PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for Crochet

in tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

When I heard yesterday that Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away, my first thought was to make something to pay tribute to the man and his work, but then I realised that Terry Pratchett’s writings have already inspired me in so many ways over the years.

Although my heart hurts today, it makes me happy to know that, in 2008, he got to see my tribute to his work in the form of my Amigurumi Discworld, and I hope he could tell from that how much his books mean to me:

amigurumi discworld by planetjune
See my Amigurumi Discworld page for more details on this project

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

I’ve just realised that Terry Pratchett’s books have been a part of my life for over a quarter of a century! At age 11, when my best friend recommended Reaper Man to me, I took one look at the skeleton on the cover and decided it looked weird, creepy, and definitely not a book I’d enjoy reading. Luckily I ignored that first impression and trusted my friend (thank you Helen, wherever you are now) and my life was forever changed…

I could never have guessed that Death, that ‘weird, creepy’ skeleton, would become one of my favourite characters in literature! That’s part of the Pratchett genius, and something you can’t possibly understand until you read his books. The characters, the humour, and the way the strands of the plot always come together in such a satisying way by the end of the book – every Terry Pratchett book is a gem.

As time went by, I devoured every new Discworld book as soon as I could get my hands on it. In high school, I was delighted to ‘get’ the Shakespearean references in Wyrd Sisters after studying Macbeth in English classes. During my student days, I queued for hours at Cambridge book signings to exchange a few words with the man himself and get a favourite book or two signed. And commuting through a long Canadian winter (2 hours each way, driving cross-country through the darkness and snowstorms) was made bearable by having my Discworld audiobooks for company.

crocheted orang utan by planetjune
See my Crocheted Orangutan page for more details on this project

My enduring love for orangutans was first sparked by Terry’s interest in them via, of course, the Librarian from the Discworld books, and also by a documentary he made (Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest) about his trip to Borneo to see the endangered orang utan population. This not only led to my year-long art project to make a life-size realistic poseable baby orang utan (above), but also to last year’s trip to Borneo where I trekked through jungle (with my bad knee!) just so I too could see orangs in the wild.

And it’s not just the Discworld books: his Bromeliad trilogy for children (Truckers, Diggers, and Wings) – together with a documentary by my other hero, David Attenborough – inspired me to learn about, and create my own, tiny bromeliad-dwelling frog:

strawberry poison dart frog polymer clay sculpture by planetjune

Which in turn led to my Poison Dart Frog crochet pattern:

poison dart frog amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

As you can see, Terry Pratchett’s writing has always been a source of enjoyment and inspiration to me. Last year, I started re-reading all the Discworld books, and once I finish those, I’m going to continue reading (or re-reading) the entire Pratchett canon – I know it’ll be a pleasure.

Although I’m desperately sad to know that he’s no longer with us, Sir Terry will live on forever through his books, which will continue to inspire and delight me and millions of other people all over the world. Now that’s a legacy to be proud of.

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Camel crochet pattern

Today has an extra reason to be known as Hump Day, because it’s Camel time! For my latest commission, I’ve designed a realistic camel complete with curved neck, eyelids, tasseled tail, and of course the essential hump:

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

The Camel crochet pattern is a new addition to my natural fibres range of amigurumi designs (together with the alpaca Alpaca and the angora Baby Bunny) and I’ve been waiting for almost 3 years to have the chance to use the 100% baby camel yarn I bought just for this purpose. Of course, I created my design with standard worsted weight acrylic yarn in mind – there’s no need to splash out on pricey camel yarn unless you want that added realism :)

The regular worsted weight camel is a sturdy 8.5″ (21cm) long. My little camel-yarn camel is only 6.5″ long, because the camel yarn is finer (DK weight) so I used a smaller hook (C US/2.75mm) to keep the stitches tidy. (You can get the same scaling effect with any of my patterns by using a thicker/thinner yarn and a correspondingly larger/smaller hook to resize the pattern to any scale you wish.)

I love how my two samples look like they’re part of an amigurumi camel train:

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

Camel Fun Facts

  • There are two types of camel: the one-humped dromedary (like my design), and the two-humped Bactrian camel.
  • The dromedary is adapted to survive in the hot, dry desert environment of northern Africa and the Middle East.
  • The Bactrian camel comes from Asian climates that can get much colder. Its soft thick undercoat is shed annually and is used to make camel yarn.
  • Camels store fatty deposits in their humps that let them survive in drought conditions.
  • They also have other clever adaptations like the ability to close their nostrils in sandstorms!

