Designing Amigurumi: Basic Shaping

Now that you’ve made plenty of amigurumi (at least, you have if you read this getting started post), you’ve probably noticed some patterns about how they’re made. Most things are made with multiples of 6 stitches. A basic sphere starts with increases in multiples of 6, then a few rows straight, then decreases the same way. I’m here to tell you that you can get different shapes by moving those increases around, and adjusting the number of rows worked evenly between increases/decreases. Let’s take a look at some variations on the basic sphere.


The Basic Sphere

Basic sphere

You’ve definitely used this if you’ve done very many amigurumi. It’s the one that starts with 6 stitches in a magic ring, then increases to 12, then 18 etc. Once your circle is as wide as you want, even rows are worked until it’s almost as high as you want, then you decrease the same way you increased. A simple pattern for a small sphere would look like this:




Round 1: Sc 6 in a magic ring (6 sts)

Round 2: Sc 2 in each stitch around (12 sts)

Round 3: [Sc 2 in next stitch, sc in next stitch] repeat around (18 sts)

Round 4: [Sc 2 in next stitch, sc in next 2 stitches] repeat around (24 sts)

Rounds 5-8: Sc in each stitch around (24 sts)

Round 9: [sc2tog, sc in next 2 stitches] repeat around (18 sts)

Round 10: [sc2tog, sc in next stitch] repeat around (12 sts)

Round 11: sc2tog around (6 sts)

Look familiar? Most shapes in amigurumi are variations on this 6 stitch increase. Let’s consider another shape.


Now that you’ve tried the sphere, take a look at what happens if you move the increases around. All of the following patterns will have the same number of stitches per round as the sphere, and are worked identically to the sphere except for on the noted rows.

One Sided Increase

One sided increase

Let’s start with Rounds 1 and 2 from the sphere: you can’t move your increases around if you’re increasing every stitch. Beginning at Round 3, you have to think about where you want to increase. In this case, we’re going to do all of our increases on only half of the sphere. At 12 stitches, it’s easy, just do 6 increases in a row, then sc 6.

Round 3: [Sc 2 in next stitch] six times, 6 sc (18 sts)

For Round 4, we have to do a little math. We want to increase over the same stitches we increased over before. Last round we increased 6 times over 6 stitches, giving us 12 stitches. To increase 6 times over 12 stitches, then, we should increase in every second stitch, since 12/6=2.

Round 4: [Sc 2 in next stitch, sc in next stitch] sixt times, 6 sc (24 sts)


Sphere with a small muzzle

Now we’ll continue to work according to the pattern for the sphere above. As you can see, this gives us a shape that widens on one side (where you’ve been making increases), and stays roughly level on the other. Variations on this shape are good for doing animal heads. For example, I might do an animal with a small muzzle by starting with 2 rounds of 6 stitches and 2 rounds of 12 stitches, then following the increases and decreases we used above. I used a method much like that to create Vaporeon’s head.

Two Sided Increase

Two sided increase
2 sided increase, seen from above

Again, we start with Rounds 1 and 2 as for the sphere. Beginning at Round 3, we want to increase 6 times, 3 times each at either end. Since there are 12 stitches to increase over, we’ll start by increasing three times in a row. Then we’ll sc in the next 3 stitches. Now 3 more increases in a row, and finish with 3 sc.

Round 3: ([Sc 2 in next stitch] 3 times, 3 sc) twice (18 sts)

Round 4: ([Sc 2 in next stitch, sc in next stitch] 3 times, 3 sc) twice (24 sts)

Continue in the pattern for the sphere. This increase creates a flatter shape, more like a disc than a sphere.

Disc, seen from above
Disc from the side

It’s worth noting that you can create a slightly different disc by completing Rounds 1-4 and 9-11, skipping Rounds 5-8. I used a strategy like this to create Spinarak‘s body.

Extended Shapes

Extended sphere
Extended sphere, seen from one side

You can also vary the basic shapes by working rounds evenly between increase or decrease rounds. For example, instead of having your increases in Rounds 2, 3, and 4 for the basic sphere, you could increase start with 6 stitches Round 1, then increase in Rounds 3, 5, and 7. In Rounds 2, 4, and 6, you would just work the same number of sc as in the previous round. So you would have 6 stitches in Rounds 1 and 2, 12 in Rounds 3, and 4, 18 in rounds 5 and 6, and 24 in Round 7. Follow the pattern for rows 9-11 after you’re done increasing to end up with a sort of cone shape. Note that the steepness of the cone can be adjusted by doing more or fewer increases at each increase round.

I hope that this (not as short as I planned) article has helped you see how moving your increases around, rather than increasing evenly, can alter the shape of a basic sphere. With these basic changes, and the math outlined at the start in mind, you can start to experiment with increasing to different numbers of stitches to develop exactly the shape you want. Don’t forget to try to break your creation into simple shapes before you try to make it.