Troubleshooting the Basic Head

This tutorial is specific to the Basic Head pattern piece as described in my book, Creepy Cute Crochet, and covers some of the more frequently asked questions pertaining to crocheted craniums.

Click here to go on to the tutorial....

Also, please feel free to leave comments with questions or suggested future topics!

Part 1: Why is this in rows instead of a spiral?

For those crocheters accustomed to amigurumi patterns, working in rows instead of a spiral might come as a bit of a shock. (For more detail on working in spirals versus in rows, please check the second half of this tutorial.)

However, if you flat out can't grok the rows, there is a work-around for this too:

Generally speaking, you translate pieces worked in rows to in a spiral in the following way:

1. Replace the "ch 1" at the beginning of each row with a "sc 1"

2. Remove the "sl st" at the end of each row

Doing this will change the shaping slightly, but should still yield serviceable results.

This method with work better for some pieces than others. In paticular, the Skeleton Groom and Day of the Dead Fellow's hats, the Monkey's fez, and the Robot's helmet will not have the ideal shape if converted

Also, one caveat: in the "Basic Head" pattern, you would want to replace the "sc 4" at the beginning of Row 11 with "dec, sc 3"

Part 2: "ch 1, sc 1 in same" ...where does that dang sc go?

If we were working in a spiral, this would translate to an inc.

....but anyway, the "ch 1, sc 1 in same" looks kinda like this:

1. We start right right after making the sl st to close the previous round

2. ch 1

3. The sc 1 goes at the base of the ch 1

4. Finish the sc normally and continue with the row

Part 3: Why aren't the stitches evenly arranged around each row?

In most amigurumi patterns, increases and decreases are spaced out evenly around a given row, which makes sense, because most amigurumi toys are comprised of more or less spherical shapes.

But, the Basic Head is slightly oblong, so the increases and decreases with be denser at the elongated ends. If you work the finished piece in rows, the seam should run along the narrower edge of the head.

Top View:

Side View: (note the seam along this end)

Front View:

Three-quarters View:

Part 4: Finishing the head

How you stuff the head will greatly affect the finished shape.

Using about this much stuffing to fill a finished head:

...yields this result:

Ideally, the stuffed head should have a little big of "squish" to it when filled, and you should be able to "push" the piece into shape a little bit without it ballooning out again. This also allows you to fudge the final shape of the head by rolling it a bit in your hands.

Start: just after stuffing (note that the head is still a little bit pointier than it should be)

Roll and prod the piece into shape

The end result should look like this:


Anonymous   |   Wed, 2012-08-15 02:26

Is there a way to possibly eliminate the seam along the side? I've found one tutorial by futuregirl that does this by making you turn the piece every row, but the result is a strange separation between every two rows.

Short answer: no. Not

NeedleNoodles   |   Thu, 2012-08-23 00:55

Short answer: no.
Not really.

Longer answer: You can work this piece in continuous rounds instead of joined rounds (i.e. a spiral). That's really the only true way to remove the "seam." Of course, it will tweak the overall shape of the head a little too, so there are trade offs.

Most of the techniques that I've seen so far which seek to remove the seam while still working in joined rounds are tedious, and really only change the look of the seam.

Can u make a video tutorial

Anonymous   |   Thu, 2011-06-23 14:14

Can u make a video tutorial for this? I still find it very confusing


Anonymous   |   Sat, 2011-06-04 21:35

I think that you should make videos for the people (like me) that are new at patterns, and designs.


Anonymous   |   Sat, 2011-06-04 21:35

I think that you should make videos for the people (like me) that are new at patterns, and designs.


Anonymous   |   Sat, 2011-06-04 21:35

I think that you should make videos for the people (like me) that are new at patterns, and designs.

Rows to spiral

Anonymous   |   Tue, 2011-03-01 21:14

I'm brand new to crocheting and my mom got your book for me, I LOVE the creatures but was having a really hard time figuring it out. I got 1/3 of the way through making a head and realized it was lopsided.
I have figured out things, with the help of youtube, of how to make things with a spiral pattern, but patterns that use rows totally throw me off and I just don't get it!
Now that I know I can change it a bit and make it a spiral I feel so much more relieved! I will hold off on making the ones that don't work in spirals for now.
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm off to make a devil! Thanks again!

Row 2...?

sunnyblueskies   |   Sat, 2011-02-19 00:27

Thanks so much for this tutorial! It is very helpful--I don't think I could have ever figured it out on my own. I'm still just a little bit confused on row 2. I keep needing to skip the last stitch to get the required 11 stitches. Then I looked at the diagram on page 95, and it seems to me that the first sc for row 2 is actually shown in the first stitch of row 1 instead of being "in the same". Rows 3, 4, 5 in the diagram all show that initial sc before the first stitch, which matches the written instructions. What am I missing?? Sorry to be so dense! Thanks so much! (I am fairly new to crocheting and amis--I learned from a book and from online tutorials, so sometimes I seem to be missing knowledge that might be considered rather basic.)


Anonymous   |   Wed, 2010-11-03 16:02

Hi! Thank you for putting up these instructions, but I'm still having some difficulty with the basic head and i'm wondering if a video could possibly be put up? What's happening is that where i'm chaining 1 and slip stitching is leaving a really obvious line along the head. I can't describe it too well, but it's leaving this row that looks very different from the rest of the stiches along the head. Maybe i'm doing it too tight?

