February 23, 2011 @ 11:35 am
· Filed under Crochet
The winter sale at the Yarn Factory Outlet store (in Listowel, Ontario) runs through this week and next – a bittersweet occasion for me, as this would be my last opportunity to visit the outlet before I leave Canada…
Luckily, the sun was shining yesterday, so my final trip was a picturesque hour’s drive through farmland each way. I tried to snap a few photos of the countryside through the windscreen as I drove, but didn’t really capture how lovely it all looked, with the endless clear blue skies, white snow-covered fields, and red barns. Winter in Canada can seem endless, but on a sunny day like this it’s absolutely gorgeous – I’ll miss these farmland scenes when I leave Ontario. This is the best photo I got:
Ontario farmland in the snow
I’ve shown you the inside of the outlet store before, so I didn’t bother taking any more photos; you can get a good idea from the pics in my post from my first visit, 2 years ago – nothing has changed 🙂
This time, I made a beeline for the unlabelled yarn tables, stacked high with miscellaneous yarns, with everything on them priced at 20c/oz – so that’s about 80c for a typical 100g ball of yarn… Of course, it’s not labelled, so you don’t know what you’re getting unless you can recognise it by the look and feel. I scored big time – loads of Bernat Satin, a nice assortment of Patons Grace, and a few skeins of random yarns that I couldn’t identify, but which will be great for future amigurumi designs:
Final yarn haul
Altogether, I got 33 skeins of yarn for around $20! I do love a bargain 🙂
I’ve been hosting an unofficial Crochet-Along for my Love Hearts pattern – just for fun – and I wanted to share all the lovely hearts with you today. I don’t really approve of Valentine’s Day (because I hate the commercialism, and that anyone would think you need a special day to tell your loved ones how you feel about them), but I do approve of taking the time to make things for people you care about. That’s why I’m so happy to see how many of you have found the time to crochet up some of my Love Hearts, and how many different things you’ve found to do with them.
I don’t really know where to begin, so these are just in the order I happened to grab the pics in. So I can get them all posted before V-Day ends, I’ll keep my commentary short with just the name credits for each pic, but please know I’m enthusing about each one really!
TheGrouchyCairn, who wrote such a sweet message to go with her masses of hearts, I thought I’d quote part of it here (click through to read the rest):
My mom lives in a retirement community. I worry about the loneliness of seniors and decided to make some pins for her apartment building floor. As I started I felt my heart leading me to make little door hangers as well so that those who do not go out as often would get a little valentine heart for sure. I ended up making I’m sure over 50 of the littlest hearts. I was thrilled that I was able to deliver them anonymously, (there is almost always someone out roaming the halls or looking for someone to visit!) By the end of the day almost all the heart pins, (left on a table by the elevator,) had been taken and every door on floor 8 had a heart!
Aww, how lovely! There are loads more hearts out there – 99 projects on ravelry alone! – but I’ve just highlighted the ones here who took part in the CAL or linked back to my pattern in their blog posts.
I hope this explosion of hearts has brightened your day as much as it has mine! Thanks so much to everyone who’s made one or more heart, and/or donated for the pattern. I never dreamed this pattern would be so popular – I love that my little hearts have made so many people happy 🙂
My favourite yarns for amigurumi (in no particular order) are:
Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice – although it’s not as soft as my other favourites, it has more substance, which makes for really nice shaping on my amigurumi, and oh! the colours! I’ve never seen such a lovely selection of muted colours. All my Dinosaurs are made with Vanna’s.
Bernat Satin – my first favourite yarn! Although it’s got thinner over the last few years (when you pull it tight, as you do with amigurumi crochet, it really thins down, so it’s hard to avoid leaving some gaps between stitches), I still buy it as it’s dreamily soft and there’s a good selection of neutral colours which is handy for animals, like almost all of my AmiDogs designs.
Red Heart Soft – similar to Satin, but a touch less soft and just that little bit thicker, which makes for a better-looking amigurumi, with less gaps between stitches. There are some gorgeous saturated colours and greens in the range, but it’s a bit limited for neutrals. I used RH Soft to make the boy and girl designs in my book.
I use these yarns a lot. All the time, in fact. Between the three, I can always find the perfect yarn for any project I dream up. But that makes me very concerned about what I’m going to do for yarn once I get to South Africa… None of my favourite brands are available over there and I don’t think there’s a South African equivalent for the soft acrylics I use for my amigurumi designs. My plan is to buy as much as possible to ship over when we move, because I just don’t know what kind of designs I’m going to dream up next year, so I can’t plan for which colours I’ll need, or how much of each. My best bet is to stockpile the biggest stash I can manage.
