Whether you have been making amigurumi for years, or you are new to 3D crochet, the task of creating tiny, skinny tubes can be daunting. Working in very small round makes it hard to count, hard to see, and hard to hold onto. But not anymore! Here is how I create skinny amigurumi parts without cramping up my fingers.
And once you have mastered the skinny part, I have a downloadable cheat sheet for you to reference the different size tubes and their uses.
Some people will tell you to put something inside the part to hold it open while you work, like a pen or a dowel. I tried this, and all I found was that I had to crochet with my hook smashed against something on the inside. Plus, I now had to hold onto a pen while I worked!
Nope. Not for me.
Instead, use a simpler method to work these tiny rounds – no pen required.
To work on small part that have a circumference of less than 10 stitches, don’t try to hold open the work at all. Do the opposite!
Press it flat and work the stitch that is facing you, then turn it slightly, press the next stitch flat, and work that stitch.
This technique makes the stitches easier to see, they don’t fold into each other, and you are going to get an even stitch in the style of your work on the rest of the piece.
Tip: Be careful not that you are only inserting your hook through the stitch on the side facing you. Otherwise, you might accidentally crochet into the stitch on the other side as well.
Counting Tiny Rounds
Another cheat to make tiny, skinny amigurumi parts easier is to change up the way you count rounds.
Stitch markers are out of the question. It’s a huge pain to move them every six stitches. And counting out 10 rounds of 6 stitches each is, well, painful.
Try this instead:
Multiply the number of stitches in a round by the number of rows you need to do and just make that many stitches.
Stitches in round x number of rounds = total number of stitches needed
6 stitches x 10 rounds = 60 stitches
So now, you just need to work in a tiny circle, and count to 60.
No need to track your starting stitch or move a stitch marker.
Stuffing tiny parts is a pain. It just is. But there are ways to make it a little easier.
- A flat-ended dowel.
Get yourself a dowel with a nice, flat end. Some of the packages of Polyfil come with a stick. Use the flatter end to stuff. A pointed tool will just stab right through the stuffing and not push it in effectively.
- Small stuffing balls.
Roll your stuffing into little balls that will fit into the part. This works two-fold. It makes it easier to press the stuffing into the small part with the dowel. Think of it like you are adding marbles to the arm or finger, and just put them in one at a time. This will keep your stuffing even throughout the length of the part.
- When in doubt, under-stuff.
Unless you need the part to be stiff, ask yourself if it needs to be stuffed at all. Depending on the size, most small parts will stay round without any stuffing.
Sizes and Uses
Different size tiny tubes are great for different purposes. And when you are working freehand or designing, it is nice to have a reference guide for the best size for your project.
This is as tiny as you can really go. This part will not need stuffed, and when long enough, will flop over like a dreadlock. This is a finger-buster no matter what, but it makes great stringy hair and antennae.
A little bigger, but still not necessary to stuff. This makes a great spine. It is even sturdy enough to be a strap for a small purse or handbag.
My personal go-to for fingers and toes, this size can be stuffed, but stuffing is optional.
A little fatter now, this size really needs stuffing to hold its shape. Makes great chunky toes, beaks, and horns. This is not going to hold enough stuffing to be stable as a weight-bearing part. For that, you will need…
A skinny part with 8 stitches in each round is as small as you can get for a neck, arm, leg, etc. It will bear a small amount of weight with enough stuffing. However, if you want a neck this skinny, I would recommend stuffing it with a foam hair curler for more support, as it is not intended to support much.
Cool Patterns With Skinny Parts
Now that you are a the master of skinny parts, test your skills!
Vincent the Dragon (skinny wings and toes)
Hygge Owl (skinny toes and beak)
Murdock the Kelpie (skinny legs)
Hatching Dragon Egg (skinny fingers)
Here is a downloadable, printable .pdf of the sizes we just went over and their uses. Keep it as a reference for when you next need to freehand or design an amigurumi.
Download your copy of the Skinny Amigurumi Parts Cheat Sheet here.
I hope that these techniques help you on your amigurumi-making journey. Don’t be intimidated by skinny amigurumi parts! You can do it!
What is your favorite use for skinny amigurumi parts? What other techniques or cheats have you found useful for making and stuffing small parts? I’d love to hear from you! Add you nuggets of knowledge to the comments below to keep this conversation going and help your fellow amigurumi crocheters!
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.