PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for June, 2010

Summer Crochetalong: Alpacas & African Violets

After the success of the Spring Crochetalong (CAL) in the PlanetJune Crochet Designs Ravelry group, people have been asking for another CAL. I put it to the vote, and this is what we came up with:

PlanetJune Summer Crochetalong: Alpacas and African Violets

For the Summer CAL, we’ll be crocheting two of my most popular designs: my Alpaca and/or African Violets patterns. Hopefully that will give everyone a chance to choose a pattern they like – or even make both if you’re feeling ambitious (one per month shouldn’t be too much of a stretch)…

(To add the official Summer CAL button to your blog, right click on the image above and save it, then upload it to your blog.)

Summer CAL Rules

  • The CAL will run from July 1st through to August 31st, so hopefully even the busiest people will have a chance to complete one of the patterns
  • Join my Ravelry group to participate in the Summer CAL chat thread, share your progress, ask questions, etc
  • A CAL is most fun when lots of people join in, so if you’re participating, please feel free to blog about it, post in other groups, etc
  • Share, share, share! If you’ve made an Alpaca or African Violet already, add it to the group for inspiration! And remember to add your CAL projects too and post about them in the CAL thread

CAL Discount

  • If you’re taking part in the CAL, you can buy whichever pattern you’d like to use (or both) for 20% off their regular price. To do this, just order the pattern(s) from my shop and use the discount coupon code 2010SummerCAL at checkout – you’ll see the discount automatically applied to those patterns before you pay.
  • You can also order anything else you want at the same time – but you’ll only get the 20% discount on the CAL patterns(s) 🙂
  • If you’ve already bought the pattern(s), you can still get your 20% discount, applied as credit towards another pattern purchase. To take advantage of this, order and pay for any other pattern(s) as usual, and put a note in the comments box saying which pattern(s) you’ve already purchased and will be making for the CAL (if you have them, the order date or order number would be helpful so I can verify it more easily), and I’ll refund you 20% of the cost of the pattern you’ll be using against this new order.

Note: please don’t abuse my generosity: only take advantage of this discount if you truly intend to participate in the CAL – thank you 🙂

The patterns

Click the images to jump straight through to the relevant shop pages:

amigurumi alpaca crochet pattern by planetjune
An adorably realistic Alpaca (or Llama) – for added realism, use alpaca yarn (although that’s not required!)

african violets crochet pattern by planetjune
Finally – a beautiful houseplant that will never die and looks good year-round! The African Violets pattern includes 2 sizes and 2 different flower designs, so you can make the smaller version if you’re pressed for time, and choose the flowers you like the best.

So, how about it? Will you join the Summer Crochetalong? Which pattern will you pick?

Comments (7)

AmiDogs Akita crochet pattern

Every time I say I’ll take a little break from AmiDogs before adding another breed, something happens to change my mind! In this case, a pattern commission from an Akita owner.

By the way, I love to get commissions for new patterns! (If you’d like to commission a pattern, get in touch – my rates vary depending on whether you’d like an exclusive pattern or if I can also sell it in my shop, and if so how popular I think it’s likely to be.)

So AmiDogs breed #16 is… the Akita!

AmiDogs Akita amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

What is an Akita, you may ask? Well, in my research for this design, I discovered there are actually two breeds of dog called Akita. The American Akita that you see here is the breed you’ll see called ‘Akita’ at dog shows etc. The Japanese Akita (or Akita Inu) looks more like a large Shiba Inu (who I’ve already reproduced in crochet!)

The Akita has a short muzzle, pointed ears and a long bushy tail that curls over his back, as you can see:

AmiDogs Akita amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

If you’d like to buy the AmiDogs Akita crochet pattern, you’ll find it in the shop as a stand-alone pattern, or, as always, you can save some money by including it in a custom set of any 3 AmiDogs patterns of your choice 🙂

I hope you like my Akita! I think he’s a cutie, don’t you?

Comments (5)

everyone’s a winner

I’m a winner

Yay – my Reepicheep has won the Craftster Fantasy Crochet Challenge, with 64% of the votes!

Reepicheep by planetjune
(Are you bored with seeing Reep’s picture yet? I’m sorry – I promise this is the last time I’ll post it!)

