PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for August, 2011

free pattern: amigurumi pears

I try to give you one free (donationware) pattern per season, and with fall approaching (for most of you; it’s spring for me!) I’ve designed a realistic, beautifully shaped amigurumi pear.

amigurumi pears crochet pattern by planetjune
Can you spot which is the real pear? 😉

Crochet a bowlful in greens, browns, yellows, and/or reds, to make a stylish decorative centrepiece, or add a pair of safety eyes and an embroidered smile to make a sweet toy 🙂

amigurumi pear by planetjune
The perfect pear shape

I’ve also included instructions for making a delicious-looking blushed pear:

amigurumi blushed pear by planetjune
Mmm, doesn’t it look sweet and juicy?

The pears crochet pattern is free for you to use. If you’d like to thank me with a donation, you’ll get a handy printable PDF version of the pattern as a thank you 🙂

Enjoy!

Go to Amigurumi Pears pattern >>

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help me to reach a goal?

Do you find that reading a review for an online product really helps you to make a buying decision? I know I do, and I always wonder if there’s something terribly wrong with a product that has zero reviews: maybe it’s so bad that nobody has ever even bought it..?!

planetjune reviews

Lots of people find me through a google search for, e.g. “corgi crochet pattern”, and may have no idea who PlanetJune is, or know about the quality and detail I put into all my patterns. I think that seeing a review from a fellow crocheter would help reassure them far more than a sales pitch from me could, so, to help these people, I’d really like to have at least one review available for every pattern in my shop.

I’m getting close – there are now an amazing 273 reviews posted in my shop, covering almost all of my patterns and products, which is fantastic! I really do appreciate every review, and that’s why I host my monthly ‘Review and Win’ contest to reward you for taking the time to write them.

If you can help me reach my goal, I’d be ever so grateful. I’ll also give you a double entry into this month’s ‘Review and Win’ contest for every first review for a pattern you write. To make this less of a treasure hunt, here’s a list of all the patterns that (at time of writing) have zero reviews:

If you’ve bought any of these patterns, please write a quick review in my shop so that other potential customers can know what to expect if they buy the pattern!

To write a review:

  1. Click the link above to get to the item in my shop.
  2. Click the Reviews tab.
  3. Click the write a review button, and leave your opinion!

Thank you for helping me to reach this goal 🙂

Comments (7)

Amigurumi Aardvark crochet pattern

I usually keep my designs a secret while I work on them, in case I fail to create what I can see in my head (it happens!), but last week, I was crocheting away on my new design and I spontaneously decided to host a contest on my Facebook page, to guess what the design would be. I released one text clue every hour, and people could guess again after each clue was released. It took 5 hours and almost 100 comments before we had a winning guess of Aardvark, by which time my design was well on the way to completion. It was so much fun to have people keeping me company with their guesses as I worked, I think I might do it again some time 🙂

I don’t know why the idea to crochet an aardvark popped into my head, but, once it did, I had to drop all my other projects immediately and get to work – that’s the way my crazy brain works. The aardvark is just so cute and funny and distinctive looking, I thought it would be the perfect subject for a one-colour design, where all the magic is in the shaping.

Aardvark amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

It was easy enough to draw my aardvark sketch, but turning that 2D shape into the 3D reality involved a lot of trial and error to get it smooth and perfect and in proportion. I think I succeeded though!

I also went for a change of scale with this design: I think Aardvark is one of my largest worsted weight amigurumi, at 13.5″ long from snout to tail.

Aardvark amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Aardvark Fun Facts

  • Aardvarks are found all over Africa.
  • The name “aardvark” means “earth pig” in Afrikaans.
  • Aardvarks live in burrows and eat ants and termites.
  • They weigh over 100lbs and their tail alone is 2 ft long.
  • Aardvarks independently evolved similar features to the unrelated Anteaters (who come from South America) – isn’t nature amazing?!

I hope you like my funny little ‘earth pig’. I’m hoping he’ll be a talisman to keep the ants out of my house; he doesn’t seem to be making much difference so far, but I love him anyway 🙂

Aardvark amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

If you’d like to make an aardvark of your own, pick up the Aardvark crochet pattern from the PlanetJune shop!

Comments (11)

The Handmade Clothing Project

Before our inter-continental move, I pared down my wardrobe by about half, getting rid of anything worn out, badly fitting, or no longer my style. That’s left me with a very minimal wardrobe, and now I really need to replace some of the items I purged.

Shopping catastrophe

I went clothes shopping for the first time last weekend and it was an absolute disaster… Everything is far more expensive here than in Canada. I have a gut feeling about how much I’d be willing to pay for something that’s okay (not bad looking, functional, plain, fits well enough or can be easily modified, a good basic piece) vs something that’s perfect (I love it and know I’ll enjoy wearing for years, great style and/or detailing, the perfect fit) and these prices were far, far higher than my range. There’s no way I’m ever going to be able to justify paying more than my perfect piece price for a merely okay item.

