PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for September, 2010

announcing: PlanetJune Accessories!

I’m so excited (and a little bit nervous) to finally reveal my big secret project that I’ve been working on for the past few months. Although I love my amigurumi patterns, I have more to give in the crochet field, so I’ve come up with a new design line: PlanetJune Accessories. Don’t forget to read to the end to take advantage of my launch week discount codes!

I’ve designed my accessories to showcase what I consider to be the beauty and variety of crochet, and also as teaching tools. So don’t feel intimidated if you’ve never moved beyond amigurumi before – my patterns are specifically designed to teach you all the techniques you need to be able to complete them. (For experienced crocheters, the patterns are all modular, so you can save paper and ink by printing only the parts you need, and ignoring the additional instructions if you don’t need them!)

PlanetJune Accessories Fall 2010 Collection of crochet patterns

As you probably know, I’m a technical writer and the creator of numerous crochet tutorials, and I love to explain techniques with clear, easy to follow, well-illustrated instructions. You’ll see this in all my amigurumi patterns and the tutorials on this site, and I’ve also carried this through into my Accessories patterns.

All the patterns include full written instructions, photos, illustrations, and charted stitch diagrams where needed, options for right-handers and left-handers (including right- and left-handed stitch diagrams where appropriate), and, as always, are backed up by unlimited support by email, should you have any questions.

For this first PlanetJune Accessories collection, I’ve tried to come up with a mix of designs so there’ll be something to appeal to everyone, and a nice range of options for crocheting gifts for everyone on your Christmas list (and you know it’s coming up fast!).

So now, please allow me to present the PlanetJune Accessories Fall 2010 Collection!

I’d like to start with a FREE taster for you, the Scalloped Scarf. Make this pretty and versatile scarf with almost any yarn you have to hand – it’s a quick and stylish one-skein project, and makes a perfect gift! This pattern is free for you to use, but if you send me a donation in appreciation of my work, you’ll get a handy, easy-to-print PDF version as a thank you.

PlanetJune Accessories Scalloped Scarf crochet pattern

For the young, and the young at heart, Animal Ears. This no-sew pattern is quick to whip up, and would make a cute basic Halloween costume – all you need is a basic plastic or fabric-covered hairband (I bought mine from the dollar store!), an E hook, and some worsted weight yarn. The pattern includes three ear types: pointed (cat), long (bunny) and round (bear or mouse), and also includes bonus instructions to make the ears individually so you can stitch them onto a basic crocheted hat made in the same colour (and wouldn’t that make a great Christmas gift..?)

PlanetJune Accessories Animal Ears crochet pattern

For the look of knit but formed with a crochet hook, the Tunisian Stripe Purse. This is a great introduction to Tunisian crochet – all you need is a size J afghan hook or double-ended crochet hook (available in most craft stores) and worsted weight yarn to make this pretty and functional purse. The clever construction means it’s all crocheted – there’s no sewing involved in the assembly! – and, as an added bonus, the sturdy, thick nature of the crocheted fabric means that there’s no need for a fabric lining either. (If you’re new to Tunisian crochet, the pattern comes with 2 bonus PDFs (left-handed and right-handed) including fully illustrated instructions for all the stitches you need for the pattern.)

PlanetJune Accessories Tunisian Stripe Purse crochet pattern

For the gentlemen in your life (and maybe for yourself too), the Diamond Lattice Neckwarmer. A striking lattice texture that’s bold enough for a man to wear, but isn’t too chunky for ladies, this is a fast project – you can whip one up in an evening – that looks far more complicated than it really is (shh, don’t tell!). This neckwarmer will keep you toasty warm without the length and bulk of a full scarf, and it makes a lovely gift that’s sure to be appreciated. The pattern includes a full stitch diagram as well as clear written instructions. If you’ve never used post stitches before, this pattern is a great introduction to them – you’ll be an expert by the time you’ve completed your first neckwarmer.

PlanetJune Accessories Diamond Lattice Neckwarmer crochet pattern

And finally, for a touch of elegance, try my two crocheted lace designs: the Gossamer Lace Wrap and the Lacy Bobbles Cowl. Crocheted lace can seem intimidating – my hand was starting to hurt at even the thought of the fine yarns and tiny hooks involved! But it doesn’t have to be like that: my lace patterns are all designed to be worked with normal-sized hooks into the spaces between stitches, which means that, after the foundation row, there’s no hunting for those tiny fine loops to work into, and it’s actually a pleasure to work. (I can report that, as a crocheter with a tendency to suffer from various hand and wrist pains, crocheting the samples for patterns did not cause me any pain, and I’m now a total lace convert!) There are some beautiful laceweight yarns out there – I used baby alpaca for both my designs, which is soft and amazingly warm, but visit your local yarn store to see other options. Don’t be put off by the price, either: you’ll only need one 50g skein of laceweight yarn for each design, so it can actually be very inexpensive. And just look at what you can make:

PlanetJune Accessories Gossamer Lace Wrap crochet pattern

You can wear the Gossamer Lace Wrap as a beautifully light and lacy shoulder wrap, or as a frothy lace scarf (the layers make it surprisingly toasty as a scarf!). The lace pattern has a 2-row repeat, so you’ll pick it up in no time and be able to enjoy crocheting without having to worry about a complicated pattern.