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and I’d like to give an extra-special thank you to every one of my patrons who commissioned this pattern last year, paid for it the week before my home invasion trauma, and have been waiting ever since for me to be able to complete their pattern. I’m so grateful for your patience and trust through these many months, and I’m delighted to be able to finally say that your pattern is now ready for you to download from your PlanetJune account!

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

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

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

I hope you like my Camel design!


As you may know, I’ll be going for knee surgery at some time in the next few weeks. As I can’t predict how long my recovery will take, I’ll wait until I’m better before I accept payment for my next commission, as I don’t want to create another situation like the Camel where personal circumstances cause months of delay between your payment and receiving your pattern. So, if you’ve pledged towards the Armadillo design, please know that I won’t be sending out the invoices until I’m ready to begin work on your design. :)

Comments (7)

AmiCats crochet patterns!

I’ve been working on a collection of cat patterns for years now, as a companion to my large collection of AmiDogs designs (21 and counting). Cats are one of my favourite animals, but one of the most difficult to depict realistically, and I didn’t want to publish any cats until I was satisfied that I’d done justice to their feline grace and beauty.

It’s been a long process that took over a dozen prototypes to pin down, but I’ve finally reached the definitive PlanetJune cat shape, and I’m very excited to finally be able to show it to you! So, without further ado, allow me to present my AmiCats designs:

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune

About the Designs

With cats, it’s all about the elegant poised shape, and, as I discovered when assembling my early prototypes, the position of certain pieces is absolutely critical. I’ve spent hours studying cat anatomy and refining my prototypes to produce a design that is unmistakably cat-shaped without spoiling the texture of the uninterrupted single crochet stitches.

To ensure that you can follow my pattern and get a beautiful, graceful, cat-shaped result without endlessly repositioning the pieces, I’ve designed the face shaping so the muzzle is built right into the cat, and the front legs are crocheted directly into the body at the appropriate position and angle. All you need to do is follow the pattern and it’ll just work!

Enjoy the magical shaping with no complications by making a Single-Coloured cat in any colour, or choose from a selection of multi-coloured cats: a black and white Tuxedo, a tortoiseshell and white Calico, and of course the classic striped Tabby.

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune
Top to bottom: Calico, Single-Coloured, Tuxedo, Tabby

Although I used black eyes for my sample cats – it fits better with the PlanetJune style – I intentionally designed all the AmiCats to use 9mm eyes, as that’s the most common size of cat ‘safety’ eyes you can buy. So if you prefer more embellishment, you can use ‘cat’ eyes, embroider a mouth, add whiskers, etc etc, to give your cats the look and personality you want.

About the Patterns

I’ve included two-page appendices for both right- and left-handers that explain my innovative method for joining the legs and body while you crochet so they sit at exactly the right angle in the finished cat. The method is the same for all the AmiCats, so, once you’ve made one, crocheting more AmiCats will be easy and you’ll enjoy seeing the realistic curves of the cat appear in your hands. The simplest and least time-consuming design is the Single-Coloured cat (you can make it in any colour!), followed by the Tuxedo, then the Calico, and finally the Tabby, whose show-stopping stripes are worth the effort.

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune

The pattern also includes bonus instructions to crochet the (optional) pictured nose from crochet thread or embroidery floss and a 1.25mm/size 9 steel hook, and I’ve also given illustrated instructions for making simple felt or embroidered noses, if you don’t want to try crocheting such a tiny nose.

And you can save paper and ink by printing only the appendices you need (crocheted nose; right-handed or left-handed assembly guide, or neither) from any one of the patterns – the appendices are the same for all the AmiCats.

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune

You can buy each AmiCats pattern individually from my shop, or pick up the multipack of all 4 AmiCats for less than the price of 3 – that’s a great deal!

If you’re not ready to buy them just yet, please remember to heart and queue them on Ravelry!

Single-Coloured:   Tuxedo:

Calico:   Tabby:

Launch Discount

Let’s make that deal even better: for one week only, you can buy the AmiCats Collection (including all 4 AmiCats designs) for the extra-special low price of $15. To take advantage of this deal, add the AmiCats Collection to your shopping cart, and enter the discount code MEOW at checkout! (Offer ends Friday 23 January, 2015.)

AmiCats Crochet-Along

And, from today until the end of February, join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, where we’ll all be making AmiCats galore. I can’t wait to see all the variations popping up from all over the world! Will you follow the patterns exactly, or change some colours to more closely match your own cat(s)? Either way, please join us, and share pics of your AmiCats…

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune
AmiCats have the Maui seal of approval!

These designs represent the culmination of literally years of research, sketching, and endless refinement, but I feel it was worth the effort. These patterns are so close to my heart. I hope that shows, and that my AmiCats will bring happiness to many fellow cat lovers. If you love them, please do let me know…

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how to: Brushed Amigurumi

I’ve discussed the technique of brushing crochet several times before: I experimented with different yarns; I showed you how to convert my Fuzzy Friends patterns to brushed patterns; I told you about different brush options; and I’ve included more specific details of how to brush crochet within each of my patterns that uses the technique.

There’s lots of great information there, but having it all scattered around over several pages isn’t ideal, so I’ve combined the salient points from all my previous brushed crochet posts into a comprehensive tutorial: a guide to Brushed Amigurumi.

how to: brushed amigurumi by planetjune

You can now also find this tutorial in my Master List of crochet tutorials – your one-stop shop for help if you have any amigurumi questions! – and I hope you find it useful if you’re new to brushed crochet, or have questions about the technique.

PS – If you write your own crochet patterns and would like to link to this info in your pattern, please feel free. As with all my tutorials, you’ll find the easy-to-type shortlink – in this case, www.planetjune.com/brush – at the top of the tutorial page, for your linking convenience. :)

Comments (2)

Frilled Lizard crochet pattern

When I was doing dinosaur research for Dinosaurs Sets 2 & 3, I was very disappointed to discover that one of my ‘must-make’ dinosaurs didn’t live up to my expectations. Remember the classic scene in Jurassic Park where a man tries to steal dinosaur embryos and is attacked by a venom-spitting Dilophosaurus with a giant expanding neck frill? It turns out that the neck frill (and the venom) were dramatic licence on the part of the film-makers.

But hang on, if I can’t make a scientifically-inaccurate Dilophosaurus for my Dinosaur collection, why not make the real lizard that inspired the movie-makers?! The frill was actually ‘borrowed’ from the 100% real (and very cool) Australian frill-necked lizards.

And hence today’s fun new release: an Expansion Pack for my Iguana pattern, so you can turn it into a Frilled Lizard in full display mode, with gaping mouth and fully-spread ridged frill.

frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

Frilled Lizard Fun Facts

  • Frill-necked lizards are part of the agamid family of lizards, otherwise known as dragons or dragon lizards.
  • The amazing brightly-coloured mouth lining and dramatic frill work as a defense mechanism for the lizard, to make it look big and threatening when it’s frightened.
  • When un-expanded, the pleated frill lies flat along the lizard’s neck with the bright colours hidden, to help the lizard stay camouflaged against predators.
  • Frilled lizards live in trees and come to the ground to feed on insects.
  • They can reach up to 3 feet long (although a good fraction of that comes from their tail!)

frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

Pattern Info

This expansion pack pattern is intermediate level, but only because of the frill, which requires both changing colours and using different stitches (not just amigurumi-style single crochet). Please don’t be intimidated if you’re new to this type of crochet, though, as I’ll walk you through developing your crochet skills as you crochet the frill:

  • In addition to my usual full written instructions and charted stitch diagrams, I’ve included instructional appendices for the frill for right- and left-handers.
  • Each appendix walks you through the frill row by row via a special colour-coded stitch diagram for the row and a photo of the frill at the end of the row.
  • If you’re printing the pattern, save paper and ink by only printing the right- or left-handed appendix as applicable (or don’t print either, if you don’t need the additional instructions).
frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

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.

You can buy the Frilled Lizard Expansion Pack for only $2.50 individually from the shop, or, if you haven’t yet bought the Iguana pattern, you can buy the multipack of both lizards, and save 50c on the pair.

Launch Discount

If you’ve already bought the Iguana, you won’t be able to save that 50c. But, for 7 days only, add the Frilled Lizard Expansion Pack pattern to your shopping cart, together with anything else (totalling $5 or more), then use the code FRILLY at checkout and you’ll still get your discount! (Valid until next Sunday: 19th October 2014.)

Note: If you don’t need anything else right now, this also applies to Gift Certificate purchases, so you can pick up a $5 gift certificate now, get your discount, and have $5 in your PlanetJune account ready for your next purchase, or to send to a crocheting friend!


My Frilled Lizard makes me laugh, with his wide open mouth and colourful frill. I’ve also just realised that his colours are very seasonally appropriate in autumnal shades of brown, orange and yellow – although that was just a happy accident based on the colouring of the real lizards! If you’re not ready to make one just yet, don’t forget to heart and queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about him:

I hope you’ll enjoy this pattern as much as I enjoyed creating him! :)

Comments (4)

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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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