Hello! My name is June Gilbank, and I'm a crochet pattern designer, crochet and craft book author, multi-crafter, technical writer and animal lover. My crochet specialties are cute and realistic nature-inspired designs and elegant accessories, and I'm committed to creating exceptionally clear, accurate patterns and tutorials.
The standard way to finish an open-ended piece in amigurumi is to join with a slip stitch (sl st) to the next stitch, to reduce the height jog of the spiral between the first and last stitches of the final round. It’s a quick and easy method, and is perfectly fine if you’ll be stitching the piece down to something else so the edge won’t show in the finished amigurumi.
That’s not always the case, though – sometimes the edge will be visible in the finished piece, and in this case the sl st finish isn’t the best choice – it leaves a little bump that’s impossible to hide completely.
When I decided to make a video tutorial to show the most invisible finish for an open edge in amigurumi, I realised that, while there’s a standard method for amigurumi worked in joined rounds (and this actually forms the basis of my Perfect Stripes Invisible Join), there’s no consensus for amigurumi worked in spirals…
And you know what that means: it’s time for another crochet investigation!
All my candidates are based on the standard invisible finish for joined rounds, but I considered two ways that the method can be varied that may affect the look of the finished edge:
Should there be a slip stitch before the join, or not? A slip stitch would reduce the height difference before the join, but might end up more visible than without.
Should there be a duplicated stitch, or an additional stitch added? The additional stitch was my original preferred method from 2009 (there’s no need to maintain the stitch count if the edge won’t be worked back into, so the duplicate stitch isn’t necessary) but is that a good reason to keep doing it? (Of course not – not if there’s a better way…)
So that gives us four candidates for the experiment:
C: no slip stitch, join in next stitch D: no slip stitch, duplicate stitch join E: slip stitch, join in next stitch F: slip stitch, duplicate stitch join
The photos below show the results of each test, together with:
A: the piece after the final stitch is worked, before any join (note the difference in height between the final stitch, below the hook, and the next stitch to its right) B: slip stitch join (the yarn tail isn’t woven in here, but you can clearly see the knot just below the tail that can’t be completely hidden)
I compared the 4 samples and noted my observations (don’t worry if you can’t see all these in the photos above; they are much more apparent when viewed from multiple angles):
C: height jog very visible; stitch count not maintained D: height jog minimised; skipped stitch visible from front; stitch count is maintained E: height jog minimised; sl st visible from front; stitch count not maintained F: height jog minimised; sl st and skipped stitch visible from front; stitch count is maintained
C is an immediate fail: you can clearly see that it does the worst job of blending the height difference between the start and end of the final round.
F is the next to go: there’s an extra bar visible beneath the V from either a slipped stitch or a skipped stitch, and F has both while D and E only have one each, so it’s the worst in terms of invisibility, with extra bars visible beneath two stitches.
That leaves D and E. They’re both pretty good in terms of invisibility, but I’m going to award the prize to D: the fact that it maintains the stitch count around the edge makes it the most versatile; you can use it for an open-ended piece or one that will be stitched to something else with no problems, so this means you’ll have one fewer technique to remember!
Refining the Technique
While working on the test, I also noted that the downside of any of these methods is that you have to pull the duplicate stitch very carefully to the right size to make it look truly invisible, which makes it more difficult to then weave in the yarn tail without disturbing the size. So, I came up with a tiny refinement that makes it much easier to control the size of the duplicate stitch and keep it held in place once you’ve adjusted it to the right size.
Intrigued? Good! I’ll explain all in my new Invisible Finish video tutorial
Although she turned out beautifully, I did have a few hitches along the way…
I was excited to find a new (to me) yarn to try for this project: Bernat Blanket Extra. According to my calculations, one strand of Extra would be the equivalent of the two strands of Bernat Blanket I use for most of my giant ami, so it seemed like the perfect yarn for Giant Amigurumi! In the picture below, it’s the purple yarn second from the top:
Pictured top to bottom:
Bernat Blanket Big (#7 jumbo – good for Extreme Amigurumi)
Bernat Blanket Extra (#7 jumbo – good for Giant Amigurumi)
Bernat Blanket (#6 super bulky – use 2 strands for Giant Amigurumi or 1 for Mini Giant Amigurumi)
Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (#4 worsted weight – a standard amigurumi yarn, for comparison)
While I was correct that a single strand of Extra is an ideal yarn for Giant Amigurumi, I made a bit of a miscalculation and used the weight instead of the yardage when I was figuring out how much yarn I’d need (using the calculation method from the book). Converting from 2 strands of Blanket to 1 strand of Extra, the yardage is a straight 2:1 conversion, but the weight isn’t quite the same (as the Extra weighs just a little more per yard than 2 strands of Blanket).
