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Scaling Amigurumi: a crochet investigation

I’m often asked how to scale one of my amigurumi patterns up or down by a specific amount. It’s hard to answer that without relevant data, so that means it’s time for another crochet experiment – yay!

Want to skip straight to the results? Jump down to the Amigurumi Size Conversion Table.


Method

I made 8 versions of my Tiny Whale pattern, ranging from the largest 25mm hook I own down to the smallest hook I felt I could manage (0.9mm), and choosing the most appropriate yarn size for each hook.

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

Of course, it’s possible to crochet outside this range – massive 40mm hooks exist (or you can crochet using your whole hand instead of a hook!), and some talented people are able to crochet with sewing thread and a 0.4mm hook – but I had to set some limits for my experiment…

The three dark blue whales in my photos mark these limits: largest, smallest, and the standard size (made with worsted weight yarn and a US E/3.5mm hook).

I’ve named all eight sizes so we have something to refer to throughout this post, from largest to smallest (and top to bottom in the photo above):

  1. Extreme Amigurumi
  2. Giant Amigurumi
  3. Mini Giant Amigurumi
  4. Large Amigurumi
  5. Standard Amigurumi – regular amigurumi!
  6. Small Amigurumi
  7. Mini Amigurumi
  8. Micro Amigurumi

The difference in scale is incredible – one stitch of an Extreme Amigurumi whale is larger than an entire Micro Amigurumi whale!

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

And here’s a top-down photo of all 8 sizes (this is a single photo so the scale is exact; the only editing I did was to add the pink spiral for clarity):

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

Look for the three dark blue whales to see the differences in size between the Standard size and the Micro (smallest) and Extreme (largest).  Isn’t that something?!


Calculations

Time to quantify those differences. To get an idea of the scale change, I took four measurements from each of my whales:

  1. the average width of one stitch (sampled over several stitches for higher accuracy)
  2. the average height of one round (sampled over several rounds for higher accuracy)
  3. the overall length of the whale
  4. the width of the whale at its widest part

Then, for each whale, I compared each measurement with the same measurement on my standard sized whale (made with worsted weight yarn and a US E/3.5mm hook). I used the average of the four comparisons, rounded to a nice number, to give me an approximate overall scale factor for each amigurumi size.

There’s a lot of variability here – not only in the numbers I measured from my samples and the accuracy of my measurements, but in the difference between specific yarn and hook combinations and the individual crocheting style of each crocheter – so a rough conversion factor is the best we’re going to get.

My scale factor is not intended to be an accurate number, but a rough idea of the size difference you can expect from scaling up or down.


Results: Amigurumi Size Conversion Table

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune
Pictured above are the main amigurumi sizes with the hooks used to crochet them (L-R): Micro, Mini, Small, Standard, Large, Mini Giant, Giant, Extreme

In the table below, for each amigurumi size I’ve given the yarn weight and hook you’ll need to make that size, and its approximate scale factor compared with standard amigurumi (the row marked in bold in the table below).

Amigurumi Size Yarn Hook1 Scale Factor
Micro2 crochet thread #30;
pearl cotton #12
0.9mm (14) 30%
Mini crochet thread #20;
pearl cotton #8
1.4mm (8) 40%
Small sport (#2) – DK (#3) 2.25-2.75mm
(B-C)
80%
Standard worsted (#4) 3.5mm (E) 100%
Large 2 strands worsted (#4);
1 strand bulky (#5)
5mm (H) 150%
Mini Giant super bulky (#6) 8mm (L) 240%
Giant 2 strands super bulky (#6);
1 strand jumbo (#7)4
15mm (P/Q-19) 360%
Extreme3 6 strands super bulky #6;
1 strand jumbo (#7)4
25mm 650%
Notes:
  1. As hook size names can vary between brands, I’ve given the mm size first, followed by the common (US) size name. The best hook size for you will vary depending on the exact yarn you choose and how tightly you crochet – the hook sizes given here are good starting points, but you should choose an appropriate hook for your project, no matter the scale of the amigurumi:
    • If your stitches stretch open too much and the stuffing is clearly visible, reduce the hook size.
    • If you cannot insert the hook into your previous stitches, increase the hook size.
  2. Micro Amigurumi refers to any extremely small amigurumi, so you may also find ‘micro amigurumi’ made with sewing thread and a 0.4-0.6mm hook – those could be much smaller than the sample I measured, so the scale factor would also be smaller.
  3. Extreme Amigurumi refers to any extremely large amigurumi, so you may also find ‘extreme amigurumi’ made with unplied roving and a 40mm hook (or hand-crocheted with no hook) – those could be much larger than the sample I measured, so the scale factor would also be larger.
  4. Jumbo #7 weight is a catch-all term for any yarn thicker than super bulky, so these yarns can range widely in weight, with recommended hook sizes of between 15mm and 40mm! For Giant Amigurumi, you’ll need a jumbo yarn that recommends using a 15-19mm hook; for Extreme Amigurumi you’ll need a jumbo yarn that recommends using at least a 25mm hook.