I spent 2 hours browsing and getting more and more despondent. The only thing I even liked enough to consider was a t-shirt in a sale rack, but then I saw the price tag: reduced from $45 equivalent to $30 equivalent! I’ve paid $30 for a t-shirt once, but it’s my favourite top and has loads of detailing (fitted bodice, lace, pleats, gathered neckline) that, for me, justified the price. This was just a plain striped t-shirt… Um, no.

I left the shirt on the rack and gave up on the whole clothes shopping idea. On my way out, I stopped at the craft store and bought some beads, and then I went home to cheer myself up by making something…

Making is fun

sewing books
(Please excuse my translucently pale skin – being sick for 6 months does takes a toll on a girl’s complexion…)
sewing books

Two bracelets and a necklace for under $2 – now that’s my kind of shopping! And because I chose all the supplies myself, I could make sure that the necklace is subtle and will go with all my pink and purple tops, and that the bracelets are bolder and will look perfect next to indigo denim. Being crafty is so much more fun than buying mass-produced, over-priced stuff.

When life gives you lemons…

And that gave me the idea to try turning this disappointment into an opportunity: maybe I can make my own clothes in future..? I can take the time that I used to spend wandering malls looking for the elusive piece that has a June-approved style, colour, fit, and price, and use it to learn to stitch garments that I’m guaranteed to like. And so the idea for the Handmade Clothing Project was born.

This will be a huge challenge for me: I’m by no means an expert at sewing, and very inexperienced at making garments from scratch – shortening or modifying existing clothes to fit is more my level at the moment. But I have designed and stitched up bags, a skirt and a t-shirt from scratch in the past, so I think I should be able to do this, if I start with very simple items.

a-line skirt
I made this simple skirt in 2008 and it’s still one of my favourites – plus I get the bonus “yay, I made this!” feeling every time I put it on.

Gearing up

I can begin the Handmade Clothing Project with almost no costs: I already have a moderate fabric stash (acquired over the years from remnant bins – I can’t resist a bargain), a wonderful sewing machine, and a small library of books to help me on my way:

sewing books

Now all I need is to buy a voltage converter so I can plug my 110V sewing machine into a 240V socket, and I’ll be ready to go! This will obviously be a time-consuming process for me, and I’m still busy trying to get my business back up to speed, so don’t expect new clothing posts every week. But I will share my Handmade Clothing Project successes (and failures) here as they occur – maybe it’ll inspire you to try making clothing too.

Do you make any of your own clothes, or have you ever considered trying it? If so, feel free to join in with the Handmade Clothing Project. (You can still buy clothes too – this isn’t a hardcore “I will never buy clothing again” pledge!) There are no time limits or deadlines, and the only Clothing Project rules are to make stuff you can wear and have fun with it. Crocheting and knitting clothes counts too – you don’t have to sew. Just think how good it’ll feel every time you put on a handmade item – I’m pretty sure you won’t ever get that feeling from anything you bought at the mall…

Who’s with me?

Comments (31)

Cape Town wildlife III

This is the third post in my monthly series on the fascinating nature I encounter here in South Africa.

It turns out that our new house is just a few minutes’ walk from the Liesbeeck River, which is full of waterbirds. This is where I saw the kingfisher you may remember from a few months back. Look how lovely it is!

liesbeeck river

I think the rest of these pictures will speak for themselves, so I’ll keep my commentary short and sweet. Just remember that it’s the middle of winter here at the moment and, while it’s not sunny like this every day, you can see (above) how beautiful it is here when the sun does come out! Enjoy…

egyptian goose family
A family of Egyptian Geese – these are the common geese that you see everywhere here (makes a change from Canada Geese!) They have distinctive red patches around their eyes and honk very loudly.

blacksmith plovers
Here’s a pair of Blacksmith Plovers (or Lapwings) – I took more photos, but they all involved, ahem, mating… so you get the boring family-safe photo here 🙂

hadeda ibis
I love this photo of a Hadeda Ibis – look at the iridescence on the wing.

african sacred ibis
These are a different type of ibis: the African Sacred Ibis.

hartlaub's gull
We see two common types of gull; this cute little Hartlaub’s Gull, and…

kelpgulls
… the much larger Kelp Gulls.

little egret
And two types of egret! Here’s a Little Egret (note the yellow feet)…

cattle egret
…and a Cattle Egret. See the buff-coloured plumes? That’s breeding plumage; the feathers are all white the rest of the year.

african darter
At first I thought this bird was a cormorant, but it’s actually an African Darter drying its wings after swimming (it swims with its entire body underwater).

whitebreasted cormorant
Here’s a real cormorant (a Whitebreasted Cormorant). Now I see them together, they don’t look very similar at all…

tablemountain
And a gratuitously scenic shot to end with: Table Mountain (taken from the riverbank).

I hope you enjoyed this month’s African interlude! Are you bored yet, or shall I keep going with these wildlife posts? I have lots more I can show you, but only if you’re interested…

Comments (19)

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    June Gilbank

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