Amigurumi is a craft that involves either crocheting or knitting very small, 3-dimensional objects such as animals or dolls. This art form has been known in Japan for decades but only became popular in the west in the early 2000s. The exact meaning of the word Amigurumi translates as “crocheted or knitted stuffed toy.” It is often used to make different types of handmade toys for various occasions. Although most of the toys are made to be small, some are in fact a little larger depending on the design and the type of yarn used. So what is the best yarn for making Amigurumi toys?
In this post I will take you through the different types of yarn available on the market today. I will explain the pros and cons of using each type and will help you find the most suitable yarn for your lovely crochet toys. I will also provide a few substitutes for my favourite yarn I use for most of my Amigurumi projects so you can chose the one you fancy. 🙂
Best Yarn for Making Amigurumi – Yarn Weight System
Before we get to the different types of yarn fibers, I would like to talk about the yarn weight system a little. When I first started crocheting I got ever so excited about all the soft and colorful yarn balls in my local crafts supply store…I just wanted to get them all! Little did I know that there is such a thing as yarn weight system and that one needs to get a specific weight of yarn suitable for the particular project.
Yarn weight refers to the thickness of the yarn fiber and will be specified on the yarn label. There are a few yarn weight systems in use depending on where you are located. So to start with, I have put together a yarn weight chart for your reference, which you can download or print HERE.
When working on Amigurumi projects, I recommend using #2 | Fine Sport | 4 or 5 ply OR #3 | Light Worsted | DK OR even #4 | Medium Worsted | Aran yarn. You don’t want to use yarn that is too bulky as it will be difficult to work with and your toy will lose those delicate details that are so special about Amigurumi. Of course there are exceptions, one of which would be the plush yarn, also known as baby yarn, which is used by many Amigurumi crocheters to make super huggable plush toys.
As you may have noticed already, I use YarnArt Jeans yarn for most of my projects. This is a #2 | Fine Sport | 4 ply yarn and I will talk about this yarn a bit more later on in this article so stay tuned. 🙂
Best Yarn for Making Amigurumi – The Most Common Types of Fiber
There are so many different types of fiber on the market nowadays so it can be a bit daunting to decide which one is the most suitable fiber to use. The first choice you need to make is whether to use natural or synthetic/hand-made yarn. Both have their advantages and disadvantages so it is up to your preference really. Natural yarn can be either animal based such as wool from sheep or plant based such as cotton. The most popular synthetic yarn is acrylic yarn and is used among many crafters. I will describe the pros and cons for each of the main fiber types below:
Type of fiber: Natural – animal based – sheep, llama, alpaca, goat, rabbit or camel
Price: can be quite pricey especially merino wool
Pros: soft to touch and cosy, warm, comes in many colours
Cons: can be itchy, tends to lump, doesn’t hold shape well, hard to care for
My verdict: Although many crocheters use wool for making Amigurumi I would personally stay away from this type of yarn. I used wool for my very first Amigurumi lovey I made for my daughter. One year later the toy is very lumpy, completely stretched out and the filling is coming out of the gaps. If you do decide to use wool for making crochet toys, do make sure to use much smaller hook and make your stitches very tight. You can get plenty of wool yarn from Lovecrafts, Amazon or Etsy.
Type of fiber: Natural – plant based
Price: reasonable although some brands can be a bit pricey
Pros: soft, smooth, not itchy, tightly spun so more suitable for tighter stitches, easier to see your stitches, holds shape well
Cons: there are not many to be honest but one main con I have found is that it tends to scratch/burn my fingers after a while. So it can get a bit uncomfortable when crocheting for longer periods of time.
My verdict: I would recommend using cotton yarn for making Amigurumi as your toys will keep their shape well and the details in your toys will stand out more. Also, it will be easier to clean your toys if they are made out of cotton. However, it may be a good idea to use a finger sleeve or a plaster so it feels more comfortable for you. Visit Lovecrafts, Amazon or Etsy to browse through many cotton yarns.
Type of fiber: Synthetic
Pros: soft to touch and cosy, warm, looks like real wool but is not itchy, comes in many colours
Cons: tends to lump, doesn’t hold shape well, fibers can split
My verdict: Again, many crocheters use acrylic yarn for making Amigurumi but I wouldn’t recommend it. Your crochet toys will end up looking lumpy and stretched out with large gaps in between stitches. If you do decide to use acrylic yarn for making crochet toys, again use much smaller hook and make your stitches very tight. Choose your acrylic yarn from Lovecrafts, Amazon or Etsy.
Plush Yarn / Baby Yarn
Type of fiber: Synthetic – 100% polyester
Price: reasonable although some brands can be a bit pricey
Pros: ever so soft and smooth, warm and not itchy, easy to clean
Cons: quite large so you may find it difficult to work with
My verdict: There are some crocheters who make very huggable plushies out of this yarn and they look great. Although not as detailed as other Amigurumi toys, these plush yarn toys are just sooooo soft to touch and I love them! I will be definitely using this yarn for some of my crochet toys in the future. I would recommend you giving it a go too but beware…not all patterns will work with this yarn…you need to get a pattern specifically designed for this type of yarn. You can find some beautiful plush yarns on Lovecrafts, Amazon or Etsy.
