Over hook, under hook, crocheting free…
Amigurumi (a “crocheted or knitted stuffed toy”) is usually created using the double crochet stitch (or the single crochet stitch, if you’re not from the UK), and working in the round. Have you ever noticed that some amigurumi dolls have a slightly different look to others?
The double (single) crochet stitch can be worked in a few different ways; by using an ‘under the hook’ or ‘over the hook’ method, or a combination of the two. These methods differ by the direction in which the yarn is wrapped around the hook during the two ‘yarn round hook’ steps of the stitch.
These methods each give a slightly different effect to the surface of your crochet, it’s subtle, but it’s there! You may have heard of crochet stitches being referred to as ‘v’ shapes – the ‘yarn under’ method or the ‘mixed method’ creates ‘x’ shaped stitches instead.
A double (US single) crochet stitch is made up of the following steps:
1) Insert hook into next stitch
2) yarn round hook
3) pull back through the stitch (2 loops on hook)
4) yarn round hook
5) pull through both loops on hook
There are two steps in the process during which you can differ your practice slightly – resulting in a different ‘look’ to the final stitch.
This is what happens if you ‘yarn under’ for BOTH steps 2 and 4:
The result is a pronounced, 3D ‘X’ shaped stitch that is quite bulky, and gaps between the stitches and rows are more defined.
This creates a ‘V’ shape. Personally, I do not use this method at all for either my amigurumi or not non-amigurumi crochet works.
Finally; you can combine both methods, which is my preferred way of working a stitch – I work a ‘yarn under’ for step 2, and a ‘yarn over’ for step 4. This is the result of the ‘mixed method’:
You get ‘X’ shaped stitches, but smoother, less pronounced and less clumpy than the double under method! In my humble opinion, this gives you the best of both worlds!
Some amigurumi creators prefer the double ‘yarn under’ method as it creates a tighter, neater finish. I personally found that my gauge (tension) was a LOT tighter when using the yarn under method – resulting in a slightly smaller version of the doll I was making.
I also found that when making a doll, the pronounced ‘x’ shaped stitches from the double ‘under yarn’ method made it a little harder to add the safety eyes / nose, and to sew the pieces together – but perhaps this is a positive thing, as they would, in theory, be harder to pull out! I also found that the double ‘yarn under’ method showed increases and decreases more, and the natural twist (from working in the round) was more pronounced.