has no mouth is wrong. Most animals have mouths, we also find several dolls with mouths. Sometimes the absence of a mouth on crochet dolls can be simply a lack of need.

Amigurumi guide - Japanese crochet dolls

Japanese Amigurumi Association

THE Japanese Amigurumi Association [] aims to establish and disseminate the culture of crochet dolls, raise awareness of art, hold events throughout Japan and interact with writers and enthusiasts.

The association also provides training and sponsorship for writers, provides places to present work, production and manufacturing information, tools and more. The association also supports and protects copyright, listing the collection.

She supports collectors, holds regular events and other sponsorship activities. If you are looking for the association’s headquarters, it can be found at: 2-39-6 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0031 [TEL 03-3468-2147].

Questions about Amigurumi

Many of the questions have already been answered throughout the article, but other questions remain. Below are some common questions about the art and technique of making crochet dolls.

How long does it take to make an Amigurumi?

Usually some spend up to 3 days to make a crochet doll, but in fact it takes a few hours to make such a doll. Nobody spends all day knitting, it all depends on your skill, the size of the animal and even the material used.

Professionals can make a doll in a few hours, some beginners can take up to days. Some dolls are super complex and require dedication and effort, which makes some very expensive.

What is the number of the needle to make amigurumi?

Amigurumi yarn packaging contains a number indicated by needle, but it all depends on the tension of the stitch, which can vary from person to person. It is generally used between 2.25 (loosest stitch) to 3.5 (tightest stitch). Some use 2.75 mm.

Usually needles of many colors are used in order not to get lost or confuse the different knitted pieces. The most common are soft needles, but you can use rigid needles, made of aluminum, plastic and even bamboo.

Which Line to use to make Amigurumi?

Generally people like mercerized cotton, because it makes the finish more beautiful and brighter. It is recommended mainly for beginners the string, because it is thicker and do the job pays off faster.

Videos about Amigurumi

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