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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to Crochet in the Round

Amigurumi is causing a resurgence in the art of crochet it seems, and more and more people are learning to crochet just so they can make amigurumi.
Amigurumi is actually very simple to crochet if you know a few very basic crochet stitches and how to read a pattern.

Amigurumi is worked "in the round" which means instead of going back and forth in rows, you will be crocheting in a spiral. When crocheting in the round it's very important to use stitch markers as you will not
be able to see where the beginning stitch in each row is. I recommend the locking stitch markers for marking your work. There is nothing more frustrating than crocheting away and feeling something hit your leg only to look down and see your stitch marker has fallen out. You have no idea which round you're on or even where you started the current round. At this point you pretty much have to pull out your piece and start again. So get the locking stitch markers available at your local craft/hobby store, or you can simply use a safety pin as a stitch marker.

There are two ways to start your amigurumi project. The first one is the traditional ring which is made by crocheting a few chains and joining them to form a circle.
The second (and the one most amigurumi artists prefer) is the magic adjustable ring.

We'll start with the traditional method. First you will create a chain, which is done using a slip stitch. Start with a loop on the hook. Hook yarn and pull through. (One chain completed.)
Repeat this step for additional chains (usually 2 in most patterns). Next you would join the ring by making a slip stitch into the first chain you made. You now have a circle. Following the pattern instructions, work the number of stitches the pattern calls for in the ring.

The problem that most amigurumi crocheters have with this method is that once you crochet inside this cirlce there will be a tiny hole in the center.

The second method is to create an "adjustable ring", or a "magic adjustable ring" as it's sometimes called. This ring allows you to pull the ring tight after crocheting your first round, which results in no visible hole in the center.

To make an adjustable ring follow these steps:

Step 1: Make a loop with your yarn, leaving a 4" tail trailing from the loop.

Step 2: Insert your hook into the front of the loop, yarn over and draw up a loop.

Step 3: Ch 1. You have now made your adjustable ring.

Step 4: Following the pattern instructions, work the number of stitches the pattern calls for in the ring.

Step 5: Once the first round of stitches is completed, grasp the tail and pull it tight. This will close the ring and leave no visible hole.

Regardless of which starting method you use, do not join with a slip stitch. Joining each round leaves a slight ridge or "seam" in your piece. Working in the round is working a continuous spiral, so you will simply work your first sc into the beginning stitch of the previous row. This is the 1st stitch of the next round. At this point don't forget to place a marker on this first stitch so you don't lose your place! You will need to move your stitch marker at the beginning of each round.

From this point you will follow your pattern to create your shape.

Either way you start, whether using the adjustable ring, or sticking to the traditional method, is acceptable. It's really just a matter of personal preference. Some crocheters prefer the traditional method and don't mind the tiny hole in the center. So if you're struggling to master the adjustable ring, don't sweat it. Just do it the traditional way and move on. It's not worth getting frustrated and losing the excitement you have for your amigurumi project!

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  1. I like those stitch markers. I have some open circle ones. Or I use yarn, usually the end, and weave it back and forth through each round. Can't wait to see what you're making.

  2. Wow, I wish I had the time to do this. You give great information and pictures!

    Following you from MBC...

  3. What a great skill to have! I am following you from MBC, please come visit!


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