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thread crochet poinsettia

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember that I have a tradition of crafting a new poinsettia every year, to mark the holidays. Here’s the collection to date:

tsumami kanzashi poinsettia by planetjunecrocheted poinsettia by planetjune
polymer clay poinsettia by planetjunepunchneedle poinsettia by planetjune
polymer clay poinsettia by planetjunebeaded poinsettia by planetjune

Top (L-R): 2006 kanzashi poinsettia; 2007 crocheted poinsettia 
Middle (L-R) 2008 polymer clay poinsettia; 2009 punchneedle poinsettia
Bottom (L-R) 2010 felt poinsettia; 2011 beaded poinsettia

Although you can’t tell from these individual photos (and I don’t have them all to hand to take a group shot), there’s one sore thumb in my poinsettia group: the crocheted poinsettia. It wasn’t until after I’d made it that I decided to start this collection, so it doesn’t match in colour or size. All the others are 2-3″ diameter; the crocheted version much larger, at about 6″ across!

I decided to rectify that this year, and scale down my crocheted Poinsettia pattern by using thread and a small hook instead of the worsted weight yarn specified in the original pattern. I like #8 perle cotton because it’s available in many colours, so easy to find appropriate shades, but it’s too fine for me to crochet with – I get hand pain when I try to crochet with very fine yarns and tiny hooks. This time I determined to be sensible – it’s so important to listen to your body and stop when it hurts, before you reach the point of doing real damage…

And here’s the result: the 2012 PlanetJune Poinsettia is a thread crochet poinsettia. If you’d like to make one too, just follow the Small Poinsettia instructions in my pattern and use crochet thread and a small hook.

thread crochet poinsettia by planetjune

For this poinsettia, I used 2 strands of #8 perle cotton held together, and a B (2.25mm) hook, which gave me the perfect sized poinsettia (2.75″) to fit in with the rest of my collection. I limited myself to a maximum of 2 leaves per day, with only minimal discomfort as a result. And now I’ve proved I can do thread crochet again, provided I keep it to just a few minutes at a time :)

There’s still time to make your own small poinsettia before Christmas: with only 12 leaves instead of 18, it’s much faster than the standard large version, and it still looks good. You can find all my Poinsettia designs as PDFs in my shop, or use the links above for the free online versions.

And that makes 7 poinsettias! I wonder which craft I’ll try for next year’s design…


wip project organiser

Sometimes an idea is so simple you can’t believe it never occurred to you before – and this is one of them.

I have a system for organising my crochet WIPs (works in progress): each project gets its own zip-lock bag or plastic tub, and the yarn, hook, swatches or prototypes, completed pieces, and any other project bits all stay together until the project is finished. But I have a lot of designs on the go these days, and the WIP bags and boxes were piling up all over my office. Furniture here is expensive, so I couldn’t just run out to buy an inexpensive storage solution as I would have in Canada. Then, inspiration struck!

wip project organiser

I bought this canvas hanging closet organiser when we first moved to South Africa and our temporary apartment had no storage areas except for the built-in closets. Once we moved into our house and all our clothes arrived, we needed all our hanging space for clothes, so the organiser was forgotten, until today.

A minute with the Dremel and a tiny drill bit, a couple of white screw-in cup hooks and an offcut of rope, and voilà: an instant WIP organiser. I’ve hung it in the wasted space just beyond the door in my office – and there’s actually room to add a 2nd one next to it, if my number of projects expands further…

Each project is still contained in its bag or box, but now I have a place to store them all together for easy access. The bottom shelf is reserved for items waiting to be photographed – I had to remove several amigurumi before snapping this pic, as they aren’t quite ready to show their faces in public yet 😉

It doesn’t look bad, and it cost nothing as I already had everything I needed. Obviously, this wouldn’t be sturdy enough for heavy storage, but a canvas organiser is perfect for yarn projects. I can already tell that I’m going to love being able to see all my WIP designs at a glance and not have to hunt to find the appropriate project bag when I need it!

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homemade cardboard cat scratcher

Maui loves his double-wide corrugated cardboard scratchers – it’s the only type he’ll use. The pet shops here are tiny, with very little selection, and this type of scratcher doesn’t seem to be available anywhere. Luckily, we have an almost-infinite supply of boxes stored in our garage, which I kept after our move for just such thrifty/crafty purposes…

homemade cat scratcher
Maui supervises as I get to work

The flaps of the moving boxes just happen to be exactly the same width as the length of Maui’s old scratcher, so I kept the old outer box and cut 1.75″ strips of corrugated cardboard to make a new scratching surface. Measure, mark, cut, repeat… I needed 60 strips to fill the old outer box.

homemade cat scratcher
Measuring and cutting strips of cardboard

After that, I just ran a line of white glue along the centre of the length of each strip, stacked them all together, and applied pressure for a couple of minutes so they are all packed tightly together. Edge on, you have the perfect scratching surface for the demanding kitty:

homemade cat scratcher
As good as bought!

