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Tutorial: Attaching Legs Evenly on a Standing Amigurumi Animal

Stitching the various pieces of an amigurumi together is arguably one of the least enjoyable parts of amigurumi-making. I have a wealth of knowledge gleaned from making hundreds of amigurumi, and I’d like to share those tips with you, to make your amigurumi assembly less frustrating!

Today I’m going to share my tips on how to best attach the legs evenly on a standing 4-legged amigurumi animal, so the joins look neat and the animal can stand straight with all four feet touching the ground.

For more tips to make your amigurumi look even better, check out the new Perfect Finish category on my crochet tutorials page!

1. If They Touch, Pre-Join the Legs

Depending on how wide the legs are and how wide the body is, the legs may meet in the middle. Check your pattern’s cover photos to see if this applies, or test it out by positioning a pair of legs at the correct position beneath the body and seeing if the legs need to touch each other at the top to fit underneath the body.

Tip: If you place the legs too far apart, the feet will tend to splay outwards and the legs won’t support the body. That’s a look you’d probably like to avoid!

If Legs Don’t Meet:

amigurumi animals whose legs are separate at the point where they join the body (patterns by planetjune)
If there’s a space between the tops of the legs (as with the animals pictured above), skip down to Step 2, below.

If Legs Do Meet:

amigurumi animals whose legs touch at the point where they join the body (patterns by planetjune)

If you determine that the pair of legs will meet in the middle (as with the animals pictured above), you can stitch them together first, before attaching them to the body. This helps to attach them evenly and makes it easier to stitch the inner edge of the second leg to the body.

To do this, simply hold the pair of legs together, and stitch the tops together where they touch. (The number of stitches to attach will depend on the diameter of the legs.)

attaching legs evenly on a standing amigurumi animal

Repeat the check for the second pair of legs (remember, the body and leg shaping may mean that one pair of legs meet while the other doesn’t). If they do touch, stitch the pair of legs together as described above.

2. Attaching the First Pair of Legs

I prefer to stitch the front legs to the body first, as it’s easier to position them in relation to the head, to make sure the legs are centred beneath the body.

First, stitch just the middle of the joined pair of legs (or just the inner edge of each separate leg) to the underside of the body (below, left), making sure they are lined up with the head (or other means of recognising the top/bottom of the body).

Stop and check: is the middle of the pair of legs exactly at the bottom of the body (below, right)? If not, pull out your stitches, adjust the leg positions, and try again. Once they are centred, you’ll know that the pair of legs will be joined to the body symmetrically, without having had to pull out many stitches!

attaching legs evenly on a standing amigurumi animal

Next, move to each leg in turn and begin to stitch around the remainder of the open edge, using the Seamless Join technique (below, left). To create the smoothest join, when you reach the outer edge of the leg, try positioning your stitches onto the body slightly further out than usual, so the leg is stretched slightly as you pull each stitch tight.

When you’ve finished, the pair of legs should sit directly beneath the body (below, right).

attaching legs evenly on a standing amigurumi animal

3. Attaching the Second Pair of Legs

Move to the second pair of legs. Turn the animal upside down, and position the pair of back legs so their midpoint is in line with the midpoint of the front legs:

attaching legs evenly on a standing amigurumi animal

Again, stitch just the middle of the joined pair of legs (or just the inner edge of each separate leg, to the body, then pause and test the amigurumi to make sure the second pair is straight in relation to the first.

To do this, stand the amigurumi up on a flat surface and make sure both pairs of legs can sit squarely at the same time:

attaching legs evenly on a standing amigurumi animal

If the back legs are skewed slightly to one side or the other, only one back foot will be able to touch the ground. If this has happened, pull out your stitches, adjust the leg positions, and try again. Checking this now has just saved you from potentially having to undo all the stitches later!

As before, move to each leg in turn and begin to stitch around the remainder of the open edge, using the Seamless Join technique. To create the smoothest join, when you reach the outer edge of the leg, try positioning your stitches onto the body slightly further out than usual, so the leg is stretched slightly as you pull each stitch tight.