How to Use the Size Conversion Table

Note: There are many factors that affect the exact size of an amigurumi. As you can see from my worsted weight yarn comparison, even using the same hook and pattern with different worsted weight yarns can result in a remarkable range in size. (And that doesn’t account for other factors: the differences between our hook styles; how tall we each draw up our loops; our tension…)

So please be aware that the scale factor in my table is only a rough estimate. This isn’t an exact science; crochet is handmade, after all!

Reading the Scale Factor

I’ve given the scale factor as a percentage difference from standard size (100%), so, for example, 650% (for Extreme Amigurumi) means the amigurumi will be 6.5 times larger than standard (650/100).

How Large will my Amigurumi Be?

To find out roughly how large your amigurumi will be at a different scale, look at the standard size in the pattern, and find the scale factor that corresponds to the hook and yarn you want to use.

final size = [starting size] x [scale factor] / 100

So, for a 4″ long standard amigurumi, converting it to Extreme Amigurumi scale (650%) means:

final size = 4 x 650 / 100 = 26″

Resizing To a Specific Size

To find your scale factor, look at the standard size in the pattern, and the size you want your amigurumi to be.

scale factor (%) = [desired size] / [starting size] x 100

So, for a 6″ tall amigurumi that you’d like to reduce to 3″ tall:

scale factor = 3 / 6 x 100 = 50%

Then find the closest scale factor from my table to find the hook and yarn you should use.

Resizing in Between the Options

If you’d like to go for a scale in between two of my options, look at the closest size option on either side and choose a yarn weight and hook size that lie in between the two.

Example 1: Half Size (50%)
From the table, you can see that Mini Amigurumi is 40% and Small Amigurumi is 80%, so you’ll want to choose yarn and hook sizes between those listed for those two sizes, i.e. a yarn weight in between size 20 crochet thread and sport (#2) yarn, and a hook size between 1.4 and 2.25mm.

  • As a starting point, I’d try a size 10 or 5 crochet thread, or a super fine (#1) or lace (#0) yarn, and a 1.6-1.8mm hook.

Example 2: Double Size (200%)
From the table, you can see that Large Amigurumi is 150% and Mini Giant Amigurumi is 240%, so you’ll want a yarn weight in between bulky (#5) and super bulky (#6), and a hook size between 5mm (H) and 8mm (L).

  • As a starting point, I’d try holding 3 strands of worsted weight (#4) yarn together, or 1 strand of bulky (#5) and 1 of worsted (#4),  and a 6mm (J) hook.

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

So there you have it – a way to make amigurumi in any size from extremely small to extremely large! You can use my table of results as:

  • A starting point for figuring out how big your amigurumi will be when you use a different yarn and hook
  • A reference for the yarn and hook sizes to choose to make an amigurumi of a specific size

I hope you’ll find this conversion table as helpful as I will!


How to Go Giant!

Learn all my upsizing tips and techniques (including patterns for the giant eyes!) in my ebook The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi:

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - available in right-handed and left-handed versions

This is the perfect guide for all your Mini Giant, Giant and Extreme Amigurumi – every stage of making a super-sized amigurumi is slightly different from what you might expect, and I’ve designed this book as a comprehensive reference guide that covers everything from the absolute basics to tips for fixing problems and making complex amigurumi.


Do you find my tutorials helpful? If so, please consider making a contribution towards my time so I can continue to create clear and concise tutorials for you:

Thank you so much for your support! Now click below for loads more crochet video and photo tutorials (and do let me know what else you’d like me to cover in future tutorials…)

See more helpful PlanetJune crochet tips and technique tutorials

 

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How to Design and Arrange a Crocheted Wreath

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I thought I’d share my tips on how to arrange a (crocheted) wreath so it looks balanced and beautiful, using my Christmas Decor wreath as an example.

Christmas Decor Collection crochet patterns by June Gilbank (made into a seasonal wreath)

Wreath Inspiration Gallery

Of course, wreaths aren’t only for Christmas, and there’s no one right way to design or arrange a wreath! Depending on your aesthetic, you may like your wreath packed full or sparse, colourful or minimal, with one big focal piece or a sea of little ones.

