PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for CAL roundups

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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changing plans and catching up

Time for a confession: my time management has had a bit of a hiccup, because of the book. I assumed that, at this stage, all I had left to do was a final read-through of basically perfect pages, but I grossly underestimated this stage of the book production process.

We’re now at the critical stage where all the different jobs – editing, photography, design and layout, illustration – come together for the first time, and all those elements, expertly created by different people, have to be carefully aligned and tweaked to get all the pieces to come together perfectly.

The reason for my misunderstanding is that neither of my other books had this stage: Paper Chains & Garlands was much simpler in terms of design and content, so there was little that could go wrong; and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi had no page design beyond the stylesheet, and all the photographs and illustrations were inserted exactly as I provided them, so, again, the pages needed little more than a cursory glance from me at this stage.

Idiot’s Guides: Crochet will be very different, with clean, attractive page layouts and professional photography – it’s very exciting, but it just takes much longer to get it all right. Each page needs to be tweaked and cuts may need to be made to get it all to fit beautifully into the design without losing any essential information.

Collaborating with the rest of the team to make sure everything ends up perfect would be painstaking and time-consuming work in the best case, but, as I’m also on the other side of the world from my team, their working day is only just beginning as mine ends. I stay up late every time we need a meeting, and email exchanges usually take the best part of 24 hours to get a simple yes/no reply, and much longer if it’s a back-and-forth conversation!

Baby Sea Turtle Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I had to pull a few 12-hour days trying to get my Baby Sea Turtle Collection published in time for the Rav Games as promised while all this was going on. The pattern has had a great response, so I’m happy I did that, but I can’t keep overdoing things.

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll still be busy checking and re-checking every page of the book, to make sure the book is as close to perfect as we can get it before it goes to print. I’m not going to cut corners with this crucial step, so that means I’ve had to drop the ball on a few other things…

CAL roundups

This is a good thing really – it’s a clear sign that my CAL roundup posts need an overhaul. I just don’t have the time to put together roundup posts as I have in the past, but I’ve come up with a neat solution!

From now on, I’ll be posting a screenshot from Ravelry as a sample of the CAL entries, and you can click through to see all the entries in full. (This does mean you’ll need a Ravelry username to see them all, but it’s free to join and hugely beneficial to anyone who crochets (or knits). If you haven’t joined already, now would be a good time – and then come and join the PlanetJune group too so we can help you get to know Rav better!)

This change also has a big benefit for CALers: no more image dimension requirements! Upload any photos you want to your project, any size or shape, tag your project with the CAL tag (v important!), and you’re entered. My summary screenshot will show the projects with the most favourites, so it’ll add a little friendly competition – take the best photos you can and see if you can make it into the top 12 so your project will appear in the summary pic :)

Let’s start this off now with the January CAL roundup that I missed: the 2013 Designs CAL. All the designs I released in 2013 were eligible for this CAL, which led to a nice variety of projects. Here are just a few of the lovely entries we had:

PlanetJune 2013 Designs CAL - sample of entries
Click through to Ravelry to see all the 2013 Designs CAL entries!

(It’s a process… For the next roundup, we’ll know that everyone should tweak each project’s first photo so the project doesn’t fall off the edges of the thumbnail, as some of these do! Do click through to see them all in their full glory.)

Meerkat Design Process

The additional book work has thrown a huge spanner in the works for my plan to share the progress on my Meerkat design as I go. Something as demanding as a new design is always a challenge, and even more so if I’m sharing the details of designing it as I go – quite a nerve-wracking proposition for me!

I’ve only been able to write the first update so far, and now I think it’ll be better all round if I postpone the entire plan until after my book commitments are complete. The book and the meerkat commission both deserve my full attention, and that’s not going to happen if I try to do both simultaneously.

I’ll still share my design process as promised, and the commissioners will still get their Meerkat pattern in the not-too-distant future, but I’m going to set this aside until the book is 100% finished. I think I’ll make the Meerkat design process into a series of blog posts instead, hopefully running throughout March.

Finding a Balance

This year, I’m trying to keep a flexible attitude and be willing to change plans to keep my work level more manageable. So, although the Meerkat is on hold for a couple more weeks, I am using my non-book time productively – I have another couple of (less stressful) designs in the works, so there will be more PlanetJune patterns coming soon.

I feel confident that, once the book work is really out of the way (as I mistakenly thought it already was!) I’ll be able to find a balance without over-committing, and my life will finally calm down. And I’m really looking forward to getting stuck back into PlanetJune full time – there’s so much I want to do, and I can’t wait to be able to show you some of the other exciting designs that currently only exist inside my head – the Baby Sea Turtles were just the beginning…

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PlanetJune Accessories CAL roundup

Time for the final CAL roundup of the year! Take a look at the beautiful projects made from my PlanetJune Accessories patterns for this crochet-along:

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Christmas CAL 2013 roundup

Happy Christmas! Let’s celebrate with a look at the results of the 2013 PlanetJune Christmas Crochet-Along. Thank you to everyone who joined in; it’s always a pleasure to know my patterns are being enjoyed and to see how good they look in your choices of yarns, colours, etc! And it’s lovely to see that my new Mini Wreath pattern has been so popular :)

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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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