Joined rounds in amigurumi

How to crochet joined rounds in amigurumi by @hookabeeThere is more than one way to crochet amigurumi. Most often you make ami pieces by crocheting continuously in the round (rnd). You simply keep crocheting around and around, and the only way to know where a round ends and another begins is with the use of a stitch marker. But there is another way! And if you have crocheted something in the round other than amigurumi (what!?) that was made using stitches larger than single crochet (what are those?!), you likely used joined rounds. You can use joined rounds for single crochet in amigurumi, too!

Working in joined rounds means you chain at the start of each round, and join the end of each round with a slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. Basically, at the start of each round you a making step up to the height of the stitch you are working with (so in the case of amigurumi, 1 ch for sc), then working around the piece, and then joining the end of the round to the start of the round to make a closed circle (don’t worry, I will demonstrate this with photos later!). Unlike with continuous rounds, the start of the round is at the same level as the end of the round. This has its advantages!

One advantage is that your piece will end with an even, level plane, when it is complete. You don’t end up with a jog, or step up, like you do with continuous rounds. In some cases this makes for a prettier ami, depending on where the piece is located.

Joined rounds vs. Continuous rounds in amigurumi by hookabeeAnother advantage is with colour changes. When you make stripes with continuous rounds, so you are changing colours between rounds, that silly jog appears and makes your stripes less pretty. With joined rounds, because the start of the round is the same height as the end of the round, your stripes are nicer. Stripes in joined rounds vs. Continuous rounds in amigurumi by hookabeeWith joined rounds, you don’t need to worry about using a stitch marker like you do for continuous rounds. You know when you have reached the end of the round because you are back at the slip stitch from the previous round and the chain stitch you started with!

BUT there are some cons to this method, too. Some people don’t like the seam that is made by the horizontal joining slip stitches. It is quite noticeable, but in some cases the seam can be hidden, or it can simply add to the design of the piece. Seam in joined rounds in amigurumi

The technique is also a bit trickier to learn than continuous rounds. You need to learn to read your stitches so that you skip the joining slip stitch and initial chain – you don’t want to crochet into them, adding extra stitches to your rounds!

How do you crochet joined rounds in amigurumi?

I have learned two different ways to make joined rounds in amigurumi. One method is the most common, basic method for joined rounds, while the second method was developed by June of PlanetJune. If you don’t mind some seam action on your ami, then I would just go with the basic method (the method I will show here). If you are a perfectionist, I would read through my basic method first so you have the basics (haha!), then head on over to June’s website and learn her method: www.planetjune.com/stripes. While her tutorial is on making perfect stripes, her second, no-cut join method, can be applied to joined rounds without a colour change to minimize the seam.

The basic method of joined rounds for amigurumi:

(note: read the entire method through before starting to attempt, and it will all make more sense!)

(1) chain 1 (does not count as a stitch)Joined rounds in amigurumi by hookabee

(2) sc in same stitch (ie. into 1st sc stitch of previous round and same stitch the joining slst from previous round was made into)Joined rounds in amigurumi by hookabee

(3) sc in each sc st around until you reach the joining slst of the previous rndJoined rounds in amigurumi by hookabee(4) skip slst from previous rnd AND skip chain at start of rndJoined rounds in amigurumi by hookabee(5) slst into first sc of rnd – done! Repeat from step 1 for next rndJoined rounds in amigurumi by hookabee

NOTE: When starting with a magic ring, you do the same steps. Make your magic ring, ch 1 (just as you normally do even with continuous rounds), sc into the magic ring the number of stitches indicated in the pattern, tighten the ring, then finish by slst into the first sc made into the ring. Continue as above, starting with a ch, for the next round.

TIP: If you are having difficulty identifying either the slst or ch and keep crocheting into it by mistake, mark it with a stitch marker so you can recognize it right away!

BLO with joined rounds:

When working in the back loop only (BLO), a method I often use in my patterns, the steps are the same as above, just which loops you crochet into differs. Make your joining slip stitch into BOTH LOOPS (photos a & b), but make all the sc stitches in BLO (photos c & d). This makes the joining slst more level with the front loops of the rest of the rnd, making the seam less noticeable. Joined rounds in blo for amigurumi by hookabee

I now have a video demonstrating these techniques! Find it on my YouTube channel here: joined rounds video

For a tutorial on how I make colour changes and stripes in joined rounds when crocheting in both loops and blo, visit here: stripes and colour changes in joined rounds.

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Until next time,
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Yarn review: Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand

Yarn Review Vanna's Choice by @hookabeeWhat yarn do you use for amigurumi? You aren’t going to be wearing your amis; you may give them to kids, who aren’t always gentle with them; or they may just sit on your desk all day, keeping you company. The yarn you choose to make a garment is completely different from what you may choose to make your amigurumi. But at the same time, you also want to enjoy using the yarn when you are crocheting – you want it to feel good in your fingers, not split or fuzz up easily – or the experience of making the ami won’t be very enjoyable.

I think one of the most common fibers used to make amigurumi is acrylic – it is cheap, durable, washable, and comes in a wide variety of colours and textures. One of my go to acrylics is Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand.Vannas Choice Yarn review by @hookabee

When I first saw this yarn, I didn’t think there was an actual link between the Vanna White of the American game show Wheel of Fortune and this yarn. I thought it was just a coincidence, but no! This yarn actually is by THE Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune! Vanna loves to crochet and has been working with Lion Brand since 1985. You can watch her on YouTube talking about yarn and crochet, such as this one on how she learned to crochet. I don’t buy this yarn because it is her line, but I do find it interesting, and a little amusing!

What do I like about Vanna’s Choice yarn?

(1) Easy to find – You can find this yarn in most large retailers that have yarn, including Michael’s and Walmart, as well as multiple sites online. It is not exclusive to one store, so you can always get it when you need it.