Fluffy Yarn and Fur Yarn
Type of fiber: Both synthetic – 100% polyester
Pros: soft, not itchy, can give your crochet toys some interesting features
Cons: can be difficult to work with as the stitches are difficult to see/find
My verdict: using these yarns for Amigurumi is definitely an option, especially if you would like to create some interesting features such as a wooly coat, furry look etc. As mentioned above, they can be quite difficult to work with so I would not recommend these to anyone who is a beginner. I do have a little tip for you, should you wish to give these yarns a try…double your yarn with another yarn such as cotton as this will make it easier for you to find the stitches. I used fluffy yarn before when working on my Lolla the Sheep and you can check this free crochet sheep pattern to see how I got on with this yarn. Visit Lovecrafts, Amazon or Etsy to get some fluffy or fur yarn.
Various Blend Yarns
Blended yarns are yarns where different types of fiber are combined together. These can be 100% natural such as wool blended with cotton. But in majority of cases the manufacturers combine natural fiber with a synthetic one. There are so many different blends available on the market that it’s difficult to describe them all. I would recommend exploring some and experimenting with a few as certain blends can be perfect for Amigurumi.
I personally like working with YarnArt Jeans yarn which is a blend of 55% cotton and 45% polyacrylic and is #2 | Fine Sport | 4 ply weight . I love working with this yarn as it is soft and smooth just like cotton but it does not scratch/burn my fingers when working on my toys for longer period of time. It’s tightly spun so it holds shape very well and does not lump or split. It is very easy to work with and highlights all the nice details in the crochet toys. And as an added bonus, it comes in so many different colour variations, you will be spoiled for choice. I usually buy this yarn from Amazon or Etsy. I have also included some substitutes for YarnArt Jeans below, should you wish to check them out.
Best Yarn for Making Amigurumi – Substitutes for YarnArt Jeans
Cascade Yarns Sarasota – 60% Cotton 40% Acrylic
Schachenmayr Peach Cotton – 60% Cotton 40% Acrylic
Scheepjes Softfun Denim – 60% Cotton 40% Acrylic
Scheepjes Softfun – 60% Cotton 40% Acrylic
Premier Yarns Cotton Fair Solids – 52% Cotton 48% Acrylic
Sirdar Snuggly Replay DK – 50% Cotton 50% Acrylic
Bergere de France Coton Fifty – 50% Cotton 50% Acrylic
Best Yarn for Making Amigurumi – And the Winner Is…
If I had to rank my recommendations for choosing the best yarn for making Amigurumi based on my personal experience, I would rank them as below. But please keep in mind this is a personal preference of mine. You may want to trial several yarns yourself and see which one is the best fit for you and your personal style.
- Cotton blend with another synthetic fiber – ideally at more less equal proportions
- 100% cotton
- 100% Acrylic
- 100% wool or wool blends
- Plush/baby yarn – for specific Amigurumi projects
- Fluffy yarn/fur yarn – for specific Amigurumi projects
And don’t forget to keep the yarn weight in mind too!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that you found it helpful when it comes to choosing your perfect Amigurumi yarn. And if you need inspiration for your next project then check out my free Amigurumi patterns. My free patterns range from easy patterns for beginners right through to a more advanced level. So you are bound to find some you will love. They are full of step by step instructions and photos that are easy to follow. You may also want to browse through my Amigurumi tutorials to learn the basics before you get started.
And if you prefer to download a printable version of my patterns that are ad free and inexpensive, then visit my Etsy shop here.
Happy crocheting! 🙂
Some of My Free Patterns for You to Enjoy:
Free Crochet Pig Pattern
Free Crochet Elephant Pattern
Free Crochet Guinea Pig Pattern
Great article. I struggle so much when it comes to finding that perfect yarn. Cotton is just harsh on my fingers as you say so definitely need to find a good mix blend UK side 😚
Hi Kirsty, thank you for your comment. Happy to hear you found my article helpful! 🙂
Love, Petra x
I want to thank you for putting up this wonderful editorial about yarns. I am an avid crocheter and have wanted to try my hand at making a amigurumi doll. After reading about the types of yarns, I cann better choose a yarn to use.
Hi Pat, thank you for your lovely comment! 🙂 I am really helpful this article helped you and I hope you enjoy making Amigurumi for years to come! Once you start, there is no stopping! haha 🙂
I have not tried this yet!
Hi Audrey, I can only highly recommend trying Amigurumi. It is really relaxing and very rewarding when you gift your handmade toy to someone. 🙂
Love, Petra x
Hi Sharon, thank you for your comment. I am really pleased that it works for you to use acrylic yarn for making Amigurumi. I know that lots of crocheters use it so I guess it comes down to personal preference.