I've been making amigurumi for over 2 years now, and during that time I've learned so much! Though I'm completely self-taught (no amigurumi or crocheting books, patterns... I was actually given my first amigurumi book just a few months ago) I thought it might be helpful to have a mini series of things I've learned that can help others who are just beginning to learn the fun art of making amigurumi!
So here we go, Amigurumi Craft Series # 1: amigurumi tool kit! These are some items (essentials and embellishments) that I use to make my amigurumi. They aren't all necessary, though they add lots of fun to your creations! Each item is numbered, and each number has a description of why the item is great for amigurumi crafting, and approximately how much it costs/ where you can buy it (a lot is from Wal-Mart which is kinda bad... but they have the best prices!). If you have any suggestions of vital things to add, please leave a comment, much appreciated!
- Foldable scissors; because these fold, they can be carried everywhere! These are great for plane rides (security check) and for on the go crafting... they're small and slim enough to be very travel ready and handy, and they cut yarn and embroidery thread well. They don't cut felt well though, so you may need an additional scissors. $1-$3, Wal-mart/craft store.
- Yarn; so many different types, there will have to be an additional craft series just on yarn, I think! Yarns come in different weights, styles and colors; for beginners Red Heart acrylic yarn is the best. The different weights/gauges of yarn determine what size crochet needle you should use; for Red Heart acrylic yarn (not sport weight) an E or F hook is excellent... less holes for stuffing to poke through! $1.99-$3.99 a skein, Wal-mart/craft store.
- Plastic half-bead eyes; these are so economical! They come in multiple sizes, I typically use 8 mm and 5mm. Using a hot glue gun, attach them to your amigurumi as one of the last steps towards completion. These are not baby or toddler safe (meaning they can pull them off, though I think they're too small to cause choking...) $0.59, craft stores
- Thread: great for felt embellishment, attaching buttons, sequins or beads. Try using colors that coordinate with the yarn color of your amigurumi. Try getting mini bobbin variety packs... awesome color choices and very economical. Wal Mart $4
- Thread snips; these are optional, but so good! They snip really close to your material, so things don't hang off (like glue, thread or yarn). $3-$17, depending on style; craft stores
- Jewelry pliers (chain-nose) and craft wire: great for putting wire inside your amigurumi, so that they bend etc. Pliers- $4, wire-$2 Craft stores
- Pins and needles: great for pinning pieces together so you can see where you want attach them, placement of eyes, mouth, nose etc. Thread needles and embroidery needles are also a must! $2, Craft stores or Wal Mart.
- Paper and pen: handy for drafting ideas, patterns
- Safety eyes: greater variety of eye types and sizes, including cat eyes... meow! More expensive, but also toddler safe. $0.89-$2, stores.
- Yarn needles: allows you to attach crocheted pieces together, $2 craft stores
- Carrying case or bag: allows you to store everything you need all together, handy for traveling.
- Embroidery thread- great for embellishments, mouths etc ($0.49). Most useful colors: red, black and white.
- Polyfil- many different types (organic, hypoallergenic etc). Most economical is the 5lb box, but it also comes in smaller bags. $6 (bags) -$12 (box). Wal- Mart
- Crochet needles: we'll need a craft series entry just for needles! Many different brands and types: aluminum, bamboo, etc. Clover is an excellent brand, but more expensive. Shown from top to bottom: clover bamboo, clover soft-touch, bates. Different gauges go with different yarns; the thinner the yarn the smaller the gauge. Japanese and American sizes on needles are a bit different; I have an assortment of sizes and styles from D-H. My favorites are the clover soft touch in sizes E and F and the clover bamboo in E and F. Craft stores (Walmart for the cheapy aluminum ones) Clover: $4-$8, Bates: $2-$4
- Acrylic or wool felt: great for snouts, hearts, leaves etc... I love adding felt because it breaks up the yarn and adds interest to your piece. Wool felt is more expensive, Acrylic can be found at Walmart/ craft stores: $0.20-$1.00. Most useful colors: off-white, white, greens, red, yellow-orange, tan and black.
- Buttons, seed beads and sequins. Best if sewn on. Adds some specialness to your design! $0.25-$5.00.