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Resizing Amigurumi

Link easily to this tutorial in your patterns: www.planetjune.com/resizing

One of the nice things about amigurumi is that the exact size is rarely important, so you don’t need to worry about matching the designer’s gauge. Provided your stitches are compact enough that they won’t gape open to leave large holes between them when you add the stuffing, you have the freedom to experiment with different yarns and hooks to give you a different-sized result.

So, if you’d like your amigurumi to be larger (or smaller) than the sample pictured in the pattern, how can you do that? You have several options, and I’ll go over them all for you in this article.

Note: You can also use the techniques described below to make a set of parent and baby animals! For more details, see my article ‘How to make ‘baby’ amigurumi animals‘. 


Method 1. Change the Yarn Size

To make a larger amigurumi, use a heavier (thicker) yarn than that recommended in the pattern; to make a smaller amigurumi, use a lighter (thinner yarn). You’ll also need to change your hook size accordingly (see Choosing a Hook Size, below).

polar bear crochet pattern by planetjune
The photo above shows my AquaAmi Polar Bear pattern worked in bulky weight yarn with a G7 US/4.5mm hook (left) and worsted weight yarn with an E US/3.5mm hook (right). You can see that the worsted weight option is about 3/4 of the size of the bulky weight option. In the photo below, the same applies – the blue elephant is made with the bulky option, and the grey elephants with the worsted option.

AfricAmi Elephants by planetjune

You can increase the size difference even more by using much lighter (or heavier) yarn and a correspondingly much smaller (or larger) hook, for example you can go right down to crochet thread and a steel hook, as shown by bettika67, who turned my life sized Fuzzy Guinea Pigs:

Fuzzy Guinea Pigs by planetjune

into the most adorable 1-inch piggies, just by using very fine thread and a tiny hook:

meerschweinis by bettika67


Method 2. Hold Multiple Strands Together

To save buying extra-thick yarn when increasing the size of an amigurumi, you can use a standard yarn, but hold two (or more) strands together as you crochet, together with a larger hook (see below). You can see the effect of this here:

AquaAmi Sea Turtles by planetjune

Both these turtles were made using my AquaAmi Sea Turtle pattern and the same yarn (bulky weight, in this case, but the same applies for any yarn weight). The turtle on the left is the one shown in the pattern, but for the giant turtle on the right, I doubled the yarn by holding two strands together and used a correspondingly larger hook (L US/8mm instead of G7 US/4.5mm). The result is a turtle that’s about 1.5 times the size.

pumpkin crochet pattern by planetjune

The giant Pumpkin uses 2 strands of worsted weight yarn (instead of 1) and an I US/5.5mm hook (instead of E US/3.5mm) to super-size it to about 1.5 times the size of the normal pumpkins.

amigurumi supersized Gingy and regular size Gingerbread Man - based on Gingerbread Man crochet pattern by PlanetJune

My big Gingy uses 2 strands of worsted weight yarn (instead of 1) and an I US/5.5mm hook (instead of E US/3.5mm). The finished piece was 44% larger, and took 2.7x more yarn, than the standard Gingerbread Man.

(Although I can’t give you an exact formula – because it depends on how tightly you crochet at each size, and how big your larger hook is compared with your smaller hook – you can use my numbers above as a good rule-of-thumb indication for the increase in yarn quantity when you hold the yarn doubled.)

Hook size for multiple yarn strands

Using multiple strands of yarn has its own challenges – you need to use a hook that’s large enough to catch all the yarn strands with every stitch. For two strands of yarn held together, you’ll probably need a hook at least 1.7x the size (in mm) that you’d use with a single strand.

For example, I use an E US/3.5mm hook with worsted weight yarn. To hold 2 strands together, I’d calculate:1.7 x 3.5 = 5.95. The closest hook size to 5.95 is 6mm, so, for my first attempt, I’d try using a J US/6mm hook with two strands of worsted weight yarn. 

