PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for Crochet

Horse, Unicorn & Pegasus crochet patterns

Don’t miss the launch discount, at the end of this post!

I’m not even sure where to begin this post, as I have so much I’m excited to show you… I’ll just dive straight in:

Horse crochet pattern

First, the pattern that started it all – my latest commissioned design, for a Horse, is now complete:

horse

My horse has a sweet face, a realistic shape and bay colouring. In addition to detailed assembly instructions, this pattern includes two amazing new techniques to make a really special mane and tail:

  • The mane is thick and full, and the strands are attached neatly and firmly.
  • The tail hangs beautifully with no knots or visible attachment points.

Both techniques require no additional materials and are explained in full in the pattern, with lots of step-by-step photos so you can make a perfect horse!

Unicorn and Pegasus Expansion Pack

And, of course, having a horse design opens up a whole world of possibilities for other designs, and I couldn’t wait to add a Unicorn and Pegasus Expansion Pack for the Horse. And I’m so thrilled with the result – I hope you agree!

unicorn_pegasus

What is an Expansion Pack?

Expansion Packs by PlanetJune

  • An Expansion Pack is an add-on to an existing PlanetJune pattern.
  • The Expansion Pack lets you modify or add to the original pattern to create something else.
  • You cannot use the Expansion Pack alone – you must also purchase the original pattern in order to be able to complete the pictured items in the Expansion Pack pattern.

This Expansion Pack lets you convert my Horse into a Unicorn, a Pegasus, and/or an Alicorn (that’s a winged Unicorn – or a horned Pegasus if you prefer!) – so you actually get three options in one Expansion Pack:

unicorn_pegasus_alicorn

I’m especially pleased with the elegant wings – they’re a combination of sturdy and decorative, as they’re stiff enough to stand up by themselves, while still looking delicate with the feathered edge.

Hoofing It CAL

In honour of the new patterns, we’re starting a new crochet-along in the PlanetJune group on Ravelry – you can make any of the new designs, or any other PlanetJune designs with hooves (see the CAL thread for the full list). The CAL runs right through till the end of July, so you have time to make one of each if you want 😉

I hope you’ll join us – I can’t wait to see everyone’s horses, unicorns etc!

Links to Buy & Launch Discount

As with all my Expansion Packs, you can buy the patterns separately (although please note that you do need the base Horse pattern to be able to make a Unicorn or Pegasus), or there’s a discount when you buy both together.

But to sweeten this deal even more and give you an incentive to join the CAL right away, I’m offering an additional discount on the Multipack Set (Horse, Unicorn & Pegasus) if you buy within the next 7 days, so you can get all three for only $7.50 – that’s only $2.50 per pattern!

So, here are your options:

Or, if you’re not ready to buy yet, click through to Ravelry and favourite/queue them so you won’t forget about them!

Horse:

Unicorn & Pegasus:

horse_unicorn_pegasus

Can you resist these sweet faces? I hope you love these designs as much as I do – please leave me a comment if you do! Which will you be making first?

Comments (8)

tutorial: better BLO stitches for amigurumi

I always like to experiment and see if there are ways to improve amigurumi techniques to give better results, and today I have a new one to share with you.

Back loop only (BLO) stitches are often used to add detail in amigurumi designs, particularly for turning sharp corners. For example, look at the bottom of a crocheted plant pot (where you turn a sharp corner from the base of the pot to begin the sides) or the bottom of a foot (where you turn from the flat base to the side of the foot).

better BLO tutorial - examples of uses of back loops only at the edge of the base of feet or plant pots
Stegosaurus and Succulent plants both have a round of BLO around the bottom edge (of their feet and pot, respectively)

But BLO stitches are looser and more open than standard stitches worked in both loops, so the corner round will lose the solid, firm fabric of the rest of your amigurumi. My new modified BLO technique solves this problem!

better BLO tutorial - the holes above the unworked front loops are eliminated with my technique
The holes above the unworked front loops are eliminated with my technique

Now, before we get started, I should explain what this technique is not: this is not a new method for patterns that are worked in BLO throughout. Using it in that way would change the shape of the finished pieces (more about that later).

This technique is best used to replace occasional BLO details in a piece worked in both loops, e.g. the round of BLO stitches used for turning sharp corners in amigurumi patterns. Just as you can replace a “ch 2” start with a magic ring, and an “sc2tog” with an invisible decrease, you can replace that round of BLO with my modified BLO (in any amigurumi pattern) and it’ll give your amigurumi a much nicer result.

What’s wrong with BLO?

