How to Measure Gauge for Amigurumi

First of all – gauge isn’t that important for amigurumi.

You could make hundreds of amigurumi and never once measure the gauge.

When do you need to worry about it?

One – if you want your finished project to turn out the size the pattern says it will be.

Two – if you have exactly the amount of yarn specified in the instructions and you don’t want to risk running out.

So how do you measure it?

Well, because you’re stitching in the round it’s a little different than other gauge instructions.

Crochet up a swatch of five rounds. Make sure you’re stitching through the back loop if that’s what the pattern says to do. (All FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World patterns are stitched through the back loop.)

Ch 2 (I like to start with a sloppy slip knot.)

Round 1 sc 6 in 2nd ch from hook (6)

Round 2 sc twice in next st (12)

Round 3 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st.] 6 times (18)

Round 4 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 2 sts.] 6 times (24)

Round 5 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 3 sts.] 6 times (30)

Now – measure across the diameter of your swatch.

Mine measures 2 1/2 inches.

If yours is 2 1/2 inches – good! Unravel your swatch (so you can reuse the yarn) and start stitching.

If yours is a little small, try using a larger hook size. If yours is a little big, try going down a hook size. You can also try switching between different hook materials – a bamboo hook “grabs” the yarn a little more than a metal hook, for example, which can change your swatch size.

Don’t try stitching just a little tighter or a little looser. As you work you’ll tend to revert back to your natural tension, so that’s not a good way to get gauge.

Keep experimenting until your swatch matches the one in the pattern – then stitch away!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Front Post Double Crochet – video tutorial

Front Post Double Crochet is a nifty technique that you can use to create raised ribs on the front of your fabric.

And it’s easy!

Alyssa Voznak shows how to do it in this video.

See? Isn’t that pretty?

You can use it in hats and scarves – and you’ll see it in a little accessory you can make to go with your Ami Club pattern in July. 🙂

Related videos. . .

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Single Crochet in the Front Loop One Row Below – video tutorial

Here’s a nifty crochet trick.

Sometimes for fancy stitches, you need to stitch one row below the row you’d normally be stitching through. It can create a neat new texture on the surface of your fabric – but it can have an extra benefit for amigurumi.

It can make your shape bend!

In this terrific video, Stacey shows you how to do it.

Specifically, she shows how to single crochet in the front loop, one row below – but you can use the general idea to do lots of other stitches one row below.

Here’s how.

See how that makes the fabric bend? Isn’t that cool?

Stacey used this technique to get the perfect bend in the truck for her Ellie the Elephant amigurumi pattern.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Double Crochet – video tutorial

How to Double Crochet - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Amigurumi are mostly single crochet.

Sometimes we need some slightly taller stitches (like on the convex side of a bendy piece) so we use half double crochet.

And sometimes we need something even taller, so we use double crochet.

Here’s how to do it.

See how easy that is?

And how much taller it is than single crochet?

That height also makes it a little drapier, so it’s one of my favorite stitches to use for scarves. It’s even drapier if I go up a hook size. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Half Double Crochet – video tutorial

Half Double Crochet is a great crochet stitch.

It’s easy to do, a little taller than single crochet.

It’s great for hats and afghans – but we don’t use it very often for amigurumi. Ami are mostly single crochet.

So why am I posting it here?

Well, next month’s Ami Club pattern uses a tiny bit of double crochet, so I wanted to make sure to have a double crochet tutorial video ready on the blog.

And it’s kind of silly to teach double crochet without teaching half double crochet first, so here’s a half double crochet video!

Just a heads up for our friends across the pond – this stitch is called half treble crochet in British patterns. I don’t know why. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Work with Eyelash Yarn – video tutorial

How to Work with Eyelash Yarn without Crying, Swearing, or Throwing Away Your Crochet Hooks - video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I’ve used eyelash yarn on exactly one project before.

The process was so awful that I didn’t pick up my crochet hooks again for a year.

Yes – I hated it that much. The finished result was adorable – but I couldn’t see my stitches while I was working. I couldn’t even find my loop again if my hook fell out!