Thanks to that mistake, I didn’t buy quite enough yarn for the Giant Stegosaurus I had planned , but I ran the numbers and realised I had enough to make a Giant Triceratops instead – problem solved!
Giant ami aren’t as rigid as standard amigurumi, and, even though they are light for their size, the weight of Georgette’s head, including the horns and frill, was a bit much for her front legs – they were squashed down a little, which made her chin touch the ground. So I added an extra round to her front legs to offset that ‘squish factor’, which worked out fine
Other than that, I followed the pattern, together with my book’s technique advice, exactly:
The secure magic ring was a lifesaver, especially for those giant horns!
It turns out that a giant triceratops frill is very floppy, but the stiffening flat pieces technique sorted that right out.
The large size crocheted eyes were the perfect finishing touch.
Awww, don’t they look just like a mama triceratops and newly-hatched baby?
Georgette is exactly 4 times the length of the standard Triceratops, and 15 times the weight! But she’s extremely cute and cuddly – yay for non-scary dinosaurs
Make Your Own!
If you’re inspired to try crocheting a giant dinosaur too, here’s what you’ll need:
Of course Giant Amigurumi isn’t limited to just dinosaurs (although I’m still tempted to buy more yarn to make a giant stegosaurus!) – see the book for lots of other examples, and advice for which amigurumi patterns will be easiest to scale up to giant size.
Please share photos of your giant amigurumi projects on any social media using the #giantamigurumi hashtag, and tag me @planetjune so I can see what you’re making! And if you’re a member of the PlanetJune Ravelry group, you can also share your giant amis in our ongoing Giant Amigurumi CAL
I’m still smitten with Giant Amigurumi – they’re just so much fun, don’t you think? Who could resist a giant purple triceratops?!
Yesterday, I took the opportunity to learn more about photography and plants at a photowalk workshop hosted by Colour Paradise Greenhouses and taught by local photographer Abbi Longmire. It was a great pairing – Abbi encouraged us to experiment with our cameras, and the greenhouse offered beautiful and varied subjects to photograph (and maybe some ideas for future PlanetJune plant designs…)
I used the manual (M) setting on my camera for the first time ever(!) and, after a shaky start, ended up with some half-decent shots. I thought I’d share my favourites with you – bear in mind that composition etc is not my strong suit and I’m very much a beginner at this type of photography!
(These are unprocessed, out-of-the-camera shots – all I did was resize them to blog size.)
Not too bad, are they?
Thanks to Abbi and Colour Paradise for the inspirational afternoon! I hope I’ll be able to bring what I learnt into my nature photography, and maybe even my pattern photos…
Here’s a new addition to my stemmed flower patterns: a beautiful realistic tulip flower with a clever one-piece construction. You’ll love how it comes together!
Don’t they look gloriously spring-like in their distinctive tulip colours? (I had so much fun picking the colours for these!)
I’ve also completed a new video (the first of many!) using my new audio/video equipment to accompany this pattern, and all my other stemmed flowers: Easy Yarn-Wrapped Stems for Crochet Flowers. As always, my videos are available in right- and left-handed versions, so you can see exactly what to do.
I hope you can see/hear the quality improvement in this new video, but if you don’t even notice because you’re concentrating on the content, that’s fine too. Clear, close-up and well explained techniques are always my top priority. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll always see my latest videos – I have lots more in store!
As I like to reward people who chose to donate for my donationware patterns, the PDF version of the Tulips pattern includes additional assembly photos (including left-handed photos) and my special technique for fastening off the yarn neatly at the base of the stem. As always, the pattern is free for you to use, and you need only donate if you’d like to thank me for my time in creating it, or if you’d like the easy-to-print PDF version.