For three or more strands held together, take your yarn and all your hooks and experiment until you find the smallest hook size that lets you easily grab all your strands with every stitch.


Method 3: Supersize by Combining Methods 1 & 2

To increase the size of your amigurumi still further, you can combine methods 1 and 2 to make an ami that’s up to about twice the size of the original, by using 2 strands of a bulkier weight yarn (than the pattern calls for) held together, and a much larger hook (see Choosing a Hook Size, below).

mega whale by planetjune

My Mega Whale, above, is made following my Tiny Whale pattern exactly, but instead of using worsted weight yarn and an E US/3.5mm hook, I used two strands of a bulky weight yarn and an L US/8mm hook. And, as Mega Whale is twice the size of a standard Tiny Whale, I also doubled the eye size, from 8mm to 15mm.

 amigurumi size differences by planetjune

While you can go still larger with this technique by using multiple strands of thicker yarn, there’s a trade-off: as you increase the size of each stitch, the space between the stitches also becomes more noticeable, because it’s correspondingly larger. The stitches are also chunkier, so it doesn’t give as smooth a finish as using a finer yarn and smaller hook.

It’s up to you how large you’re willing to go – you can always try crocheting the first few rounds of the pattern and see if you like the fabric that you’re creating or if the stitches are just too chunky or gappy for your taste. (For completeness, I’ll include the way to avoid this – Method 4, below – although it’s much more advanced and not something I’d recommend!)


Method 4: Rewrite the Pattern(!)

Note: I’m just including this for completeness! I don’t recommend you try this method unless you’re keen on developing your design skills.

As single crochet stitches are square, in theory you can double the size of an amigurumi pattern without changing the yarn or hook by doubling both the number of stitches in each round and the number of rounds, so each stitch of the pattern is turned into a 2×2 square of stitches (2 stitches wide and 2 rounds tall).

For example, every time the pattern calls for 1 stitch, you make 2 (so e.g. if Rnd 1 is 6 sc, you’ll make 12 sc) and you repeat every round (so you’d repeat your new Rnd 1 with a second round of 12 sc).

But this is a very simplistic method, and far from perfect. You’ll end up with stitch counts like this at the end of the rounds: 12 st, 12 st, 24 st, 24 st, 36 st, 36 st. If I were designing a double-sized animal I’d then refine this new pattern by spreading the increases out, to something like 6 st, 12 st, 18 st, 24 st, 30 st, 36 st over those same 6 rounds, so the increases are made evenly and not stepped every 2 rounds.

It’d be hard to keep track of your rounds and stitch counts when you’re turning each stitch into four stitches, for even a basic amigurumi pattern. More complex patterns that include precise shaping and/or colour changes would be even more challenging.

So I wouldn’t really recommend this method at all – by the time you’ve done all the work in doubling the stitches and the rounds, smoothing out the increases and decreases, and tidying up any shaping and colour-changing, it’d probably be easier to start from scratch and design a new pattern!


Choosing a hook size

When you’re changing the weight of the yarn used in the pattern (whether by using a different yarn weight and/or holding multiple strands together), you’ll also need to change your hook size by a corresponding amount.

For amigurumi, I usually recommend the following hook sizes as a starting point:

  • DK weight (#3) yarn: C US/2.75mm hook
  • worsted weight (#4) yarn: E US/3.5mm hook
  • bulky weight (#5) yarn: G7 US/4.5mm hook

But the best hook size for your yarn also depends on how tightly you crochet, and the specific yarn you choose – there’s a lot of variability between yarns, even if they are marked as the same weight (see my Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison for more details on this)!

My advice is always to crochet the first few rounds of the pattern using your best-guess hook size, then push some fibrefill stuffing behind your work to open up the stitches and see how it looks:

  • If the stitches stretch open too much and the fibrefill is clearly visible, reduce your hook size and try again.
  • If you cannot easily insert the hook into the previous stitches, increase your hook size and try again.

