PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for October, 2010

Fall CAL roundup – happy Halloween!

Fall Crochet-Along at PlanetJune

The Fall CAL in the PlanetJune crochet designs group on Ravelry is now over! Participants crocheted along using my Pumpkin and PocketAmi Halloween patterns. Check out my roundup below of all the cute and spoooooky 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.)

Ready to see the cuteness? Read on…

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
Halloween Trio by klopferli. I love the blue witch – why aren’t there more blue witches out there?!

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
Nicole (klopferli) was very busy this time around; she also whipped up both cute AND spooky pumpkins!

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
A nice set of all 4 designs (love the cat’s eyes!) by amanda1981, pictured in a very cool handmade set!

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
Spot the crocheted pumpkin! Megan of Crochet Every Day held her own CAL using my Pumpkin pattern – and here’s her contribution.

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
Another cute set by Silverlotus, with a special surprise…

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along

…she used Glow in the Dark yarn for the ghost! Love it! And on the right, we have another creative idea: Veggie used bamboo skewers to turn her Halloween set into a mobile. (Cool idea!)

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
Here’s a spot the difference by Missie of Crafting With Cat Hair. It’s so cute together with the real mini pumpkin!

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
Launi of Gracious Rain crocheted my pumpkin pattern using ‘yarn’ she made by cutting an old t-shirt into strips! Cool, huh?

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
Here’s a monochrome set by rastakt – I love how the cat’s eyes look like they’re glowing in this pic!

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
A very stylish pumpkin by Becky L (submitted via my Facebook page).

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
A set by saudistitcher (the witch’s eyes are hilarious!). It’s incomplete because her real-life cat Bibi made off with the black crocheted kitty before Jana could take the photo! 🙂

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
These teeny-tiny pumpkins were crocheted from thread by Anne R (again, submitted via my Facebook page). To give you an idea of just how tiny they are, that’s a marble in between them – wow!

PlanetJune Fall Crochet-Along
And last but definitely not least, jucatka made a spooky Haunted Cactus Garden using the CAL patterns and my Cactus Collection patterns! Too cool for words – I love it!

It’s so great to see such variety here, and I’ve especially enjoyed seeing how people have staged their photos this time around – nice job, everyone! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in; I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

If you like seeing things people have made using my patterns, check out the PlanetJune Crochet Flickr group. Join the group, and add photos of everything you’ve made from my crochet patterns – I just love to see what you’ve been making!

And one more thing: Happy Halloweeeeeeen!

Comments (4)

lion and lioness crochet pattern

You may remember from the Reepicheep I crocheted that I’m a Narnia fan, and with The Voyage of The Dawn Treader movie coming out in just over a month (yay!), what better time to make my own Aslan?

I really think that every lion needs a lioness, so the idea for a pattern including male and female lions was born, and you can now find the Lion and Lioness crochet pattern in my shop, if you’re so inclined. I love the shaping on my lioness:

crocheted lioness by planetjune

Here’s where I approach crazy levels of dedication to the cause: I made eight prototype manes for my male lion (each using a different yarny technique), and only one looked anywhere near good enough: the eyelash yarn mane. But a) eyelash yarn is quite hard to come by these days, and b) I know how most people’s hearts sink at the mere mention of the stuff, so I was determined to find a way to make a lion’s mane that only used regular, worsted weight yarn and still looked fairly realistic. And, with attempt #9, I cracked it!

crocheted lion by planetjune

Now, don’t worry about having to latch hook hundreds of strands to the head: this mane is all crocheted (remember that loop stitch video tutorial I just made? Now you know why!) – with a little additional magic after crocheting to give it that realistic look.

crocheted lion and lioness by planetjune

My Lion and Lioness crochet pattern has a little more detail and shaping than most of my other patterns. It’s 13 pages long, and includes 30 step-by-step photos with detailed explanations of every stage (including 3 pages devoted to the special mane techniques) so you can make a perfect realistic lion and lioness of your own.

crocheted lion and lioness by planetjune

You can just about see that the lions have cute little white chins 🙂 I used a light brown for the mane (and tail tassels), but you could use any shade ranging from the same yellow as the body, any shade of brown, or even black, and it’d still look realistic – did you know that lions’ manes darken with age?

crocheted lion and lioness by planetjune

I know lions don’t look much like other cats, but I feel like I’m one step closer to coming up with the realistic cat design that’s always eluded me to date. I’ve never seen a realistic toy cat that I like, and I aim to change that some day…

But, for today, I hope you like my lions!

