PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Summer of Dinosaurs CAL: How to Enter

We’re now 2 weeks into the Summer of Dinosaurs crochet-along, and the dinos are starting to overrun the PlanetJune Ravelry group, with 50 projects and 37 finished dinosaurs posted already!


PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs CAL: How to Enter a CAL

With 5 more weeks to go, I thought now would be a good time to help out any of you who’ve been reluctant to join the CAL because you’re not familiar with Ravelry. Ravelry is a huge site that has a lot to offer, and that can be a bit intimidating when you first sign up and have so many options to click into. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve to Ravelry, but the good news is that you only need to use a tiny fraction of the site to enter a PlanetJune CAL.

Don’t be scared! Just click through to my PlanetJune Crochet-Along FAQ, where I’ll show you, step-by-step, everything you need to know to add your CAL project to Ravelry and post it to the PlanetJune group.

PlanetJune Ravelry group
The PlanetJune group on Ravelry, where you can find pattern support, chat about crochet (and more), make new friends, and share your love of PlanetJune patterns!


And, once you’re comfortable with the PlanetJune corner of Ravelry, I recommend you start to explore the whole site a bit further – it’s totally free to use, and it has a lot to offer anyone who crochets (and/or knits).

Ravelry includes a searchable database of pretty much every pattern and yarn in existence, so if you’re looking for something in particular it’s easy to find it. You can also see all the projects other people have made from the patterns or yarns (before you decide to buy them!) and their verdict on what they thought of it.


Don’t forget that with every Summer of Dinosaurs CAL entry, you’ll be entered to win some of the amazing prizes pictured below: your favourite colours of Lion Brand yarn, an amigurumi kit, PlanetJune patterns, and runner-up prizes for all entrants (see the main CAL post for full details of the prizes).

PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs CAL - prizes

Ready to make some dinos? Join the crochet-along now!

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Summer of Dinosaurs CAL: Tutorials

We’re only 1 week into the Summer of Dinosaurs crochet-along, and the PlanetJune Ravelry group is already teeming with dinos. Just look…


Rawr!

It’s a thrill to see new unique colourful dinosaurs popping up every day, and to have lots of new participants joining our regular band of CALers! There are 6 more weeks to go, so that’s plenty of time for even a complete beginner to crochet a dinosaur to join our virtual herd…

If you’re tempted to join the CAL but you’re new to amigurumi, or haven’t made a PlanetJune pattern before, this is a great opportunity to have a go. Even if you’ve been crocheting for years, amigurumi (and my patterns in particular) use a specific set of techniques that you may not be familiar with.

PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs CAL: Tutorials

For your first dinosaur (or even your first amigurumi!) I recommend you choose the Brachiosaurus (who’s also our CAL mascot, pictured above left), as it has simple shaping, only a few pieces to stitch together, and an undeniably cute result.

I have a comprehensive range of amigurumi tutorials at www.planetjune.com/help, but you’ll only need a few of them for this CAL. To set you on the track to success, let’s take a look at the tutorials for making the best-looking dinosaurs…


The Essential Tutorials

To make beautiful amigurumi with no lumps, bumps or holes, all you need are these 4 absolutely essential techniques:

Magic Ring for Crochet
Start crocheting in the round with no hole in the middle.
video tutorialphoto tutorial (right-handed)photo tutorial (left-handed)

Invisible Decrease for Amigurumi
Decrease without leaving any bumps or gaps.
video tutorialphoto tutorial (right-handed)photo tutorial (left-handed)

Ultimate Finish for Amigurumi
Close up the remaining hole neatly with a smooth, gap-free finish.
video tutorialphoto tutorial

Amigurumi Seamless Join
Create a smooth, almost invisible join when you stitch an open-ended piece to a closed piece.
video tutorial

Bonus Tips for Dinosaurs

For those dinos with horns, spikes, plates, wings and flippers, these tutorials have you covered:

Flattened Pieces
What does it mean when a pattern says to flatten a piece of an amigurumi after crocheting?
photo tutorial

Narrow Pointed Tubes for Amigurumi
My tips for making thin pointy bits on amigurumi, such as spikes, legs, horns and tails.
video tutorial

Basic Techniques and Troubleshooting

If you’re new to amigurumi-making or find your stitches don’t quite look right, try these tutorials (or see my Amigurumi Troubleshooter for further assistance):

Which is the ‘Right’ Side?
Which side of your work should face outwards? (And does it matter?)
video tutorialphoto tutorial

Front, Back, Both Loops
Which loop(s) should you work into to make a crochet stitch?
video tutorial

Yarn Over
How exactly should you wrap the yarn over your hook for crochet?
video tutorial

And if you still have any questions, that’s what the PlanetJune community is here for: we have lots of friendly crocheters in the PlanetJune Ravelry group who understand exactly what you’re going through, and are waiting to offer any help and advice you need. :)


PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs CAL - pattern options

I hope this post has tempted you to join the dino fun this summer (and, don’t forget you may win a great prize too, thanks to our CAL sponsor, Lion Brand!)

