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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Crocheting narrow tubes and cones for amigurumi

Tips for crocheting narrow pieces in amigurumi by @hookabee

Many amigurumi patterns contain pieces that are very small and narrow, such as little legs, horns, antennae and spikes.  These pieces can be a challenge to work with because you cannot get your finger within them to hold the piece as you crochet. Not only that, starting the actual piece is a challenge because it all curls in on itself, and usually the wrong way!  Here I will share a couple of tricks I use that take a lot of the challenge out of working with narrow amigurumi pieces.

Tip 1: use a narrow stick

Ok, that sounds kind of funny; but really, get yourself a narrow stick of some sort and keep it in your crochet supply box.  I use the stuffing tool that came free with my polyster fiberfill stuffing, but you can also use a chopstick, or something similar.Narrow stick for stuffing and crocheting

The stick will help you when you are just starting to crochet a narrow piece. After a couple of rounds, your piece will probably be curling in on itself, with the wrong side on the outside.

Narrow amigurumi piece after 2 roundsYou can use the stick to push the point of the narrow piece out so that the correct side is on the outside.  Peel the crochet piece back around the stick as you push it into the piece.

Tutorial on crocheting small and narrow pieces in amigurumi by @hookabee ( #tutorial #crochet #amigurumi

Tip 2: flatten the piece

As your little spike, or horn or antennae, is taking shape, you may find the stitches difficult to crochet into because you cannot hold the piece as you normally would – your fingers don’t fit inside.  Instead, you can flatten the piece and hold it only from the outside as you crochet.  You just have to make sure your hook doesn’t go all the way through to the stitch on the other side, or you will crochet your piece closed!

Tutorial on crocheting small and narrow pieces in amigurumi by @hookabee ( #tutorial #crochet #amigurumi

With the piece flattened, you can crochet into all the stitches along the side that is facing you.  As you work your way to the edge, you simply re-flatten the piece with the next stitches to crochet into towards you.  Using this technique means you aren’t rearranging your fingers or turning the piece after every single stitch, which makes everything go more smoothly! You may want to use this technique even if the piece is a little larger and you can fit your finger inside because there is less turning needed of the narrow piece as you crochet.

Visualizing these techniques can be a little tricky so I made a short video to help out: Tips for narrow pieces in amigurumi

Don’t forget to sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

Until next time,