How to Crochet a Ball in Any Size – Amigurumi Design Basics

Ever want to dip your toes into amigurumi design but don’t know where to start? Start with a ball! It’s the easiest shape to create when making amigurumi and it’s the easiest one to understand.

Before I continue, if you are completely new to amigurumi, you might want to make a few toys from existing patterns to better acquaint yourself with the terms we’ll be using and with amigurumi in general.

NOTE: I will not be providing the pattern for different sized balls in this post. Instead, I will be breaking down the design and teach you how to achieve each element. Understanding the different elements will give you a better understanding of how amigurumi design works. If you work to create a pattern, you’ll have a better understanding of it!

Here’s the video that corresponds with this post:

Designing amigurumi isn’t easy. Even on a simple piece like a ball, I find myself having to frog my piece (frogging – ripping out your stitches. “Rip it, rip it, rip it” sounds like a frog croaking! Isn’t that so cute?) and remake some rounds here and there to ensure I am creating the shape I have in my mind.

It’s tedious and involves a lot of trial and error, but being able to create your own toy from scratch is extremely rewarding.

Breaking a Ball down into Sections

The first thing you need to do is to break your design up into different sections. This makes it easier for you to see what you need to do in order to achieve your desired shape. To make a ball easier to understand, I’ve broken it down into 5 different sections.

If you are designing something more complicated, you’ll have to divide your piece up into more sections.

Section 1 – Starting with a Circle.

The first thing you will need to do when creating a ball is to crochet a circle. How big your circle is roughly dictates how big your ball will be. If you started off with a smaller circle, your ball will be smaller. And the bigger the circle you start with is, the bigger your ball will be.

Personally, my default pattern when designing amigurumi is to work in increments of 6 increases per round. So what that means is, I start with 6 stitches in my magic circle, then I increase in each stitch to increase the stitch count of my next round by 6. After that, I will continue to increase each round by 6 stitches until my circle size is to my liking.

So what that looks like with a basic pattern is this:

1 6 sc in magic circle [6]
2 6inc [12]
3 (sc, inc) x 6 [18]
4 (2sc, inc) x 6 [24]
5 (3sc, inc) x 6 [30]
6 (4sc, inc) x 6 [36]

Like I said previously, I start with 6 single crochet in my magic circle, then in round two, I’m increasing into each stitch.

You’ll then notice that after round 2, the stitches between the increase stitches increases by 1 each round. You’ll also see that the stitch count of each round increases by 6 stitches per round because you’re increasing a total of 6 times each round.

Difference between increasing in increments of 6 vs 8 (Flatter Circle)

Alternatively, you can work in increments of 8, which some people like to do. When working in increments of 6, your circle will start to get more dome-like as your circle gets bigger. So you’ll see that this piece on the left (photo below) is worked in increments of 6 increases. Working in increments of 8 creates a flatter circle (right), which is more suitable for some projects.

Here is a comparison of the two of them side by side.

To work in increments of 8, you just have to start off with 8 single crochet stitches in your magic circle instead of 6. Then you would increase the same way, so that would be 8 inc. Then instead of repeating “sc, inc” 6 times, you’ll be doing that 8 times. And so on and so forth.

So the first few rounds of a basic pattern when working in increments of 8 increases should look like this:

1 8 sc in magic circle [8]
2 8inc [16]
3 (sc, inc) x 8 [24]
4 (2sc, inc) x 8 [32]
5 (3sc, inc) x 8 [40]
6 (4sc, inc) x 8 [48]

As you can see, not much has changed. The only difference here is that you’re increasing eight times per round instead of 6.

Circle pattern for creating a rounder circle.

Another thing I wanted to talk about before continuing with the ball is how you can create a rounder circle when working in the round.

When I first started making amigurumi, the way I would increase each round is by increasing on top of the second stitch from my increase from the previous round. This is typically how most patterns are written for beginners, as it is easier to understand. So the patterns typically looked like this:

1 6 sc in magic circle [6]
2 6inc [12]
3 (sc, inc) x 6 [18]
4 (2sc, inc) x 6 [24]
5 (3sc, inc) x 6 [30]
6 (4sc, inc) x 6 [36]

However, I quickly noticed that instead of looking round, my circle was looking a little bit more hexagonal. That’s because the increases were stacked right on top of each other and creating a corner that’s a bit more pronounced.

