PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for November, 2010

punchneedle globe WIP (part 4)

Here’s where we left my punchneedle embroidery globe at the last update:

punchneedle project - work in progress

This next stage is the real test of my design: I based my idea on the concept of a papercraft globe I’d once seen that turns 2D sheets of paper into a 3D globe. So, in theory, I should be able to do the same thing using a 2D embroidery. The moment of truth: I hand-sewed up all the unembroidered darts, to (fingers crossed) convert the flat piece into a hemisphere, and…

punchneedle project - work in progress

It worked! I now have one very nice hemisphere. Thanks to that extra-dense punching I did, the seams are pretty much invisible from the outside. You’ll have to take my word for that, because I’m going to be a little bit mean and only show you the inside of the hemisphere for now – I have to save something for the big reveal once I’ve punched the other half of the globe…

There’s a lot of work left to do to get it finished – the second half should actually take longer than the first: the northern hemisphere has more landmasses, islands, lakes, and general detail that I included in my pattern, so it’s going to take a lot longer to punch than the (mostly blue) southern hemisphere.

But I’ve found something to make my punchneedle go much more quickly from now on! This is a punchneedle spooler:

punchneedle spooler (image courtesy of The Punchneedle Marketplace)

Spooler for Cameo punchneedle (image courtesy of The Punchneedle Marketplace)

It sits in the top end of the punchneedle. You wind your floss onto the spool and can punch for the entire length of a skein instead of having to rethread the needle every metre or so (the floss can easily get tangled or trapped with a length much longer than that). And, with a 2-step threading process, that’s a significant time saving – I think it took me almost as long to thread the needle as it did to use one length of floss!

Slight problem though: punchneedle supplies are pretty scarce these days… I don’t know of any Canadian suppliers of this attachment, and I knew it would cost a lot in shipping to import one from the Punchneedle Marketplace. So what’s a crafty girl to do? Get crafty!

Here’s my homemade punchneedle spooler:

punchneedle project - work in progress
Prototype punchneedle spooler

  • The wire is just heavy floral wire, bent into shape with pliers. It works okay, but I’d like to get some stiffer wire to replace this, now that I know my concept is sound – I don’t think the floral wire will last forever.
  • The spool is just an empty spool from regular sewing thread.
  • I used my Dremel with a cutting disc to cut the pointy end off an IKEA pencil (which fits nicely inside the spool).
  • I hollowed out the graphite from both ends of the pencil with a Dremel drill bit, so that the ends of the wire can slip inside the pencil.
  • The black rubber bands are mini hair elastics. I found that, without those, the spool clicks back and forth against each end of the wire with each punch, and that noise gets very annoying very quickly!

The spool rotates freely on the pencil, so more floss is fed to the needle every time I make a stitch. Isn’t it great to be crafty?! It’s all made with supplies I had on hand, and it works brilliantly!

punchneedle project - work in progress
Starting the Northern Hemisphere

Thanks in part to my new spooler, my Northern Hemisphere is coming along much more quickly – I wonder if I’ll be able to finish the whole globe over the Christmas holiday…

Comments (16)

all change!

I have news. Big news. Mind-blowingly huge news. And it’s not directly craft-related, but will impact my entire life (including my business), so I need to share it with you…

My husband has been offered a job at the observatory in Cape Town, South Africa, and he’s accepted it!

I’m very proud of Dave – he’s worked really hard for years to find a position like this and it’s a great opportunity. We haven’t figured out yet exactly when we’ll be leaving, but it’ll be some time this winter. Can you believe it?! We’re moving to South Africa!

lion photo by June Gilbank
Pics from our trip to African Lion Safari (how prescient!) last year

It is great news, but, PlanetJune-wise, it’s really thrown me for a loop. I had a book contract literally sitting in my inbox waiting to be signed that I’ve had to turn down because there just wouldn’t be time to write it while organising an intercontinental move – so frustrating! And it’s obviously going to cause some changes with my business.

Luckily for me, PayPal started up in South Africa earlier this year. It has extra fees and complications, but I’m just glad it exists at all – I don’t know how I would have managed otherwise!

Pattern downloads in my shop are, of course, instant and automatic, so there’ll be no disruption in service there. The only difficulty will be in shipping physical items (eyes, stitch markers, stuffing tools) – I’ll have to shut down that part of my shop for a couple of months while everything is being shipped over, but that won’t be for a few months, so don’t panic! I’ll keep you updated on the situation when I’ve figured out what needs to happen and when.

giraffe photo by June Gilbank

I’m still reeling from this – it doesn’t seem possible that it’s really happening! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed and a bit terrified too, but it’s definitely going to be an adventure, and it’ll provide endless inspiration for my future designs.

See, I told you it was big news..!

Comments (30)

Christmas CAL and contest!

I’ve run three crochet-alongs (CALs) this year: Spring, Summer and Fall. I’ve been a little disappointed with the outcome: approx 3-4 times as many people used the CAL discount code than actually submitted completed projects to the CAL roundup. Some people contacted me to apologise that they didn’t manage to complete their projects in time, and I can I understand that – life sometimes gets in the way, despite our best intentions – but these numbers are just too high for that to apply to everyone, and it makes me really sad that some people must have been abusing my generosity by using my 20% discount although they had no intention of participating in the CAL 🙁

I’d like to finish the year on a high note, and actually reward the people who do want to participate in the CALs without losing money to the opportunists who just want a cheap pattern, so we’re going to do it differently this time around, and have a crochetalong contest!

