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Amigurumi Part One: crocheted dolls and creatures

I admit it. I am a librarian and I like to crochet and knit.

In particular, I enjoy amigurumi (編みぐるみ): Crocheting or knitting small animals, dolls or other anthropomorphic creatures. Amigurumi was my primary motivation for learning to crochet, that and the fact that I'm not the best at knitting. When I learned how to knit and crochet over a decade ago, I had just graduated from university and I was scandalized by how much I could spend on all the beautiful yarns out there. Crochet toys can be made with yarn that does not have to be quite so nice, and though in general it takes about 1/3 more yarn for a crochet project than a knit project, amigurumi toys can be made with only a small amount of yarn.

Want to see what a finished project looks like? Click in the images on the right to see one of my completed dolls.

I'm not here to weigh in on the knitting vs. crochet debate though. In fact, I'm splitting my amigurumi post into two, to cover both crochet and knit toys. Of course people knit and crochet toys long before the term amigurumi hit our shores, so the books below cover a variety of different kinds of toys and techniques to get your project going. Amigurumi crochet primarily involves single crochet stitches working in the round.

There are many different embellishments you can use for your toys but your basic supplies will include different color worsted-weight yarn, scissors, stuffing, safety eyes (or you can use felt and fabric glue, or additional yarn), crochet hooks and a blunt tipped needle for sewing your pieces together.

Below is a list of books that will get your started with amigurumi crochet.

Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby too by Ana Paula Rímoli
Full disclosure. I own three of Rímoli's books and her two others in English are on my craft book wish list. Not only are her patterns terrific, but Rímoli is so kind and wonderful, she helped me through a project when I was first learning to make amigurumi toys. Amigurumi Two! is Rímoli's second book and includes introductory techniques and fun patterns for toys for older children and baby in the forms of a tool set, tea set, baby mobile, several baby and parent animal sets and more.

Amigurume: Make Cute Crochet People by Allison Hoffman
Who could possibly resist making a crocheted Mr. T? Allison Hoffman thoroughly covers basic crochet techniques as well as different ways to make heads, bodies and clothing for your movie star or custom doll. The book is worth looking through for hair techniques alone! Hoffman also includes embellishments and accessories and different methods to give your "amigurume" personality in their expressions.  

Mini Christmas Crochet by Val Pierce
Though this particular book is focused on Christmas and ornaments, the tips, tricks and embellishments can be used all year long. Along with crochet toy patterns, including the loveliest little tabletop tree with tinsel and ornaments, there are patterns for gift toppers, coasters and other table decorations.

Toys to Crochet by Claire Garland
Toys to Crochet has patterns for dolls and toys, clothes and accessories for dolls, as well as patterns for animals and other fun, soft toys. Unlike the first two books on the list, Toys to Crochet does not include tutorials, but jumps right into the patterns used to create these toys.

Crochet With One Sheepish Girl: Easy Lessons & Sweet Designs for Wearing, Living & Giving by Meredith Crawford
Crawford's book only has a few patterns for crocheting in the round, but it had great tutorials for basic crochet projects that are updated, cute and practical. 

Hope this list inspires you to look into amigurumi whether you're a beginner or firmly in the knit or crochet camp. If you do end up making one of these projects please share it with us! You can tweet us @dcpl or share it on our Facebook page.

Be sure to also check out our crafting magazines through Zinio - with access to magazines on crochet, knitting, quilting, jewelry making and more.

Looking for kid-friendly crochet books? Check out what we have in our catalog or visit a library branch and look in the 746.43 section of nonfiction!