Summary

  • To make an amigurumi design larger, you can use heavier yarn and/or multiple strands of yarn, together with a larger hook.
  • To make an amigurumi design smaller, you can use lighter yarn, together with a smaller hook.
  • Choose a hook size that gives you a nice firm fabric without large gaps between stitches – as you do with all amigurumi patterns.
  • Don’t forget to increase or decrease the eye size appropriately, to keep the eyes in proportion to the size of your amigurumi.

I hope this article will give you more confidence to attempt some resizing of your own!

11 Comments »

  1. Gloria Hopkins said

    Thank you so much for these instructions

  2. Carol W said

    Thank you for writing all this up and including the helpful photos! The little details and rules of thumb you mention make all the difference.

  3. Jackie M. said

    Hi June! I’m using method 4 (re-writing the pattern) for an amigurumi pattern that is NOT in a continuous spiral – it is worked with joined rounds, turning after each round. How should I approach this? Should I only turn after every-other-round? I don’t want to risk goofing up the shaping of the animal.

    Thank you!! 🙂

    • June said

      I’m not sure I can answer this one, Jackie – it really depends on the pattern, and on why it was written in this unusual way. It’s beyond the scope of this tutorial to advise further on a pattern that’s not written as a standard amigurumi. It depends largely on how simple/basic the pattern you’re trying to resize is, but here are a few hints to get you started:

      • If the pattern has colour changes or asymmetrical shaping, you’ll have to be especially careful that the colour changes or increase/decrease points on your duplicated rounds match their positions on the round below, or the colour pattern/shape will be altered.
      • If it was written with turned rounds to avoid a travelling join, turning the work every other round instead of every round may (or may not!) make the seam look a bit zig-zaggy.
      • If it’s a basic shape and there’s no reason (other than designer preference) for the joined, turned rounds, converting it to a spiral may be the best and easiest solution.

      I really can’t advise further, as I can’t provide pattern-specific support for non-PlanetJune patterns. You’d have to start with a best guess and go from there – it’d be a case of experimenting with your pattern and seeing what looks good. (You may need to bring a bit of artistic judgement into it!)

      Good luck 🙂

  4. Jamie A said

    I have a pattern that specifies using fingering yarn and a 1.25mm hook. the end result is 10cm. If I use worsted weight it will be much bigger than the recommended. How would you reccommend converting this in to worsted weight? I don’t want it to be as big as it would be using the pattern with worsted?

    • June said

      Jamie, this article explains how changing the yarn weight will automatically alter the size, so what you’re actually asking is how to avoid that effect. I’m afraid the answer is that there’s no way to do this without drafting a new pattern from scratch. You’d have to reduce the number of stitches in each round and the number of rounds in each piece, so you’d lose a lot of detail in the pattern and you probably wouldn’t be happy with the result. My suggestion would be to either use a yarn closer to the size the pattern is designed for, accept that your piece will end up larger than you’d like, or find a different pattern that meets your requirements!

      • Jamie A said

        Thank you,

        I was actually trying to figure out if there was a way possible to make it a little bigger. While I’m crocheting it now it seems as though it will be really tiny. When I was using worsted it was coming out to be really big. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions on how to make it somewhere in the middle of teeny and huge. Do you think using a crochet hook a size like 2.25 would work? Would the holes be too big that the stuffing would show?

        • June said

          For an intermediate size, use an intermediate yarn weight and an appropriate hook for that yarn – see my Yarn for Amigurumi article for further information.

          • Jamie A said

            I will do that right now! Thank you!

  5. Amy said

    Hello! I’ve been a fan of your works for a while, and this is really helpful! I do have a question though. The pattern calls for Worsted yarn with a 3.5 mm hook, and if I were to double up on yarn, what hook size should I use?

    Thanks!

    • June said

      Amy, please see the section titled ‘Hook size for multiple yarn strands’ (part of Method 2, above) for my advice on this 🙂

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Please note that I can only answer questions related to PlanetJune patterns and tutorials (see details), and I can only respond to questions or comments written in English. Thank you :) - June

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    June Gilbank

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