PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

fixing a dog sweater with crochet

Today is the 3-week anniversary of adopting my adorable dog Maggie, and I’m more sure than ever that we made the right decision! I’m so happy I found such a special little lamb – she’s so small and sweet, and she loves me so much. And she’s such a clever girl – our training is progressing well, and she’s learning new things practically every day!

We’ve been visiting all the local pet stores to look for small toys and training treats and other essentials:

maggie dog

Now, it’s pretty cold in Canada and Maggie doesn’t have a lot of fur, so getting a sweater immediately was crucial. I bought her this cute little argyle sweater in her favourite colours – pink and grey – and doesn’t she look adorable in it?!

fixing an unravelling dog sweater with crochet

But, less than a week after buying it, it looked more like this:

fixing an unravelling dog sweater with crochet

Not only was it coming apart at the seams, but the knitting was actually unravelling at the exposed edges:

fixing an unravelling dog sweater with crochet

This is the first and last time I buy a dog sweater – now I know how a dog sweater works and have this well-fitting example to take measurements from, I’ll be able to crochet or knit all her sweaters in future (yay!)

But, I wasn’t about to let this cute sweater go to waste quite so soon. I found a perfect pink baby yarn in my stash (I knew I’d find a use for it one day!), grabbed a crochet hook, and got to work.

I passed the yarn end through all the loose knitted loops I could see, to prevent further runs, and then single crocheted over the last couple of knitted rows to bind all the loose ends in place. I added a ch 1 between each sc to add a little stretch to my new edging, which makes the edging look very slightly ruffled, but it worked like a charm:

fixing an unravelling dog sweater with crochet

In a few minutes, the sweater was saved! The new leg edgings don’t show much in use, but occasionally you can see a flash of pink crochet, and it looks pretty stylish, and not obviously like a repair.

fixing an unravelling dog sweater with crochet

The yarn colour matches incredibly well, and, most importantly, Maggie is happy to have her sweater back so she can stay cosy while we’re exploring the neighbourhood!

fixing an unravelling dog sweater with crochet

This just goes to show how most mass-market clothes pale in comparison to the care and quality of handmade. I doubt I’ll be knitting argyle sweaters for Maggie, but I’m sure she’ll be equally happy with single-coloured handmade sweaters in future, don’t you think? ๐Ÿ™‚

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first machine-knitted sweater!

This is my first FO of the year, and I’m completely thrilled by it!

machine/hand knitted periwinkle sweater by planetjune

It’s a combination of machine and hand knitting, and to explain how that came about, let’s start with some backstory…

Despite having filled my wardrobe with handknits, I haven’t finished knitting a sweater for over a year now. With hindsight, I think the reason is that knitting kept me going through the worst of my PTSD. When I couldn’t do anything else, I could still move my needles, loop my yarn, and make one neat stitch after another to pass the time in a constructive way. Knitting became my therapy, and it did that job so well that it ruined knitting for me as a fun hobby.

I’d started on a simple project that should have been easy and fun – remaking my simplest sweater design in a different colour (the lovely periwinkle you see above). I got most of the way through the sleeves, and then… I stalled.

I put the project away and hadn’t been tempted to knit another sweater for ages, until I bought my knitting machine. I used the rag hems I told you about in my previous post as guides to try to match my gauge to the sleeves I’d already knitted by hand, and then got started trying to machine knit the missing parts (the front and back) of the sweater.

The back went so well that I got a little too enthusiastic (or too confident!) when I knitted the front – I got over-tired and didn’t notice I’d skipped the whole section from waist to underarms!

It’s hard to see what’s going on while you’re knitting, as the work is weighted down and completely stretched out of shape, so I didn’t notice my mistake until I’d finished and laid the sweater front out flat…

machine/hand knitted periwinkle sweater by planetjune

Bet you’ve never seen a sweater with this shape before! (Ignore the green rows at the bottom – those are my rag hem and won’t be part of the final sweater.)

Haha! Disaster! I fed a lifeline (the yellow yarn across the photo above) through the row below the point where I went wrong – there should be an extra 32 rows of knitting at that point!

But I wasn’t too discouraged by my mistake – it was good practice for following my at-the-same-time armhole decreases and neck decreases, and I was encouraged by how neat the stitches looked.

I frogged all the way back to the lifeline, hooked it all back onto the machine, and tried again (without making any stupid mistakes this time).

Once I’d finished, it was just a matter of seaming the front, back and sleeves together, then picking up stitches to knit the bottom band and neckband by hand. And it seems I’ve got my knitting mojo back! I really enjoyed hand-knitting the ribbing so I could see how the sweater would turn out.

machine/hand knitted periwinkle sweater by planetjune

There are some minor flaws in my knitting, where the yarn must have caught on something and so the tension of the whole row is too tight, but I’m delighted with this as my first attempt. The gauge is exactly what I was aiming for, and it’s a perfectly cosy sweater for this time of year!

I’m so impressed with how well the stitches match between my hand knit sleeves and the machine knit body – if you didn’t know, would you be even able to tell there was a difference?!

machine/hand knitted periwinkle sweater by planetjune

Concept proven, and now I’m back in the knitting game with lots of ideas for what to knit next with my combination of machine- and hand-knitting – I think it’s the best of both worlds. So exciting!

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a new addition!

I’ve been dealing with a new batch of PTSD-related stuff for the last few weeks, since I was triggered by an incident in my neighbourhood. It’s exhausting to go from feeling pretty much okay to being thrust back into panic attacks and hypervigilance again.

As a result of that, I started to more seriously consider getting a little emotional support dog, and my therapist agreed it’d be a very good idea. After searching all the local shelters, I found the dog that sounded like my perfect match – even just reading her description made me cry with how much she sounded like exactly what I was looking for. Plus, she’s totally adorable…

Maggie dog

It was a bit of a snap decision to adopt her (although I’ve been debating for years whether or not the time was right to get a dog), but when life hands you an opportunity, you have to grab it or miss out!

Maggie dog

So, here is my new baby, Maggie. She’s 7 years old and we think she’s mostly Miniature Poodle (or even Toy Poodle – she’s a tiny little scrap!) and she’s a curly-coated lovebug. She doesn’t know any words except her name as yet, but she’s a very good girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

Maggie dog

Maggie is only two thirds of Maui’s size, but he’s very unsure of her at the moment even though she’s not even slightly interested in him. I’m hoping they’ll learn to get along, or at least to ignore each other. They’ve touched noses twice now, so I think there’s a chance they’ll become friends eventually!

Maggie dog

She’s already done wonders for my PTSD – sitting with a warm little dog sleeping on your lap is incredibly soothing, and patrolling the neighbourhood with my tiny fearless companion at my side puts things back into perspective.

But, there’s a bit of a learning curve to integrate a dog into our household! I’ve never lived with a dog before, and I’m reading and googling and trying to figure out dozens of things every day. I’ve signed us up for a training class, but that doesn’t start for another week so I’ll have to muddle through until then.

Maggie dog

My life is a bit upside down right now as a result of all this, but I’m trying to practice the ‘acceptance of my situation’ that was one of my goals for this year. It’s incredibly frustrating that I don’t have a new pattern ready to debut this month, but, on the bright side, until I was distracted by life, I’d been working on a special new design that I’m really excited about. Every time I walk past my prototype I smile – it’s one of the best things I’ve ever designed! I’ve had to put the pattern on hold until I get my brain back to working at full capacity; it’s impossible to be creative and clever and innovative when you’re completely drained. I know it’ll be worth waiting for, and a few more weeks isn’t going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

Maggie dog

Thanks to my starting to learn how to be a good dog parent, plus lots of dog walking and dog shopping and dog/cat mediation, I’m utterly exhausted right now – but it’s for a much healthier reason than the fear and stress of the last weeks!

Maggie dog

Once Maggie and I get settled into a routine, I think she’ll make an excellent PlanetJune assistant, helping me to stay calm and focused (and providing plenty of cuteness inspiration, of course).

Maggie dog

Please welcome my sweet little Maggie to the PlanetJune family!

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PlanetJune Stories: Seth’s Dinosaurs

Today’s PlanetJune Story is very special – it’s from Seth, one of my youngest customers at only 10 years old! Seth, with a little assistance from mom Amy, has become quite the amigurumi prodigy, and I think you’ll be impressed by his story, and his beautifully crocheted dinosaurs.

And now over to Seth:


Hi, Iโ€™m Seth from Utah! I am ten years old and love to crochet.

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs

Two years ago my cousin crocheted a pink jellyfish for me. I loved the animals she made and I wanted to make some for myself. I learned how to chain and single crochet, so that I could make a snake.

Last year for Christmas, I got a kit to crochet safari animals. My first lion took me two days straight to finish, but now I can crochet a dinosaur in only five or six hours. I have almost 100 crocheted critters plus three crocheted pet nets to hang them from my bunk bed.

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs

Crocheted animals are fun to make and are super cute and squishy. I love showing my animals to people and they sometimes want to start crocheting too. (The โ€œcrochet bugโ€ is very contagious!)

I also love dinosaurs! I love the dinosaur patterns from PlanetJune because they are so fun to crochet and so realistic. I got my first dinosaur pattern for my birthday in July and loved it. The sewing tutorials on PlanetJune helped my dinosaurs to look really good. After I made dinosaurs for myself, I crocheted a few more to sell so I could buy even more dinosaur patterns.

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs

I have had a lot of fun and learned lots while building my dinosaur collection. So far I have crocheted all 18 PlanetJune dinosaurs and created two of my own โ€“ Barosaurus and Deinosuchus โ€“ using my own ideas and pieces of Juneโ€™s patterns!

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs


(Back to me, June, again!)

Seth, I’m so impressed with your skill and passion for making amigurumi animals – and that you’re starting on designing your own creations too! You clearly have a talent for this, and I’m so happy to see how much you enjoy my patterns!

(I’ve asked Seth’s mom, Amy, to share her perspective and tips on teaching kids to crochet in the next PlanetJune Story, so look out for that soon, especially if you’d like to encourage and support your own children on their own crochet journey!)

Thank you so much, Seth, for sharing your story with us today ๐Ÿ™‚
Please leave Seth a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!


PS – If you’re feeling inspired to crochet dinosaurs too, you can find all the PlanetJune Dinosaur crochet patterns here in my shop. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments (32)

Adventures in Machine Knitting

Well yes, I seem to have picked up another new fibre-crafting hobby!

A few weeks ago, I somehow ended up on Facebook Marketplace, and noticed someone in my neighbourhood was selling something called the Ultimate Sweater Machine

knitting machine
It’s the ultimate!

I mean, how could I pass that up?! It even has the prestigious “As Seen on TV” award ๐Ÿ˜‰

I knew nothing about machine knitting, but I love crafting tools and learning new skills, so I couldn’t resist.

The machine was complete but for the instruction manual and – oh! the tragedy! – the patterns for the ’90s-chic designs pictured on the box. It did come with some instructions, but I have no way to view them…

knitting machine
Yep, this is old!

I began to question the sanity of my purchase, but thank goodness for YouTube – there were plenty of tutorials there to get me started. I clamped the machine to the front of a desk and I was ready to go:

knitting machine
I got lucky – the machine matches the length of my desk perfectly

My machine is about as simple as it gets. It only knits stockinette, and there’s no motor or electronics or automation – you operate it by pushing the carriage back and forth across the row of latch hooks. One pass equals one row of stockinette.

knitting machine
Pretty latch hooks, all in a row

In case you’re like me and wondering how on earth this works, here’s a 10-second explanation: inside the purple carriage, the angled bars on the green plate direct the raised peg near the back of each hook, which pushes each hook in and out as you move the carriage along. The hook is moved forwards to grab the yarn in the open latch, and then moved backwards, which closes the latch, draws the new yarn through the existing stitch, and drops the old stitch off the hook.

knitting machine
It’s a simple but clever mechanism

It’s possible to make increases, decreases, lace and cables with the machine, but you have to move each stitch in turn into its new position (which takes ages) before you knit each row – it’s a completely manual process.

(If you wanted to do ribbing, or any other stitch pattern consisting of both knits and purls, there’s no way to do that except to drop every stitch that should be a purl, and hook it back up in the other direction with a crochet hook or latch hook – I’m not sure if you’d save much time at all after all that faffing around!)

After a few stitch-dropping fiascos, I got the hang of the machine and knitted a rag hem (a reusable provisional weighted hem). The machine is incredibly fast when you’re just knitting back and forth – it just takes a couple of seconds to knit a full row!

knitting machine
Woohoo! I knitted something on the machine!

I made two more rag hems, both for practice using the machine and as gauge swatches for my first ‘proper’ project (blog post coming soon…)

And here’s the rag hem in action as I start swatching for another project:

  • The weighted rod slides inside the bottom edge of the hem to weigh down the project
  • The pink thread temporarily attaches the project to the hem
  • The yellowish-green yarn is the first row of my project

knitting machine
Rag hem in action

Here’s the finished swatch before I bound it off. It looks pretty strange, because the stitches are hugely stretched out across the machine, and the front of the fabric faces away from you as you knit:

knitting machine
Knitting in progress (with the rag hem at the bottom)

After removing the project from the machine, the stretched stitches retract back into regular knitted fabric. Flip it over, and you have rows and rows of stockinette:

knitting machine
Looks like knitting!

I have big plans for this machine – in theory, I should be able to design a handknit sweater and knit my design much more quickly than on manual needles. You may consider it cheating, but I’ll still have to form every increase and decrease myself at the right places, and do all the assembly and knit the ribbing by hand. It’s just a different way to knit, and I think I’m going to enjoy it!


Have you ever tried machine knitting? Or do you think it’s cheating to use a machine?!

I’d love to hear about your experiences, or if you have any resources or tips to share. Let me know in the comments below!

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