Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures.
The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features.
Amigurumi are usually crocheted out of yarn using the single crochet stitch. They can also be knit. Typically, crochet hooks or knitting needles that are slightly smaller than normal are used, in order to achieve a tight gauge that retains stuffing.
Stuffing is usually standard polyester or cotton craft stuffing, but may be improvised from other materials. Plastic pellets may be inserted beneath stuffing in order to distribute weight at the bottom of the figure. Amigurumi are usually worked in sections and then joined, except for some amigurumi which have no limbs, only a head and torso which are worked as one piece.
Amigurumi have no practical use; they are created and collected for aesthetic reasons, the pervading aesthetic of amigurumi is cuteness. To this end, typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities.
An online fad for creating and collecting amigurumi began in 2003. By 2006, amigurumi were reported to be the most popular items on Etsy, where they typically sold for $10 to $100.