How to Read Amigurumi Patterns

 

When I first started crocheting, I felt completely lost every time I looked at any crochet pattern. I didn’t know where to start and how to follow the instructions that looked like gibberish to me. There were so many different symbols and abbreviations that I didn’t understand! But I really wanted to crochet a beautiful unicorn for my daughter and so that was my motivation that kept me going. Being a self taught crocheter it took me some time to learn how to read Amigurumi patterns but I got there at the end! 🙂

I know what a wonderful feeling it is when you finish your very first crochet toy and so I would like to help you learn how to read Amigurumi patterns without having to go through the struggle I did. In this tutorial I go through the learning process step by step and describe in detail how to read your pattern. Knowing how difficult it can be to make a sense of an Amigurumi pattern, I tried to make this as easy as possible for you so you can start making your cute crochet toys with confidence.

 

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How to read Amigurumi patterns

 

How to Read Amigurumi Patterns – Important Information

A good Amigurumi pattern will consist of not only the actual pattern but also some additional information that you should read before you get started. I have summarised below what information you should be able to find and what it means.

Crochet skill level – the pattern should mention the level of crochet skills and knowledge you need to have to be able to crochet that particular toy. Often these are classified as easy/beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Crochet terminology – this is an important information to look for as patterns written in English can use either US or UK crochet terminology, which differs a great deal.

Yarn – this will include information about what yarn the designer used or recommends to use. In some cases, you may not be able to purchase the exact yarn but you can very often find the equivalent. Just try to match the yarn fibre type and weight.

Crochet hook size – look out for the recommended hook size to use. I always recommend a hook, which is one size smaller than the hook size mentioned on the yarn label. This helps you keep your stitches nice and tight so your toy won’t stretch and the stuffing won’t show through large gaps in between the stitches.

Other materials – you may need to use other materials to finish your toy apart from yarn and stuffing. These can be items such as felt, ribbons or yarn for embroidery.

Equipment – the equipment used for making Amigurumi toys is usually quite consistent across all patterns. However, you may need some additional items for specific patterns so it is wise to pay attention to this information. You can read about all the essential equipment you will need in my ‘Amigurumi Tools and Materials: All You Need to Get Started’ tutorial.

Size of the finished toy – keep in mind this is the size of the toy when it’s made using the same yarn and hook size as the pattern designer did. If you decide to use a different yarn or hook size your finished toy may have different measurements.

 

How to read Amigurumi patterns (2)

 

How to Read Amigurumi Patterns – List of Abbreviations

Each pattern should always include list of abbreviations used. This is the essential guide to your pattern as it will help you read it. Please do refer to this as it will save you all the guess work and will speed up your work. I must point out that although most of the abbreviations are standard, some of them may differ depending on the designer’s preferences.

Just to show you an example, below are the abbreviations I use in my Amigurumi patterns:

MR: magic ring

ST: stitch

SC: single crochet stitch

HDC: half double crochet stitch

DC: double crochet stitch

CH: chain stitch

SL: slip stitch

INC: increase = two single crochet stitches in the same stitch

L INC: large increase = three single crochet stitches in the same stitch

INV DEC: invisible decrease = insert the hook into the front loop of the first stitch (two loops on hook) and immediately insert it again into the front loop of the next stitch (three loops on the hook). Yarn over and draw through the first two loops on the hook (two loops on the hook). Yarn over and draw through the two loops on the hook to finish your invisible decrease

BLO: back loops only

FO: fasten off

(…..) x 6: repeat the pattern inside the brackets six times

(…..) x 3: repeat the pattern inside the brackets three times

{…}: number shown inside these brackets equals the number of total stitches at the end of each round

How to Read Amigurumi Patterns?

 

Rounds

As standard, any Amigurumi pattern will be written in ‘Rounds’ or some designers may call them ‘Rows’. But since most of the Amigurumi toy parts are crocheted in continuous spiral you will be literally working in rounds. I use the capital letter R with the corresponding number for each of them, such as: R1, R2, R3 etc.

Each of the ‘Rounds’ has their specific pattern. You will follow this pattern until you get to the end of that ‘Round’. I highly recommend using a stitch marker to keep a track of where your ‘Round’ ends. When writing my patterns I like to use a separate row in the document for each ‘Round’ so it is simple to follow.