Comments (7)

how to crochet the loop stitch

Link easily to this tutorial in your patterns: www.planetjune.com/loopstitch

I’m so glad people liked my crocheted i-cord video tutorial! Putting my voice up on YouTube for anyone to listen to was a bit (okay, a lot) out of my comfort zone, but I’m starting to get used to it… In time, I’d like to make a whole crochet tutorial video library (and if you have requests for video tutorials you’d like to see, please let me know and I’ll add them to my list, although I can’t promise exactly when I’ll have time to make them – nobody’s paying me to make them!)

Today I have another little crochet video tutorial for you. Loop stitch (aka fur stitch) is a decorative stitch similar to single crochet but with an added long loop of yarn formed on the back of the work. You can make the loops as long as you’d like, depending on your application – just wrap the yarn around something to create each loop so that all the loops you form are consistent in size. (I use my finger in my video tutorial, but you could use a wider piece of cardboard to form longer loops.)

how to crochet loop stitch by planetjune

I’ve seen at least 4 methods for creating loop stitch; my demo shows the method I find most effective, as, unlike the other methods I’ve seen and tried:

  • It doesn’t distort the size of the ‘single crochet’ part of the stitch
  • It locks the loop firmly into place
  • The loops formed stand up nicely away from the work

Once you’ve finished crocheting with loop stitch, you can leave the loops as is for a curly, furry effect, or snip through the top of each loop to create straight strands of yarn sticking out from your work. It’s not a subtle look, but, in the right pattern, can be used to great effect!

And now to the video tutorial (in right- and left-handed versions, of course):

Crochet loop stitch (right-handed)

Click to watch this video on YouTube.

Crochet loop stitch (left-handed)

Click to watch this video on YouTube.

Note: as the loops are formed on the back of the stitches, you can’t use it while crocheting amigurumi unless you keep any pieces using loop stitches turned ‘inside out’ (see my tutorial Which is the ‘Right’ Side?).

You can put this tutorial (as well as my previous crocheted i-cord video tutorial) into practice with my new pattern, coming very soon…

Comments (21)

how to crochet an i-cord

Link easily to this tutorial in your patterns: www.planetjune.com/icord

Have you ever tried to crochet a really tiny tube or cylinder? I find that single crocheting in a ring with 5 stitches is challenging enough; let alone trying to make a 4-sc cylinder, or, almost impossibly, a 3-sc tube.

Knitters are lucky; they have a great way to make a very fine tube – it’s called an i-cord and it’s really easy to knit up on dpns (if you knit). But I have great news for you: you can also make i-cord using your crochet hook!

how to make a crocheted i-cord by planetjune

It’s very simple once you get the hang of it, and it’s an easy way to make fine tubes, as long as you like. You can use i-cord in amigurumi, as trim, or even to make bag handles. It’s versatile and works up quickly.

Note: you can also make a wider i-cord tube, by starting with more chains and dropping all but one loops off the hook. I’d recommend you don’t go too wide though, as it’s easier to accidentally pull out one of the dropped loops when you have more of them in play. I’d recommend you stick with a 3-ch or 4-ch crocheted i-cord. For anything wider than that, make a sc spiral (or learn to knit it on double pointed needles).

The easiest way to explain it is to show you, so I’ve made a video showing how to crochet an i-cord. And because I’m nice like that, I’ve done right-handed and left-handed versions.

Crochet an i-cord (right-handed)

Click to watch this video on YouTube.

Crochet an i-cord (left-handed)

Click to watch this video on YouTube.

See – it’s easy!