PlanetJune Accessories Lacy Bobbles Cowl crochet pattern

I designed the Lacy Bobbles Cowl so the lacework isn’t too open, so you can pull it up to cover your head to stay warm, or let the layers of lace pool around your neck. It’s worked in the round, so there’s no need to stitch it together at the end, and the stitch pattern has a clever almost-invisible seam built right into each round.

*****
Launch Week Discounts! (NB the Scalloped Scarf pattern is excluded from these discounts as it’s donationware, so you set your own price anyway)
These automatic discount codes are valid until this Sunday, October 3rd.

Buy any PlanetJune Accessories pattern, save 5% with code PJAC05
Buy any 2 PlanetJune Accessories patterns, save 10% with code PJAC10
Buy any 3 PlanetJune Accessories patterns, save 15% with code PJAC15
Buy any 4 PlanetJune Accessories patterns, save 20% with code PJAC20
Buy all 5 PlanetJune Accessories patterns, save 25% with code PJAC25

You’ll find all the PlanetJune Accessories patterns in my shop.

*****

Okay, now you’ve seen my first Accessories collection, it’s time me to ask you for the scary part: please let me know what you think in the comments! Thank you 🙂

Comments (13)

disastrous prototypes!

I thought I’d share a little more insight into my design process today – just so you know that things don’t always turn out perfectly the first time, even when you’ve been designing for years, and why I think that’s not a bad thing.

I challenge myself to come up with new techniques to keep things fresh and interesting, but the more original I get, the more chance that an idea that seems perfect in my head will look completely different when I actually crochet it. So let’s have a chuckle at some of my ridiculous prototypes that (for obvious reasons) didn’t make it into a finished pattern…

When I was working through my Cactus Collection patterns, one of my design decisions was to make each cactus different by more than just size. I always like to do lots of research before I get started on a design so I know exactly what I’m looking to create before I ever make a stitch. I used different stitches, techniques and embellishments so that none of the cacti are the same as any other and to make them look like actual cactus species.

crocheted cactus collections 1 and 2 by planetjune

This worked out fine until I came to the top of the moon cactus (the red piece in my collection). It should have ridges around the sides, but I didn’t want to make it using the same technique I used for the ferocactus (the one with the orange buds at the top). So, time to think of something new…

I liked my first attempt, but felt the ridges were too subtle:

cactus 1st prototype

The second attempt looked more like a mistake than a cactus (is it a peppermint candy?!):

cactus 2nd prototype

I thought I had a genius idea with the third attempt, but it ended up looking even more subtle than the first attempt:

cactus 3rd prototype

I tried something totally different with the fourth attempt: interesting, but the proportions are wrong and it’s far too big:

cactus 4th prototype

A similar technique on a smaller scale for the fifth attempt still didn’t give me the effect I wanted, so I abandoned the attempt halfway through:

cactus 5th prototype

And finally, I found something I was happy with. It’s similar in look (but not construction) to my first attempt, but the ridges are just that little bit more obvious:

finished moon cactus by planetjune

I hope that my patterns look clean and simple, but, as you can see, a simple pattern doesn’t necessarily imply a simple design process. Taking it from ‘pretty good’ to ‘just right’ sometimes takes a lot of extra effort – but I think that’s effort worth expending.

And as an added bonus, I always learn something from the failed attempts that I may be able to use for another design in the future! Nothing is ever a completely wasted effort, so don’t be discouraged if your creative efforts don’t always quite turn out the way you imagined they would. 🙂

PS – If you’d like to try crocheting some cacti for yourself, you can find the Cactus Collection patterns in my shop!

Comments (5)

fall seasonal patterns & crochetalong

Fall Crochet-Along at PlanetJune

Don’t miss the Fall Crochet-Along info and discount code at the end of this post!

Did you know that, as of right now, I have 75 crochet patterns in my shop?!

That’s a lot to look through! I thought some of you may be new to the wonderful world of PlanetJune (ha!) or might appreciate a reminder of some of the patterns I have in my store, so here’s a little seasonal roundup for you of my Autumn, Thanksgiving and Halloween-related designs:

1. My Fruit Bat pattern is all worked in single crochet (as usual). His wings are worked in rows instead of rounds. Pipe cleaners in his wings let you wrap the wings around his body, but you can easily omit these if making the bat as a toy for young children or pets.

crocheted fruit bat by planetjune
crocheted fruit bat by planetjune
For Halloween, try making a fruit bat all in black with red eyes and dangle him from the ceiling with a string (yes, this is a fake Photoshopped one!)
scary amigurumi bat by planetjune

2. Running short on time? The Halloween PocketAmi pattern set (: Black Cat, Ghost and Witch) work up in no time and make cute little toys or perfect decorations! (And see below for a discount!)

