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Best Yarn for Amigurumi: A Comprehensive Guide

Considered one of the most fulfilling crocheting projects, Amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed animals and dolls, has been a popular project for beginner and seasoned crafters alike. Amigurumi techniques yield the cutest toys with intricate details like facial features, clothing, and other embellishments.


The yarn you choose for amigurumi will make a world of difference in the final look of your project. Considering there are various yarn weights, fibers, and types in the market, picking one for amigurumi may be easier said than done.


Not to worry, though. In this comprehensive guide, we’re letting you know the best yarn to use for amigurumi, from yarn fibers that help you achieve sturdy toy with good stitch definition to yarn weights and other expert tips for selecting yarn for amigurumi.

Understanding the Basics of Amigurumi Yarns

Amigurumi is a Japanese term that refers to crocheting small stuffed dolls using fundamental crochet techniques. To achieve the best results, the yarn used for these types of projects should be sturdy, able to make a textured stitch definition and give the toy a good shape.


This requires you to be selective when choosing yarn for amigurumi. To do that, you should pay attention to the following factors:


Fiber content: The yarn’s fiber content will determine your stuffed toy’s workability, durability, maintenance, and care. You should prioritize looking for yarn fibers that aren’t too rough that they’re difficult to work with, can achieve a good stitch definition from a simple single crochet, and is sturdy enough not to lose shape.

Weight: The different yarn weights will affect your amigurumi project’s durability and stitch definition. Most crafters usually gravitate to worsted-weight yarn, a strong, 4-ply yarn that is easy to work with.

Intended use: Different types of amigurumi may call for different yarns. While some can work with regular yarn, you might need heavier-weight yarn for fuzzier projects.

Colors: The colors of your amigurumi project can make or break its appearance. When selecting yarn, make sure it comes in a wide variety of colors suitable for your intended design. For example, when making a doll, you need to consider their skin tone. If making a stuffed animal, you need to match yarn colors for a realistic appearance.

Maintenance and care: Your amigurumi project is bound to get dirty at some point. While you won’t need to wash it often, paying attention to the yarn’s maintenance and care requirements is still important. You might want to look for yarn that’s washable and easy to care for.

Cost: Amigurumi projects incorporate a lot of details, from clothing to facial features. Each one will require the use of a different color of yarn, and having skeins of multiple colors can get costly. If you’re crocheting on a budget, make sure to consider the cost of each skein of yarn you need.

Accessibility: Some yarn types are easier to find than others, so accessibility is definitely a factor to consider. Check your local craft store or trusted online retailers if they offer the yarn you’re looking for.


Cotton Yarn: The Ideal Choice for Amigurumi

Cotton yarn is often the first yarn of choice crafters turn to for amigurumi projects. It’s soft but sturdy enough to create an amazing stitch definition, adding texture to the stuffed toy’s features.


Cotton fibers don’t pill, which makes them highly durable and perfect for amigurumi projects that will see a lot of use. It’s long-lasting and machine-washable, which means it will be easier for you to care for your projects.


Cotton, however, is a plant fiber. So it may not have the same stretch as other types of yarn. This will cause your tension to become looser as you work and also leads to stitches weakening over time.


After every wash, cotton does get softer, which can affect the longevity of your creations. The fiber can lose its shape when washed too frequently. So when going for this type of yarn, you’ll want to minimize its exposure to water.


Acrylic Yarn: An Affordable Alternative for Amigurumi

Instead of cotton, crafters also turn to acrylic yarn for amigurumi projects. It’s widely used because of its affordability and accessibility, offered in every craft store or online retailer. It also comes in a wide variety of colors — you’re 100% going to find the right shade for your project. This accessibility and versatility make acrylic a good fiber for beginner crafters.


Acrylic yarn is a synthetic fiber, which makes it highly durable and easy to care for. It can be washed safely in a washing machine without you having to worry about it losing its shape or getting softer after every wash. That’s a huge plus if your amigurumi project is going to be a play toy for your kids. But acrylic yarn does tend to pill after some time.


It’s worth noting that acrylic yarn isn’t as soft as cotton. The result won’t be as snuggly, and the roughness of the fibers may make it hard to work your stitches. It’s also not suitable for more detailed and intricate patterns.


