PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

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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needlefelted alpaca

A long weekend makes the perfect opportunity to start a new craft project. I’ve been dying to do something with the alpaca fleece I bought from my Alpaca Loom trip a couple of weeks ago, and I thought a suitable first project would be to try needlefelting an alpaca (fibre) Alpaca (animal) – and I’m so happy with how it turned out!

needlefelted alpaca by planetjune

I’ve needlefelted only once before, and reading my previous blog post, I see that was almost exactly 9 years ago(!), so I think that qualifies me as an absolute beginner again…

If you’d like to try needlefelting (particularly to make animals), I recommend the video tutorials at Sarafina Fiber Art. After watching a few hours of those, I felt ready to jump in and just learn by doing. My fleece was a lot shorter than the roving Sara uses, so my learning curve was a bit steeper than I was expecting, but I got there in the end. And, after maybe 5 hours of very slow but enjoyable progress, here’s what I ended up with:

needlefelted alpaca by planetjune

I started with a pipe cleaner armature for stability and used animal eyes (without the backs), but everything else is pure alpaca fleece. I tried to loosely attach a top layer to make it look more fuzzy, and added a little fluffy topknot as a finishing touch.

needlefelted alpaca by planetjune

I’m very much still a beginner, but it’s so satisfying to see the animal slowly start to take shape, and there’s something extra-special about knowing you’re making an animal sculpture from that animal’s own fibre.

I only used a tiny fraction of my fleece, and I can already see I’m going to making more needlefelted animals, when I have time. (I also have some acrylic needlefelting fibre – thanks Alison! – that I’ve been scared to waste, so I’m looking forward to trying some more colourful animal sculptures once I’ve built a bit more confidence with the basic shaping techniques.)

It’s very freeing to make things in a different way from my usual crochet, where I can build up layers if it’s not quite right, and not have to worry about how to explain what I did to anyone. It’s good to have a new hobby 🙂

Have you ever tried needlefelting? Isn’t it fun?

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Commissions update: 5 years

The first cycle of the new and improved PlanetJune Commissions system is complete, with the completion of my Capybara pattern. (That takes my total to 18 commissioned designs in 5 years!)

PlanetJune commissioned crochet patterns: 18 designs in 5 years

The system is much more efficient now: you can manage all your pledges from within your PlanetJune account, and each new commissioned pattern is now automatically added to all the pledgers’ PlanetJune accounts when it’s ready.

I’ve also made a few customer-suggested improvements, going forwards…

Pattern Exclusivity Window

From now on, I’ve introduced a 2 week exclusivity window for the pledgers of a new commission before the pattern is available to the public, as an added ‘thank you’ to those who pledged towards the commission.

Capybara crochet pattern - exclusive to pledgers for now!

(If you didn’t pledge towards the Capybara and would like the pattern, sign up for my monthly newsletter if you’d like notification when the pattern is ready to purchase! I’ll also be blogging details about the pattern and sharing some Capybara fun facts at that time…)

New Progress Chart

I’ve refreshed the main Commissions page by reordering the progress chart by amount pledged. Now it’s easier to see which of your favourites are closer to being fully pledged and could do with a top-up:

new commissions options

New Animal Options

I’ve replaced all the animal options that were less than 25% funded with new options. (The retired animals aren’t necessarily gone forever, but they’ve all been there for a long time and received little interest, so it’s time to give some different animals a chance without making the list ridiculously long.) Here are the new options:

new commissions options
Bilby, Dodo, Kiwi, Numbat, Pangolin, Pot-Bellied Pig, Puffin, Tasmanian Devil, Tortoise (Giant, Galapagos), Tortoise (Small, Pet), Tuatara

Which of these would you like to see made into a PlanetJune crochet pattern? The most popular so far have been the Kiwi and Dodo, but it’s early days yet, so get pledging for your favourites of the new additions!

My next commissions timeslot will begin at the end of May, and I’ll be starting work on my Goat design then, as it’s already fully-funded. But I wonder if the following commission will be one of the current front-runners, or one of the new additions? That’s up to you 😉

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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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