amigurumi halloween ghost black cat witch crochet by planetjune

3. Or how about a perfect Pumpkin pattern? Mine comes in three flavours, so you can make a realistic pumpkin, a smiley kawaii version, or a scary Jack-o-Lantern. The Pumpkin pattern is free (but donations are much appreciated and will give you a nice printable PDF file in return!)

realistic crocheted pumpkin by planetjune

cute crocheted pumpkin by planetjunespooky crocheted pumpkin by planetjune

If you’re tempted by my seasonal designs, why not sign up for my Fall Crochet-Along (CAL) at my Ravelry group? My Pumpkin and PocketAmi Halloween patterns are all super-fast and easy to make, so “I don’t have time!” is no excuse 😉

You’ll get 20% off the PocketAmi Halloween pattern if you sign up for the CAL – just use code FALLCAL2010 at checkout to get your discount. And if you add a little donation for the Pumpkin pattern at the same time – $1 minimum – you’ll get a PDF version of the pattern as your reward for your generosity 🙂

Fall Crochet-Along at PlanetJune

Grab this button (above) for your blog, and spread the word about the Crochet-Along – it’s going to be fun!

Comments (4)

designing a kingfisher

Oooh, look what just arrived yesterday: the new issue of Inside Crochet. And, hello, what’s that on p92? Yay, it’s my new Kingfisher design!

inside crochet issue 10

When Inside Crochet commissioned me to make a colourful design, I knew I wanted to make something British (as it’s a UK magazine, and as a salute to the lovely wildlife I left behind when I moved to Canada) and a kingfisher was the first thing that sprang to mind.

Now, if you’re American (or Canadian), you may be wondering why I made my sample kingfisher in such crazy bright colours. The Belted Kingfisher that you’ll see in North America is much larger and less colourful than the Common Kingfisher of the UK, which really is a spectacular sight!

inside crochet issue 10 - kingfisher by june gilbank

It was quite a challenge to design with all those colours and the shaping, and I’ve developed a cunning new method to make the orange/blue stripe on the body match on both sides (as amigurumi-style stitches don’t stack on top of each other, if you crocheted both sides the same way, one side would slope up and the other would slope down). Yay for new techniques and methods!

Inside Crochet Issue 10 (October 2010) is out now, and you can buy it in stores in the UK, or online. It includes a nice variety of crocheted garment patterns as well as my kingfisher! As it’s a UK magazine, it’s written in UK crochet terminology (e.g. a single crochet stitch is called a double crochet). If that worries you, I’ll be releasing my Kingfisher pattern in my standard PDF format (and standard US terms), together with my usual step-by-step assembly pics, in 6 months’ time, so you can always pick it up from my shop next spring instead!

A couple of pattern notes if you do buy Inside Crochet and want to make my kingfisher:

  • I’ve listed a couple of minor introduced errata on the Ravelry pattern page, so check there before you start, to avoid confusion – there’s some inconsistent terminology.
  • Although the magazine photographers did a fabulous job of taking lots of beautiful photos on location, they didn’t take the close-up photos I asked for to accompany the assembly instructions. (I’d have provided mine if I’d known…) You can see most of the features in the photos, but the legs in particular aren’t clearly photographed from the side, and the wings aren’t positioned correctly along the body in their photos, so please take a look at my photos here, to supplement the pretty magazine photos, and if you do buy the magazine and have any questions about assembly, please email me!
crocheted kingfisher by planetjune crocheted kingfisher by planetjune

Comments (11)

Summer CAL roundup

First up: the August ‘Review and Win’ winner is… Cora S, with her review of my Dinosaurs Set 1 patterns:

I am very happy with this pattern. June has a way of explaining things very clearly. I love they simplicity of the design. I am almost finished the brachiosaurus and look forward to finishing the others. I also have her other dinosaurs. These are going to be sets for Christmas gifts. Thank you June for another great set of patterns.

Congratulations, Cora, I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

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

*****

PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along

The Summer CAL in the PlanetJune crochet designs group on Ravelry is now over.

The Summer Crochet-Along had a choice of two designs: my Alpacas and African Violets patterns. Both patterns were popular, but even though the CAL lasted for 2 months, I suppose summertime isn’t the best time for completing crochet projects, as many participants have yet to complete theirs. But that’s okay – we all know life gets in the way of things sometimes, and I’m sure everyone will find the time to complete their projects eventually!
Below I have a nice little roundup of all the cute finished projects. (If I’ve missed yours, please email me or leave a comment with the link, and I’ll add it to this post.)

PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along
Alpacas by indigo22 and rainydaybaby.

PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along
African Violets by bsktkls and devinise.

PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along
An alpaca converted into a giraffe by NatureandNurture and a regular Alpaca by nuime.

PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along
African Violets by jukatca and klopferli (who made both sizes!)

PlanetJune Summer Crochet-Along
And a gold star goes to Silverlotus for making not one, but four alpacas!

I love seeing everyone’s choice of yarns etc and how adorable all the finished projects are! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in; I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

If you’d like to help choose the pattern(s) for the Fall CAL, come join us at the PlanetJune ravelry group!

Comments (2)

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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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