Understanding Round and Oval Shapes
(in order to create head)
There is no animal or doll toy without head. Understanding and learning how to make one is essential when creating your toy.
This simple round shape used to create head, as all of amigurumi elements, also has endless possibilities.
You can make simple sphere. With simple one you can never go wrong. You can make wider top and slimmer bottom or vice verse. You can make it squarish looking or go some three edges weird shape if creating one alien.
Many possibilities and you are not sure how?
Let me know if you’ll find out how, after this lesson!
This lesson will talk about basic round and oval shapes made with even increasing stitches to form the shape’s width and even decreasing stitches to close it.
Most commonly used are spheres. Specially common are spheres starting in magic ring with 6 single crochet stitches.
Why is that so? Let me show you on examples:
As you can see from above photo, I have crocheted several different rounds. Each one I started with different stitch count in the magic ring, increased evenly for 5 rounds, then repeated last round stitch count for the following 5 rounds and evenly decreased in order to close.
Increases are made in orange colored yarn for you to see what is happening in each work.
If you ask me, I like all of them, even the rounds starting with 7 or 9 stitches that are not in this photo but I included them in this lesson as well.
All of the rounds increase nicely and all are creating nice rounds to start with.
I am sure you will agree with me.
Now let us see how they look from the side view.
Aha! So that is the difference!
Can you tell?
Depending on how many stitches you use to start with, it will apply to your work. The less the stitches, the narrower the work. More stitches you start with, the faster you will reach desired width.
The more stitches you start with, the more repeating s in the middle rounds you’ll need to do in order to reach nice and round shape.
By now you can guess why is the 6 stitches in magic ring very popular (5 sts as well). They find themselves in the golden middle.
So why to bother talking about all other possibilities?
They all matter and are all important. Furthermore, you need to understand all of them in order to make your head desired shape.
Each one of them talks different story and will make your work look just the way you imagined. Many times, you won’t find yourself satisfied with simple 6 increasing rounds on top and decreasing to close. Many times you will need narrower head on the bottom or in the middle or longer neck to create…
That is why all these stitch counts matter and are important for you to understand.
Let us talk a little about each one of them.
3 sts start/inc/dec
Very rarely used, but is nice for small works and cone shaped heads for example. It will always have this pointy, sharp end because of only three stitches used in the magic ring. Increasing/decreasing will go slow. 3 stitches each round is not much, but remember and use it if you are looking for something pointy on top. Middle part, if done will make this cone looking beginning start to look as spindle-shaped. Not the round shape but nice one to use for small heads, flower buds…
3 sts inc/dec are great to form edges on your head. Adding them inside you work will shape your head little bit better and give nice edges touch. For example, try adding them right after you finish creating your top of the head, and use 3sts increase to form the forehead and back of the head. Or use it around nose area two even increases on sides and make one just above where nose will be. This will make your nose pointing more. These are just few samples crossing my mind as I write.
4 sts start/inc/dec
I love this one! It makes great squarish looking shape, specially if you add chain in the middle of increasing stitch. That chain points your increases and nicely forms the shape of a cube or rectangular.
Great stitch to use when forming the body (and we will talk about it more in our advanced lessons).
Making roundish shape as seen on above photo samples is something to use if 3 is to narrow and you are not looking for a round shape as you would reach with 5 sts.
If looking for a square head to make, use this one as your guide and don’t forget the chain in the middle of each st when increasing! 4 is great to use on the bottom if you wish to make fine looking neck. Great as well to forming heads middle….
Make sure to make a sample and try it on. I am sure you will be pleased with result.
5 and 6 sts start/inc/dec
Placing 5 and 6 sts together as they give very similar results. They will both create nice round top and nice round end when closed. For as simple round and sphere go after these two options. Many will always got after these two, as are simple to count and work with.
7 sts start/inc/dec
Very rarely used, but again great one in my opinion. Many times you will not be satisfied with 6 sts to work with and 8 will be too much. 7 can be added and used as great alternative.
8, 9 & 10 start/inc/dec
Large number of stitches used in the start create wide rounds quickly. These are specially useful when working with thin yarns or thread. They provide faster development of your top of the head and make your work much easier.
Like I said. Creating the head is not just making the sphere. Above we mentioned basic rounds you can use in your creations. But, there are some other options as well.
What if you start with 10 sts in the magic ring, increase evenly few rounds and start decreasing and closing your work with just 5 even decreasing each round?
What if you start with 4 and change your mind to close with 8 or 10 sts decrease?
Everything is possible and you can work either way. From above mentioned basic shapes and stitches used, you can make a mixture of all and create something extraordinary.
That is why you need to practice. You need to get familiar with the shapes and understand what happens with each of the stitches used.
If you are really keen on learning I suggest you make samples, like I did for this lesson, for your future reference (or until you become familiar with the work) and use them as your guides when creating your own toys.
On how to count rounds and knowing how many you’ll need in order to reach desired shape I will talk more after we finish all of the basic lessons, but for now can tell you to make these samples and simple measure the round height in order to calculate approximate number of rounds needed in your work. Like I said, use samples to guide you. Measure them, observe them, make two three with different round counts and write notes. This is how you will learn.
Keep your notebook and pen at hand. Write down what you do. You will need to calculate stitches all the way, but all these little troubles are worth it. Making something of your own is priceless.
