How to Yarn Under Single Crochet for Amigurumi Tutorial

Learn how to do the yarn under single crochet stitch with this step-by-step tutorial.  The yarn under single crochet stitch is a variation of the basic single crochet stitch to which changes the look of the stitch on the right side of your fabric and can help create a tighter fabric for your amigurumi toys.  

In this blog post, I’ve included a step-by-step video tutorial as well as a photo tutorial for this stitch so no matter how you prefer to learn, I’ve got you covered.  I’ll also cover the differences between using the regular single crochet stitches versus a yarn under single crochet.

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hands holding a crochet piece done using the yarn under single crochet technique

Crochet Abbreviations and Terminology:

This tutorial uses US crochet terms but if you’re more familiar with UK terminology, I’ve included a list of all the crochet abbreviations we’ll be using in the tutorial plus, their UK crochet term equivalent.

US TermsUK Terms
SC = Single CrochetDC = Double Crochet
ST = StitchST = Stitch
YO = Yarn OverYO = Yarn Over
YU = Yarn UnderYU = Yarn Under
YUSC = Yarn Under Single CrochetYUDC = Yarn Under Double Crochet

Yarn Under Single Crochet Stitch in Crochet Patterns

If the yarn under single crochet stitch is used in a crochet pattern, it should be defined somewhere in the pattern as the stitch used. The Craft Yarn Council does not have a defined standard abbreviation for this stitch as it has only recently gained popularity. 

Many designers use YUSC / YUDC as their abbreviations for this stitch and since it is not one of the standard basic crochet stitches, instructions should be given in a special stitches section of the pattern to ensure you have what you need to do the stitch the same way.

However, you can substitute the yarn under single crochet (sc) for the regular sc stitch in almost any amigurumi pattern, even if it isn’t noted anywhere.

What is the difference between the Standard YO Single Crochet and the YU Single Crochet

The main difference between using yarn over and yarn under single crochet in amigurumi designs and patterns is that you get different looks in the right side of your fabric depending on which stitch method you choose.  

The right side is the side of the fabric that you want facing outwards on your amigurumi toy.

WIth yarn over single crochet you get little v-shaped stitches on the right side of your fabric and with yarn under, you get a stitch that makes a little x on the right side.

Using yarn under SC also affects the height of your stitch.  Yarn under stitches tend to be shorter and will create a denser fabric and a smaller project (see image below).  

If you need to match gauge for a pattern, make sure you do a gauge swatch to ensure you can get the correct height with yarn under sc before making the substitution.

Benefits of Using the YU Technique in Amigurumi Projects

If you have struggled with your tension in amigurumi, then using the YUSC stitch can help! Because the stitches are shorter and the fabric it creates is denser it can help you create tigheter stitches, even if you typically have a looser tension.

You can also potentially use a larger hook size if you have a tighter tension normally but want to work at using a looser tension to alleviate pain in your hands.

Cons of Using the YU Technique

If you are used to doing the single crochet, your muscle memory may kick in and you could switch over to standard single crochet without thinking.  This has happened to me more times than I can count and it’s a frustration point for me.

The yarn under single crochet can be harder on your wrists.  When doing repetitive motions like we do in crochet, combined with such a tight tension, it can wreak havoc on our wrists and hands.  

If this is happening to you, stop crocheting and take a break.  You may need to alternate between using the regular SC for one project and the yarn under SC for another project to give your hands and wrists a break

It’s only worth using with certain yarns.  Using different yarns for your projects opens a lot of new possibilities for texture and effects in your projects.  However, the yarn under SC doesn’t show up clearly in all yarns like those with a strong halo, fur yarns and those lacking strong stitch definition. 

It doesn’t look much different when worked in rows. You get the biggest bang for your buck working this stitch in the round as the effect gets lost when working in turned rows (see image below).

It doesn’t work for everybody. For some people, they don’t see as much of a visual difference in their fabric, no matter the yarn when they use. I think this depends on how high you pull your yarn up when you do this stitch but if you’re yanking your yarn up to do this stitch, there are potential issues with that and it’s exhausting.

So try it but don’t be disappointed if you don’t see a difference. For me, it’s main benefit is the ability to have a tighter tension.

Yarn Under SC crocheted in Rows
Regular SC worked in Rows

​Which Stitch Is Better? Yarn Over or Yarn Under SC?

Honestly, it comes down to personal preference.  Some people swear that the yarn under hook method is the only way to go while others are happy to stick with the standard way.  Decide what your desired outcome is for your fabric and choose the technique that gets you the closest to your goal.

​Supplies Used In This Tutorial

For this tutorial, I’m using a bulky weight yarn and a 6.5 mm crochet hook but you can use any crochet hook and yarn combination you’d like.

Stitch Multiple:

You can create a chain of any number for this stitch, just make sure to add an extra chain for your turning chain. I.e. If you want to have 20 stitches, create a foundation chain of 21 chain.

hands holding a crochet project in green with text that says how to do the yarn under single crochet tutorial plus video tutorial

Yarn Under Single Crochet Video Tutorial

Yarn Under Single Crochet Photo Tutorial

Step 1: Insert hook into the stitch, chain or magic circle.

crochet hook inserted under both loops of a crochet stitch.

Step 2: Yarn under hook and pull up a loop (two loops on your hook).

crochet hook doing a yarn under

hands holding a crochet swatch and hook showing there are two loops on the crochet hook.

Step 3: Yarn over hook and pull through both loops on your hook.

hands holding a crochet doing a yarn over with two loops on their hook already.

hands holding a crochet swatch and hook showing a completed yarn under single crochet stitch

That’s it! That’s how you do the yarn under single crochet!  Who would have thought that making such a slight variation in how you create your stitch would make such a big difference!

I hope you enjoyed this how to do the yarn under single crochet tutorial and feel confident to try substituting this stitch in your next amigurumi crochet project.  

Ready to learn some new crochet stitches and amigurumi techniques? Here are some other great crochet tutorials to check out next on your crochet journey:

Be sure to check out my Crochet Stitch Tutorials page to get a list of tutorials for basic stitches in both traditional crochet and Tunisian stitches, tips, tricks, special stitch patterns and techniques and more. Happy Crocheting!

Ready to Get Started With a Free Pattern to Practice This Technique?  Try These Easy Free Amigurumi Patterns:

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