How to Write a Custom Amigurumi Pattern

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017

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Creating and writing an amigurumi pattern is similar to writing a crochet pattern, but also has some distinct elements such as the building techniques that need to be utilized. While crochet works in straight lines and is great for making afghans, hats, scarves and more, the Japanese amigurumi technique crochets in circles, tends to be more sculpted and is great to create shapes for dolls, monsters and more. 

There’s a lot of good advice on the web about learning amigurumi stitches and some about writing patterns, but it’s in several different places so we tried to pull together several resources to create a comprehensive post (linking and embedding when it makes sense). Want to improve it? Let’s hear your suggestions in the comments.

Figure out what you want to design.

If you already know what you want to make great. You can move onto sketching the design and breaking it into parts. If you’re not sure what you want to make, crochet pattern maker Carolyn Markey explains how she gets inspiration for the objects she designs (and also warns against nabbing anyone’s intellectual property). Do you already know you want to make a doll? KnittingK created an interface to help you write the pattern.

Carolynn Markey explains how she gets her inspiration.

Know your amigurumi stitches and shapes.

Hopefully you have at least a basic understanding of crochet stitches and which ones work best for amigurumi. If not, well, we all need to start somewhere. Watch Rag Princess Sews describe the basic amigurumi terms and stitches guide below.

For some folks, Rag Princess Sews' video will be too basic.

Tutorials for Further Learning:

Sketch what you want to design.

Good old paper and pencil will work just fine for sketching what you want to make. Even if you aren’t the best at drawing, sketching what you want to create on paper will help to analyze details and shapes. A sketch will also help you make any improvements and iterations before translating the design to stitches.

Deconstruct the design into amigurumi shapes.

how to make amigurumi shapes
While crochet allows for plenty of possibilities when sculpting yarn, amigurumi tends to rely on some helpful shapes to make dolls, plushies and more. This guide is originally from the now-defunct website Supernaturale. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi" explains how these individual elements are created. Chances are your design will shift slightly during this transition.

Draw the pattern onto graph paper.

This step will help when transitioning your ideas from shapes into numbers, making things more exact.

Write the pattern.

Turn theory into numbers. It may be helpful to crochet the amigurumi pattern as you write it to make adjustments as necessary. Expect that you’ll need to make edits and don’t be dissuaded by mistakes. It’s all part of the process. As Kim Novak of Heart in Flight Crochet advises, start with the torso or head before adding the arms and legs, that order helps ensure all of the elements will be in proportion.

Share the pattern?

If you want to share what you’ve made with the world, Carolyn Markey also has suggestions on how to create and distribute it.

If you don't plan to share the pattern you don't need to worry about this step.

More amigurumi tips

If you need more ideas about making amigurumi dolls, pattern creators such as Allison Hoffman of CraftyISCOOL have suggestions on making an amigurumi dolls. Watch one of her videos above.

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(1 comment)
  • by

    The book you mention doesn’t seem to exist: The Idiot’s Guide to Making Amigurumi Shapes

    • by craftfoxes
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      craftfoxes Rate this comment 0 0 | Report

      Thanks for the heads up! We changed the title to "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi."