PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for May, 2009

amigurumi dinosaurs

Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my ring-tailed lemur! It looks like there is demand for a pattern, so I’ll get started on that shortly.

In the meantime, I thought it was time to try something a bit different, so I’ve been making… Dinosaurs! I think a lot of my patterns are more appealing to girls than to boys, and I wanted to redress the balance a bit here:

amigurumi dinosaurs by planetjune
Click for the full-size image

These dinosaurs are: Brachiosaurus (green), Stegosaurus (blue/grey), and Triceratops (orange). They are all herbivores – in fact, you might remember the brachiosaurus as the ‘veggiesaurus’ from Jurassic Park. They are nice and chunky so they would be good as toys to play with, and they are all between 9″ and 11″ long.

I’ve tried to make each species as distinct as possible, without adding too much detail that would be difficult to crochet. These will definitely not be advanced patterns! I’m especially pleased with the head and neck of the brachiosaurus – it’s all crocheted in one piece! And the body and tail of each are worked in one piece too, which helps to reduce the amount of sewing required.

I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn for the first time in these designs. I love the muted colours in the range, and it’s nice and heavy for a worsted weight yarn, so it makes a good firm fabric (great for amigurumi!)

I’m hoping to have the dinosaur patterns up in the next few days. The lemur will take a bit longer. If you’d like to know when either are available, sign up for my mailing list and you’ll be among the first to know 🙂

There’s potential for quite a few more designs in this range, but I’ll see how popular these initial three are before I design any more. What do you think of them?

Comments (24)

ring-tailed lemur

Time to reveal the design I was working on at the Creativ Festival. It’s a Ring-tailed Lemur:

crocheted ring-tailed lemur by planetjune

Lemurs hail from the island of Madagascar, off the southeast coast of Africa. Madagascar’s geographical isolation has led to a unique ecosystem of unusual animals and plants, of which lemurs are probably the most well-known.

crocheted ring-tailed lemur by planetjune

Lemurs are the Madagascan equivalent of monkeys, but they are prosimians – more primitive than the monkeys and apes found elsewhere in the world. There are over 90 species of lemurs in Madagascar!

crocheted ring-tailed lemur by planetjune

Ring-tailed lemurs are characterized by their distinctive long black and white striped tail and a cat-like appearance. You may recognize them from the Madagascar animated movies or the Animal Planet show Lemur Street/Lemur Kingdom.

crocheted ring-tailed lemur by planetjune

Would anyone be interested in a Ring-Tailed Lemur pattern? It would be slightly more advanced than my usual patterns. Specifically, the colour changes in the head (3 different colours) and the shaping of the back legs are a little more advanced than my other patterns. I’ve taken step-by-step photos to demonstrate the trickier parts, but I’d like to know if there’s any interest before I edit all the photos and write it up.

Please leave me a comment if you like my lemur, or if you’d like me to write up the pattern!

UPDATED: The pattern is now available in my shop 🙂

Comments (30)

punchneedle poll

Okay, so I did a little test this weekend to establish what punchneedle is all about and whether it would be something I could design patterns for. This is my test piece – you may recognise the subjects as my Fuzzy Penguin and Fuzzy Seal 🙂 It’s approx 3.5″x 2.25″ and worked with 3 strands of DMC embroidery floss.

punchneedle penguin and seal by planetjune

For this sample, I wanted to figure out what kind of designs would look best, so I designed the penguin to be not outlined, and the seal with an outline. I’ve learned a few things about designing for punchneedle:

  • Not outlining looks best – the outline looks a bit uneven in places because it’s only 1 loop thick
  • Tiny detail is difficult to replicate (e.g. the seal’s nose)
  • Bold colours and patterns will look really good

But I can see a lot of potential here. I learnt that punchneedle is really easy to do, and it’s so fast compared with cross stitch! I punched the penguin and seal in under an hour and a half – and it was my first attempt, so that includes my slow start as I tried to learn how to punch correctly. The background took a bit longer, but it’s so relaxing and you don’t have to concentrate much, so it’s perfect to punch away while you watch TV.