Here are some beautiful wreaths made from PlanetJune patterns, and designed and crocheted by members of the PlanetJune Ravelry group, so you can see how versatile and fun crocheted wreaths can be:

crocheted wreath by MagicalAmigurumi, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by petrOlly, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by aaBrink, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by Marli2311, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by petrOlly, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by petrOlly, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjune

Image credits (L-R, row by row): 1 MagicalAmigurumi; 2, 6, 7, 10 sujavo; 3, 8, 9 petrOlly; 4 aaBrink; 5 Marli2311

Pattern credits: You can find all the crochet patterns in my shop! (Ask me in the comments below if you don’t recognise something specific, and I’ll let you know which pattern it is!)

Different styles, different seasons, different themes, different results, and yet don’t they all look gorgeous? (Well done, PJers!) As you can see, with a little imagination and a few crochet patterns you can create a crocheted wreath for any occasion…


Ready to Crochet Your Own Wreath?

If you’re short on time, space or funds for your holiday decorating this year, how about whipping up my (free) Mini Wreath Ornament crochet pattern instead? It’s only 3″ across, works up in no time, and comes together like magic with almost no sewing required!

mini wreath ornament crochet pattern by planetjune

But if you’d like to decorate a larger wreath and don’t feel confident to create a design that looks balanced, I’ll give you some tips below. You can copy my method completely for your next wreath, or you can take any of my ideas that you like and make your wreath in your own style.


Design Your Wreath

Start with a wreath base

If you’d like to make your wreath completely from scratch, check out my free Crocheted Wreath Base pattern. Otherwise, you can buy a wreath form from a craft store as a starting point – there are lots of options (see the gallery above for some ideas).

Crocheted Wreath Base crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Choose your patterns

In this tutorial I’m using all eight of the patterns from my Christmas Decor Collection, but you can use any patterns that fit your theme.

Christmas Decor Sets 1-4 crochet patterns by June Gilbank

Decide on your overall colour scheme

Your wreath will look more harmonious if you crochet all the embellishments from a limited colour palette – see the gallery above for some great examples of the effect of different palettes.

designing a wreath - detail

To make the different elements stand out and give the wreath more interest, try using tones of your main colours – lighter or darker versions of the same colour.

e.g. I used three shades of green (and two different reds) to crochet my pieces. This helps you to tell the mistletoe, holly and ivy apart, even when they overlap each other.

Add highlights
designing a wreath - detail

To draw the eye and stop everything from blending together too much, you’ll need some highlights in a contrasting colour.

e.g. The small pops of yellow and white in my wreath bring it to life.

Less (colour) is more
designing a wreath - detail

Don’t go overboard with the colours – if your wreath gets too busy, your eyes won’t know where to look! Repeating colours around the wreath help to give it a cohesive look.

e.g. I used the same shade of red for the poinsettias, baubles, and bow.


Arrange Your Wreath

Arrange the elements

If you have a main focal piece, place that first, then arrange the other elements around it.

Space each type of component out around the wreath so there aren’t any clusters where the same item or the same colour are touching. Go for balance but try to avoid too much symmetry or repetition – the aim is to make your wreath look natural and not too ‘perfect’.

arranging a wreath - main components

Start by placing the larger pieces, spacing them out around the wreath, and then start to fill in the gaps with smaller pieces.

e.g. This diagram shows the positions of my larger pieces – the bow, holly and poinsettias. First I placed the bow at the bottom centre of my wreath. Using three of each of my larger components (instead of two or four) made it easier to spread them out around the wreath without arranging all the components in a repeating pattern or perfect mirror-image.

Fill all the spaces (or don’t)

Your design may be intentionally sparse, so parts of the wreath form are visible. This can look lovely if you buy a pretty wreath base, or crochet the form in a cheerful colour – maybe with stripes or other colourplay – and make the form a feature of the design. (There are some beautiful examples of all these in the gallery above!)

If you don’t want to make the wreath form part of the design, try to fill all the large spaces with more embellishments. You can either choose part of one of your patterns, e.g. a single holly or ivy leaf or tiny bauble would work well in my case, or add other tiny pieces from simple patterns – e.g. a small flower, leaf, or heart – in a colour to match your design!

small embellishment ideas: Posy Blossoms and Love Hearts crochet patterns by PlanetJune

When adding the smaller pieces, you can choose which pieces go where semi-randomly, but do your best to choose different colours wherever pieces are going to touch or overlap.

