How to Read Amigurumi Patterns

Want to start making amigurumi but not sure how to the read the amigurumi patterns instructions, in this this post I will go through the most common stitches used in amigurumi and explain how to interpret the most commonly seen pattern formats.

Working in Continuous Rounds

The majority of amigurumi patterns will only use the single crochet stitch (Double Crochet in UK Terminology). Most amigurumi patterns are worked in continuous rounds, meaning that you do not join or turn your work at the end of each round. Instead when finishing the last sc of a round you will continue to the next round by working a sc in the next stitch. If you have made hats or beanies you may already be familiar with crocheting in the round.

The main benefits of working in the round is to remove any visible seam. When working in the round it can be difficult to see where each round begins and ends. To easily keep track you should use a stitch marker. You can place the stitch marker in either the first stitch of the round or the last whichever you prefer just keep it consistent to avoid any confusion.

Most Commonly used stitches in Amigurumi

mcmagic circle or magic ring
chchain stitch
sc ( = dc in UK term)Single Crochet (equivalent to Double Crochet in UK Terminology)
incIncrease, work 2 sc into the same stitch
decdecrease
Click here for more crochet abbreviations

Reading Amigurumi Patterns

To show you how to read amigurumi patterns, I will explain using the head of my free crochet pig pattern.

free crochet pattern for small pig

Looking at the head we can see it starts by asking you to work 6 sc into a magic circle. The magic circle or ring as it is also known is used instead of making a chain and using a slip stitch to form a circle. The main benefit of the magic ring is to create a tighter starting circle. You can check out my photo tutorial on how to crochet a magic circle by clicking here.

Round 1.   start with 6 sc into magic circle (6)

Once you have your magic circle made you will simply work 6 sc into the circle and pull the tail tight to close up the hole.

Round 2.   2 sc into each st around (12)

For round two the pattern is asking you to work 2 sc into each stitch. (The number in round brackets at the end of each row tells you how many stitches should be in each round.) So for round two you will work a total of 12 stitches by working an increase (or 2 sc) into every stitch, doubling the number of stitches from the previous round.

Round 3.   [1 sc, inc] 6 times (18)

For this round you will repeat what is inside the [ brackets ] six times. So you will work 1 sc in the first stitch and 2 sc in the next st and repeat this a total of 6 times. So it would look like (sc, inc,sc, inc,sc, inc,sc, inc,sc, inc,sc, inc). Total of 18 stitches.

You may also see this written as :

{sc in the next st, inc} repeat 6 times(12)

[sc in the next st, 2 sc in the next st) x6 (12)

Round 4.   [2 sc, inc] 6 times (24)

For each of the next rounds you will be simply increasing the number of sc in between increases. So round 4 is asking you to work one sc in each of the first two stitches then 2 sc in the next and repeat a total of six times. So it would look like (2 sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc). Total of 24 stitches.

You may also see this written as (sc in the next 2 sts, inc) repeat 6 times.

To ensure you have the correct number of stitches you should do a stitch count after each round this will prevent you having to undo all your work if you made a mistake. Generally if you notice you are out by just a stitch or two and you would have to unravel several rows to correct it. I wouldn’t worry about it too much and I’d just continue on as it is. You can add an extra increase or decrease in your current or next row to correct it or just continue as is. If your stitch count is out by more than this it may affect the shape of your amigurumi and you should probably try to go back and correct it.

Round 5. [3 sc, inc] 6 times (24)

Work one single crochet in the next three stitches. Then work two single crochets in the following stitch.  Repeat pattern a total of 6 times.  – 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc (total 30 stitches)

You may also see this written as (sc in the next 3 sts, inc) repeat 6 times.

Round 6. [4 sc, inc] 6 times (30)

Work one single crochet in the next four stitches. Then work two single crochets in the same stitch.  Repeat pattern a total of 6 times.  – 4 sc, inc, 4 sc, inc, 4 sc, inc, 4 sc, inc, 4 sc, inc, 4 sc, inc (total 36 stitches)

You may also see this written as (sc in the next 4 sts, inc) repeat 6 times.

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** As you can see for each round you are increasing the total number of stitches by six. The number of increase rounds will vary between amigurumi patterns. Most amigurumi patterns will increase each round by six stitches, however you may also see other increments used as well. **

Round 7–13.  sc in each st around ( 7 rows )

For round 7 to 13 you will be working a sc into each st. The total number of stitches worked will be the same as the previous round as we are not adding any increases or decreases so for this round it will be 36 stitches total. So you will work seven rows of sc in total.

Round 14.   [4 sc, dec] 6 times ( 30 )

Now you will begin to work your decrease rounds. You can learn how to do an Invisible decrease here.

For round 14 you will work a sc in each of the next four stitches then work a decrease over the next two stitches and repeat this a total of six times. –4 sc, dec, 4 sc,dec, 4 sc,dec, 4 sc,dec, 4sc,dec, 4sc,dec (total 30 stitches)

You may also see this written as (sc in the next 4 sts, dec) repeat 6 times.

Round 15.   [3 sc, dec] 6 times ( 24 )

For round 15 you will work a sc in each of the next 3 stitches then decrease over the next two stitches and repeat a total of six times. – 3 sc, dec, 3 sc, dec, 3 sc, dec, 3 sc, dec, 3 sc, dec, 3 sc, dec (total of 24 stitches)

You may also see this written as (sc in the next 3 sts, dec) repeat 6 times.

Round 16.   [2 sc, inc] 6 times ( 18 )

Final round of the head you will work a sc in each of the next two stitches then decrease over the next two stitches and repeat for a total of six times. – 2 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec (total of 24 stitches)

You may also see this written as (sc in the next 2 sts, dec) repeat 6 times.

Some other amigurumi pattern instructions you might see are:

  • 6 sc, 2 dec, 6 sc (14 sts) = sc in each of the next 6 sts, dec in the next 2 sts, dec in the next 2 sts, sc in each of the next 6 sts. OR (sc, sc, sc, sc, sc, sc, dec, dec, sc, sc, sc, sc, sc, sc)
  • [3 sc, inc, 4 sc, inc] x 3 (27 sts) = *sc in the next 6 sts, 2 sc in the next st, sc in the next 7 sts, 2 sc in the next st* Repeat between * 3 times. OR sc, sc, sc, inc, sc, sc, sc, sc, inc, sc, sc, sc, inc, sc, sc, sc, sc, inc, sc, sc, sc, inc, sc, sc, sc, inc

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