The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Yarn for Amigurumi
Amigurumi is a Japanese term that refers to crocheting small dolls, animals, or other objects. It’s been around for hundreds of years, inspiring crocheters to make all types of little critters and not-so-little creatures. But getting started with amigurumi means learning the basics. One of the biggest questions we hear? Crocheters use all sorts of yarns, but what’s the best kind of yarn to use to make amigurumi?
What Is Amigurumi Yarn?
Amigurumi yarn is any yarn that works well to crochet small objects like dolls, animals, and other shapes. Not only are there tons of brands out there to choose from, but those brands have different types and sizes too. Walking through the yarn aisle of a craft store can be overwhelming when you see all those options. Let’s break it down for you.
Types of Amigurumi Yarn
Acrylic - Acrylic yarn is one of the least expensive yarns available. It’s best to avoid this type of yarn if you plan on crocheting any detailed projects. While acrylic yarn can work in some crocheting patterns, it’s not ideal for more intricate crocheting. Don’t let the low cost of acrylic yarn fool you, though! Acrylic is still a great yarn for beginners. It’s also machine washable, which is a huge plus if you’re going to be giving your amigurumi to kids because that little critter is bound to get dirty over time. But acrylic yarn isn’t very soft, which might not make it the best yarn for a snuggly toy. It also tends to pill, creating those annoying little fiber balls that no one wants to feel on their amigurumi.
Cotton - This is the most widely used amigurumi yarn and is great for a variety of projects. Cotton yarn is a bit softer than acrylic, and like acrylic, it’s machine washable. Unlike acrylic, though, cotton yarn actually gets softer with every wash. Also, unlike acrylic, cotton yarn doesn’t pill. This type of yarn is long-lasting and durable. But since cotton is a plant fiber, it doesn’t have quite the same stretch as acrylic does. That lack of stretch may make your tension looser and cause the amigurumi’s stitches to weaken over time. It may also make your hands hurt the longer you use it, so you may need to take breaks while crocheting.
Wool - Wool yarn is a bit pricier than cotton yarn, but it’s also stronger and much warmer. This type of yarn is bulkier than the others. If you’re working on a pattern that asks for cotton yarn, for instance, and you use wool yarn, you should expect that your finished product will be bigger than the pattern creator’s. Which isn’t a problem, especially if your amigurumi will be used by someone who loves a good snuggle. Wool yarn is also the softest of these three types of yarn. But because of how bulky this yarn is, it may not work well with very intricate patterns. Not all wool yarn is machine washable, so double-check the label before buying.
Amigurumi Yarn Size and Weight
When you find out that yarn has a weight, you may be ready to break out the scale. But let us clear this up first. When we say yarn weight, we mean the yarn’s size. You can typically find the yarn’s weight on its package, where it’s numbered from 0 to 7. The higher the number, the bulkier the yarn. Here are some of the most common weights used for amigurumi:
Light (3): A light weight yarn will be marked with a 3. Also known as DK weight or double knit yarn, light weight yarn can be used for many different crochet projects, including amigurumi. Light weight yarn is great for making very detailed, small amigurumi.
Medium (4): A medium weight yarn will be marked with a 4. Also known as worsted weight yarn, medium yarn is one of the most commonly used yarns for amigurumi. The amigurumi you create with a medium yarn will be a little bigger than one made with a light weight yarn.
Bulky (5): A bulky weight yarn will be marked with a 5. Also known as chunky yarn, bulky weight yarns are ideal for making bigger and often less detailed amigurumi. When you’re making a snuggly bedtime toy for a child, for instance, you’ll likely want to reach for a bulky yarn.
Benefits of Amigurumi Yarn
Great for Beginners - Amigurumi is a great way to teach people how to crochet or help new crafters ease into the craft. You could always learn to crochet by making a dishcloth, but isn’t it much more fun and exciting to learn how to crochet a penguin? We believe that when you learn to crochet by making fun characters, like the Woobles, you’re bound to stick with your newfound hobby.