Blended Yarn: Combining the Best of Both Worlds

Some crafters opt to use both cotton and acrylic fibers for their amigurumi projects that come in the form of blended yarn. These blends usually combine natural and synthetic fibers to achieve greater durability while retaining softness.


The most popular blends are cotton and acrylic. But you might also find yarn that combines wool, cotton, or silk with acrylic, cashmere, or nylon. Always check the label for the breakdown of blends in the yarn and see if you like that combination for your project.


Blended yarns are good options for amigurumi because they are soft and durable. The natural fibers keep the yarn soft and smooth, while the synthetic fibers enhance its durability and resistance to pilling and stretching.

Blended yarn also helps you achieve a cleaner stitch definition. The synthetic fibers make individual stitches look more pronounced, creating a toy with well-defined details and textures.


If you choose to work with blended yarn, you’ll be happy to know that it comes in a range of colors to suit your amigurumi designs. Blends that contain acrylic yarn tend to be more vibrant because of the fiber’s ability to hold color and display it more vividly.


Wool Yarn: Exploring the Warm and Cozy Option

Another yarn option that’s suitable for amigurumi is wool, but you don’t see these projects use wool fibers too often because they are expensive. Despite their steep price, some crafters still opt to work with wool yarn to create stuffed dolls that are soft and warm.


Wool is bulkier than cotton, acrylic, or blended fibers, allowing it to create larger projects. This may be a good option if you’re looking to make a life-sized amigurumi that’s perfect for snuggling with in bed. But because of its bulky nature, it won’t work for projects that incorporate intricate patterns and details.


Wool yarn requires a little more finesse to maintain and care for. Not all types are machine washable, so if working with this type of fiber, make sure to check the yarn label for specific care instructions.


Novelty Yarn: Adding Fun and Creativity to Amigurumi

Amigurumi provides you with plenty of opportunities to add your own personal touch and creativity to your projects. If you want to create a more unconventional stuffed doll or animal, consider novelty yarn.


Novelty yarn doesn’t have smooth and consistent strands like other types. It has a unique texture and appearance, incorporating embellishments like beads, feathers, sequins, etc. When used in amigurumi, this type of yarn creates a textured stuffed toy that looks creative and unique.


Using novelty yarn is a great way to add a personal touch to your projects. It allows you to infuse your unique character and personality into your toys, making the creation one of a kind and truly yours.


Novelty yarn comes in a range of types, each having a unique appearance and style. The most commonly used amigurumi are:


Boucle yarn: Boucle yarn has a looped, bumpy, and curled texture, which creates an interesting surface on an amigurumi project. The yarn resembles actual hair or fur, making it a good option if you’re looking to add depth and dimension to your stuffed animals or dolls.

Eyelash yarn: True to its name, eyelash yarn resembles eyelashes with its long and fuzzy strands. This creates a unique texture that’s soft and cozy to the touch, perfect to use for creating furry animals or whimsical creatures.

Metallic yarn: Metallic yarn is eye-catching with its metallic threads that shimmer as they move. It can be useful for adding sparkle to your amigurumi projects. You can incorporate this yarn to create accessories for your stuffed toy or add decorative elements.

Ribbon yarn: Ribbon yarn is made with ribbon-like strips woven together to create a ply. When crocheted, it creates a distinct texture that adds personality to your project. Ribbon yarn is commonly used to make decorative accents and accessories for amigurumi creations.

Variegated yarn: Variegated yarn incorporates multiple colors in one skein. It transitions from one shade to another, either randomly or following a pattern. This is the perfect novelty yarn to use if you’re looking to create colorful amigurumi, adding diversity and visual interest to your project.


There are plenty of novelty yarns for you to choose from. So you can find the best one for your project, think about the overall design you want to achieve, and determine which type of novelty yarn, with its embellishments and textures, will complement your vision.


Other Considerations for Amigurumi Yarn Selection

Selecting the right amigurumi yarn is an important first step for your project. The yarn you use will spell the difference between a successful project and one that’s lumpy, misshapen, and doesn’t quite turn out how you expected.


To help you make the right decision, here are some considerations to make when choosing your amigurumi yarn:

Color availability: Check if your chosen type of yarn has the colors that you’re eyeing for your amigurumi project. Some yarn brands have more extensive selections than others.