I am a bit disappointed though, because I thought the fantasy theme was really rich and exciting subject matter, and there would be loads of imaginative entries. I don’t know if it was the time of year, or if people just didn’t know about the contest, but in the end there were only a paltry four entries – such a shame. I was looking forward to seeing all sorts of crocheted dragons and unicorns and elves and so on… I suppose I’ll just have to make them all myself, if nobody else is going to! (My new Mythical Creatures pattern category in the shop is looking a little sparse, so that’s actually not a bad idea at all…)

Blogiversary Contest Winners

Thank you so much to everyone who left me a comment on my blogiversary post! I’ve loved reading all your comments and suggestions, and I’ve definitely gained some inspiration and new ideas to take me forward into Year 5 of PlanetJune 🙂 Now onto the fun part: the winners! I downloaded all the comments into Excel, tagged them as pattern or tool, and split them apart into two sets. I then picked a random entry from each set as the winners:

The pattern draw winner is Vicki, who said:

June,
Your blog is amazing! I love all of your patterns!! I think some additions to the farm series would be fun – goat, chicken, horse, sheep, etc…Thanks for all you do for all of us crafters! I would like to be entered into the pattern contest 🙂
Thanks!

And the Detail Stuffing Tool draw winner is SparklyShiny, who said:

You’ve had a very busy year! Your website is so easy to navigate and your patterns are truly amazing (I’m getting spoiled with your well-written directions). I can’t wait to see what you come up with next – love the idea of a dragon, and I keep looking for a realistic parrot pattern.

I definitely want one of your stuffing tools – after the experience of Chihuahua leg (before your tool was available), I know that I need to add one to my tool kit.

Congrats to both of you – I’ll email you, Vicki, to find out which pattern you’d like, and you, Sparkly, to get your mailing address!

I feel bad for all the non-winning commenters – your comments were all so sweet and really useful – so I’ve decided to email a discount coupon to all of you: now you’re all runners-up 😀 (Please allow me a couple of days to send them all out – there are a lot of you runners-up to get through – and check your Spam folder if you don’t see it in your inbox.)

So, as I said in the title of this post, everyone’s a winner – yay!

Comments (9)

water lily crochet pattern

I’m happy that so many of you are enjoying my botanical crochet patterns – it’s a refreshing change for me to mix it up a bit (although don’t worry, I won’t neglect the animal designs either!). I just love nature, and now I have an excuse to examine animals and plants in detail and challenge myself to recreate the essence of what I find in a simplified, easily reproducible way. This ‘job’ makes me very happy!

Reepicheep by planetjune

As you know, I can’t make a pattern for my darling Reepicheep, but I can and have made one for the lovely water lily you’ve seen with him! How about making a realistic crocheted water lily (or lotus blossom) arrangement as a beautiful decoration or table centrepiece?

water lily crochet pattern by planetjune

This is a bit different to most of my other patterns: there’s no stuffing involved, and it’s *gasp* not all worked in single crochet, although it is all worked in very simple stitches, so it’s not difficult at all. The pattern includes full instructions with step by step photos and clear illustrations at every stage, so you can easily crochet your own Water Lily. With two different leaf sizes, you can create an aquatic arrangement with as many leaves and blossoms as you want.

Although the blossoms are fairly time-intensive (11 parts to each blossom, but they are worth it, I promise), the leaves are an absolute joy to crochet – you can work one up in minutes! So if you’re making an arrangement, I’d suggest several leaves to every flower – in reality, each plant has many leaves and a single flower, so you won’t even be cheating!

water lily crochet pattern by planetjune

To give a more delicate effect, I used sport DK weight yarn for my petals, instead of my usual worsted weight, but you could use worsted weight for everything if you prefer (I give size comparison information in the pattern).

You could pick up my Water Lily crochet pattern from the shop and crochet one this weekend!

Comments (6)

crocheted Reepicheep the mouse

I was inspired to make this by a crochet challenge on Craftster. The challenge theme was fantasy, and Narnia sprang to mind immediately. When I was younger, I loved the Chronicles of Narnia series, especially The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I spent my pocket money on a lovely boxset of the paperbacks that included the original illustrations. And then I was given a book written about Narnia that explained all the Christian symbolism C.S. Lewis had built into the stories, and I was horrified: I felt like I’d been cheated into reading religious propaganda, and Narnia lost its appeal. It took me many years, but I eventually decided to ignore all the Christian subtext and re-read them, and I discovered that the stories are still charming and wonderful (except The Last Battle, but that’s another story) and I returned to the magic of Narnia. If you haven’t read these books, you really should!