If you’d like to practice crocheting i-cord, I’ll have a new pattern that uses this technique available in a few days…


UPDATE: By request, here are my written instructions to crochet i-cord:

Crochet an i-cord (text instructions)

  • Ch 3. Insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and draw up a loop, insert hook into next ch, yarn over and draw up a loop (3 loops on hook).
  • Row 1: Drop 2 loops from hook. Hold onto the dropped loops with your non-hook hand so they don’t come undone. Yarn over and draw through remaining loop on hook. Insert hook into first dropped loop, yarn over and draw through (2 loops on hook). Insert hook into second dropped loop, yarn over and draw through (3 loops on hook).
  • Repeat Row 1 for desired length of i-cord. Cut yarn, leaving a long yarn end. Draw end through all 3 loops on hook and pull tight to fasten off.

That’s it!

Bonus Tips

Finishing a crocheted i-cord:

  • The easiest way to end the final row is to cut the yarn leaving a long end, draw the end through all 3 loops on the hook, and pull tight. This will draw the end into a point.
  • To maintain the tubular shape to the end, wait till you have all 3 loops on the hook, then sl st through each loop in turn, fasten off, and use the yarn end to stitch the first and last sl sts together into a circle.
  • For finishing, it depends on what you want to do with the i-cord: use the yarn ends with a yarn needle to stitch it to something else, or hide the ends by weaving them up through the middle of the tube.

Make an attached i-cord as an edging for a blanket (or other crocheted project):
To save sewing the i-cord edging on afterwards, you can crochet it directly around the edge of your blanket.

  • Right-handed: After putting the 3rd loop back on your hook, insert your hook into the next stitch along the right edge of the blanket, then draw up the loop (the ‘chain 1’) back through both the blanket edge AND the 3rd loop on the hook. If you do that for every row (or every other row, for speed) of the icord, you’ll attach the left edge of your i-cord to the edge of the blanket as you crochet the i-cord.
  • Left-handed: After putting the 3rd loop back on your hook, insert your hook into the next stitch along the left edge of the blanket, then draw up the loop (the ‘chain 1’) back through both the blanket edge AND the 3rd loop on the hook. If you do that for every row (or every other row, for speed) of the icord, you’ll attach the right edge of your i-cord to the edge of the blanket as you crochet the i-cord.

Comments (116)

book launch aftermath

freshly printed copies of my book
Box of books, fresh from the publisher

I’m so happy with the response my book has got so far! Amazon shipped a lot of the pre-orders early which meant that some people actually got their copies on the release day, so I’ve had four 5 star reviews on amazon already, and many more comments and emails from my readers/customers/friends, who I think must be some of the nicest people in the world. I feel very lucky to have so much support – thank you all 🙂

Speaking of Amazon reviews, if you’ve received your copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi, would you do me a huge favour and review it at amazon.com? You’d be doing me a huge favour – I’m hoping the reviews will help me to reach people who have never heard of me before, which would be fantastic for my business, as well as help with book sales. Thank you!

PlanetJune Accessories Fall 2010 Collection of crochet patterns

It’s nice to see the first reviews starting to trickle in for my PlanetJune Accessories patterns too! If you’ve bought any of them (or any of my other patterns), please do leave a review in my shop, to help other people make an informed purchase decision. And each review gives you an entry into my monthly contest to win a free PlanetJune pattern of your choice!

Speaking of which, I have yet to draw the the September ‘Review and Win‘ contest winner – oops! I’ll fix that now: the winner is… Amanda M, with her review of my PocketAmi Christmas pattern:

These patterns are great and fast work-ups. I’m making TONS of them to put on Christmas presents this year, so I am more than familiar with this set at this point. Difficulty from easiest to hardest is snowman, reindeer, elf, but I find that they’re all amazing to read and easy to work. You’ll love the finished product!

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

Phew, what a week! Actually, “what a month!” would be more accurate. Between working all hours to get my first PlanetJune Accessories collection launched before the book came out, shooting and editing the promo video for the book, and living through the craziness of the book launch, I’m absolutely exhausted! I really wanted to start work on a new amigurumi design this week, but the creative side of my brain just wasn’t co-operating.

The good news is, my creative mojo came back last night – I have a new design underway and I think it’s going to be a good one…

Comments (4)

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    June Gilbank

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