Sure, I'll work on getting a

NeedleNoodles   |   Thu, 2012-01-26 18:57

Sure, I'll work on getting a video together.

In the meantime, generally, with pieces worked in rounds instead of in a spiral, there will be a somewhat visible seam running diagonally where you joined each rounds with a sl st. It doesn't mean that you're working anything incorrectly, it's just the nature of the fabric.


Anonymous   |   Fri, 2010-08-27 09:12

Thanks so much for this! I finished two heads without really knowing what "ch 1, sc 1 in same" really means ;) well it worked out, but for the next head I now know how it works :D

Thank you!!

Lucinde   |   Mon, 2009-12-14 13:02

I'm a newbie and this tutorial made all clear for me.

Thank you!

Basic Head Tutorial

smedway   |   Mon, 2009-11-02 17:05

For some reason I have a hard time with the images, maybe it is because I am left handed (and largely a newbie). But am I understanding correctly that:

a.) you begin the chain/circle and end in 5 stitches, then the 6th stitch is the slip stitch that links the circle... then

b.) you make a single chain, like you would when coming to the end of your work and turning it, and then do a single crochet in the first chain in the "row" and not the chain you just made...

Sorry to need such explicit correction, but every time I make a head it comes out different and never in the right proportions. i have made 5 and they are all off.

the basic head

Anonymous   |   Sun, 2010-07-04 15:25

Hi there, I a;so am having problem counting the stitches. It seemed like everytime i finished a row i get 1 more stitch than the called for number; i am guessing is the slip stitch ... but can't really understand. so do i count the slip stitch or what? so confusing. i really hope you can help me here cos my three children and my sister in law are wanting them so badly.

Unless otherwise indicated,

NeedleNoodles   |   Tue, 2010-07-06 18:47

Unless otherwise indicated, ch sts and sl sts do *not* count towards the stitch count at the end of each row. The stitch counts are meant to tell you how many sc (or dc, tr, hdc, etc.) sts are in the row.

Hope that this helps!

Just in time.

strigois   |   Sun, 2009-08-16 01:21

I found this little addition on your blog just in time. I was about to go insane trying to understand why my little heads were not turning out the way they should. Thank you for adding these little tutorials to your blog. They are perfect for folks like me that pick up this much quicker with visuals. I don't suppose you have any videos floating about?


basic head

HeatherWray   |   Sat, 2009-05-23 19:39
HeatherWray's picture

Hi ! I love the little guys in this book, but my first attempt doesn't look right at all and I am guessing I haven't closed my head and body right before attaching the two pieces because its where they join that my grim reaper looks wrong. What does the bottom of the head look like when stuffed and completely finished and i guess the top of the basic body ? is there still a small open hole or is it completely closed ? I kinda tried to sew it shut but had a straight seem across both my pieces that doesn't seem right. Any tips or links to tutorials on help with this would be great I am really stuck on this, Thanks !

finishing and attaching the head

fiona   |   Thu, 2009-03-19 23:00

I love your book! My daughter wanted the ninja first, but being of Danish descent the Valkyrie is definitely next on my list.

That said, I'm having trouble figuring out how to attach the head to the body. I finished the body, then the head. Do I understand correctly that I should sew the head closed after stuffing?

And the stitching diagram is a bit confusing. Do I stitch up and down all the way around the neck or just from one side of the head to the other side, straight through a center line?

If I'm sewing all the way around, how many rows up on the head do I go to attach to the body? The head is only 6 stitches around at the opening but the body is considerably larger--18 stitches, I think (I don't have the book in front of me right now).

Thanks for your help. I hope you get this comment and can figure out my question so I can start creating my creepy legion.


Stitching pieces together

NeedleNoodles   |   Fri, 2009-03-20 00:42

Stitching pieces together needs to be done more or less on a "what looks right" basis. There isn't really a hard and fast rule on which stitch should be sewn to which other stitch.

PlanetJune has a good tutorial on how to join pieces together here:

I generally use a needle and thread instead of matching yarn to sew my pieces together, and pull the stitches tight enough for them to disappear into the yarn, but other than that, her tutorial is a good resource to get you started.

Stitching the Pieces together

Anonymous   |   Mon, 2011-05-23 23:39

Do you sew the head and body closed before sewing them together or keep them open and sew the holes together? I know, stupid question. I didn't even think of it until I saw the other question but now I'm wondering and I want to make them the "right way."

I go ahead and stitch the

NeedleNoodles   |   Wed, 2012-01-25 20:36

I go ahead and stitch the head closed, since, with the decreases, it's almost all the way closed at the start, and also because on some of the hunchbacked characters, the bottom of the head remains visible.

I leave the top the the body open, since to stitch it closed, you'd either need to pinch it flat, or gather the edges-- either way, forming a somewhat unstable base for the head.

To connect the head to the body, I set the (closed) head over the top of the (open) body (Think sort of like setting a softball on the top of a drinking glass). Then I stitch all the way around where the edge of the body meets the head.

Hope that this helps!


NeedleNoodles   |   Fri, 2012-04-20 14:14

New video showing how I attach the basic head to the body:

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