(2) Good price – Though this yarn is more expensive than other acrylics, such as Red Heart Super Saver, it is still relatively cheap compared to other yarns, and I feel the higher price does give you a better quality yarn.

(3) Nice to crochet with – Compared to other, cheaper acrylics, I like the way Vanna’s Choice yarn feels in my hands when I am crocheting. It is soft and lofty with a bit of stretch – so it is enjoyable to work with. Compared to cotton (another popular fiber for amigurumi), which does not stretch, that slight give is nice when crocheting.

(4) Creates a good fabric for amigurumi – I really like the fabric that results when this yarn is crocheted into an ami, especially my large amis, because it is soft, squishy, and huggable. I find it doesn’t stretch as much as wool does, so keeps its shape better and results in smaller stitch holes. And while it is soft, it doesn’t pill or fuzz easily, so wears well with time.

(5) Not too much sheen – I sometimes go back and forth about whether I like my yarn to have a sheen, or shininess, to it or not, but Vanna’s Choice sheen is not over the top, so I don’t mind it! This also means it isn’t as slippy as other, more shiny acrylics, so knots and stitches stay put.

What don’t I like about Vanna’s Choice?

(1) Colour choices – Unless you can find the baby version of this yarn (which I can’t in stores here in Canada), there are not many bright and vibrant Vanna’s Choice colours. All the colours in the collection have been selected specifically to match each other really well, which is nice, but I find the tones limited. I love bright colours, and sometimes I find this yarn a little dull in that department – except the blue I use for Walden the narwhal! I could not find a nice bright, sunny yellow for Bobby the bee, or a nice Easter violet for Flora the bunny.Walden the Narwhal amigurumi crochet pattern by @hookabee crochet (www.hookabee.com) #crochet #amigurumi #narwhal #whale #pattern

(2) Inconsistencies – You have to be very careful and purchase enough yarn in one lot for a project because there is a noticeable difference between dye lots. I had bought blue for Walden on two different occasions and I could not use up the old yarn and combine it with the new skein I had purchased later because they were too different. There was not only a difference in colour, but also a slight difference in texture and feel. Also, make sure you read the label of each colour and confirm how much yardage you are getting per skein – some colours have less yardage than others!

(3) It’s acrylic – Despite all the qualities that I like above, Vanna’s Choice is still an acrylic yarn and has all the negative aspects of acrylic fibre – it isn’t environmentally friendly and does not have the same feel that a natural fibre has, and can still feel a little “plasticy” in comparison.

Do you use Vanna’s choice? Is there another acrylic yarn you prefer more? Or do you stay clear of acrylic yarn all together? I would love to hear from you!

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Starting with a magic ring in amigurumi

Starting amigurumi with the magic ring (or magic circle) by @hookabeeOne of the most important techniques for making amigurumi can be one of the hardest to learn: the magic ring (also known as the magic circle). But once you get the hang of it, you will think it is quite magical!

There are different ways you can start a piece in amigurumi, but the first method I learned was the magic ring and it works so well for me it is the only method I use. You may be familiar with the more traditional way of starting in the round: chain 2, then crochet multiple stitches (usually 6) into the second chain from your hook. While this method is simple and can work for other items you crochet in the round, such as hats, in amigurumi it isn’t ideal for one reason: it leaves a hole in the centre of the circle, which means you can see stuffing.

magic ring in amigurumi

Another method for starting amigurumi was developed by Stacey Trock, the sloppy slip knot, and a lot of people love it because it is similar to the traditional method above, but still allows you to close the hole up. I suggest trying both the sloppy slip knot method and the magic ring, and see which you prefer! They both lead to the same result, so have fun experimenting.

Even the magic ring can be done in different ways – how you hold the yarn and where you insert you hook. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how I like to do it, but once you get the hang of it and learn how it all works, you may find you start doing it a little differently to suit your style, and that is ok! Do what feels right for you.

(1) Lay the end of your yarn over two to three of your fingers, with the end hanging in front:magic ring in amigurumi

(2) Wrap the yarn by bringing it underneath, up, and over your fingers, crossing the yarn at the top of your fingers, then drop the yarn behind:magic ring in amigurumi(3) Behind your fingers, bring your hook under the first strand (the one that is wrapping around you fingers) and pick up the strand you dropped (the one that leads to the skein of yarn), pulling the yarn back under the first strand and up:magic ring in amigurumi

Now you have essentially made the magic ring, but you need to move it around a bit so that you can place your hands and the yarn in a position to start crocheting.

(4) Hold the loop on your hook with your right index finger and transfer the loop from your left hand to the right middle finger for safe keeping. This frees up your left hand to pick you the yarn so you can start crocheting:magic ring in amigurumi

(5) Pick up the yarn leading to the yarn skein in your left hand and hold it the way you normally do when crocheting, then transfer the magic ring back onto the middle and ring fingers of your left hand:magic ring in amigurumi

(6) Hold onto the two strands of the magic ring that lie in front of your fingers between your thumb and middle finger, then tighten the loop that is around your hook with your left index finger (like you normally would to gain tension):magic ring in amigurumi

Now you are ready to crochet! Start by making a chain stitch, then you simply crochet into the ring, as if it was a large stitch that you are crocheting into. When you do, make sure you go under BOTH yarn strands of the front of the ring:magic ring in amigurumi

Once you have made the correct number of stitches into the ring, simply pull the yarn end and the ring will close:magic ring for amigurumi

Sometimes photos don’t quite cut it, so I also have a video you can watch: magic ring video

Hope that helps with making your magic rings! It may seem like a lot of steps right now, but once you get the hang of it you will be making them without much thought. If you are already skilled in starting ami pieces, which method is your favourite?

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Until next time,
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