PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for January, 2010

making cat toys

Today is my furbaby Maui’s 6th birthday. (Well, we adopted him when he was a year old, so we don’t know his actual birthday, but we settled on this date for him so it wouldn’t be too close to Christmas.) If you don’t know my lovely boy, here he is:

Awww, handsome cat!

The actual subject of this post is making toys for your cat, and whether it’s worth the effort. I’d like to demonstrate with a couple of toys that I made for Maui three years ago (please excuse the photos – my photographic skills have clearly improved since 2007!)…

__(‘Read the rest of this entry »’)

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polar bear pattern redux

Looking at my crochet pattern sales over the past few years, one of my least popular patterns has been my poor neglected AquaAmi Polar Bear, and I think I know why…

aquaami by planetjune

It’s entirely my own fault: I wanted to keep the design in line with the other AquaAmi (who are all about the shaping and have no features other than eyes), so I didn’t give my polar bear a black nose.

polar bear (old version) by planetjune

Although it was an intentional design decision, I’m pretty sure that was a mistake from the point of view of selling patterns; most people couldn’t see the implied (invisible) nose and so overlooked the pattern, which is actually a really nicely-shaped realistic polar bear design.

So, let’s try an experiment to see if I’m right… Today I am proud to (re-)introduce the AquaAmi Polar Bear crochet pattern!

polar bear amigurumi crochet pattern (new and improved!) by planetjune

Beautiful realistic shaping and a classic black bear nose make this a must-have pattern! Worked in a bulky weight yarn, he stands at about 8″ long and  5″ tall. You can easily resize the design down by simply using a worsted weight yarn and E hook to make a more compact bear, or a couple of baby bears to follow the mama bear around (oh, wouldn’t that be cute?!)

So, why not pick up a copy of the Polar Bear pattern today?

For those of you who’ve already purchased the pattern, don’t worry, this is essentially the exact same pattern you bought! But if you’d like a copy of the new version, please contact me and I’ll happily email it to you!

I’ll be very interested to see what (if any) effect this has on sales of the Polar Bear pattern. As my business evolves, I’ve been learning to focus more on what my customers want rather than arbitrary decisions that only make sense to me. For example, my patterns were originally categorized by ranges: AmiDogs, AquaAmi, AfricAmi, PocketAmi, etc, but the ranges were beginning to dictate which animal designs I could make, and navigating through those categories was not at all clear to anyone except me! Last year, I changed my shop categories to make it easier to find the type of pattern you’re looking for (Wild Animals, Farm Animals, Pets, etc etc) and I think that’s much more intuitive.

There are other things about that aren’t as user-friendly as I’d like. I’ve been compiling a list of things that could be better, and I plan to work my way through the improvements as the year progresses, so if you have any suggestions for other changes that would improve the whole ‘PlanetJune experience’ (LOL), please feel free to let me know so that I can add them to my list! Gentle and/or constructive criticism only, please – don’t make me cry 🙂

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‘best of 2009’ award

crocheted lemmings by planetjune

What a lovely surprise! Out of tens of thousands of projects posted on Craftster in 2009, my amigurumi Lemmings were chosen as one of the 5 best crochet projects of the year. Yay!

Craftster Best of 2009 Winner
I’m a Craftster Best of 2009 Winner!

In other news, posts may be a little scarce for the next few weeks, as I’m entering the home stretch of the biggest, most exciting secret project I’ve ever been involved with!

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The power of Twitter strikes again! A Twitter conversation between Groundhog Day fans @SisterDiane, @kpwerker, @kitchensinkdye and myself (@planetjune) led to a cool idea: We’re having a Groundhog-along!

Groundhog-along 2010!

Join in and crochet your amigurumi groundhog by Feb 2nd. You can join  the Groundhog-along 2010 Ravelry group and/or grab the above button image (created by Kim from my photo) for your blog. (Save the button image and upload it to your own server, please.)

If you don’t already use Ravelry, it’s free to join and a wonderful resource for all crocheters and knitters. But if you don’t want to join, send me a pic of your amigurumi groundhog before Feb 2nd and I’ll include it in my Groundhog-along wrap-up post on Groundhog Day!

(Don’t forget to get the Groundhog crochet pattern so you can add to our army of adorable crocheted groundhogs!)

amigurumi groundhog by planetjune

I’m so excited that in one evening we’re up to 25 Groundhog-along group members already – this is going to be so much fun!

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amigurumi groundhog

I’ve been planning to design a groundhog for the past 2 years, but every time I remember, it’s late January, and far too late to give anyone other than me a chance to make one in time for Groundhog Day (February 2nd). This year I got my act in gear and made sure I’d get my design finished with a month to spare!

For those of you unfamiliar with Groundhog Day, go out and buy the movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. RIGHT NOW. Seriously, you won’t regret it. It’s one of my favourite movies of all time 🙂

crocheted amigurumi groundhog by planetjune

But the concept of Groundhog Day (the day, as opposed to the movie) is that the groundhog is a talented weather forecaster… On February 2nd, the groundhog wakes up from his winter hibernation, comes out of his burrow and looks around. If he sees his shadow, there’ll be 6 more weeks of winter; if he doesn’t see his shadow, we’ll have an early spring. There are several famous annual Groundhog Day ceremonies around North America, each with their own famous groundhog, including Punxsutawney Phil (yep, he’s the one in the movie!) in Pennsylvania, Wiarton Willie (an albino groundhog) in Ontario, and Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia. Of course, the chance of spring starting in early February is fairly non-existent in these parts, and the groundhogs correctly predict that by seeing their shadows most years 😉

crocheted amigurumi groundhog by planetjune
I took this photo of a pair of baby groundhogs last spring

But a groundhog is for life, not just for Groundhog Day… The groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, is a member of the marmot family. Here in Waterloo, Ontario, we see a lot of groundhogs throughout the year (except winter), sitting in fields and grazing on grass verges, and they are really cute. I love how fat they look (I made sure to build that into my design!) and when they stand up on their back legs to look around, they are just adorable! They aren’t greedy – they build up all that fat for a reason: so they can survive through the harsh winter by hibernating in their burrows.

crocheted amigurumi groundhog by planetjune

crocheted amigurumi groundhog by planetjune

And now you can make a cute and chubby little groundhog of your own, with my latest amigurumi crochet pattern! I made mine from Bernat Satin which is quite fine as worsted weight yarns go, and he stands at around 6.5″ tall. If you used a thicker worsted weight yarn (confusing, I know) like Vanna’s Choice, your groundhog would be even larger. If you’d like to make your own, the Groundhog crochet pattern is now available in the PlanetJune shop 🙂

I’m hoping my little guy will not see his shadow this February 2nd, so we can all look forward to an early spring!

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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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