It’s always okay to leave small spaces where the wreath form shows – if your form is a dark colour like mine, it’ll recede into the shadows, or if you make it match your components, it’ll blend in nicely.

Christmas Decor Collection crochet patterns by June Gilbank (made into a seasonal wreath)

Rules are made to be broken!

arranging a wreath - main components

e.g. Breaking my colour palette ‘rule’, my silver bells don’t fit my colour scheme, but I think it makes them stand out more than if I’d made them in yellow, white or red, don’t you?

In the end, the best design for you is one you like the look of, so
don’t be afraid to play around, try moving pieces about and pinning them in different places to see how they’d look. Stand back and look at the whole wreath from a distance to see if any elements look out of place.

It’ll probably take a little tweaking before you come up with a layout you’re happy with, but I think it’s worth it!

And please ignore any of my tips that don’t feel right in your wreath – they’re only suggestions, and you can see from the gallery above that there are countless different ways to make a very attractive-looking wreath.


A wreath can be a lovely way to display small crocheted amigurumi, appliques and other embellishments, to celebrate an occasion or just to look pretty.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration, and, if you decide to crochet a wreath, I’d love to see it! Please tag me (I’m @PlanetJune on all the socials) or email me a photo 🙂

And enter it into the PlanetJune End-of-Year CAL too! You’ll get a contest entry for each PlanetJune pattern you use (and there are prizes for everyone, so don’t miss out…)

Comments (3)

amigurumi skills for Turtle Blanket makers

It’s amazing how popular my Turtle Beach blanket pattern is – I published it over four years ago, and it still gets viral boosts on social media every few months that make it consistently one of my most popular designs!

turtle beach crochet pattern by planetjune

Selling Turtle Blankets

I’ve even started a special section of my Sellers’ List page for people who are making turtle blankets to sell, because I get so many requests for finished blankets…

turtle beach crochet pattern (by planetjune) - blankets for sale by crocheters
Don’t they all look great? I love how people respond to this pattern – both makers and buyers!

(By the way, if you make turtle blankets to sell, see the bottom of that page for details of how to be added to the list.)

Turtle-Making Tips

Thanks to this unexpected and long-lasting Turtle Beach popularity, I’m seeing many experienced crocheters try to tackle amigurumi for the first time, to make the turtles for their blankets, and some are getting frustrated.

Baby Sea Turtle Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone! 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, or amigurumi standards that aren’t specifically addressed within each pattern.

Although all my patterns point you to my main tutorials index (www.planetjune.com/help), the list below is a shortcut to only the tips and techniques you’ll need to tackle and master my Baby Sea Turtle Collection pattern, so you can make adorable turtles for your blankets with minimal frustration!

1. Magic Ring

The magic ring gives the perfect start to every piece of amigurumi: you can start crocheting in the round without any trace of a hole in the middle. Mastering this is a must!
Go to Magic Ring tutorial >>

2. Which loops to work into

Unless otherwise specified in the pattern, all amigurumi should be worked into both loops of the stitch below.
Go to Front, Back, Both Loops tutorial >>

3. Which is the right side

It’s very important that all your amigurumi pieces are right-side out before you stuff, close, flatten or assemble them.
Go to Which is the Right Side? tutorial >>

4. 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!
Go to Invisible Decrease tutorial >>

5. Changing Colour

Always change colour in the last loop of the stitch before the colour change.
Go to Changing Colour tutorial >>

6. Flattened Pieces

Vital to understand how to make your turtles’ flippers! What does it mean when a pattern says to flatten a piece of an amigurumi after crocheting it?
Go to the Flattened Pieces tutorial >>

7. Seamless Join

This technique creates a smooth, almost invisible join for stitching the flippers to the shell.
Go to Amigurumi Seamless Join tutorial >>

These seven tutorials cover every mistake I’ve ever seen anyone make with my Baby Sea Turtle pattern, so make sure you understand these seven concepts and you’ll be good to go!

Baby Sea Turtle Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Still Struggling?

Now, if you’ve decided you’re allergic to amigurumi and you never want to see an amigurumi turtle again, I understand! Although I love amigurumi, I know it isn’t for everyone, and I’m working on an alternative for you.

I’ve developed a flat applique-style baby turtle design that closely matches the look and size of my ami turtles, so you’ll be able to stitch those to your turtle blankets for a similar effect (except that the turtles will be flat instead of three dimensional). The new pattern will be much faster to make, with only two pieces, simple embroidered eyes, and almost no sewing! 🙂

Watch this space – I’ll post as soon as the new pattern is ready…

Comments

Sprouting seeds – easy, fun and tasty!