So to make my circle rounder, I decided to stagger the increases so that they’re not always on top of each other. This rounds out the slight peaks a little bit better and makes the increases less obvious in projects.

So here’s typically what my patterns look like for the first 6 rounds when I work my circle this way:

1 6sc in magic circle [6]
2 6inc [12]
3 (sc, inc) x 6 [18]
4 sc, inc, (2sc, inc) x 5, sc [24]
5 (3sc, inc) x 6 [30]
6 2sc, inc, (4sc, inc) x 5, 2sc [36]

When you compare round 4 of both patterns, you’ll notice that instead of just working 2 single crochet and increasing a total of 6 times all the way around, I’m splitting up the first 2 single crochet stitches so that one of the two stitches is sitting at the beginning of the round, and the 2nd stitch ends up at the end of the round.

Similarly, in round 6, I split up the 4sc here so that two of the sc sits in the front, and two end up towards the end of the round.

You’ll see that with each round, I’m still increasing the total stitch count of each round by 6 stitches, but instead of the increase stitches stacking neatly on top of each other, it’s a bit more staggered so that no one point is sticking out more.


Section 2

For Section 2, I’ve actually divided it into two different parts because there are two different parts that need to work together to help us gradually get to the equator of the ball.

Section 2a

Section 2a is where we start building the sides of the ball. To do so, all you have to do is work one single crochet into each stitch of this round and not increase. From this point on, any time I say “side building round” it means you’re just working one single crochet into each stitch and not increasing.

The number of side building rounds you will need will depend on how big your initial circle is. The bigger your circle, the more side building rounds you will need. The more side building rounds you work, the more oblong your ball becomes.

Factors that affect Stitch Height

The number of rounds you need here will also depend on how tall each of your stitches are. This will depend on a couple things:

  • The weight of yarn you are using – so the thicker your yarn, the taller your stitches will be. As an example, this red ball here is aran weight, and the yellow ball here is sock weight. When you put them side by side, you’ll notice that it’s pretty obvious that the stitches on the yellow are much shorter than the stitches on the red ball.
  • Your stitch type will also make a difference – the x-stitch, which is what I’m using in this ball here, is slightly shorter than the standard single crochet stitch.
  • And finally, your hook size affects the height of your stitches as well– using a smaller hook compresses your stitches a little.

So keep those things in mind while designing your ball. This is why trial and error is an inevitable part of amigurumi design because so many factors affect the shape of your piece.

Section 2b

In Section 2b, we’re going to introduce an increase round. Doing so slowly flares out the ball to help us create a curve to the side of the ball before hitting the equator of the ball. So in this case, as a reminder, this increase round here would increase the stitch count by 6 stitches.

For a smaller ball, after you work section 2b, you can just skip right ahead to section 3 to start working on the equator of the ball. But if you started off with a larger circle, you’ll likely have to repeat the entire section 2 (2a and 2b) a few more times. Doing so will help introduce a more gradual flare out before you get to section 3, which is the widest part of the ball.

Your final increase round, which is the final section 2b, will dictate how wide the widest part of your ball will roughly be.

Section 3 – Equator

Section 3 is where we start building the equator of the ball. This entire section is just made up of side building rounds. The number of rounds you will need here depends on the size of your ball.

So looking at the two drawings here, you’ll notice that section 3 in the smaller circle is shorter than the section 3 in the larger circle.

Some people will also work an increase round right at the equator. However, I find that once your piece is stuffed, your side building rounds without an increase round will actually puff out enough for a perfect rounded look.

Feel free to try it out and play around. Like I said before, trial and error is a huge part of designing amigurumi.

Section 4

Section 4, just like section 2, will be divided into two parts.

Section 4a is the exact opposite of section 2b. This is where you work your decrease round to slowly pull in the sides. So because my ball is worked in increments of 6, I’ll be decreasing this round by 6 stitches.

