bust your yarn stash: make an amigurumi crochet toy ball [FREE PATTERN]
I was looking for something else when I came across the yarn drawer. Maybe you have the yarn drawer or box or bag — all that leftover yarn in odd lots and weird colors that you keep because it’s too much to throw away and not enough to make something out of. Mine looks like this:
Inspired by the Goodsmiths interview with crochet wiz Stacy Trock on amigurumi, I decided to try a small beginner project myself. Peruse the internet and you’ll find everything from stuffed animals to finger puppets to pin cushions to cat toys — all made with small amounts of yarn in any type. As I cruised the virtual world, I found hundreds of patterns out there — many easy for beginners — to crochet cute little items out of yarn and great ideas to bust that yarn stash to boot.
What is Amigurumi? This is a Japanese word that roughly translates into “crochet or knitted little stuffed doll.” These are small items with a major cute factor, often having human characteristics like a face. These small toys started to become very popular in the early 2000’s and have continued to captivate crafters because they are easy and stitch up so quickly.
How do you make them? Most of these little patterns are worked in spirals using a single crochet stitch, and you need to be able to increase and decrease stitches as you go around. They need to be tight stitches since you usually stuff them. You can use any kind of yarn — it really depends upon your preference — but the best yarn is from your leftover stash!
This is part one of two. After trying a few toys, I created a couple of patterns to share and I will point out some new techniques to try (yes, even after 30 years, I learned there is a better way to handle some crochet stitches!)
Bonus Technique: The Magic Circle
The magic circle is a deceptively simple way to start your crocheted circle that achieves a very tight crochet (to keep all that stuffing in). Instead of chaining and doing multiple crochets in the second chain from the hook, you create a kind of slip knot. The best way to explain this is to see it, so check out these two excellent examples from YouTube:
Small Round Ball Pattern
What you will need
- A small ball of yarn
- Size G crochet hook or your favorite one (the smaller the hook, the tighter the crochet)
- Polyester Fiberfill stuffing (I used the leftover batting from my quilt projects)
- Scissor or a yarn cutter
What you will need to do
SC = Single Crochet
SC2TOG = Single Crochet two stitches together (this decreases the size)
Create a magic circle. Put that new technique to work!
6 SC in the circle. Pull or work the yarn tail from the magic circle to tighten the loop of stitches to be the foundation of your small ball. Remember you will be stitching around and around.
Round1 (R1): 2 SC in every stitch (12 stitches total)
R2: (SC in next stitch, 2 SC in next stitch)* repeat around (18 stitches)
R3: SC in every stitch (18)
R4: (SC into next stitch, 2 SC in next stitch, SC in next stitch)* rep around (24)
R5: SC in every stitch (24)
R6: (SC in next stitch, SC2TOG, SC in next stitch)* rep around (18)
R7: SC in every stitch (18)
R8: (SC in next stitch, SC2TOG in next stitch)* rep around (12)
Now is the time to fill the ball with your stuffing.
R9: SC2TOG 6 times (6)
Finish: Slip Stitch across to the other side of the opening, pull the thread through and snug it up to close the hole and finish off the ball. Trim the yarn and pull the loose end into your ball to hide it.
Roll the ball in your hands to give it a nice round shape.
You have now finished the basic structure of many amigurumi patterns — a ball shape. So dig through that yarn stash, use my pattern (or find your ideal pattern online or in a favorite pattern book), and get stitching! Let me know what you’re making and if you found these tips useful.