Have you ever been crocheting a super cute amigurumi doll and gotten frustrated by the gaps that form between stitches? Perhaps you’ve resorted to sewing the holes up after finishing the project in order to make your finished product look more professional. How do some crochet artists get their work to look so neat and professional?
There are solutions to this problem, and they’re probably not nearly as difficult to master as you might imagine. This article outlines some of the most common reasons for gaps occurring in your amigurumi and provides a simple, yet effective, technique for preventing the gaps from forming.
Pick up your yarn and hook and play with your yarn while you read. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to implement these crochet hacks into every single amigurumi project you make from now on. Let’s get busy!
Inappropriate Hook Size For Yarn Weight
Choosing the wrong hook size is one of the most common reasons for gaps forming while making amigurumi toys.
Unlike with other projects, amigurumi dolls should not be made using the crochet hook size guide on the yarn label. For instance, most worsted weight yarn labels will typically suggest that you use a hook between an H and a K. For DK, or double knitting yarn, most labels will generally recommend a hook between an F and H.
However, these hooks are more than likely going to be way too big to a crochet tight fabric without gaps, which is your goal when making crocheted toys.
You may have to experiment with hook sizes to find the right one. Using the hook suggested by the pattern is the best place to start, although depending on your tension, you may need to go up a size if your fabric is so tight that you struggle to insert your hook, or down a size if you find you are still forming noticeable gaps.
Insufficient Yarn Tension
As mentioned above, when your tension is not tight enough, you will likely find that you are crocheting a fabric that produces gaps in your amigurumi doll. Tension refers to how tightly you are holding the yarn, how hard you are pulling it from the skein and how tightly you make your finished stitches.
You don’t need to worry about gauge when creating amigurumi, so it really doesn’t matter how wide your stitches are, or how close together they are. Crochet toys are just about the only crochet project in which you actually want to make nice, tight stitches to form a fabric without obvious holes.
To ensure a tight tension, first make sure that you are holding your hook and yarn properly. There are two ways to hold your hook that are considered correct: as you would hold a butter knife and as you would hold a pen. Numerous videos abound on how to hold your yarn correctly. Looping it over the fingers of your left hand in a particular method will allow you the resistance you need as you draw yarn from your skein while you work.
You may also find that the material your hook is made from affects the tension. Crochet hooks can be made from aluminum, plastic, acrylic, wood, bamboo and other materials. The material of the hook can determine how tightly you hold the hook and how tight the loops are on your hook. Try a hook made from a different material to see if it makes a difference in your tension.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to tension. Remember when you first learned to crochet? Your stitches were probably looser and bigger than you wanted, but with practice, they adjusted to become tighter and more uniform. Use this same technique as you practice making your amigurumi stitches tighter through better tension.
Inappropriate Decrease Technique
Sometimes gaps may still form despite adjusting your hook size and tension. If this is the case, you may want to change your decrease technique.
The invisible decrease is one of the best amigurumi hacks you will ever learn, and although it may sound daunting, the technique is really quite simple. Many patterns call for the technique anyway, so it’s a good idea to learn it.
The beauty of the invisible decrease is that it pulls the two stitches in question together tightly without stretching them and causing a hole as a standard decrease will.
An invisible decrease is easy to form. Here’s the process:
1. Insert your hook in the front loop of the first stitch. Now insert it in the front loop of the second stitch.
2. Yarn over hook and draw through the two front loops.
3. Yarn over hook and draw through the remaining two loops on your hook.
You’ve just formed your first invisible decrease. Crochet a few more stitches beyond the decrease and then look back at your work. Notice how neat and practically invisible the decrease is?
Once you master this technique, you’ll never want to decrease the old way again.