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Armadillo crochet pattern

Time to show you the results of my latest crochet pattern commission: I’ve designed an amigurumi Armadillo!

Armadillo crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Armadillo Fun Facts

  • Armadillos are very unusual-looking mammals; they are covered in bony plates of armour that form a protective shell over their backs.
  • They are primarily nocturnal, live in burrows, and eat insects.
  • Armadillos come from South and Central America, and there are 20 different species. My design is based on the nine-banded armadillo (the only variety that’s also found in the United States).
  • The bands in an armadillo’s armour provide flexibility. The nine-banded armadillo may actually have between 7 and 11 bands (my design has 7)!
  • Although you’ve probably heard that armadillos roll into a ball to escape predation, only three-banded armadillos have this ability; other armadillos run away or can jump several feet into the air to escape danger.
  • A nine-banded armadillo always gives birth to exactly 4 identical babies (quadruplets!)

Armadillo crochet pattern by PlanetJune

About the Pattern

It was an interesting challenge to come up with techniques to replicate the shape and texture of an armadillo’s amazing armour while still creating a sturdy toy without any holes that could leave ugly gaping holes. I spent a long time playing with different stitches and shaping techniques to give the effect I wanted without making the pattern overly-complicated, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I hope my photos convey the shape of the armour and the way it curves over the neck and tail just like it does on a real nine-banded armadillo. The armadillo uses three different techniques to produce that wonderful textured armour over the back and on the tail, but the pattern still only uses combinations of the most basic crochet stitches.

Armadillo crochet pattern by PlanetJune

My nine-banded armadillo is 13″ (33cm) long – although a large fraction of that is tail! The special techniques used for crocheting and assembling the armadillo’s armour are all explained in full in the pattern, with lots of step-by-step photos to help you along the way.

Armadillos & Aardvarks…

Armadillos and Aardvarks are an example of convergent evolution – although they hail from different continents and aren’t closely related, they have similar diets and lifestyles and they independently evolved to look similar. I find this concept fascinating, so I designed my Armadillo to form a matched set with my Aardvark – don’t they look cute together?

Armadillo crochet pattern by PlanetJune

(Now I just need to design an Anteater and Pangolin to complete the ‘family’ of long-nosed insectivorous mammals!)

Ready to Crochet?

I’d like to thank everyone who commissioned this design – it was certainly a challenge to develop such innovative techniques, but one I was very happy to undertake! You can download the pattern from your PlanetJune account whenever you’re ready – I hope you’re as pleased with the results as I am…

Armadillo crochet pattern by PlanetJune

If you weren’t one of the commissioners, my Armadillo pattern is now available to purchase from the PlanetJune shop.

Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please add my Armadillo to your queue or favourites on Ravelry, so you don’t forget about it:

I really hope you like my Armadillo design!

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Summer of Dinosaurs CAL

The PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs crochet-along (CAL) starts today and runs through to the end of July. If you haven’t joined a PlanetJune CAL before – maybe you’re intimidated about joining Ravelry, or just haven’t found the time to sign up? – this is a great time to join, as this is a prize CAL, sponsored by Lion Brand, with prizes for all participants!

PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs CAL - pattern options

You can join this CAL by making any of the 18 PlanetJune amigurumi dinosaur patterns (all pictured above). These patterns are always popular because they’re simple to follow (with no colour changes), work equally well in any colour you can imagine, and make lovely sturdy toys for both girls and boys of all ages.

How to Join

It’s really easy to join a PlanetJune CAL:

  1. Join Ravelry and add a profile pic to your profile.
  2. Join the PlanetJune Crochet Designs group.
  3. Make a dinosaur based on any PlanetJune dinosaur pattern and enter it in the CAL (instructions are given in the Rules below, and in the CAL thread)

(See my FAQ How do I enter a PlanetJune CAL? for more details on how to complete steps 1 and 2.)

Prize Details

PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs CAL - prizes
Note: pictured yarn colours and crochet patterns are just examples – winners may choose any colours/pattern

Grand Prize: 3 skeins Vanna’s Choice (the yarn I used to make all my dinosaurs!) and 1 skein of the gorgeous new Textures yarn (all generously provided by Lion Brand, winner can choose colours) plus a PlanetJune crochet pattern of your choice

Second Prize: a PlanetJune Amigurumi Essentials Kit plus a PlanetJune crochet pattern of your choice

Third Prize: a PlanetJune crochet pattern of your choice

Runner-up Prizes: there are no losers at PlanetJune! All other participants who complete one or more entries in the CAL will receive a 10% discount code towards your next order from PlanetJune.com :)

Rules

For each entry in the CAL (and contest), make a dinosaur based on any PlanetJune dinosaur pattern and enter it as follows:

  1. CREATE a new project for your dinosaur
  2. LINK the project to the PlanetJune pattern you’re using
  3. TAG your project PJDinoCAL2015
  4. ADD a photo of your completed project
  5. MARK your project as ‘Finished’
  6. POST the photo in the CAL thread

(If any of this doesn’t make sense, don’t worry – the PJ group moderators are ready to help and answer any of your questions. New Ravelry users are always welcome and no question is too stupid!)