Now let us return to making rounds using different stitch counts and different increasing/decreasing counts.
As you can see from above photo, this little ball I started with 10 sts in the magic ring, but finished with 5 even decreasing on each round (the photo is up side down).
As a result, I had just few increasing rounds and reached 40 sts round count very fast. Just three rounds needed to reach 40 sts. Repeated 40 sts for 5 rounds and then started to decrease evenly (but this time 5 sts decrease). This decreasing took me double the rounds than increasing, but as a result my doll would end up with nice longer chin and neck area.
Vice verse, if I started with 5 sts, I would end up with nice round and deeper top of the head, but there would be no chin or neck space at all. Head would be cut on the bottom sharply (because of sudden 10 sts decrease).
The same way you can use any of the above mentioned stitch counts in order to create special effects.
For now practice with these simple shapes. Even increasing/decreasing or different stitch increasing/decreasing on top and bottom. Find the one you like the best. Write it down as you first head pattern. You will have one part of your toy done!
Dear friends we are not done yet!
We haven’t said anything about head shapes starting with chains! Or famous and lovely ovals!
These shapes are pretty awesome, but very rarely used in the Western countries. Our Chinese and Japanese amigurumi artists are using these shapes very commonly. I think we, “wild West” people are little lazy to count when making these oval shapes!
Oval shapes are wonderful for animal heads, rug doll look-a-like crochet dolls, baby rattles and baby toys….And are not difficult to master!!!! So don’t be afraid to take your hook, pen and paper and try making oval shaped head or body on your own.
I have prepared few of basic patterns you can use.
You can increase more on sides or more on the corners (depending what are you after, depth or width of the shape). But try working on them! You will be surprised how beautiful they are and how beautiful shapes they create.
For this purpose I have made one sample.
On above photo, you can see round and oval shape. Round is made from 6 sts started in the magic ring, while oval is made from 6 chains. Both are done in rounds.
When making ovals, specially if making one that will be worked together and continued work with the body work in closed rounds or rows. Meaning, ch1 on beginning, and sl st to chain made in order to finish the round. This will keep your work straight.
For small elements, ovals done in rounds work fine.
As you can see from the photo, oval is increased only on sides. Evenly, each row, but on sides only. This makes it much wider than regular round shape.
In the next photo are three samples. Round, round started from chain (but continued with increases and decreases as worked in round) and oval with side increases (decreases) only.
They are all lovely, don’t you think? And all can be used for something different.
One thing you have to remember the more chains you use to start with the wider the work will be (no matter how you will increase).
This starting chain is forming your shape and width of the head.
Here are few of the oval patterns you can practice on:
R1 sc4, 3 sc in last ch st, work around chain, sc3, 2 sc in the last (12)
R2 inc, sc4, inc x3, sc4, inc x2 (18)
R3 sc, inc, sc5, (inc, sc) x2, inc, sc5, inc, sc, inc (24)
from here continue on your own…
each red marked sc, increase by 1, each blue marked stitches increase by 1
Your next round would be as follows:
R4 sc2, inc, sc6, (inc, sc2) x2, inc, sc6, inc, sc2, inc (30)
After you reach desired width, stop increasing and continue with repeating stitch count rounds.
My suggestion is to work in closed rounds or rows.
Each round start with ch and end with sl st to that chain.
- The same way you can start with chain 9
sc in each sts until you reach the last chain stitch. Make 3 sc in the last, continue working around the chain. Sc next 6 sts and inc or make 2 sts in the last ch stitch. This way you will create first round of 18 sts and in start make your work wider. Following rows continue based on instructions given above.
- Or start with chain 12, crochet as explained above and start with 24 stitches in R1.
Those were ovals started with chain and increased by 6 stitches evenly on each side.
Here are examples on how 4 increases can be done.
R1 sc7, 2 sc in the last ch st, continue working around chain, sc7 (16)
R2 inc, sc6, inc x2, sc6, inc (20)
R3 sc, inc, sc6, inc, sc2, inc, sc6, inc, sc (24)
R4 sc2, inc, sc7, inc, sc4, inc, sc7, inc, sc2 (28)
continue the same way increasing red and blue by 1 and green by 2 sts
Here is another 4 inc example:
R1 sc7, 2 sc in the last ch st, continue working around chain, sc7 (16)
R2 inc, sc6, inc x2, sc6, inc (20)
R3 inc, sc8, inc x2, sc8, inc (24)
R4 inc, sc10, inc x2, sc10, inc (28)
continue increasing each round and changing red marked stitches by 2
Your next round would look like this:
R5 inc, sc12, inc x2, sc12, inc (32)
If you have some you came up on your own, post it in comments under Lessons Page and I will add them in this post as well.
By now you learned about classic rounds and different stitches you can start them with. Classic rounds that can be worked with different increases and decreases on top and the bottom. To them you can implement and work with ovals as well. All together will help you make your desired shape.
There is only to make conclusion and leave you practice on heads until next week when we will talk about cylinders (open, closed…) and their uses for arms, legs and body.
Make a simple drawing of the head you would like to do and try making one using these simple basics.
For now make just a head.
Wait for the body to start with until we finish the lesson of basics on increasing and decreasing in order to form the shape other than round or oval.
Hope you have enjoyed and more important that you have learned something new.
See you next week with new lesson