Anyway, back to my design. I thought Aslan was too obvious a choice, but I wanted to make a very recognisable character, so who better than the fearless and valiant mouse Reepicheep? The scene from the end of The Voyage of The Dawn Treader has always stuck with me, and the prophetic verse:

Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter East.

So, without further ado, I present… Sir Reepicheep! (Please click the pic to see the full size version – you can’t appreciate it properly at this scale.)

Reepicheep by planetjune
Reepicheep paddles in his coracle, through a sea of lilies, to the end of the world

Reepicheep was very educational to me: without him, I wouldn’t know what a coracle is (a small, round, lightweight, one-man boat made from woven wooden strips) or the meaning of the word poltroon (a coward). In fact, I think ‘poltroon’ is such a great word, we should all start using it in daily conversation!

Reepicheep and accessories took 11 types and colours of yarn and 4 sizes of crochet hook. It’s very important to me to make as much as possible from crochet, so everything you can see is crocheted. I used fiberfill stuffing, 3 different types of wire (pipe cleaners, floral wire and beading wire) to provide internal structure, and a piece of plastic canvas inside the paddle blade to keep it flat. And every single item came from my stash, so the entire project cost me nothing!

Reepicheep by planetjune

Reepicheep stands at 9 inches (23 cm) tall. His arms and legs have a floral wire skeleton to make him poseable; his tail is crocheted over pipe cleaners, and his fingers and toes are stabilised with beading wire so they are also poseable. He wears a red feather behind one ear, tucked into a gold band. The gold band gave me problems – every yarn I tried looked too bulky and ridiculous. After 3 useless attempts, I thought I’d try crocheting an i-cord with gold-coloured embroidery thread – something I’ve never tried before (i-cords are usually knitted) but had been meaning to try. It worked really well and made a neat square tube that I stitched together at the ends to form the band.

Reepicheep by planetjune

I crocheted Reep’s rapier over a length of floral wire so it would be rigid. I found some crewel wool in my stash that I thought would make an interesting texture for his sword belt. Unfortunately, you’d have to touch them to appreciate the contrast between the soft yarns I used for Reep and the coarser texture of the belt – so you’ll have to just believe me on this one 🙂

Reepicheep's Coracle by planetjune

The coracle took a lot of figuring out! I decided to make a basket-weave texture using front- and back-post stitches, to give the coracle a realistic woven look, but because the sides are sloped, I had to figure out how to make increases without interrupting the pattern of the basket-weave. I eventually made every ‘woven strip’ 2 stitches wide at the base of the coracle, and, over 8 rounds, gradually increased the width of each strip so that they are all 3 stitches wide by the top edge. I crocheted tightly so that it’s very sturdy and hold its shape pretty well, and I wet-blocked it over a bowl to help it to stay perfectly round. The paddle has a floral wire handle and plastic canvas blade so it’s strong and rigid.

waterlily by planetjune

And finally, I love the sea of waterlilies that Reep paddles through, so I couldn’t resist making a pretty little waterlily to complete the scene! I can’t make a pattern for Reepicheep: for starters I crocheted him freeform so there is no pattern, and, of course, profiting from other people’s copyrighted characters is not legal! But I will be writing up the pattern for the waterlily flower and leaves – it should be finished later this week if you’re interested.

UPDATE: The water lily crochet pattern is now available in my shop.

I hope you like my Reepicheep! I’m very happy with him 🙂

Reepicheep by planetjune

Don’t forget to enter my anniversary contests, if you haven’t yet – they are open until Friday!

Comments (43)

4th blogiversary + contest

Don’t forget to enter the contests at the end of this post!

Year 4 Review

The PlanetJune craft blog will be 4 years old tomorrow. It’s hard to believe it; every year has flashed past so quickly! So what exactly have I been doing with myself for the past year? I’ve:

That last item was the biggie that’s occupied most of my time since last summer; writing a 200-page book is no easy task. But it’s finally finished and I can’t wait to be able to see the finished book when it’s released in October!