Yesterday, my sister commented that she’d like a way to be able to send me money to put towards building my yarn stash, and I thought, hmm, that sounds like a good idea…
So, if you find my website helpful and you’d like to send me something towards stocking up on yarn to take with me so I can keep designing new patterns and creating new tutorials for you when I’m in South Africa, you can now donate to the PlanetJune Yarn Fund:
It’s like a virtual Tip Jar, but with a specific purpose. I’ll spend every cent donated to the PlanetJune Yarn Fund as frugally as possible, taking advantage of Michaels sales and coupons (I’m in Canada, so Michaels is the only option for me here!) to make the funds go as far as I can and hopefully be able to buy up every colour of my three favourite yarns for amigurumi!
Of course, if you already support me by buying my patterns and accessories or donating for my free patterns, that all helps too – thank you! – but any Yarn Fund monies will all be spent on yarn, not sidetracked into paying for food, electricity, etc 🙂
I thank you for all of your support, financial and otherwise, as I go through this scary, exhausting transitional stage before our new African adventure begins. I can’t even begin to imagine what my life will be like in a few months from now!
ETA: Importing yarn to South Africa to use in my new designs has proven to be a major challenge, between high shipping costs, high import tax, a ridiculously poor exchange rate, postal strikes and postal theft. If you’d like to donate towards the PlanetJune Yarn Fund, it’s still operational, and all donations will be gratefully put towards my next yarn restocking adventure. 🙂
Drumroll, please…. Today I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a PlanetJune fan or a ferret fan to own a PlanetJune original! It’s very rare that I sell finished pieces – I occasionally accept a commission for a crocheted animal, but I spend almost all my time designing and writing, and prefer to save my hands for crocheting up new designs. But when I came to pack up my toy shelves:
…there was one little baby who stayed behind…
…One little ferret who decided he’d like to be adopted into a new loving home instead of moving to South Africa with me.
This sweet and realistic ferret is a totally one-of-a-kind PlanetJune original. His markings are different to those in my ferret pattern, so you can’t make one like this, even with my pattern!
He measures 14″ (36cm) long, from the tip of his cute little pink nose to the end of his furry ferret tail.
He’s crocheted from mohair blend yarns, which makes him fuzzy and fluffy and soft and cuddly.
Black safety eyes complete his realistic look, so he’s not suitable for children under 3 years old.
Complete with a signed certificate of authenticity that he was handmade with love by me, June Gilbank!
Would you like to adopt this little sweetie? He’s all ready to go to his new home, and I’ve put him up for auction on eBay with a ridiculously low starting price – far lower than my commissioned rates – so you may end up with a real bargain as well as a one-of-a-kind original!
All proceeds will go to a very good cause: buying a stash of yarn that I can take to South Africa with me so I can continue to create new amigurumi patterns for you in the yarns that you’re familiar with (there’ll be no soft worsted weight acrylics over there: no Bernat, Lion Brand, Red Heart, Patons, Caron… how will I survive?!)
I hope you like my sweet ferret. If you don’t want to place a bid yourself, please pass the link (PlanetJune Ferret auction link) on to anyone else who may be interested in this opportunity.
Happy Groundhog Day! Apart from being my favourite made-up holiday, it’s also time for me to draw January’s ‘Review and Win’ contest winner… This month’s lucky winner is Rita G, with her review of my Detail Stuffing Tool:
I used this stuffing tool and the result was great!! I have crocheted a lot of stuffed animals with the result I used the end of a crochet hook, bamboo stuffing tool, or other means to get stuffing into small places. The results weren’t always good. With this little stuffing tool I had great results finding the stuffing went where I wanted it to go so my animal took shape turning out really cute! I look forward to using this tool again and again! I highly recommend this tool!!
Congratulations, Rita, I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!
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And now back to the important news of today: none of the famous groundhogs (Punxsutawney Phil, Wiarton Willie, and Shubenacadie Sam) saw their shadows this morning, so that means they all predicted an early spring – let’s hope they were right!
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since the Groundhog-Along! My crocheted groundhog is hibernating in a box in the basement (together with all my other amigurumi) while we try to sell our house, so he’s passing on prognosticating today. I wonder what all the other amigurumi ‘hogs will predict today..? 🙂