Easy of use: How easy your yarn is to work with will dictate your whole experience with your project. Beginners are recommended to work with yarn that glides smoothly on the crochet hook but doesn’t split easily. Fuzzy or textured yarns are more challenging to work with, so reserve those for when you’ve mastered the art of amigurumi.

Yarn weight: Yarn weight refers to the thickness of the yarn. Lighter weights create a smaller, denser project, while heavier yarn creates larger pieces with minimal detail. Choose a yarn weight that is suitable for the design you’re going for. And remember that different yarn weights will also require specific hook sizes.


Aside from these, make sure that the foundation of your amigurumi yarn selection process is your project’s overall design. Find yarn that has the characteristics to perfectly complement the look, texture, and detail that you’re going for.

For example, if you want to make a lively stuffed toy that’s filled with pops of color, you might opt to use variegated yarn to add visual interest to your project. If you’re looking to emphasize the patterns and textures of your stitches, you need a yarn that’s not too bulky.


The bottom line is that the yarn of your choice should complement and support the intention and design of your amigurumi project.

Now, let’s say your chosen yarn isn’t available or accessible to you. Or worse, you run out of yarn in the middle of your project and can’t find any more of the same yarn to replenish your stock.

Don’t worry, you can always look for substitutes. When you do, just make sure to find a yarn with the same weight and fiber content. Then, create a gauge swatch of your substitute yarn to ensure it matches your pattern’s size, tension, and stitch definition.


It’s also worth it to mention that the yarn you choose will determine the right hook size to use. Thicker yarns will need larger hooks to work, while thinner yarns need smaller hooks. If you use the wrong hook size, you’ll have a difficult time maintaining the correct gauge and sizing your amigurumi project.


The yarn label will typically tell you the correct hook size for the yarn weight you’re using. If you’re following a pattern, it will also identify the appropriate hook size. But as a cheat sheet, refer to the table below.

Expert Tips for Amigurumi Yarn Selection

There’s no better way to learn how to successfully choose yarn for amigurumi than from experts. Below, we reveal insider knowledge from seasoned crafters and amigurumi artists, and designers on the best yarn types, brands, and techniques for amigurumi.


Yarn Type

Amigurumi experts, like beginners and crafters, prefer to use cotton yarn for their projects. This fiber is prized for its softness, breathability, and natural texture. Acrylic yarn is also a popular option, favored for its affordability, color versatility, and ease of care.


Some artists look for blended yarns that mix cotton and acrylic fibers to find the right balance between softness and durability.


Yarn Brand

While there are plenty of yarn brands in the market, amigurumi artists tend to gravitate to the following because of their quality, availability, and color selections.


Bernat Super Value

Lion Brand Vanna's Choice

● Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran

Red Heart Super Saver

● Scheepjes Catona


Techniques

When it comes to techniques, expert amigurumi crafters still love the basic crochet stitch, which is worked in continuous rounds to shape the stuffed toy. It’s preferred over other, more complex stitches because it creates tight, seamless stitches on the fabric, making adding stuffing and seal openings easy.


Before starting with amigurumi, though, expert crafters suggest you learn a couple of more advanced techniques like surface crochet to add embellishments, changing colors, and invisible decreases.


Best Yarn Options for Specific Amigurumi Projects

Here are amigurumi expert-recommended yarns for specific projects you might be eyeing:


Furry stuffed animals: When making stuffed animals with a fur-like texture, use eyelash novelty yarns or other fuzzy fibers. Some great options are Bernat Pipsqueak or Lion Brand Fun Fur.

Mini amigurumi: Want to make tiny amigurumi dolls? Then you need a finer-weight yarn. Sport weight yarn or fingering weight yarn are good options. Make sure to use a small hook too.

Amigurumi clothing and accessories: If you plan on dressing up your amigurumi, feel free to get creative with your yarn and embellishments! Experts do suggest you use fine-weight cotton yarn so the details shine through. Consider Scheepjes Catona or other similar yarn brands.

Intricate colorwork: For projects that incorporate intricate and detailed colorwork, the stitch definition is of the utmost importance. Yarn brands like Circulo are recommended by amigurumi artists for adding pops of color and well-defined details to a stuffed toy.


Conclusion

There you have it! Now, you’re packed with all the knowledge and expert tips you need to choose the best yarn for your amigurumi project. Remember to weigh your options carefully with your project goals and vision in mind! Enjoy making your very own amigurumi stuffed animal or doll!