What is Amigurumi? The Joy of Crocheted Toys

Discover the cutest of crafts, where yarn turns into adorable, stuffed toys. So, what is amigurumi, and how do you start? Let’s get our hooks in and find out.

6 June 2024

When it comes to crafts, they don’t get much cuter than amigurumi. The delightful Japanese yarn craft of crocheting small, stuffed creatures or plushies. But, more than that, the transforming simple materials into whimsical toys and collectibles.

So what is amigurumi exactly? Let’s explore the basics of amigurumi, the techniques involved, and the materials needed to get started, including what yarn to use for amigurumi. “Yarning” to know more? Let’s go.

What is Amigurumi?

Handmade amigurumi crab (Credit: Click&Boo via Getty Images)

So, what is amigurumi? The clue is in the name, a portmanteau of the Japanese words “ami,” meaning crocheted or knitted, and “nuigurumi,” meaning stuffed doll. Put simply, it’s the craft of making yarn soft toys, sometimes by knitting, but usually crocheting.

It’s also a noun, the name of the toys, essentially plushies, so created. That covers the basics. However, while there’s no rules to the type of plushies to make, there’s a certain aesthetic associated with this artform, which we’ll look at next.

The Cuter the Better

Cool crochet keyrings (Credit: SolStock via Getty Images)

While amigurumi could technically refer to any knitted or crocheted soft toy, they’re usually small animal or food-shaped characters with smiley faces and little dot eyes. And they tend to be utterly adorable. In fact, from chirpy cherries to happy bees, cuteness is practically a requirement.

Amigurumi Crochet Tools

Crochet tools (Credit: Rosa María Fernández Rz via Getty Images)

For those who can’t resist the idea of creating amigurumi, there’s good news. Very few tools are required. Focusing on amigurumi crochet for instance, most of them are the same ones as used for general crocheting, such as:

A Crochet Hook

As in any crochet project, choosing the right crochet hook is important in achieving the desired look. Usually, one can follow the recommended sizes listed on yarn labels. However, amigurumi crochet tends to involve denser stitches, so smaller hooks are usually advised. And steel or aluminium hooks can help with precision.

Stuffing Material

Any soft toy stuffing can be used, although polyester fiberfill is the most common. Other options include wool, cotton balls, or even leftover yarn.

Eyes, or Other Character Features

A vital part of amigurumi crocheting is to put on that happy face. These features can be embroidered. But, if using premade ones, safety eyes are vital if the toy is likely to be handled by children.

Other Tools

Scissors, stitch markers and yarn needles and embroidery thread are all likely to come in handy.


Every project needs a plan and, for amigurumi crocheting, the pattern is it.


In theory, any yarn can be used in amigurumi, but there’s more to it. So, next, we’ll explore the question “what is amigurumi yarn” and what yarn to use for crochet plushies.

What is Amigurumi Yarn? Choosing What Yarn to Use for Amigurumi

Amigurumi yarn and handmade doll (Credit: joseantona via Getty Images)

As mentioned above, there’s no specific amigurumi yarn as such. It can theoretically be any yarn one might use for crocheting. Thus there’s different weight, material and colour options. So, how does one choose what yarn to use for amigurumi?

Deciding what yarn to use for crochet plushies or amigurumi is dependent on numerous factors. For instance, who is the toy for? Children’s toys need to be more durable and ideally machine washable. What’s the desired texture and look? And how easy is it to work with? Much of this is dependent on the material and weight of the yarn.


The yarn material affects the final appearance and feel of the final toy. Will it be soft and smooth or tight and textured? Acrylic yarn is considered more elastic and easier to work with for beginners. Then there’s its affordability, wide range of colours, and machine-washable properties. Meanwhile, cotton yarn is often recommended for its softness and durability and because it provides a neat stitch definition. It’s also less likely to stretch out of shape over time.


Yarns are categorised according to weight, which is a measure of thickness. In terms of what yarn to use for crochet plushies, this is typically a medium-weight yarn, often categorised as DK, meaning double knitting, or worsted weight. These yarns offer a balance of thickness that makes them easy to work with while providing enough structure for the finished toy to hold its shape. Usually, the pattern will specify the ideal yarn weight.

Essential Crochet Stitches for Amigurumi

Crochet in bright pastel colours (Credit: Fly_dragonfly via Getty Images)

Mastering a few key stitches is crucial for creating charming amigurumi toys. Below, we explore some fundamental crochet stitches that form the foundation of this delightful craft.

Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is the foundation of most crochet projects. It involves creating a series of loops that form a chain, serving as the starting point for many amigurumi patterns.

Magic Ring

The magic ring, or magic loop, is a technique used to start crocheting in the round. It creates a tightly closed centre, ideal for the heads and bodies of amigurumi toys.

Slip Stitch

The slip stitch is a versatile stitch used for joining rounds, creating a smooth edge, or moving the yarn to a different point in the project without adding height.

Crochet Increase

A crochet increase involves adding extra stitches in a single stitch to widen the work. This technique is essential for shaping amigurumi, allowing for the creation of rounded forms.

Crochet Decrease

A crochet decrease, also known as a decrease stitch, is used to reduce the number of stitches in a row or round. This technique creates curves and narrowing areas.

Amigurumi in a Nutshell

A cute amigurumi seagull (Credit: NuriaE via Getty Images)

And so, that’s amigurumi crochet. We’ve explored what is amigurumi, including the techniques and tools as well as what yarn to use for crochet plushies. And, of course, we learned that, when it comes to amigurumi, it’s all about the cute.


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