The “Wrong Side” of Amigurumi
Are you crocheting amigurumi wrong?! Oh my god! How could this have happened?!
Well, now that we’ve got that quick panic out of our system. In all my years of crocheting, I have seen 3 different ways that people crochet amigurumi: The “correct way”, the “wrong side”, and the back loop only. Before I start, understand that I am firmly in the “you do you boo” camp. Meaning, if you like the way your amigurumi looks, then that is all that matters. I’m using terms like “correct way” and “wrong side” merely because that is what these styles are commonly referred to. Don’t take it personally.
So, what are these 3 styles?
For the first time, I decided to try stitching an amigurumi using both the “wrong side” way and the backloops way. Each of these has its own little perks and cons and I wanted to experience them first hand and make up my mind on which way is “best.” Maybe I would find that I liked either of them better than what I’ve been doing.
So I went to a pretty quick pattern, my whale pattern, and stitched it up three ways. Same yarn. Same hook. Same color. Let’s take a look at them. Can you tell the difference?
Bottom to Top: Backloops Only, “Wrong Side,” “Correct Way”
I’m not going to delve into the CW all that much. This is the way that I crochet; this is the way that most amigurumi is crocheted. Most patterns are designed with this in mind. I didn’t really realize just how much the other ways distort a pattern until I decided to do this little experiment, but more on that later.
Let’s look into the pros and cons of the others.
The WS is essentially inside out. If you notice that you’re crocheting with the inside of the piece facing toward you.. you’re essentially showing the “wrong side” on the finished piece. When I first started crocheting I came across MoonYen’s Moonbuns (picture above) and I was so confused why my stitches did not look like hers. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I finally realized her pieces were inside out! So, was I doing it wrong or were they?! After following more amigurumi artists online I realized I was crocheting how most crochet artists do, but more importantly, I learned that MoonYen and others crocheting like them weren’t crocheting “wrong.” Nobody was doing anything wrong necessarily it was just a different way to crochet.
The definite perks of crocheting the WS out is that when working in a round the spirals are not as apparent as when you crochet normally. It also gives your stitches a unique look. Admittedly though, this may only be something other crocheters notice. I showed my husband these two whales below and he couldn’t tell the difference between the two.
Unfortunately, the downsides really makes me never want to crochet like this again. I found it really hard to count my stitches! I had a hard time keeping track and had to double back a few times. Of course, if you’re used to this style and the stitches this won’t be a problem for you. I also noticed the tail of the whale really distorted. Notice the little bulge at the tip? Backloops Only has the same problem, but I find it really distracting. Also notice above, (left whale) severe decreases were very obvious and showed a lot of the stuffing inside.
This is a style that I don’t see very often but is said to have a ton of benefits. Users that crochet like this claim it helps with wrist pain because it allows you to use a larger hook than recommended. It’s also said that if you stitch really tightly this will help because it’s less of a strain to enter your hook into the back loop rather than both stitches. Honestly, if you notice you have a problem crocheting too tightly I think you should work on your tension rather than use this due to the downsides I outline below. I used to crochet VERY tightly too when i first started. Proper tension comes with time, but if you use this trick you may never learn proper tension.
Another pro of this style is that stuffing can be hidden easier due to the added cover of that front loop. Crocheting in the backloops allows that front loop to make that signature line across your piece. I personally don’t like this aesthetic, but it does make it super easy to count your rows and attach pieces together!
Now, the downsides. I’ve already mentioned I personally don’t like the aesthetic of the line across pieces, but I could probably get used to it if I liked all the other perks. Another thing I notice is that the BLO method elongates your stitches. Take a look at the size difference between all three whales. This is probably a minor problem, but I also noticed that it keeps the spiral of working in a round isn’t as apparent.
At first, I thought awesome! Sometimes, that spiral can be annoying to work with. But then thinking about it, and this pattern, in particular: I create my patterns with this spiral in mind. My decreases, increases, everything is often used as a way to correct for this spiral. But because there was no need for such a necessary correction I noticed my pattern was starting to take a different shape than intended. Something this small it was easy to not really notice, but I wonder what would happen with something bigger. So, if you use this style and you notice that your amigurumi is a little off from the original maybe this may be the reason.
Oh! Another thing I wanted to address. Some say this really helped with their wrist soreness and if that’s the case that is awesome! I’m glad you found a way to enjoy crochet! A lot of amigurumi uses small hooks. Really small hooks. When I first started out I started with those aluminum hooks that carry the size of the shaft all the way through the handle. Ouch. After a few hours of that my hand was so cramped! This is part of the reason why I use a larger hook for my own amigurumi patterns. I suggest grabbing some ergonomic handled crochet hooks! It’s saved my hands for the most part! These hooks have a larger handle so my hand doesn’t cramp as often anymore when using a smaller hook size. Highly recommended!
At the end of my little experiment, I’ve decided to stick to what I know best. But! After trying the back loop only technique I just may suggest giving it a try for people new to crochet that are having difficulty with counting rows, attaching pieces, and crochet tighter. These are very common problems to have when you are starting out crocheting and this technique just may keep a few more people crocheting, which is always my goal.
Which way do you prefer? Have you tried these other ways? What advice would you give?