Choosing Yarn for Your ‘Gurumis
In my book Amigurumi! Super Happy Crochet Cute I recommended the use of acrylic yarn for crocheting amigurumis. Since then I have chosen to work with wool in my studio. Both fibers have pluses and minuses. It is up to you to chose which material you prefer. Here are some things to consider:
Acrylic yarn is great for beginners and those people who prefer to keep their hobby costs to a minimum; it usually costs around $3 per skein. It is easily accessible and comes in a wide variety of colors. And is, in my opinion, a bit easier to use. A major advantage to crocheting toys with acrylic is its unwillingness to stretch. Crocheted and knitted toys are at a disadvantage when it comes time to stuff them. The structure of these fabrics is naturally full of holes and is therefore prone to uneven filling or over-stuffing. Pieces crocheted with acrylic yarn hold their shape better then wool pieces, so these difficulties are easily overcome. If you choose to work with acrylic yarn try the follow brands; Bernat® Satin Yarn, Caron Simply Soft or Red Heart Soft. They are smooth and have a very nice sheen, worlds better than the economy brands.
Wool stands at the other end of the “great fiber divide.” Many seasoned needleworkers (read: yarn snobs, among whose ranks I must now count myself) prefer to work with largely natural fibers. To us they “just feel right”, which we find to be of the utmost importance, and we willingly fork over the dough. In my mind wool, and other natural fibers, have another advantages. The one that tipped the scales for me is that they can be easily dyed at home. I am a color addict so I have almost as much fun messing around on the stove with yarn and dye baths as I doing crocheting my amigurumis. Additionally, wool can be blocked. I am a detail person, surprise! And it really bugs me when a piece is twisted or won’t lie flat. When this is an issue I either press the piece, if it is one that I am going to be sewing on to the amigurumi, or I steam block a 3D object that I have already stuffed (you have to be careful when doing this especially if you use polyfil, which could melt). If you choose to work with wool Cascade 220 and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes are both good choices.