UPDATE: By request, adding a close-up pic so you can see what the stitches look like:

punchneedle close up
L: Back of piece: looks like regular backstitched embroidery
R: Front of piece (edge on): lots of loops. Mine are 3mm tall but the tool lets you adjust the loop length to much longer

punchneedle tool

Now I’ve finished the experiment, I can visualize a whole series of designs… I think a range of dog breeds would be so cute, and also a wild animal range (giraffe, panda, etc). You could use them to make quilt squares (just add a fabric border), embellishments for bags etc, or just to frame.

Now my questions to you…

  1. Are you intrigued by punchneedle? Would you like me to put up a basic tutorial so you can see how it works?
  2. Might you be interested in PlanetJune punchneedle designs? (They would, of course, be better than my test piece above – I’m thinking more realistic and colourful)

I’m obviously still in the planning stages here, but I’d love some early feedback before I embark on a design range. I’m not asking for any kind of commitment; just your opinion. It’s a cheap craft to get into; once you’ve bought the actual needle, an embroidery hoop, and some woven fabric, then all you need to pick up for each project is the floss colours.

If there’s no interest, I’ll still make some for myself, just for fun, but I really think this is another craft that just needs a little updating with some fresh, cute patterns to be relevant to us. All the patterns I’ve seen are a bit too, um, country (is that the right word?) for my taste.

Please let me know what you think! Any comments welcome.

Comments (37)

ice cream bear pattern

My ‘Ice Cream Bear’ crochet pattern made his debut in the Summer 2008 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread magazine, but if you don’t have a copy of the magazine, I’m happy to announce that the pattern is now available to purchase directly from the PlanetJune shop.

ice cream bear crochet pattern by planetjune

I designed Ice Cream Bear to have the timeless look of a classic toy teddy bear. I chose a boucle yarn, which masks the stitches in the finished bear – people are amazed to hear he is crocheted! If the thought of working with boucle intimidates you, you could substitute any bulky weight yarn, which would give your bear a more standard amigurumi look.

ice cream bear crochet pattern by planetjune
By the way, these are the first pics taken with my new camera! So far, so good (although there’s a bit of a learning curve!)

I chose to make a cherry ice cream for my bear, but you could easily make cookies & cream (brown chunks on cream) or mint choc chip (brown chunks on green) or any other flavour of ice cream. Mmm, all this talk of ice cream is making me hungry!

It’s always summer with Ice Cream Bear around. I hope you like him!

Comments (4)

crafty business update

Wow, it’s May already! I’ve been officially self-employed for 4 months now, so I thought it was time for an update on how the first third of 2009 went.

It’s funny how things work out: I’ve been so busy with other projects that I really haven’t had a chance to try to build my business at all! January to March was basically filled with writing my upcoming book, Paper Chains & Garlands, and most of April was taken up with preparation for the Creativ Festival.

In between all that, I’ve only managed to publish a handful of new crochet patterns:

2009 planetjune designs
L-R: African Violets, Mop Top Mascots, Basic Rose, Alpaca, PocketAmi Easter

But now it’s May, and I have nothing on the horizon, so I finally have time to come up with lots of new designs – yay! Not that I’m short of ideas, but if you have any requests or suggestions, please let me know

Other business news: I’ve just invested in a DSLR camera (a Sony A200) to help improve my product photography. My old camera had issues with grainy noise in low light situations, so in the past I’ve had to spend a lot of time cleaning up my photos before they are good enough to publish. I’m hoping the new camera will let me get clear, sharp shots without much post-processing, which (once I’ve learnt how to use the camera!) will free up more time for other things.

And I’ve also just made a new homepage that fits in better with the style of PlanetJune. I’d love to freshen up my entire website with a new style, but that’ll have to be a longer-term project!

old homepage
Old: oops, total disconnect with the rest of my site…

new homepage
New and improved: matches my blog, and bonus orang pic!

Oh, and one more thing: I was interviewed about amigurumi and romanticism for the latest issue of Yareah magazine. Check out my article online.

Comments (10)

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    June Gilbank

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