Crochet & Amigurumi - An Introduction

Ok so i have posted images of my amigurumi crafts in the works and completed, so now its time to give a bit more explanation about the process and maybe an insider view for those who are thinking of taking it up.
You don't need to know how to crochet to start-I certainly had no clue, and all i had was vague memories of my nana teaching me to knit when i was about 10 years old.
Dont be discouraged by any technical terms i might use-you will pick up these terms in no time at all and will be using them like a second language yourself soon enough!

The first thing you should do before you dive into the world of amigurumi, is to browse the internet for patterns of toys, accessories, or other things you would be interested in creating.
This can be anything from scarfs, tea coseys, toys and lots more!

Amigurumi is a fantastic gift idea with a personal touch. You can customize the gift to your own liking. Just as you can customize any pattern you find (by making it bigger/smaller, etc).

Theres a fantastic web site that acts as a directory for patterns of crochet toys. Its called Crochet Pattern Central.
This website has an array of different types of patterns and many skill levels.

You should pick an easy one to begin with so you don't get discouraged right from the start!

Once you find a pattern that is labelled 'easy' or does not have too many steps you can begin.

A tip is to print your pattern out and take it into a crochet/arts & crafts shop. This way you can find what you need for the pattern (as most wil have a list of materials needed at the top of the page).

Most patterns will state a particular sized crochet hook. This will determine the size of your amigurumi and how tight the stitches will look. If you dont mind how much it will differ from the pattern then you can pick any sized hook, but try not to stray too far from the sized mentioned.
After you have your hook you will need to find yarn. Choose the appropriate colour yarn for the pattern (or make it your own and choose somethign completely dfferent!) However, depending on the sized hook you chose, you will need to buy the size appropriate yarn. Some yarn may be too thick for smaller hooks and visa versa. If your following the pattern material guidelines you wont have any problems, just buy what they used and it will (should) work out.

Once you have your materials and your home with your coffee and your pattern infront of you, the best thing to remember is dont freak out! The pattern may look like a mixture of letters and numbers; see below for the most common phrases used:

SC= single crochet. This is simply one crochet
Magic Circle= This is the circle created when first starting an amigurumi, its a circle which you will stitch a certain amount of single crochet stitches in it to get started (and this determines the starting size of the project).
INC= This is an increase, its simply two single crochet stitches in one crochet stitch.
DEC= Decrease stitch. This is one crochet stitch made in two crochet stitches.
Chain= This is a series of single crochets in each other that are connected to the amigurumi by the first stitch only (to make ties and strings from your amigurumi)

Theres plenty of awesome videos on youtube which demonstrate each individual stitch and this is a huge help when first starting out (and even learning new stitches for those who have been doing this for years!)

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