Congratulations! Now your amigurumi should have nice looking leg joins, and be able to stand stably on a flat surface, with the legs neatly beneath the body and all four feet making contact with the ground:

Farmyard Goats crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Give it a try on your next four-legged amigurumi and see if my technique makes the task a little less daunting for you! Let me know how it goes…

If you’re looking for my Farmyard Goats pattern, it’ll be going on general release in a couple of weeks. But if you join the Farmyard CAL in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, you can have exclusive early access to the pattern! See the Farmyard CAL thread in the group for full details 🙂


The 5 Essential Techniques for Amigurumi

5 Essential Techniques for Amigurumi - crochet video tutorials for left- and right-handers by PlanetJune

Amigurumi is a special subset of crochet that requires its own skills. Even the most experienced crocheters can be startled when they pick up their first amigurumi pattern and discover it’s full of new terms and techniques!

In this post, I’ll cover all the essentials you’ll need to be able to tackle an amigurumi pattern with confidence and end up with great-looking crocheted stuffed toys.

Note: All the posts linked below include both right- and left-handed video tutorials!

1. Magic Ring

The magic ring gives the perfect start to any piece of amigurumi: you can start crocheting in the round without any trace of a hole in the middle.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: magic ring
L: magic ring; R: standard ‘chain 2’ start

2. Invisible Decrease

Decreasing without leaving any bumps or gaps sounds too good to be true, but the invisible decrease (abbreviated invdec) really does live up to its name!

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: invisible decrease (invdec)

3. Changing Colour

Changing colour correctly lets you make clean colour changes without dots of the wrong colour peeking through.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: changing colour
Note: To manage your colour changes perfectly, you’ll also need to deal with the yarn you’re not currently using. My Managing the Yarns tutorial explains how!

4. Seamless Join

My Seamless Join technique creates a smooth, almost invisible join whenever you’re stitching an open-ended piece to a closed piece.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: seamless join

5. Ultimate Finish

The Ultimate Finish is the equivalent of another magic ring at the end of your piece! Close up the remaining hole with a smooth, gap-free finish.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: ultimate finish

Practice Makes Perfect!

Master these 5 techniques and you’ll be all set to conquer any amigurumi pattern and get a beautiful result!

PlanetJune pattern examples

Why not pick a favourite from my extensive nature-inspired PlanetJune pattern range and practice your skills?

PlanetJune pattern selection

Further reading:

Comments (1)

tutorial: amigurumi wall hanging

make an amigurumi wall hanging with this PlanetJune tutorial

The recent popularity of art weavings, macrame and other yarny wall hangings got me thinking, and I came up with the novel idea to display amigurumi creatively as a wall hanging…

amigurumi wall hanging tutorial by PlanetJune

It’s easier to hang than a mobile, and more versatile as a decorative piece for all ages. And it looks even better in person than in the photo – it’s so bright and cheerful!

For my wall hanging, I decided my Tropical Fish patterns would make a perfect grouping, and I added some tiny crocheted balls to represent bubbles in the water. But you could combine any small amigurumi and crocheted pieces into a decorative wall hanging in this way.

amigurumi wall hanging tutorial by PlanetJune

Want to make your own wall hanging? The tutorial is free to view online, and I’ve also compiled it all together into a handy PDF – yours in return for any-sized donation – that includes lots of bonus content: the exclusive Tiny Ball crochet pattern; step-by-step tutorials for my preferred knots (particularly useful with slippery fishing line!), and more bonus tips, photos and advice 🙂

Go to the Amigurumi Wall Hanging Tutorial >>


Amigurumi Finishing Technique: Needlesculpting

Needlesculpting is a finishing technique you can use to improve the shape of your amigurumi. It uses a yarn needle and length of matching yarn to draw in certain areas of an amigurumi to alter its shape, as with this bulky-necked panda:

needlesculpting in amigurumi - tutorial

If you’re following a pattern with crocheted shaping built in, you shouldn’t need to do this, but it can be a useful tool to have in your arsenal, if you want to:

  • Fix ‘lost’ shaping: If you’ve crocheted too loosely or been over-generous with your stuffing, and the built-in shaping has been lost.
  • Add extra definition: Exaggerate the shape of your amigurumi.
  • Make easy modifications: Alter the shape of a pattern without modifying the stitches you crochet.

