PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for Crochet

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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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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Crochet Terminology

This is the final post in my three-part series aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. For the rest of the series, see Yarn for Amigurumi and Crochet Hook Styles.

Non-Standardised Terminology

The names of the crochet stitches are, unfortunately, not standardised throughout the English-speaking world. Most crochet patterns you’ll find through online sources are written in US terminology (which is why I call this ‘standard’ terminology) – but if you buy/use a pattern written or published in UK/Aus, that may not be the case.

Conversely, if you learnt crochet from a British or Australian source, or some other countries with a historical British influence, you probably know the UK terminology. Your ‘double crochet’, for example, refers to a different stitch (US single crochet) than a US double crochet (which is equivalent to your ‘treble crochet’) – confusing, huh?

Note: If you’re not sure which terminology you use, look at my single crochet tutorial: right-handed or left-handed. If you know this stitch as a ‘double crochet’, you’re using UK terminology!

US/UK Conversion Table

Here are the most common stitches with their equivalent US and UK names:

US Stitch Name UK Stitch Name
chain chain
double crochet treble crochet
half double crochet half treble crochet
slip stitch slip stitch
single crochet double crochet
triple (or treble) crochet double treble crochet

The basic rule is that the UK stitches are always named one step higher than their US counterparts.

Converting Amigurumi Patterns

Amigurumi patterns aren’t too difficult to decipher, as they are (almost) always worked in (almost) all single crochet stitches (i.e. ‘double crochet’ stitches in UK terminology), so it’s very easy to convert these patterns between US/UK. Using the above table, you’ll see that chain and slip stitch are unchanged, so it’s just the single/double crochets you may need to change to convert to your preferred terminology.

Note: All PlanetJune patterns – amigurumi and accessories – are written in standard (US) terminology, but, to prevent confusion, my patterns always also include a conversion table at the start for all stitches used, so you can look up the pattern abbreviations and see which stitch should be used, whichever terminology you’re used to.

Terminology Tips

  • There is no stitch known as ‘single crochet’ anywhere in UK terminology, so, if you see any pattern that uses ‘sc’ stitches, you know it’s a standard/US pattern. UK/Aus: work a dc in place of every sc, and convert all other stitches.
  • If you see an amigurumi pattern worked in ‘dc’ stitches, but the stitches look like those of a regular amigurumi, it’s almost certainly a UK pattern and you should work a US single crochet everywhere the pattern calls for a double crochet. UK/Aus: work the pattern as written.
  • If in doubt when you use an indie pattern that doesn’t have a terminology table to clarify the stitches, check with the pattern designer.
  • A pattern in a book or magazine will almost always use the terminology of the publication’s country of origin, but you can check the description of the stitches used (usually at the start or end of the book/magazine) to make sure.

It’s very unfortunate that when you find a crochet pattern that calls for, for example, a ‘double crochet’ stitch, that may mean one of two different stitches depending on where the pattern was published (or which terminology the designer/publisher decides to use), but I hope this post will help to clear up the confusion!

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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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