Kumochan: Amigurumi Tutorial #2 for Knitters

3 Apr

zen kumochan

‘Zen’ Kumochan (Little Spider)

While cleaning tonight I found this little guy sitting in my flowerpot. At first I was so shocked to see such a huge spider in my living room! But, he had such a nice expression and was so Zen-like, that I just knew that he was the sort of guy who wouldn’t ‘hurt a fly’. I hope he decides to ‘hang’ around for a while….

I had promised last week in the tutorial about heads that I’d add another one this week about making bodies for knitted amigurumi dolls, and here it is…

Amigurumi Knit Tutorial #2 – Bodies

A characteristic of most amigurumi (from what I’ve gathered from Japanese craft books) is that the head is larger than the body, which gives them a sort of anime-character look. Generally when adding a body to this type of toy, the stitches on the head are cast-off when there are 12 sts remaining (and the tail is not threaded through the remaining stitches and tightened). When the body stitches are cast off, there should be the same number of stitches as the head.

There are so many different variations of body-types, but in this tutorial, I’ll describe how to create 4 main ones. Each one is based on one basic type and then ‘tweaked’ to give different shapes.

First type – Round Shaperound

The round type is similar to the earlier crochet/knit dolls of yore. It is basically a round shape that (if updated to be more contemporary) is slightly smaller than the head.

If we take Kumo-chan as an example, since his head is 48 sts in diameter, we’d follow the same pattern for the head, but make the body only 24 or 36 sts max in diameter. (See head post for pattern.)

Second type – Cylinder Shape (Crochet example of shape: Dragonfly)Cylinder

Making a cylinder is the most simple of all the shapes. It is simply one or two increases knit in the round until the desired length is reached.
CO 6 sts
Rnd 1: k
Rnd 2: k
Rnd 3: M1 every st (6 increases made, 12 sts)
Rnd 4-end: k

If greater width is preferred, follow head pattern until the desired number of stitches is reached and then k every rnd until end.

Note: Make certain that the number of sts that are BO are the same as the BO number of head sts.

Third type – Vase Shape (Crochet example of shape: Bumblebee & Butterfly)Vase

This is simply a variation on the cylinder shape. For this type of body, simply increase to 18 [24] sts following the head pattern for increases until desired length for bottom of body and then:

Dec Rnd: k2tog, k1 (6 times, 12 sts) [or k2tog, k2 (6 times 18 sts)]
k every rnd until desired length

Note: Make certain that the number of sts that are BO are the same as the BO number of head sts.insect

Fourth type – Insect Shape (Kumochan)

This is a variation on the vase shape. Working with an increase of 24 sts based on head pattern, after desired length of bottom half of body:

Rnd 1: k
Rnd 2: k2tog, k2 (6 times, 18 sts)
Rnd 3 (for more dramatic mid-section shaping, otherwise skip): k2tog, k1 (6 times, 12 sts)
Rnd 4: k (if greater mid-section shaping is desired, k another row)
Rnd 5: k1, M1 (6 times, 18 sts)
Rnd 6-end: k

Note: Make certain that the number of sts that are BO are the same as the BO number of head sts.


Stuff head with cotton batting or poly-fil. Mattress stitch head to body matching head sts with body sts (whip-stitch will work, but your creature might look a little Frankenstein-ish..). Tuck in ends.

You can:

  • add i-cord or felt arms and legs..
  • make (4) 6-st cylinders for arms and legs..
  • embellish using buttons, safety-animal eyes or embroidery sts…
  • add i-cord tail…

…to make your own amigurumi creation.

That’s pretty much it! With these basic shapes, there are endless possibilities, so I hope you let your imagination run wild!

Have fun and feel free to post a link with your creations!

(See here for Kumochan’s complete directions…)

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16 Responses to “Kumochan: Amigurumi Tutorial #2 for Knitters”

  1. outdoorknitter April 3, 2007 at 11:45 am #

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing! And you’re correct, ideas are endless!

  2. geckogrrl April 4, 2007 at 6:32 am #

    Glad you found it helpful =) Let me know what you wind up creating!

  3. outdoorknitter April 5, 2007 at 1:58 pm #

    So much so that I’ve included a link in my newsletter! Hope you don’t mind, email me if you’d like a copy!

  4. geckogrrl April 5, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    That’s so nice of you! I’d love a copy & will email you. (PS love the new yarns in your shop!)


  5. knittymama April 6, 2007 at 1:21 am #

    Wow, what an awesome tutorial!! Thanks!

  6. Alyssa December 23, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    I just used the head plus the vase-shaped body to make a kitten. Very useful! Thanks for this post!

    • geckogrrl January 3, 2010 at 6:17 am #

      So glad you could use this tutorial, Alyssa! That’s great — I’d love to see a picture!

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