That project was just the bottom border of a toddler dress – straight crochet with no shaping. The thought of using the stuff to crochet an amigurumi was unthinkable.

Except that I’be been thinking about it for a few years. 🙂

You see, I had this idea for a little hedgehog. A really cute little hedgehog with soft prickles made of eyelash yarn.

For years I set the idea aside because – eyelash yarn! *shudders*

Counting stitches? Increasing and decreasing? With eyelash yarn?

Nope. Nope. Nope.

But I kept coming back to it and thinking there has to be a way to crochet with this stuff without going crazy.

I looked at all the tutorials. Most of them suggest crocheting it together with a smooth yarn to help you see your stitches.

That’s what I did on the dress, and while that made the project possible, it wasn’t even a little bit fun.

Some of the tutorials suggested using a bigger hook. I tried that and it was still impossible to see the stitches. The thought of counting rows and doing increases and decreases was not going to happen.

Inconceivably – The Internet was no help.

So I got out some yarns and hooks and started to play.

And I came up with a solution!

At one point I was thinking about Turkey work embroidery (that’s the stitch I used to make the mane on this lion) and how the finished effect is similar to what I was trying to achieve with this yarn. For Turkey work on stuffed animals you make the animal first and then embroider onto the surface.

That’s it!

Instead of crocheting the actual body of the project with the eyelash yarn – where you have to be accurate with your counts and it’s really important to be able to see your stitches – I decided to crochet the body with smooth yarn and then surface crochet the prickles on top of that.

It worked!

Not only was it painless – it was fun! And easier and faster than Turkey work, for what it’s worth. 🙂

Here’s how.

Now you can add furry yarn to any crochet project! Just make the body first in regular yarn and then add the fur later.

Handy dandy links. . .

  • I tried a few different yarns, and by far my favorite was Lion Brand Fun Fur. My Joann’s had a pretty limited selection of colors, but if you buy online directly from Lion Brand you can get the full range. Look at all the fun colors!
  • That hedgehog I show in the video is a great pattern to start with – very simple and fast to make. Get the pattern here.

I can’t wait to see what you make!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Crochet Stripes with Minimal Jog – a video tutorial

How to Crochet Stripes with Minimal Jog - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Want to learn how to make adorable crocheted stuffed animals with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Let’s Make Amigurumi here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make an easy amigurumi from start to finish using simple crochet stitches.

It’s a fun, inexpensive, and totally portable craft. You can do it!


I love stripes!

I love sewing with striped fabric, making striped quilts, and crocheting striped softies. 🙂

When you change color in crochet, it leaves an abrupt step between the colors. Most of the time that doesn’t bother me at all, but sometimes I want to make it smoother. There are a lot of ways to do that – including some pretty crazy complex methods – but I’ve found a very simple method that’s super easy – and smooths out those stripes just enough to make me happy.

Here’s how.

See how easy that is?

Here are some other posts with helpful info for striping. . .

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Make a Pompom Tail – video tutorial

How to Make a Pompom Tail (and attach it to amigurumi) - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

We’re hopping into spring – which means it’s a useful time to know how to make a quick and easy pompom tail. 🙂

There are lots of great pompom tools out there (I especially love this adorable llama-themed one from Betz White) but sometimes you just have your hands and a pair of scissors on hand. That’s all you need for this method. 🙂

Be super careful not to cut those long tails! You saw how useful they are for attaching your bunny tail. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Slip Stitch – video tutorial

How to Slip Stitch - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Slip stitch is a really easy – and very handy – stitch to have in your toolbox.

It’s great for closing up the very final tiny hole in the top of an amigurumi.

I also use it any time I want to shift from the “step” of a single crochet stitch, to a more gradual “ramp.” You’ll see what I mean in the video – and also how to do it. 🙂

See how easy that is?

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Chain in Crochet – video tutorial

Chain stitches are the foundation for most crochet work – and they’re really easy to do.

Watch this video – Stacey will show you how to do it.

It’s kind of crazy that all crochet is just one long, continuous piece of yarn wrapped and looped around itself. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi