PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Owl Collection crochet pattern

Owl Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune - a clever low-sew pattern with endless customisation options

Are you ready for a pattern that’ll give you a spectacular result thanks to some clever new techniques and tricks? In that case, I think you’ll love my new design: the Owl Collection:

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Owl Collection is a clever low-sew design: the head, body, legs and wings are all crocheted as one piece, giving you an elegant bird silhouette with the perfect owl posture and an effortlessly smooth result! This concept has been over a year in the making, and I hope you’ll agree it was worth the wait…

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

About the Designs

Fun Fact: Owls’ eyes are fixed in their sockets, so they have to turn their entire head to look in a different direction!

I’ve used that fact in my design to let you choose any direction for your owl’s head to be facing: to the left, right, or straight ahead. Don’t you think a pair of matching owls, facing in opposite directions, would make a lovely bookcase or mantelpiece ornament?

I’ve designed the pattern to give you endless options: by varying the colours, the direction the head is looking, and the facial embellishments, you can make your own customised owls! Although I used black eyes for my sample owls – it fits better with the PlanetJune style – you can use coloured eyes (try any shade of orange or yellow) to give yours an unblinking owlish stare.

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Make them to match a real breed of owl, or more cartoony with brighter colours and oversized eyes – it’s up to you. My samples are loosely based on real types of owls, and you can switch out the colours or add more detail if you want to represent a specific species more closely. A flecked yarn (for example I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Grey Marble for my grey owl) is an easy way to give a realistic mottled result.

Fun Fact: Owls are divided into two families: Strigidae (typical owls) and Tytonidae (barn owls). With this pattern, you can choose appropriate colours to make any of the typical (true) owls.

Note: I’d love to design a barn owl too, but to make it look right it’d need lots of colour changes and special shaping to make the distinctive heart-shaped face, so that’s a challenge I’ll have to save for some future point in time!

Here are a few examples to get you started, if you want to base your owls on real species:

  • Round head (my white owl): e.g. Snowy Owl, Fishing Owl, Hawk Owl
  • Facial disks or ‘eyebrows’ (my brown owl): e.g. Tawny Owl, Wood Owl, Little Owl
  • Ear tufts or ‘horns’ (my grey owl): e.g. Horned Owl, Eagle Owl, Scops Owl

About the Pattern

This pattern includes several new techniques and tricks, but you can rest assured that I’ll walk you through each stage with clear explanations and a massive 45 step-by-step photos. But please don’t be intimidated – once you’ve made one owl, you’ll understand how the construction works and it’ll be fast and easy to make more owls!

As all these photos make for a long, photo-heavy pattern, with several photos on every page, I’ve also reformatted just the written crochet instructions (without the photos, notes or assembly instructions) as an Appendix to the patten. If you like to work from a printout while you crochet, you can save paper and ink by printing just the 4 text-only pages of the Appendix, and referring to the full pattern onscreen if/when you need to look at the photos.

Buy Now & Launch Discount

Ready to get owling? You can pick up the entire Owl Collection from my shop right now for only $7.50!

If you’re not ready to buy just yet (or even if you are!), please remember to heart and queue it on Ravelry:

But let’s make that deal even better: for one week only, you can buy the Owl Collection for the extra-special low price of $7. To take advantage of this deal, add the Owl Collection to your shopping cart, and enter the discount code HEDWIG at checkout! (Offer ends Thursday 29 June, 2017.)

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Wings & Things Crochet-Along

And, from today until the end of August, join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group for the summer CAL, where you can make and share any PlanetJune designs with wings (all kinds of birds, winged dinosaurs, fruit bat, dragonfly, pegasus…) – including the new Owls, of course!

PlanetJune Wings & Things CAL crochet pattern options

I hope you’ll share your projects with us there – I’d love to see them…

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tutorial: amigurumi wall hanging

make an amigurumi wall hanging with this PlanetJune tutorial

The recent popularity of art weavings, macrame and other yarny wall hangings got me thinking, and I came up with the novel idea to display amigurumi creatively as a wall hanging…

amigurumi wall hanging tutorial by PlanetJune

It’s easier to hang than a mobile, and more versatile as a decorative piece for all ages. And it looks even better in person than in the photo – it’s so bright and cheerful!

For my wall hanging, I decided my Tropical Fish patterns would make a perfect grouping, and I added some tiny crocheted balls to represent bubbles in the water. But you could combine any small amigurumi and crocheted pieces into a decorative wall hanging in this way.

amigurumi wall hanging tutorial by PlanetJune

Want to make your own wall hanging? The tutorial is free to view online, and I’ve also compiled it all together into a handy PDF – yours in return for any-sized donation – that includes lots of bonus content: the exclusive Tiny Ball crochet pattern; step-by-step tutorials for my preferred knots (particularly useful with slippery fishing line!), and more bonus tips, photos and advice 🙂

Go to the Amigurumi Wall Hanging Tutorial >>

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Capybara crochet pattern

As part of the new-and-improved Commissions process, I’ve added a 2-week exclusivity period for all new commissions, so, if you didn’t pledge towards the capy, you may have been waiting (im)patiently for this announcement: the Capybara crochet pattern is finally available to purchase!

I’ll definitely be giving early access to all commissioned patterns in future – it’s a nice extra reward to those who choose to pledge towards my pattern commissions, and it’s fun seeing projects pop up on Ravelry before the pattern is even officially available 🙂

Capybara crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Capybara Fun Facts

  • The Capybara is the largest rodent in the world, and can reach up to 150lbs in weight.
  • Its closest relative is the guinea pig.
  • Capybara come from South America and their Latin name Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris means ‘Water Pig’.
  • They are semiaquatic herbivores and live in environments that include both forest and rivers, lakes or swamps.
  • They have slightly webbed feet, and eat, swim and even sleep partially submerged in water!

Capybara crochet pattern by PlanetJune

About the Pattern

The Capyabara pattern is nice and chunky, at about 8″ (20cm) long. Despite the size, he’s pretty quick to crochet: he’s made in a single colour; his head and body are crocheted as one piece, and capys don’t have tails! He has magical shaping built in, and the perfect snooty Capybara nose.

As always, the pattern includes full instructions and plenty of step-by-step assembly photos so you can make a perfect Capybara of your own!

Capybara crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Ready to Crochet?

If you were one of the Capybara commissioners, I hope you’ve been enjoying your early access to the pattern over the past few weeks!

If you’ve been waiting for the capy pattern, you can pick it up from my shop right now – and then join our Sight-C-ing CrochetAlong (making anything that starts with the letter ‘C’!) in the PlanetJune Ravelry group 🙂

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

I hope you’ll enjoy my Capy pattern! It was a fun one to design, especially with that very distinctive body shape 🙂

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Amigurumi Finishing Technique: Needlesculpting

Needlesculpting is a finishing technique you can use to improve the shape of your amigurumi. It uses a yarn needle and length of matching yarn to draw in certain areas of an amigurumi to alter its shape, as with this bulky-necked panda:

needlesculpting in amigurumi - tutorial

If you’re following a pattern with crocheted shaping built in, you shouldn’t need to do this, but it can be a useful tool to have in your arsenal, if you want to:

  • Fix ‘lost’ shaping: If you’ve crocheted too loosely or been over-generous with your stuffing, and the built-in shaping has been lost.
  • Add extra definition: Exaggerate the shape of your amigurumi.
  • Make easy modifications: Alter the shape of a pattern without modifying the stitches you crochet.

Continue to my tutorial and I’ll show you how to add needlesculpted details to your amigurumi! >>

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sculpting in crochet and other media

While taking a photo of my original crocheted alpaca Alpaca together with my new felted alpaca Alpaca, it occurred to me that I’ve also made several other ‘pairs’ of crochet/non-crochet sculptures over the years!

Here’s my gallery of pairs – can you see the similarities between each pair?
(The names are links to my patterns, in case you’d like to make the crocheted version!)

Crocheted and needlefelted Alpacas (2008 and 2017):

needlefelted alpaca and amigurumi Alpaca crochet pattern, by PlanetJune

…crocheted and needlefelted Guinea Pigs (2007 and 2009):

needlefelted guinea pig and amigurumi Guinea Pig crochet pattern, by PlanetJune

…crocheted and hand-sewn Aardvarks (2011 and 2013):

hand-sewn aardvark and amigurumi Aardvark crochet pattern, by PlanetJune

…crocheted and polymer clay Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs (2010 and 2010):

polymer clay frog, and amigurumi Poison Dart Frog crochet pattern, by PlanetJune

…and crocheted and polymer clay Succulents (2012 and 2011):

polymer clay succulents, and Succulent crochet pattern, by PlanetJune

I think it’s strange and lovely to see the way my PlanetJune style seems to come through, no matter what medium I work in! I really enjoy sculpting, in any medium. Although the process of crocheting is very different from building up clay, fiber, etc, the placement of stitches to form a 3D shape gives amigurumi the added bonus that the finished pieces are more easily replicable than with other crafts.

I’m so glad that crochet lends itself to patterns – it’d be much more difficult to explain how to sculpt an animal or plant from clay or fibre without being able to quantify the instructions with specific stitches in specific places. If I hadn’t found amigurumi, I’d still be making nature-inspired sculptures, but I don’t think I’d be able to make my living from them!

I work far too slowly to be an ‘artist’ and sell my finished pieces, but I feel like my patterns are a way to share my designs in a way that I couldn’t easily do if I switched to a different medium, and I love that my patterns give me a way to help other people to craft their own soft sculptures too! ♥

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    June Gilbank

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