The problem with BLO stitches compared with stitches worked in both loops is that they can easily stretch open. When you’re making amigurumi, where the stitches are stretched by the stuffing, this results in taller stitches with larger gaps between each round.

better BLO tutorial - comparison of samples worked in normal sc and sc in back loops only
L-R: sc worked in both loops, sc in back loops only

(I discussed this in more detail in my tutorial Front Loops, Back Loops, Both Loops.)

Why Use BLO?

But BLO has several uses as an accent in amigurumi designs, for example:

  • to add textural detail with the unworked front loops
  • to add anchor points for additional stitches worked back into in the unworked front loops
  • to turn sharper corners than you can achieve with regular single crochet stitches

This last one is the main use of BLO in amigurumi, and the situation that you can most improve with my new technique! Although BLO makes a nice corner, it does leave the fabric looser and more floppy around that round, because the stitches can stretch open.

A Better BLO

When you look at a single crochet stitch, you usually work into both the front loop and the back loop at the top of the stitch:

better BLO tutorial - step 1

But, if you rotate your work forwards a bit, you can see that there’s another horizontal bar just beneath the back loop, at the back of the stitch (below, left).

To improve the appearance of your BLO, work each stitch into both the back loop and this back bar (below, right).

better BLO tutorial - step 2

Are you left-handed? Here’s how it’ll look for you:

better BLO tutorial - step 2 (left-handed)

You can see the stitch in action in the videos below:

Video Tutorial (right-handed)

Video Tutorial (left-handed)

Note: The videos may look a little small embedded in the blog: if so, you can fullscreen them or click through to YouTube (links: right-handed; left-handed) to watch them full-sized 🙂

Stitch Comparison

So you can see the difference this technique makes, let’s compare the modified BLO stitch with a standard single crochet (worked in both loops) and a standard BLO single crochet.

I’ve crocheted the same sample 3 times, once using each stitch.

better BLO tutorial - comparison of samples worked in normal sc, modified scBL, and standard scBL
#1: single crochet in both loops
#2: modified BLO single crochet
#3: BLO single crochet

As you can see, the modified BLO does not stretch out like a BLO stitch; the stitches are much closer in size to a standard single crochet (although very slightly smaller still, as the stitches are tighter).

Comparing the BLO and modified BLO in close-up:

better BLO tutorial - comparison of stitches worked in standard scBL and modified scBL
Left: BLO; right: modified BLO

You can see that the gaps that result from standard BLO stitches are eliminated with this technique, and the stuffing doesn’t show through between the stitches.

So this modified stitch is a much better match for a standard single crochet, as it keeps the tight, solid appearance of a regular amigurumi, and doesn’t leave any unwanted gaps.

Caveats

  • Do not use this technique for a piece designed to be worked in back loops only. As you can see, using the modified BLO stitch with a pattern designed to be worked entirely in BLO would give the same problem as working the pattern in both loops – the shape would be compressed vertically.
  • I recommend you use this technique only as an accent stitch for pieces crocheted predominantly in both loops. (The only reason I crocheted the above sample piece entirely in modified BLO is to give you a clear way to compare the differences between the size and shape of the stitches.) This stitch is more difficult to work than either standard or BLO single crochet, because the back bar is tighter, so I don’t suggest you ever crochet an entire piece using this technique!

In Practice

better BLO tutorial - sample piece with sharp corner made by modified BLO round at edge of base

I crocheted this little amigurumi-style pot as a sample to demonstrate this technique. The corner formed by the modified BLO round is neat and firm, and it’s actually a little sharper than the corner you get from a standard BLO stitch.

Conclusion

You can safely use the modified BLO to replace a single round of stitches (or any number of individual stitches) worked in back loops only in any amigurumi pattern.

It prevents the gap from forming below each BLO stitch as the fabric stretches, and it maintains the firm solidity of the amigurumi fabric throughout your piece.

While this isn’t an essential technique, it’s another ‘upgrade’ you can use with any pattern (like my invisible increase) to improve the look of your amigurumi.

I know I’ll be using it for all my BLO details in future, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Comments (10)

Ribbed Ripple/Turtle Beach pattern

Since I published my Baby Sea Turtle pattern two years ago, several people have attached the turtles to afghan squares or blankets showing the babies hatching on a beach and making their way to the sea. It’s such a sweet idea, as the turtles are quite flat, so they work well as an appliquéd element on a blanket or square.