To be counted as a valid entry, your project must be started on or after June 12 2015, and it must meet all of the above criteria by the end date of this CAL: before the end of July 31 2015 (in your local time).

That gives you 7 full weeks to make your dinosaur(s), and you’re welcome to complete and submit multiple entries – just make sure you create a new project for each dinosaur and follow the CAL instructions for each one.

The contest is open to everyone, worldwide – yay! Prizewinners will be drawn as follows: one entry into the draw per completed project that meets all the CAL requirements. Grand, Second and Third prizewinners will be chosen by random drawing; all other participants who complete at least one project as specified will receive the Runner-up prize. Prize notifications will be made by me (June) by Ravelry mail, so check your Rav inbox!

Grand Prize yarn to be provided by Lion Brand and shipped to the winner (if you’re from outside the US you’ll be responsible for any duty and/or import taxes on the prize); all other prizes to be provided by me :)


PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs CAL

Are you as excited as I am? I think this is going to be an especially fun CAL, and I hope you’ll join us! Let the Summer of Dinosaurs begin…

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June update

New Prize CAL coming soon!

If you like dinosaurs, you have some treats in store… June 12th will mark not only the release of the new Jurassic World dinosaur movie, but also the start of the PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs!

From June 12th until the end of July, we’ll be going dino-crazy in the PlanetJune Ravelry group with all 18 of my amigurumi dinosaur patterns. These patterns are always popular because they’re simple to follow (with no colour changes), work equally well in any colour you can imagine, and make lovely sturdy toys for both girls and boys of all ages.

PlanetJune dinosaur crochet patterns

Lion Brand

And, as if that’s not exciting enough, this will be a prize CAL

Lion Brand have generously offered to sponsor this CAL with a yarny prize! (All the dinosaurs you see in the above photo are made from their lovely Vanna’s Choice yarn – it’s perfect for this sort of sculptural amigurumi.) I’ll also be kicking in some PlanetJune prizes, so this is going to be one CAL you won’t want to miss.

I’ll give you all the details in a post on the CAL launch date, but you can start get a head start by choosing your favourite dinosaurs and yarn colours right now (and joining the PlanetJune group on Ravelry, if you haven’t already). To be entered for the prizes, you can’t start crocheting until the official start date of June 12th, but you can pick up your patterns and yarn now, so you’ll be ready to go on the 12th!

You can find all the PlanetJune dinosaur patterns, individually and in sets, here in my shop.

Plant-Along CAL

While you’re waiting for the dino CAL to begin, the Plant-Along CAL continues until June 11th in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, so you still have some time to grab a PlanetJune botanical pattern and join in with making some spring flowers.

PlanetJune Plant-Along CAL crochet pattern options

The Primroses (top left in the above photo) have been the surprise favourite this time around – and the small pot is pretty quick to whip up, so you can still make one before the end of this CAL!

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune

May’s winner is Jennifer B‘s review of my AmiCats Single-Coloured Cat (second from left in the above photo of the AmiCats Collection):

This pattern is so well-written and designed that anyone can make a realistic and awesome cat just by following instructions. They include positioning of body parts which allowed me to place limbs in just the right spot. The chest joins to the legs in a unique technique that creates a smooth and realistic front of the cat. The sitting cat’s body shape is so accurately cat-shaped it just astounded me. I made the first one like my sister’s first cat she had so many years ago. I plan to make remembrance cats for her of the four cats she’s had. Thank you for the best patterns ever!

Congratulations, Jennifer – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

Health update

I was looking forward to telling you in this update post that my knee is really improving, but I managed to catch a bad cold and chest infection that’s kept me in bed for the whole of the past week… My knee is very sore now after returning to rehab yesterday for the first time in over a week, but, apart from that short-term setback, it’s definitely been getting stronger.

I’m very grateful to the systems I’ve built for PlanetJune that allow me to take time off to rest when I need it without having to worry about money. Setting my health as my top priority for this year has been quite a revelation: I’d usually be battling on through every illness so I wouldn’t let my customers down, and I’d end up completely exhausted. Now I’ve realised the obvious: doing that doesn’t help anyone in the long term. Taking care of myself will hopefully get me to a point where I can be much stronger and more productive, so everyone wins.

What’s Next?

My week of rest last week has definitely paid off, and I’m all ready get back to working on my Armadillo pattern (look out for that very soon…) and preparing for our Summer of Dinosaurs. Fun times ahead!

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    June Gilbank

    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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