PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for Crochet

AmiDogs Set 8 crochet patterns

I’m so very excited by today’s achievement: not only do I have a complete set of three brand new AmiDogs patterns to launch, but this means I’ve completed 3 of the 4 remaining commissioned designs – finally, I’ve almost caught up with that crazily long waiting list for commissions!

Now, please allow me to introduce AmiDogs Set 8, consisting of three very diverse dog breeds: the Bernese Mountain Dog, Miniature Schnauzer, and King Charles Spaniel:

AmiDogs Set 8 crochet patterns by PlanetJune
L-R: King Charles Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, Bernese Mountain Dog

In case you don’t want to read this whole post and just want to buy some dog crochet patterns, here are the relevant links:

Now, if you’re still with me, let’s take a closer look at the three new dog designs…


About the Patterns

It’s been an interesting challenge to make three such different dogs simultaneously. Domestic dogs, more than almost any other animal, have such a variety of shapes and colourings (and sizes, and temperaments, although those don’t really translate into my designs!) It’s amazing to think that people have encouraged this diversity with selective breeding over the centuries, and fascinating to compare how completely different various types of dog look, while still all being so obviously dogs.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a sturdy tri-colour breed with distinctive markings.

AmiDogs Bernese Mountain Dog crochet pattern by PlanetJune

And a bonus: you can also use the same pattern to make an Appenzeller, Entlebucher, or Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, or a tri-colour Australian Shepherd.

AmiDogs Bernese Mountain Dog crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Queue/fave AmiDogs Bernese Mountain Dog on Ravelry now:

The Miniature Schnauzer is a real character with his fluffy beard and eyebrows!

AmiDogs Miniature Schnauzer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

(Of course, this pattern will also make a Standard Schnauzer or Giant Schnauzer if you’re looking for a pattern for either of those breeds – the only real difference is the scale…)

AmiDogs Miniature Schnauzer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Queue/fave AmiDogs Miniature Schnauzer on Ravelry now:

And finally, the sweet King Charles Spaniel. My design is based on the Blenheim (chestnut and white) colouring of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

AmiDogs King Charles Spaniel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

You can also use this pattern to make a King Charles Spaniel (non-Cavalier), Toy Spaniel, or Japanese Chin.

AmiDogs King Charles Spaniel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Queue/fave AmiDogs King Charles Spaniel on Ravelry now:


The Complete AmiDogs Collection

These 3 designs bring the total number of AmiDogs patterns to 24. And, while I’ll never say ‘never again’, I think I’d need a long break before I even consider taking on any more dog breed designs. Although you may think it’d get easier with each new design, trying to distill the defining characteristics of each breed into a design that fits the overall aesthetic of the rest of the AmiDogs range – a range I started 8 years ago! – actually seems to get more difficult and constraining with time.

So, for now at least, I’m going to call it a day with these 24 designs and declare the AmiDogs range complete. 24 dog patterns, all completely different from each other – that’s quite an achievement!



I’d like to thank my commissioners for supporting me to make the final 3 designs and round out my collection. (If you haven’t already, you can log into your PlanetJune account to download whichever of the pattern(s) you helped to make possible!)


Choose Your Favourites!

If you’d like to pick up the final AmiDogs patterns, you can now buy them individually from my shop (links: Bernese, Schnauzer, King Charles), or save money when you buy all 3 as the complete AmiDogs Set 8.

Or, mix and match your favourites from all 24 AmiDogs patterns: you can choose any 3 breeds for a special price when you buy the AmiDogs Custom Set. (And if you want 6, or 9, or any multiple of 3, just add the Custom Set to your cart multiple times, choosing 3 different breeds each time!)