Christmas Crochetalong and Contest at PlanetJune

The PlanetJune Christmas CAL & Contest



Top row: Christmas Trees, Christmas Baubles
Middle row: Poinsettia, PocketAmi Christmas
Bottom row: Christmas Pudding, Candy Cane

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make one of my Christmas-themed patterns. There’s no CAL discount this time, but there are plenty of Donationware patterns in my Christmas line-up, so you can pay whatever you can afford for those, or even just use them for free if cashflow is a bit tight at this time of year.
  2. Show us what you’ve made! Post it to your blog, or to ravelry, flickr, facebook, or anywhere else you like to show your work.
  3. Enter the Christmas CAL contest. Read this part carefully: to enter the contest, send an email to CAL@planetjune.com with a link to where you’ve posted about your project. If you don’t have anywhere that you post to online, you can still enter: just email a photo of your completed project to me.
  4. Bonus entries. Make more than one of my patterns and you’ll get an entry for each one!

The prizes:

  • First prize: a $10 gift certificate to spend on anything in the PlanetJune store
  • Second prize: a free pattern of your choice from the PlanetJune store
  • Runner-up prizes: I’ll send a discount code to all participants, to use against their next order from the PlanetJune store.

The rules:

  • The PlanetJune Christmas CAL (& contest) will run from today until December 24th 2010.
  • Enter by crocheting any of my Christmas-themed patterns, as shown above.
  • Post your completed projects online and email the link to CAL@planetjune.com, or email a photo of the completed project to CAL@planetjune.com.
  • If you complete several patterns, send me one email per project so you’ll get more entries!
  • If you’ve already started your Christmas projects this year, you may enter them, but please keep to the spirit of the CAL and only submit projects you’ve made for this holiday season.
  • First and second prize winners will be drawn randomly from all eligible entries; all participants will receive the runner-up prize.
  • All photos will be posted here on Christmas Day in a grand CAL roundup!

Christmas Crochetalong and Contest at PlanetJune
Grab this button for your blog!

I hope this will be fun and encourage lots of participation! This is a new CAL model for me, so please let me know if anything is confusing. I’ll answer any questions in the comments or by updating this post.

Sounds good? Get crocheting!

Comments (22)

Christmas Baubles crochet pattern

I hadn’t planned to do a Christmas pattern this year, as I have so many already and it’s getting more and more difficult each year to think of something original! I’ve had the idea of a set of tree decorations kicking about in the back of my mind for a couple of years now, but it suddenly coalesced into a real design idea a few weeks ago, and this is the result:

christmas baubles crochet pattern by planetjune

Christmas Baubles! My pattern includes 9 complete designs (3 plain baubles and 6 different patterned designs) that you can make in your favourite seasonal colour scheme, using 2 or more colours. I used white plus 2 shades of blue for mine; you could do a colour scheme as simple as traditional red and white, or brighten up your room while you use up your yarn scraps by making each ornament in a different colour scheme.

christmas baubles crochet pattern by planetjune

By switching around the main and contrast colours in each design, you can create 18 different ornaments using only 2 colours of yarn. If you add a third shade (as I have for my samples), you can make 45 different ornaments! And (if I’ve added this up correctly) if you used 4 colours, you could make a mind-blowing 84 different ornaments with no repeats – wow!

christmas baubles crochet pattern by planetjune

I’ve also included instructions on crocheting them all into a garland like this – wouldn’t that look great along the mantelpiece?

christmas baubles crochet pattern by planetjune

I hope you like my bauble collection! It’s up in the shop now at an introductory price.

So tell me… what colour(s) would you make them in?

Comments (12)

punchneedle globe WIP (part 3)

I wasn’t feeling great last weekend so I treated myself to a day resting on the sofa, working on my punchneedle globe project. And I’ve finally made some serious progress: I’ve finished the southern hemisphere! I thought for a while I’d never reach this point – I finished the land masses months ago, but there’s just so much ocean below the equator (i.e. blue, blue, and more blue – so boring!). Here’s where it was last time you saw it:

punchneedle project - work in progress

And now:

punchneedle project - work in progress
The back

You can see how close I made my stitches – in punchneedle there are supposed to be gaps between the rows of stitches, but I intentionally covered the entire surface with stitches so there’d be too many loops on the front. By the way, I always keep those straggly ends long and then clip them at the end, but they aren’t going to show, so I don’t think I’ll bother clipping them (I’m such a rebel!)

punchneedle project - work in progress
The front

Ooooh… I think this just might work!

punchneedle project - work in progress
Close-up

It looks like my over-dense punching strategy is going to work – see how the piece wants to curl under at the edges already? The excess of loops on the front means that the front surface wants to be larger than the back, making it curl. It should mean that when I stitch up the globe, there won’t be any visible bald patches between loops, even when it’s curved into a sphere. Aren’t I smart?!

Thoughts I had while I was punching the neverending blue oceans:

  • I’ve been using 3 strands of embroidery floss. I wonder, could I have used all 6 strands for the ocean and made my stitches further apart (i.e. less of them), or would the result have looked strange?
  • File this under “duh”: why didn’t I dye my fabric blue before I started?! The landmasses would have stuck out realistically from the oceans (the bare blue fabric), and I wouldn’t have needed to punch any blue at all!
  • Of course, now I’m halfway through, I’m committed to the strategy I originally chose, otherwise the two halves wouldn’t match when I eventually assemble the entire globe. But I do like that my method means it’ll all be smooth and even (and snuggly soft!) all over so I’m okay with that.

Now for the (fingers crossed) magic part: turning the 2D into 3D. My idea is probably self-explanatory; I’m going to stitch up those ‘darts’ of unembroidered fabric extending into the circle, to (hopefully) turn it into a hemisphere. Stay tuned!

Comments (12)

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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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