 

How to read Amigurumi patterns (4)

 

Amigurumi patterns will usually start with a ‘Magic Cirle’ (MC), also called ‘Magic Ring’ (MR). However, some parts of the toy may be crocheted in a spiral oval instead of a spiral circle. In this case, your pattern will start with a simple chain. Please see below examples of both:

Spiral circle:

R1: MR – 6 x SC into the ring {6}

R2: INC in each ST around {12}

R3: (SC in next ST, INC) x 6 {18}

R4: (SC in next 2 ST, INC) x 6 {24}

Spiral oval:

R1: Chain 6 ST {6}

R2: SC in 5 ST starting from 2nd CH from the hook; go through back bump of each CH as well, INC in next ST, SC in next 3 ST, INC in last ST {12}

R3: INC in first ST, SC in next 3 ST, INC in next 3 ST, SC in next 3 ST, INC in last 2 ST {18}

R4: (SC in next ST, INC) x 1, SC in next 3 ST, (SC in next ST, INC) x 3, SC in next 3 ST, (SC in next ST, INC) x 2 {24}

Reading the Pattern for Each Round

So how do we read the pattern for each round? In the example patterns below, I have translated the gibberish into English for you using the list of abbreviations I mentioned earlier in this post. 🙂

 

Spiral circle:

R1: MR – 6 x SC into the ring {6} = crochet a ‘Magic Ring’ and 6 single crochets into it. You should have 6 stitches at the end of ‘Round 1’.

R2: INC in each ST around {12} = in ‘Round 2’ you will increase in every stitch until the end of the ‘Round’. You should then have 12 stitches in this ‘Round’. Increase means that you will crochet two single crochet stitches into one stitch.

R3: (SC in next ST, INC) x 6 {18} = in ‘Round 3’ you will single crochet in first stitch and then increase in the 2nd stitch. You will repeat this another 5 times, which will take you to the end of the ‘Round’. You should then have 18 stitches in this ‘Round’.

R4: (SC in next 2 ST, INC) x 6 {24} = in ‘Round 4’ you will single crochet in first 2 stitches and then increase in the 3rd stitch. You will repeat this another 5 times, which will take you to the end of the ‘Round’. You should then have 24 stitches in this ‘Round’.

Spiral oval:

R1: Chain 6 ST {6} = crochet a chain of 6. You should have 6 stitches at the end of ‘Round 1’.

R2: SC in 5 ST starting from 2nd CH from the hook; go through back bump of each CH as well, INC in next ST, SC in next 3 ST, INC in last ST {12} = single crochet in 5 stitches starting from 2nd chain from the hook – you will have to crochet through the back bump (not to be mistaken for back loop) of each chain. Increase in next stitch, single crochet in next 3 stitches and finally increase again in the last stitch of the ‘Round’. You should then have 12 stitches in this ‘Round’. Increase means that you will crochet two single crochet stitches into one stitch.

R3: INC in first ST, SC in next 3 ST, INC in next 3 ST, SC in next 3 ST, INC in last 2 ST {18} = increase in first stitch, single crochet in next 3 stitches, increase in each of the next 3 stitches, single crochet in next 3 stitches, increase in each of the last 2 stitches of the ‘Round’. You should then have 18 stitches in this ‘Round’.

R4: (SC in next ST, INC) x 1, SC in next 3 ST, (SC in next ST, INC) x 3, SC in next 3 ST, (SC in next ST, INC) x 2 {24} = single crochet in first stitch, increase in 2nd stitch, single crochet in next 3 stitches, single crochet in next stitch, increase in next stitch, single crochet in next stitch, increase in next stitch, single crochet in next stitch, increase in next stitch, single crochet in next 3 stitches, single crochet in next stitch, increase in next stitch, single crochet in next stitch, increase in the last stitch of the ‘Round’. You should then have 24 stitches in this ‘Round’.

How to Read Amigurumi Patterns – Assembly

Amigurumi toys consist of several sections that are first stuffed and then either crocheted or sewed together. Each pattern should therefore include instructions on how to assemble your toy. I like to mention specific ‘Rounds’ where to attach each part of the body. But this is the part of the pattern where you have some flexibility and can assemble your toy as per your preference.

 

What is Amigurumi and why you will love it (6)

 

I hope this post was helpful and you now feel more confident about reading Amigurumi patterns. I bet you are now very excited to make a start on your first Amigurumi toy! If you would like to check out my patterns then go ahead and explore my free Amigurumi patterns. My 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 Amigurumi Patterns for You to Enjoy:

Free Crochet Pig Pattern
Free Crochet Sheep Pattern
Free Crochet Guinea Pig Pattern

 

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Free Amigurumi Patterns and Tutorials by Cuddly Stitches Craft

 

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2 Comments

  1. do you have a tutorial for joining the toes for the dinosaur Im so confused looking at the picture please help. your patterns are wonderful thank you for sharing

    Reply

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