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What is Amigurumi?

Amigurumi Toast - yay Toast!
Amigurumi Toast - yay Toast!
Lisa Keipp

If you craft or enjoy anime, you’ve heard this term, but you might not know what it means. Amigurumi is making small crocheted stuffed toys, usually with rather large heads and very large eyes. Most amigurumi are animals, cute bunnies, dogs, cats, turtles, and so forth, but there are also those called chibi – small person or child with a large head – and fantasy creatures such and dragons an familiar characters from anime, manga, and mainstream cartoons.

It became an online fad in 2003, and by 2006, the largest online crafts marketplace, Etsy, had named them the most popular items for sale, both as finished products and as patterns.

Most Amirgurumi are made with acrylic yarns (though this is a matter of personal choice) and done with a smaller gage hook to keep the fabric tight and firm, and are often stuffed with poly fiberfill or a combination of fiberfill and polystyrene beads to give added weight to allow the finished product to sit a certain way.

Despite a popular myth that amigurumi are all one piece, most are made of several parts that are then sewn together; however, most bodies and heads are made as one piece. The most distinctive feature is that single crochet in the round is how the majority of the pieces for amigurumi are made.

Books, magazine and pamphlets from the US, Japan and other countries are easy to find. Even though some of the pamphlets may be in another language, the charting of the patterns follows a universal standard that is easy to follow once you know the symbols. Every library in Denver carries at least one book on amigurumi, just look in the crafts section.

These toys are easy and quick to make, and if you embroider on the features or use safety eyes, they are guaranteed to make the smallest baby to the most jaded teen smile. They are also great for toybombing!

If you haven’t tried this yet, try one – you’ll quickly become addicted like I am.


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