Cutting 60 strips was a lot more effort than I thought it would be – I had to split the task over several days, as my hand holding the ruler in position would start to ache after 5 or 10 strips. If I still had access to buy a new scratcher instead, I would. But, as I don’t, it’s worth a little hard work to make one for Maui every now and then.

homemade cat scratcher
This is the state of the old one – better that Maui does this to the cardboard than to our furniture!

As a bonus, it’s fully reversible, so when it looks like the photo above, I can just flip it over, and Maui will have another new scratching surface to decimate before I have to make another one.

homemade cat scratcher
After extensive quality control testing, Maui proclaims it totally scratch-worthy.

A happy cat = time well spent!

Comments (15)

Crinkle Ball Cat Toy

Today is Maui’s birthday! As the most important member of our household, and to celebrate his bravery at coping with a hugely traumatic trans-continental move last year, I wanted to get him an extra-special present. Unfortunately, the pet shops here are lucky to have a ball and a mouse as their cat toy selection, and Maui already has loads of each of those.

maui helping me choose appropriate yarn colours
Maui also likes to supervise when I’m designing – here he makes sure that my yarn ball doesn’t get away from me while I crochet succulents

The balls I crocheted for my Yarn Over vs Yarn Under comparison had a dual purpose – I added some catnip as I stuffed them, so they could double up as new toys for Maui.

crocheted balls
Maui won’t care if I crocheted these with YO or YU, as long as there’s catnip inside!

But that wasn’t good enough – he already has crocheted balls to play with, and I wanted to give him a really special treat. So I put on my creative thinking cap and the result was pretty amazing – I think I may have created the best cat toy ever! It turned my 8-years-young lazypuss into a kitten again, and held his attention for far longer than any store-bought toy has.

crinkle ball cat toy tutorial by planetjune

If you have, or know, a cat, and you like to craft, you must try this. It’s really easy, it only takes 5 minutes, you’ll have a valid excuse for eating chocolates while you craft, and you’ll have the happiest cat in the neighbourhood! The foil makes an irresistible crinkly noise when the ball is played with.

crinkle ball cat toy tutorial by planetjune
The ball on the right has been thoroughly quality-tested by Maui, and after half an hour of kitty football, stalking, pouncing and batting, being carried by mouth, dropped into shoes and being fished out again, you can see that it hasn’t fallen apart at all!

Note: this is my first donationware craft tutorial. As I’ve had requests for PDFs of other tutorials, I’ll also be converting some of my older tutorials to donationware, as I find the time, so there’ll be a handy printable option for them too. As always with my donationware, the full tutorial is available online for free, whether or not you choose to pay for the PDF version!

Go to the Crinkle Ball Cat Toy tutorial >>

Comments (9)

beaded poinsettia

This is my 6th year of crafting a poinsettia every year, to mark the holidays – it’s my little personal crafty tradition. I try to come up with a different technique every year, and I like to share it with you in case you’d like to make one too, or to whet your appetite for a craft you may not be familiar with and may like to investigate further.

tsumami kanzashi poinsettia by planetjunecrocheted poinsettia by planetjune
polymer clay poinsettia by planetjunepunchneedle poinsettia by planetjune
polymer clay poinsettia by planetjunepunchneedle poinsettia by planetjune

Top (L-R): 2006 kanzashi poinsettia; 2007 crocheted poinsettia 
Middle (L-R) 2008 polymer clay poinsettia; 2009 punchneedle poinsettia
Bottom (L-R) 2010 felt poinsettia; 2011 …?

The 2011 PlanetJune Poinsettia is a 3D beaded design. I used beading wire, seed beads, and the Victorian beading technique to create a 7cm (just under 3″) diameter poinsettia.

Victorian beaded poinsettia by planetjune

Once you’ve mastered the simple Victorian beading technique, it’d be easy to change the look to create different flowers by using different colours of beads, and by altering the number of beads on each row to create differently-shaped petals and leaves.

As an aside, I think this will be my last poinsettia tutorial – I had a few hours of beading fun, and then it took me the best part of 2 days to photograph, write and edit the tutorial (definitely work, not fun, and it took far more time than I had to spare). So, while I hope I’ll be able to continue to create and share my annual holiday poinsettias, I’ll take the pressure off myself by just crafting them for fun in future :)

Anyway, I hope you like my 2011 poinsettia design and that you’ll enjoy my final poinsettia tutorial!

Go to the Beaded Poinsettia tutorial >>

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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