Great for Kids - Amigurumi is fun for the whole family. When your child wants to learn to crochet, amigurumi is a wonderful place to start because they have a brand new stuffed animal to keep them company when they are done with their project.
Creative Expression - Amigurumi knows no limits. If you can think of something to crochet, you can make a pattern for it once you have enough experience. The only limit is your imagination. (Okay, and maybe how much time you have.)
Tips for Selecting Amigurumi Yarn
Check the Crochet Gauge - The gauge is the measurement of the number of stitches and rows in an inch. You can find the gauge of yarn on the packaging or online. You can crochet different patterns with different gauges to make your finished projects unique, but if you want your finished product to look a lot like what the pattern said it would look like, you’ll need to choose a yarn with the same gauge as the one the pattern creator used.
Pick a Yarn That Fits Your Needs - Are you looking to make something super detailed for a decoration? You’ll likely want to use cotton or acrylic. How about a toy your child will carry around with them all day? You should probably reach for a cotton or machine-washable wool yarn. Not every yarn suits every project. You’ll need to pick which yarn works for what you’re trying to create.
Decide If There’s Enough Yarn Available - We’ve all been there. You’ve found the most absolutely perfect yarn in the bottom of a discount bin at Michaels. You’re so excited to get working on your project, but there’s a problem. Or maybe two problems. There’s only one skein of yarn left, and it’s not available in any other colors. Even if you’ve fallen in love with this yarn, you shouldn’t get started working with this yarn. You’ll most likely end up with a half-finished project and spend each day looking at the Michaels website, hoping and wishing the yarn would return.
Which Brands Have the Best Amigurumi Yarns?
Now you know what type of yarn to use and which yarn weight to pick. Now it’s time to get to know yarn brands. Which brands work best for amigurumi? There are a few brands that stand out above the rest. You can find a wide range of yarns from these brands, including acrylic yarns, cotton yarns, acrylic polyester blend yarns, and wool yarns. Some popular yarn brands include Lion Brand, Bernat, and Paintbox. These brands have a variety of amigurumi yarns, meaning there’s likely something for any project you want to create. If you’re a beginner, you may want to check out The Woobles’ Easy Peasy Yarn to help you get started, as this type of yarn won’t split or fray as you crochet.
Amigurumi is a fun craft that's super easy to learn, making it a great hobby for everyone. You can create all sorts of adorable characters and toys, or you can even make models of your favorite real-life people and landmarks. When choosing the right yarn to complete your projects, be sure to look for the best brands and types of yarn. From acrylic yarns to wool yarns, there are so many types of yarn to choose from, so you'll be able to find the best one for your needs.
What is amigurumi yarn?
There isn’t just one type of amigurumi yarn. You can use many kinds of yarn, from acrylic to wool, and different weighted yarn, from light to bulky, to create all sorts of creatures. When you pick out a yarn, you should check to be sure it fits the needs of your project by looking for its gauge and getting a feel for its texture.
How much yarn do you need for amigurumi?
It depends on the size of the toy you're making, but there’s a simple formula to help you find out how much yarn you need for your amigurumi. First, you’ll need to count how many stitches your project will have. Many patterns have the final stitch count of each round written in parentheses at the end of each line. Tally up those stitches. Then you’ll multiply that number by the number of inches per stitch, which depends on your gauge. Once you have that number, divide it by 36 to get how many yards of yarn you need.
If you're not sure, it's always best to err on the side of too much yarn rather than too little. You can always use leftover yarn to make accessories or another amigurumi toy.
What’s the best amigurumi yarn for beginners?
The best type of yarn to use if you’re a beginner is our Easy Peasy Yarn, which can be found on our Easy Peasy Beginner Bundle or purchased alone. What makes this type of worsted weight yarn so unique is that it’s designed not to fray or split, making it less frustrating for beginners to use. It’s also easy to see your stitches with this yarn. Especially when you’re just getting started, it’s important to choose a yarn where you can see and count your stitches. If you lose track and have to recount when you can’t see your stitches, you may find yourself having to start over.
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