About a week ago, one of these blankets went viral on Facebook and I’ve consequently had dozens of requests for a beach blanket to attach my baby sea turtles to, so I thought I’d modify my eyelet ripple crochet pattern into a ribbed ripple, to depict wavelets moving towards a beach. And here it is: Turtle Beach!

turtle beach crochet pattern by planetjune

Note: The Baby Sea Turtle pattern is sold separately, here!

You can stitch Baby Sea Turtles to it, or just use it as a play mat or display background for turtles and other small aquatic amigurumi (like my Baby Cephalopods, perhaps!)

This is a Donationware pattern – my ribbed ripple stitch pattern, the basic pattern for a 10″ Turtle Beach square, and general instructions for making a Turtle Beach blanket are free for you to view on my website (links at the end of this post), but the PDF version includes lots of bonuses:

ribbed ripple turtle beach crochet pattern
  • Full patterns to make 3ft x 4ft Turtle Beach blankets with either 4 or 5 shades of yarn (yellow, white, and 2 or 3 blues)
  • The modifications required to turn my Hatching Turtle (from the Baby Sea Turtle Collection pattern) into a Swimming Turtle that looks like the back half of its shell is submerged.
  • Optional edging instructions to square off the rippled top and bottom edges, so you can use this as a beach-themed square in a larger blanket, or turn it into the front of a cushion cover, for example – and there are lots more applications.
  • Any-size modification instructions, so you can make any size afghan square, a baby blanket, or even a huge blanket to fit a king-sized bed!

Both versions include the written stitch pattern, a charted stitch diagram, and suggestions for how to make the beach and sea colouring (and how to arrange the turtles).

You can also use the Ribbed Ripple stitch pattern with any other colourway if you don’t want a beachy blanket – a 2-row repeat in 2 or 3 colours would look amazing too. Here’s a small sample showing an alternate colourway and the bonus edging you’ll get in the PDF version:

rippled ripple crochet pattern with edging, by planetjune

I hope you’ll enjoy this pattern and that you’ll share what you’ve made with me, on Ravelry and/or on your favourite social media (tag me @PlanetJune to make sure I see it!)

We’re also running a Turtlemania CAL in the PlanetJune group on Ravelry from now until the end of April, and we’d love it if you’d join in if you’re making PlanetJune turtles, a Turtle Beach blanket, and/or a Wavy Stripes blanket from the Ribbed Ripple pattern!

Go to the free Ribbed Ripple stitch pattern >>

Go to the free Turtle Beach pattern/instructions >>

Go straight to buy the PDF version! >>

Comments (7)

Pansies crochet pattern

Note: Don’t miss the launch discount at the end of this post!

I really hope you’ll enjoy my latest crochet design – it makes me smile to see these cheery colourful pansy faces, and I hope they’ll give you a happy boost too! Depending on your climate, pansies can be among the earliest flowering plants in spring, but you don’t even need to wait that long to add colour to your day…

Pansies crochet pattern by PlanetJune

My Pansies pattern includes large and small baskets of realistic pansy plants, together with 4 different styles of pansy flowers, each available to crochet in all the pansy colours, giving you dozens of options!

Pansies crochet pattern by PlanetJune

You can customize the basket contents to mix and match the pansy flowers however you wish. The small basket includes 2 pansy plants, and the large basket has 8, for a riot of glorious colour.

This pattern also includes bonus instructions for making any of the pansy styles into an individual leaf-backed pansy flower (as shown at the start of this post) – perfect as a decorative pin, appliqué, gift topper or ornament.

The word pansy is derived from the French pensée (‘thought’) and there’s no better way to show someone you’re thinking of them than with a cheerful crocheted pansy.

Pansies crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Pattern Details

Don’t be phased by the apparent complexity of this pattern – I’ve put a lot of thought into making it easy and enjoyable for you to make:

  • Although the pansy flower is a little more complex than my other flowers, it’s explained with written instructions, stage-by-stage photos, and right- and left-handed stitch diagrams. And once you’ve made a couple, they work up pretty quickly.
  • Yes, the baskets have quite a lot of leaves, but I’ve come up with a clever construction method for them so you won’t be crocheting each leaf individually. It’s a lot faster than you’d think from looking at the finished result (shh, don’t tell!)
  • The complete pattern includes 16 pages and dozens of photos for constructing the flowers and assembling the pansies in both sizes of basket, so I’ll walk you step-by-step through the whole process – no need to be intimidated. 🙂
  • The pages with the crochet instructions for each of the three options (large pansy basket, small pansy basket, pansy pin/appliqué) are listed within the pattern, so, if desired, you can save paper and ink by printing only the pages required for your option, and read the assembly instructions on-screen only.