I’ve been growing my own sprouts for about a year now, and I thought now would be the perfect time to share the process with you. Even if it’s not practical to get out to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, you can still have nutrient-packed fresh and crunchy sprouts every day.

(And it’d be a great project for kids – it’s so fun to watch the sprouts grow over a few days and then be ready to eat!)

This is my almost-daily lunch:

a sandwich made with home-grown clover sprouts

Mmm, yummy! The act of germinating the seed unlocks all the nutrients contained within it, and the resulting sprout gives you a boost of fresh plant goodness.

And look how much fun it is to watch the seeds sprout – from seed to food in just 5 days!

growing clover sprouts - from seeds to sprouts

My Favourite Sprouts

There are lots of seeds you can sprout, depending on what you enjoy. I started out with broccoli sprouts, because they have loads of health benefits, but I found their flavour overpowering unless I paired it with a spicy condiment in my sandwich (mustard or horseradish are perfect choices).

After some experimentation, I decided on my favourite sprouts – these would both be a great starting point if you’d like to make your own, as they are easy to grow and have a mild flavour that you can easily add to your food without overwhelming it.

Clover
clover seeds and sprouts

Clover sprouts have a mild, fresh flavour. They are perfect in a sandwich or wrap, added to salads, or anywhere else you might use lettuce. I also like to pile them on top of burgers.

(If you can’t find clover sprouting seeds, I hear that alfalfa is similar.)

Mung Beans (Bean Sprouts)
mung bean seeds and bean sprouts

I’m sure you’re familiar with bean sprouts, most commonly used in Chinese cooking. Growing them at home in a jar means you don’t end up with the long straight sprouts you find in the supermarket, but they taste just as good and it’s incredibly easy to toss a handful into your stir fries and sauces when you’re about to serve them, and add a tasty crunch to your dish.

Supplies

To get started, you’ll need some seeds, a wide-mouthed jar and some sort of screen to cover the top of the jar with.

I started my sprouting adventures with the no-cost method: a well-cleaned pasta sauce jar with a doubled layer of cheesecloth across the top, held in place with a rubber band.

Once I knew I’d be keeping this hobby going, I invested in a set of wide-mouthed mason jars and screw-on sprouting lids (there are lots of options – if you buy some, just make sure the width of the top is the same as the mouth of your jars.)

And then, you’ll need some seeds! You can buy these from health food stores or online. Just make sure you search for sprouting seeds that are intended for consumption – regular seeds that are intended to be planted in the ground to grow into plants are usually treated with a fungicide, so the seeds are not edible.

Get Sprouting!

Here are my notes for sprouting clover. The process is the same for other sprouts; the only differences would be a) how much seed to use, b) how long to soak the seed for, and c) how many days until the sprouts are ready.

But these instructions will give you an idea of how easy it is to grow your own sprouts…

  1. Measure 2 tbsp of seed into the jar, then screw on the lid.
  2. Fill with water and soak for 8-12 hours.
  3. Tip out the soaking water.
  4. Without removing the lid, add water, swirl the seeds around and tip out the water.starting clover sprouts
  5. Repeat step 4, making sure to shake out all the water so the seeds won’t be sitting in water.
  6. Shake the seeds down away from the jar lid so air can circulate.
    starting clover sprouts
  7. Lay the jar on its side, out of direct sunlight.
  8. Every morning and evening, repeat steps 4-7.
  9. When the jar is fairly full (3-5 days) and the sprouts have leaves, leave the jar on a sunny windowsill for a day for the leaves to green up.
  10. Tip the sprouts into a large bowl and fill it with water.preparing clover sprouts
  11. Swish the sprouts around so the hulls float to the top.
    preparing clover sprouts
  12. Skim off the hulls or push them to the sides of the bowl, then grab a handful of sprouts and pull them out of the bowl.preparing clover sprouts
  13. Place into a salad spinner or onto a kitchen towel-covered plate.
  14. Repeat to get all the rest of the sprouts out (leaving a few hulls with them is fine).preparing clover sprouts
  15. Spin the sprouts to dry them, or leave them on the counter for a couple of hours to dry out.
  16. Put the sprouts in a plastic container and refrigerate for up to a week.
  17. Enjoy!

a sandwich made with home-grown clover sprouts

I hope this has inspired you to think about growing your own fresh sprouts!

And, if you’ve tried growing sprouting seeds before, which varieties are your favourites? I’d love to try some different seeds – do let me know your recommendations in the comments below…

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