Tiny Acorns…

I thought I’d take a step back and return to the first post I ever published on this blog (reproduced here in its entirety):

first post at planetjune
The tiny acorn that became PlanetJune…

When I started PlanetJune, I had a small goal – to inspire creativity by keeping track of my crafts on the blog. From that one small goal I’ve:

  • Met the most amazing and inspirational creative people
  • Developed the confidence to start designing patterns
  • Become an artist and a teacher
  • Written and illustrated my first book (with a second book on the way)

…and, in only four years, turned a little crafty hobby into my full-time occupation – something I would never have dreamed could occur when I first set out on this journey. They say to dream big, but dreaming small and having the reality exceed your wildest expectations is pretty special too!

Where Next?

That’s not to say I’m at the point I’d like to be with my business and my creative career. My goal for the coming year is to build my business to the point where I no longer have that niggling feeling that I should really go and get myself a ‘real’ job – a feeling that comes down to the grim reality of earning enough money to continue to support myself. I’m paying my own way at the moment, but I’m far from earning the salary I used to make pre-self-employment. And that’s okay: I’ve changed my lifestyle too; I no longer buy clothes I don’t need or DVDs I’ll never watch. I don’t have any expensive hobbies, and my craft purchases are all business expenses! I do what I love, and I love what I do.

But, to continue to succeed I need to grow and expand the business. I wish I had a crystal ball: I have a lot of exciting ideas, and it’s hard to know where I should invest my time. It’ll be interesting to see where I am by my 5th blogiversary!

Contests

You, my readers, have given me so much support and encouragement along this journey so far, and so I’d like to give something back! I’m running 2 contests:

  1. Win any single pattern (your choice) from my store. (FYI, each PocketAmi set counts as one pattern.)
  2. Win one of my exclusive Detail Stuffing Tools – a must-have for stuffing amigurumi or small plush toys!Detail Stuffing Tool by planetjune

To enter, leave me a comment on this post, including:

  1. Your choice of prize – type TOOL or PATTERN
  2. Tell me something, e.g. a suggestion for a future design, something you’d like to see on PlanetJune, or a suggestion for how to take my business to the next level. Anything goes – I just want to hear from you!

If you want to enter both contests, just leave me 2 comments!

On Friday 18th June at 5pm EST, I will draw one name from each set of TOOL comments, and one from each set of PATTERN comments. (In the unlikely event that the same person ‘wins’ both, I’ll contact them to see which prize they would prefer, and then draw another name for the other contest winner). Good luck!

Comments (101)

Spring CAL roundup

A little admin before we begin: Today is June 1st, which means it’s time to pick a new winner of a free pattern from everyone who’s written a review for my shop. And the winner is… Michelle T! Congratulations, Michelle, I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

If you’d like to be entered into the June drawing to win a pattern of your choice, it’s easy! Just review any item(s) in my shop – each review gives you another entry into the contest.

*****

Over the past 6 weeks, we had our first crochet-along at the PlanetJune crochet designs group on Ravelry.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along

The Spring CAL had a choice of two designs: my Daffodils and Tiny Whale patterns. The daffodils are lovely and seasonal, but the whale pattern got more takers because it’s possibly the fastest amigurumi pattern in the world 🙂

I thought I’d do a roundup post to show all the Daffodils and Whales everyone came up with! (If I’ve missed yours, please email me or leave a comment with the link, and I’ll add it to this post.)

I wanted to join in the Crochet-Along too, so I super-sized my whale pattern by using a larger hook and thicker yarn, and made Mega Whale!

mega whale by planetjune
One of these whales is not like the others…

And now to the good part: here’s the gallery of whales and daffodils that you all made (in no particular order):

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Whales by sparklyshiny and jjphotoftw.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Daffodils by yellowpinksparkly and momohewey.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Whales by hbootsman and nuime.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Whales by klopferli and amAlison.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Jelibe made a whale and a daffodil.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Whales by LoopyJess and missclairey.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
All these daffodils are by spartyliblover.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Whales by hattalahutta and rastakt.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
Whales by dukianababe and LadyDark27.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
All these daffodils are by Jukatca.

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
And a special mention has to go to bethand, for making this huge pod of whales…

PlanetJune Spring Crochet-Along
…and then making another pod of them (with little fins!)

Aren’t they all wonderful? I love seeing them all together like this! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in; I hope you enjoyed it! We’ll definitely be doing this again (with different patterns) – if you’d like to join in the next CAL, come join us at the PlanetJune ravelry group!

Comments (6)

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    June Gilbank

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