Section 4b, just like section 2a is where you work your side building rounds to bring the sides of the ball down to where it meets the final circle.

And like I mentioned in section 2, if you are working a bigger ball, you will likely need to repeat the entire section 4 a couple of times to make the taper a little bit more gradual.

Section 5

In our final section, we’ll be working decrease rounds until we get our stitch count down to 12 stitches. Just like before, I’m decreasing each round by 6 stitches, until I’m down to 12 stitches in the final round. I personally do not like decreasing until there are 6 stitches left because I find that the hole doesn’t close up as neatly with my hole closing method. Because my bottom circle is one round short when compared to the top circle, I will sometimes add an extra side building round to section 4b to the bigger balls.

For the smaller balls I’ve made, I’ve kept both side building round sections (2a and 4b) to the same number of rounds.

Easy way to change the size of the ball

Now if all of that sounds too complicated and you don’t have the time to design a pattern, the easiest way you can make a smaller or bigger ball with an existing pattern is to change the weight/size of your yarn and hook.

Here I have two balls made with the exact same pattern. This one on the right is made with an aran weight yarn with a 3.25mm hook and the one on the left is made with a sock weight yarn with a 2.25mm hook.

Just keep in mind that by changing up the yarn and hook size, the height of your stitches will also change. Patterns are usually written with a specific weight of yarn and hook size in mind. When you change that up, your item may not look exactly the way it was designed to look. The same pattern worked with lighter yarn may look squishier. And if you work the same pattern with heavier weight yarn, it’ll likely look more oblong.

Conclusion

The method I’ve laid out for designing a ball in this post are the basics for designing amigurumi. You can take the methods here and apply them to slightly more complicated designs.

As an example, I have here my daruma pattern. And the way it’s worked up is actually quite similar to a ball. This piece can also be broken down into similar sections.

Just like with a ball, we’re starting with section 1, which is the circle.

Then, I repeated 2a and 2b multiple times until the shape is more oblong than round. Essentially, after the initial circle, I worked a few side building rounds, one increase round to slowly flare out the side, and then repeated that entire section to slowly flare out the sides even more.

For section 3, I only have one round for my equator, which is where the widest part of my piece is

And because I wanted the bottom to not be as round, I actually skipped the entire section 4 and jumped straight into the section 5. In section 5, I just decreased each round by 6 sts until I hit 12 stitches in the final round.

So like I said, this piece is broken down into different sections that are similar to a ball. Understanding how the side building rounds and increase or decrease rounds work together to affect the shape of your piece is the first step to designing amigurumi.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. Have you ever tried your hand at designing amigurumi?


Please leave me a comment down below (or contact me) if you have any questions about this pattern. I would also love to see your creation so don’t forget to tag me (@olliehollycrochet) on Instagram or use the #olliehollycrochet! Follow me on Instagram to get updates on new patterns and to see what I’m up to on a daily. 

If you find any mistakes in the pattern, please contact me and let me know! My testers and I do my best to catch my mistakes, but we will still miss things here and there. Also, I will sometimes make mistakes while formatting the blog post.

You may sell products made from this pattern in small quantities but please clearly credit the design to me, Abby Sy of Ollie + Holly and provide a link to my blog www.OllieHolly.com.  Permission is NOT granted for mass production or factory manufacturing of any kind.  Thank you for being respectful and for your understanding!

Please do not reprint, sell or claim the pattern as your own. If you wish to share this pattern, you may link to the shop or the free blog post. Please do not copy and post the pattern onto your site.

4 thoughts on “How to Crochet a Ball in Any Size – Amigurumi Design Basics

  1. Ana says:

    This is a great explanation, very helpful! I’m trying to make a crochet wig for a doll with a very difficult yarn, like an “eye lashes” yarn. I’m a beginner, so I tried first with an easier yarn, which helps but still the hair wig feels like impossible. I’m always close to give up! Your tutorial help me immensely, understanding what I’m doing and that gives me hope and a smile on my face 🙂 !
    Thank you so much!

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