I hope you’ll enjoy these final 3 additions to my AmiDogs collection as much as I enjoyed designing them. Dogs are such special animals and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know much more about them over the 8-year course of this design series. :)

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Tip: Feeding Yarn Through Buttonholes or Beads

Whether you’ve made a sweater, a phone cosy, or jewellery, sometimes you want to add a button to your yarn project and run into a problem… For a perfect match, it’s nice to use the project’s yarn to attach the button – whether that’s to minimise ends to weave in, or just give a polished look. But, while it’s fairly easy to find a button with holes big enough to fit the yarn through, it’s very rare to find a button that has a hole large enough for both the yarn (doubled) and the eye of a yarn needle!

crochet braid bracelet pattern by planetjune

Below, I’ve shown an example (from a Crochet Braid Bracelet, pictured above). The hole on this shank-backed button is just large enough for my yarn to fit through, but the yarn is too floppy to push through the hole. When I try, it either bunches up and refuses to go through, or separates into plies.

feeding yarn through buttonholes

The simplest trick is to wet the end of the yarn to keep the plies together while you thread the end through the buttonhole – the same technique as licking your sewing thread before you thread a hand-sewing needle. But sometimes that just isn’t enough, and with a long buttonhole like this one and/or a close fit, the yarn is still too floppy to make it right through the buttonhole.

There’s just no way to get that yarn through that buttonhole… Or is there?

feeding yarn through buttonholes

Yes there is! Here’s the magic, you need to stiffen the end of the yarn before you thread it through the button, so it’ll act like its own needle and pass easily through any buttonhole that’s large enough to fit a single strand of the yarn.

The easiest way to do that is with basic white craft glue, and here’s how to do it:

  1. Squeeze a small drop of white glue onto the end of the yarn.
  2. Using your thumb and fingertips, press and roll the end of the yarn to distribute the glue through the fibres of the yarn. For threading normal buttons, you only need to dampen about 1/2″ (1 or 2 cm) of the yarn with glue.
  3. Twist the wet plies together by rolling between your fingertips in the direction of the twist of the yarn, to hold the plies neatly together.
  4. Press the tip of the yarn gently between your fingertips to form a nice rounded point (see above photo).
  5. Leave the glued yarn to dry for a few minutes (while you wash/rub the glue off your fingers) – although, if you’re impatient, it doesn’t need to be perfectly dry to work!
  6. Thread your yarn through your buttons as desired.
  7. Snip off the hardened end of the yarn with scissors.

Easy! It works the same way as the plastic-coated ends of your shoelaces: compressing the yarn into a tight, stiff point that can pass easily through the hole. This method also works on embroidery floss, crochet cotton, or any other type of thread you want to pass through a small hole.

Bonus tip: You can also use this technique for stringing beads onto yarn or thread where the bead hole is too small to fit a doubled strand of the yarn – perfect for bead crochet, or even stringing children’s necklaces!

I hope you find this helpful next time you’re trying to feed yarn through a buttonhole (or bead) – it’s a handy little trick. :)

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free pattern: Crochet Braid Bracelet

Even though I’m in the middle of winter, I’m channeling summer with my new free PlanetJune Accessories pattern: the Crochet Braid Bracelet.

Crochet up a speedy braided bracelet with this decorative cord technique that’s deceptively easy to crochet as it uses only single crochet stitches! Customize the length and look to match your own style or make a personalized gift. Simply change the yarn colour and button fastener to go from playful children’s jewellery to a rugged man’s bracelet, or from a beachy summer look to a fashion accessory in your favourite colour.

crochet braid bracelet pattern by planetjune

Isn’t it lovely? This bracelet uses a special technique that uses single crochet stitches worked in an unusual way to create a decorative cord. It’s very easy once you’ve seen it in action, so I’ve made a new video tutorial for this technique: Basic Crochet Cord (as always, my videos are available in right- and left-handed versions). Once you’ve made a bracelet or two, you’ll probably want to make more of these cords to use for other things (I have some suggestions on the video page!)

Although the basic Crochet Braid Bracelet is a free pattern, I’ve included lots of bonuses if you choose to donate for the PDF version:

  • Step-by-step text and photo instructions for the Basic Crochet Cord (in right- and left-handed versions), so you can make the bracelet without having the video in front of you
  • Bonus tips and advice
  • Instructions to make a double-stranded variation – a neat two-strand bracelet with the button centred over the crossover point

crochet braid bracelet pattern by planetjune

I hope you’ll enjoy crocheting bracelets as much as I do – as you can see, I couldn’t stop once I got started… More colours! More button styles! So much fun…

Go to the free Crochet Braid Bracelet pattern >>

Or jump straight to donate:

Order the Crochet Braid Bracelet pattern >>

Not ready to make it yet? Add it to your Ravelry queue:

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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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    June Gilbank

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