When you look back on your first crochet projects, I hope you have a feeling of pride and perhaps a few giggles. Inevitably, our first pieces are full of missed stitches or crooked attachments. But you don’t ONLY have to learn from your mistakes; you can learn from mine.
My goal with this post is to offer examples of my own amigurumi mistakes so that you don’t have to make them in the first place.
Conveniently (and hilariously), I managed to make the four biggest amigurumi mistakes in one sad stuffed animal created at the beginning of my amigurumi adventure.
So, without further adieu, meet Mr. Drippy.
The Plight of Mr. Drippy
My Drippy was made in the image of a character in a video game called Ni No Kuni that my family was playing together at the time. He is the king of the fairies and has a lantern — yes, a lantern — hanging from his nose.
Now, 7 years later, Mr. Drippy has disintegrated into this perfect example of what NOT to do when you make amigurumi.
Please, learn from my mistakes so your amigurumi will last and last.
Mr. Drippy was doomed from the moment I picked up my hook. The WRONG hook.
I made several mistakes on this project, but the hook size was, by far, the worst. So, ranked by “cringeworthiness,” here are the four big amigurumi mistakes you should avoid.
Top 4 Terrible Amigurumi Mistakes
1. The wrong size hook
When making amigurumi, you want your hook to be small and your stitches tight so that no stuffing can eek its way out between them. I thought I could make my large project go faster if I went up a hook size. But I wanted to keep using the same yarn I had chosen already… What could go wrong?
You guys, I made Mr. Drippy with an I (5.5 mm) hook. That’s too big for most hats, much less an amigurumi.
As a result of my giant hook choice, the stuffing has been slowly seeping out through the stitches. It pills up on the outside of him and comes out in clumps.
Drippy absolutely can’t be washed anymore or all of it would just slip through and clog up my washing machine.
And, as if to laugh myself home, I also chose to work in the back loops only. This technique adds great texture to pieces and looks really cool. But when paired with my too-large hook, it made for HUGE stretchy stitches that allowed Drippy to lose his shape as well as more stuffing. Poor guy!
Choose a hook that is SMALLER than the recommended size for the yarn you are using — as many as three sizes smaller if you tend to crochet loosely. When in doubt, make a swatch and hold it up to a light. Very little light should get through your stitches for amigurumi.
Using too big a hook is the worst mistake you can make with amigurumi. You can see how it wrought havoc on poor Mr. Drippy.
2. Not enough stuffing
With his innards leaking through the stitches, it seems crazy to say that Drippy should have had more stuffing. However, time has shown that the stress of all those cuddles has smooshed and manipulated his stuffing in the wrong ways.
His nose flops horribly. It was straight out and able to hold the weight of the lantern when I made him. But a lack of stuffing in the nose weakened that section, and now it droops.
Make sure you are firmly stuffing your amigurumi, especially at attachment points. When you are attaching parts with an open edge, always stuffing a bit more in at the joint before it is completely closed. When in doubt, an extra pinch in the attachment seams will help your amigurumi hold its shape for years to come.
3. Didn’t weave in ends
This picture makes me queasy. I was so naive! I thought I was just taking advantage of a nice amigurumi feature. Afterall, one of the perks is that the inside doesn’t show, so I just threaded my loose ends through the middle of my body, and viola! No need to weave in ends, right?
It didn’t take many play sessions to realize that those short ends were still loose. They were just flopping around on the wrong side of the work, waiting to be pulled free.
Poor Drippy is covered in stray attachment ends that are now too short to weave in. I tied them off, and now they sit as a terrible reminder to always weave in my ends!
Even on amigurumi, heck — ESPECIALLY on amigurumi — you need to weave your ends into the work through four stitches, back and forth over three rows. It’s the only way to avoid loose, nauseating ends working their way free.
Doing a thorough job of weaving in your ends prevents this amigurumi mistake, and your work will keep its professional look forever.
4. Weak attachments
Also in that image you can see that Drippy’s arm is held on by only three stitches, worked through only the front loops of the body. Oy.
Clearly, I didn’t realize when I made these attachments that this plushy would be repeatedly carried by his arms. Again, I just thought amigurumi were that simple. Just sew the arms to the body. Boom. Done.
But limbs like these, especially long ones, need more than that holding them together.
I have reattached Drippy’s arms no less than four times. That’s part of why the loose tail is so short — I keep using it to sew him back together.
For the best attachment, parts need to be sewn through a WHOLE stitch and into each stitch on the loose part. And in the case of long limbs that are likely to be “handles,” double-stitching (stitching over it again) is absolutely necessary for your plushy to survive years of play.
While Mr. Drippy has suffered the wrath of an inexperienced amigurumi artist, your next plushy doesn’t have to see the same fate.
Yes, perfecting any art form takes time and small adjustments, but if you start with avoiding these four amigurumi mistakes, your work will maintain its quality even as time (and kids) test it.
What was the first amigurumi you ever made? Was it full or errors? Did you learn from others or learn from your mistakes?
I’d love to hear your story! Leave it in the comments or post it in the Hooked by Kati Community Facebook group!
Want more help with some of the most pesky challenges in amigurumi?
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Kati is the designer behind Hooked by Kati. With thousands of patterns sold around the world, Kati prides herself in creating innovative, easy-to-follow amigurumi patterns. She has designed for several publications, including Crochet!, Crochet World, Simply Crochet, and I Like Crochet. Kati finds her inspiration in science fiction, video games, and numerous visits to the zoo — all passions she shares with her husband and two boys.