Continue to my tutorial and I’ll show you how to add needlesculpted details to your amigurumi! >>


Glinting Eyes for Amigurumi

Link easily to this tutorial in your patterns:

Today I’d like to show you a technique that’ll bring your amigurumi to life when you don’t use shiny plastic eyes. This is particularly useful when you’re making baby-safe or pet toys, where plastic eyes may be a choking hazard.

example of embroidered catchlight on crocheted amigurumi eyes

The Power of the Catchlight

A catchlight is the highlight or glint of a light source reflected in an eye. Compare these kestrel photos I took a few months ago, and you’ll see how appealing a glint in the eye can be:

kestrel with glinting eye (by June Gilbank)
Where the eye has the magic glint, it brings a spark of life to the photo that makes it irresistible.

kestrel without glinting eye (by June Gilbank)
The same bird, only a couple of seconds later, but the angle is slightly different, and I didn’t catch a glint in the eye. Although the kestrel is still lovely, do you see how this photo looks dull and lifeless compared with the first?

Now, this principle doesn’t just apply to wildlife photography – the same concept applies in amigurumi! Two-part plastic animal (‘safety’) eyes are the ideal eyes for most amigurumi, because the shiny plastic replicates the shine of real animals’ eyes, giving a glint in the eye which helps to bring your amigurumi to life.

But plastic eyes aren’t always the best solution, especially if you’re making toys for very young children or pets, where plastic eyes may be a choking hazard and should be avoided. Non-plastic eyes can look dull and make your amigurumi feel lifeless, but there’s a simple way to add that spark of life back again.

Adding a Catchlight

If you crochet eyes for your amigurumi or make them from felt or embroidery, I highly recommend that you add a small white dot with white embroidery floss in the upper right quadrant of each eye, to simulate the glint. It makes the eye look more realistic and gives your toy that spark of life. All you need is a tapestry needle and a short length of white embroidery floss per eye.

Compare these two gingerbread men. Even before they have any features added beyond the eyes, there’s a huge difference in appeal:

Gingerbread Man (crochet pattern by PlanetJune) with and without a glint in the eye

Without a glint, the eyes have a dull vacant stare. With the glint, they have a sparkle of personality!

How to Add the Glint:

  • If you’re embroidering the eye directly onto your piece, you can stitch the catchlight on top of your other stitches.
  • If you’re attaching a felt or crocheted circle for the eye, you may find it easier to embroider the catchlight before attaching the eye, as you can then hide the thread ends beneath the eye. (If you plan to glue the eye in place, it’s essential to embroider the catchlight before you apply the glue, as it’s very difficult to embroider onto fabric that’s been hardened with glue!)
  • You can also add a catchlight with a dot of white fabric paint, but please do practice on a spare crocheted eye before adding paint directly to your amigurumi, to make sure you’re happy with the result.

illustration of good and bad glint positions for amigurumi eyes

Glint Size and Shape
The size and shape of the catchlights aren’t critical. A single stitch can be enough, or, if you prefer a more rounded/square shape, you can make a larger catchlight by making two or three stitches right next to each other. Whatever you decide, try to keep the glint the same size and shape on each eye.

Glint Position
You don’t have to use the upper right corner of the eye, but it’s very important that you add the glint in the same position on each eye – this is one situation where symmetry is definitely wrong! The idea of the catchlight is to suggest that the amigurumi is being lit from one side, and the side with the lamp/sun is the side that reflects that light as a glint. Light typically comes from above, so add the glint above the middle of the eye, but you can choose between the upper right or upper left side for both eyes.

Get Glinting!

This simple technique makes such a difference to any eyes made from fabric, yarn or embroidery floss. I hope you’ll use it every time you make crocheted, felt or embroidered eyes in future, to add an extra spark of life to your amigurumi!

Gingerbread Man crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Note: The samples used for this demo are made from my Gingerbread Family crochet patterns.

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    June Gilbank

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