Pansies crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Launch Discount

Although I always offer discounts for shopping directly from PlanetJune, to spread the joy even further, I’m offering an additional 10% discount for one week only. Just enter code HAPPY at checkout by next Monday, 22nd February 2016, and the extra discount will be applied.

Buy the pattern here in my shop. Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it:

Pansies crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Promise of Spring CAL

And finally, to brighten your cold February days (or possibly your hot and dry days for us southern hemispherers…), join us in the PlanetJune group on Ravelry to crochet pansies and other happy PlanetJune plants and flowers.

Promise of Spring CAL - patterns by PlanetJune

This CAL runs from now until the end of March, so you should have plenty of time to make even the most ambitious crocheted floral arrangement. I hope you’ll join us and share in the colourful botanical joy!

Comments (6)

Snow Star Ornaments crochet pattern

It’s hard to come up with a new Christmas design – with thousands of patterns to compete with, it’s not easy to think of something original that hasn’t been done before, but I’m confident that my Snow Stars are a completely new concept!

Snow Star Ornaments crochet pattern by PlanetJune
This pattern collection is really three patterns in one:

  • An amazing one-piece, no-sew, seamless amigurumi star
  • Three quick and easy crocheted snowflakes
  • A set of beautiful Christmas decorations

The Star

I’ve spent the last couple of years playing around with prototypes for a one-piece crocheted star that’s smooth and lovely all over, with no sewing at all required, and I finally figured it out. It’s truly magical how it comes together; while you crochet it looks like it’ll never work, but as you start to add the stuffing it magically turns into a plump adorable star before your eyes. And all with little more than single crochet stitches! I hope you’ll be as excited to try this technique as I am to have invented it.

Snow Star Ornaments crochet pattern by PlanetJune

(And, as a bonus, my star also makes a lovely seamless one-piece baby toy. Embroider features to make it truly baby-safe, or, for a child past teething age, you can insert standard animal eyes before you stuff and close the star.)

The Snowflakes

With the star design complete, I’ve spent the last few weeks crocheting endless snowflakes, tweaking my designs until I developed a set of three that met all my criteria:

  • Pretty and well-balanced designs
  • All completely different but complementary
  • Sized to fit perfectly on the star when made with the same yarn
  • Not too chunky, even in worsted weight yarn

Snow Star Ornaments crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I’m really happy with the results! And, as the snowflakes are small even with heavy yarn, when you size them down with crochet cotton and a small hook, you end up with most adorably tiny snowflakes! (My thread samples pictured above are just over 2″ diameter with size 10 thread and a B US/2.25mm hook) – and you could go even smaller if your hands don’t mind tiny hooks.)

These perfectly formed beauties only take minutes to complete, and would be perfect as gift-toppers, to accent your Christmas place-settings, or anywhere else a tiny wintery decoration is needed – and the pattern includes stiffening instructions so your flakes won’t droop.

The Snow Stars

Put it all together, and you have a dazzling and completely original tree ornament. All the snowflakes fit perfectly on the star, and the star forms a colourful backdrop to each snowflake. Make your stars in any colour to match your Christmas decor, then add your favourite snowflake design! Instructions for adding a hanging loop are included in the pattern, so you can easily add your Snow Stars to your tree or to a garland.

Snow Star Ornaments crochet pattern by PlanetJune

The Pattern

Snow Star Ornaments is a detailed 10-page pattern. In addition to the written crochet pattern instructions, it includes right- and left-handed stitch diagrams for all three snowflakes, and lots of photo tutorials (for the special stitch used, stuffing and assembling the star and ornaments, stiffening the snowflakes, and adding an optional hanging loop).

But I’ve also laid it out to be print friendly: if you’d like to print it out, you can save paper and ink by printing just 3 pages:

  1. The star crochet pattern
  2. The snowflake written instructions
  3. The page with the appropriate snowflake stitch diagrams for you (right- or left-handed)

The Crochet-Along

As you may know, we’re hosting a Christmas CAL in the PlanetJune Ravelry group – you can join in by making any PlanetJune Christmas-themed patterns (including this one!) and posting a photo to the CAL thread. If you’d like to join the CAL by making Snow Star Ornaments, click through to the CAL thread and take advantage of the CAL discount for this pattern.

Snow Star Ornaments crochet pattern by PlanetJune

If you’d like to buy the pattern, you can find it here in my shop (but don’t forget to grab the CAL discount code first!). If you’re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it:

I hope you’ll enjoy my Snow Star Ornaments! And I hope it’s not too early to say Happy Christmas (or seasonal holiday of your choice) 🙂

Comments (2)

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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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