PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for January, 2012

AquaAmi CAL roundup

Every month, the PlanetJune CALs get more and more fun, as our Ravelry group grows and our little community strengthens. It’s so nice to see! Let’s look at the roundup for January’s AquaAmi Crochet-Along – and keep reading to the end to find the February themes (Maybe you’d like to join in, if you haven’t before? All welcome!)

AquaAmi Crochet-Along at PlanetJune

(For speed, I’m just giving credit with participants’ Ravelry usernames.) Here’s what happened in the January CAL!

My Sea Turtle pattern is a big time commitment, with 26 separate pieces that make up the turtle, so I’m especially pleased to see how many people tackled it this month. It was really fun to see people’s photos of their piles of pre-assembled pieces, and seeing the lovely colours everyone chose:

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
PixyKayte & CrochetChrisie

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
camaharet & klopferli

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
AKmtnnymph & SunnyStrings (who made a car seat blanket to match her turtle)

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
theMarkofSMB & arbitrarily (whose turtle was made with a 1.25mm hook and is only 8cm long!)

I have to give a special mention to Monica (theMarkofSMB) who, after making her sea turtle above, managed to put together another five sea turtles, in assorted colours:

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
all 5 by theMarkofSMB – an amazing achievement!

And then we have my Adult and Baby Emperor Penguin patterns:

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
CrochetChrisie & Fatals-attraction

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
Enphra & CranberryAmi

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
rastakt & Fatals-attraction (who made Valentine’s penguins in 2 shades of pink!)

All the non-tiny aquatic mammals:

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
adult and baby Beluga Whales, and Dolphin, both by petrOlly

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Sea Lion and a clever mod of my Dolphin into a shark, both by petrOlly

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CrochetChrisie made sweet adult and baby pairs of both my Polar Bear and Sea Lion patterns, by changing the yarn thickness and hook size

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
And the only person brave enough to attempt a ‘fuzzy’ pattern this time around was jukatca, with her cute Fuzzy Seal!

And finally, Tiny Whale was very popular this month, as nobody can possibly be too busy to find the time to make this little no-sew pattern. But we didn’t just see plain Tiny Whales: we have colourful whales, catnip-stuffed whales (cat toys), keychain whales, sets of counting whales (for kids), baby toy whales on rings, giant mega-whales, teeny-tiny miniature whales, and even whales modified into Humpbacks and Orcas! This is such a great example of how you can use your creativity to take a pattern, even one as simple as Tiny Whale, and make it your own:

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
PixyKayte & yasminlangley

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both by CranberryAmi

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
knitwhy & kathykoo

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
sunshine1127 & yaney

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
CrochetChrisie & theMarkofSMB

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
both by petrOlly

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
CrochtColorJunkie

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
Fatals-attraction

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
theMarkofSMB

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
both by theMarkofSMB

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
theMarkofSMB and AKmtnnymph

PlanetJune AquaAmi CAL
the first 4 of 10 counting whales by saudistitcher

Another amazing roundup! Well done to everyone – they all look great 🙂 (If you’d like to make any of the patterns featured in this CAL, you’ll find them all under Aquatic Animals in my shop.)

If you missed out on the CAL fun, we have two CALs starting on February 1st (tomorrow!):

Firstly, a Valentine’s CAL (using my free Love Hearts and Basic Rose patterns) from Feb 1-14th…

Valentine's CAL at PlanetJune

And secondly, a Plant-Along, which includes all my plant and flower patterns (including the new succulents!) from Feb 1-29th.

Plant-Along CAL at PlanetJune

We’d love it if you’d join in with one or both at the PlanetJune Ravelry group!

Comments (3)

Crinkle Ball Cat Toy

Today is Maui’s birthday! As the most important member of our household, and to celebrate his bravery at coping with a hugely traumatic trans-continental move last year, I wanted to get him an extra-special present. Unfortunately, the pet shops here are lucky to have a ball and a mouse as their cat toy selection, and Maui already has loads of each of those.

maui helping me choose appropriate yarn colours
Maui also likes to supervise when I’m designing – here he makes sure that my yarn ball doesn’t get away from me while I crochet succulents

The balls I crocheted for my Yarn Over vs Yarn Under comparison had a dual purpose – I added some catnip as I stuffed them, so they could double up as new toys for Maui.

crocheted balls
Maui won’t care if I crocheted these with YO or YU, as long as there’s catnip inside!

But that wasn’t good enough – he already has crocheted balls to play with, and I wanted to give him a really special treat. So I put on my creative thinking cap and the result was pretty amazing – I think I may have created the best cat toy ever! It turned my 8-years-young lazypuss into a kitten again, and held his attention for far longer than any store-bought toy has.

crinkle ball cat toy tutorial by planetjune

If you have, or know, a cat, and you like to craft, you must try this. It’s really easy, it only takes 5 minutes, you’ll have a valid excuse for eating chocolates while you craft, and you’ll have the happiest cat in the neighbourhood! The foil makes an irresistible crinkly noise when the ball is played with.

crinkle ball cat toy tutorial by planetjune
The ball on the right has been thoroughly quality-tested by Maui, and after half an hour of kitty football, stalking, pouncing and batting, being carried by mouth, dropped into shoes and being fished out again, you can see that it hasn’t fallen apart at all!

Note: this is my first donationware craft tutorial. As I’ve had requests for PDFs of other tutorials, I’ll also be converting some of my older tutorials to donationware, as I find the time, so there’ll be a handy printable option for them too. As always with my donationware, the full tutorial is available online for free, whether or not you choose to pay for the PDF version!

Go to the Crinkle Ball Cat Toy tutorial >>

Comments (9)

Succulent Collection crochet patterns

I can hardly believe I’ve finally reached this point – this has probably been my longest crochet design process to date – so I’m very happy to present to you my first patterns of 2012: Succulent Collections 1 & 2!

succulent collections crochet patterns by planetjune

I spent weeks (during my break from designing in December) researching all the different types of succulents to try to find a selection that would look interesting and varied, are fairly common, and would work when translated into crochet. I narrowed it down to 10, to give me a little wiggle room if a couple of them didn’t work out the way I was hoping. And here are the final 8:

succulent collection 1 crochet patterns by planetjune
Succulent Collection 1, L-R: Spoon Jade ‘ET Fingers’; Sempervivum ‘Hen & Chicks’; Euphorbia Obesa ‘Baseball Plant’; Adromischus Cooperi ‘Plover Eggs Plant’

succulent collection 2 crochet patterns by planetjune
Succulent Collection 2, L-R: Gasteria ‘Ox Tongue Plant’; Senecio Rowleyanus ‘String of Pearls’; Lithops ‘Living Stones’; Kalanchoe Luciae ‘Flapjack Plant’

While I didn’t know this at the time I began my succulent project, I learned through my research that while cacti are a type of succulent, cacti come from the Americas, but other succulents come from Africa. And, beyond that, it turns out that 7 of the 8 species I ended up making are actually native to South Africa – such a coincidence! I had no idea, although I do see succulents all over the place here; it makes sense to have water-retaining plants in a predominantly hot dry environment.

I’ve come up with all kinds of new crochet tricks and techniques for these patterns, and, as always, they are explained in fully illustrated detail in the patterns, so you can feel confident about tackling these even if you’ve only made very simple amigurumi before. As with the cacti, each Succulent Collection is available separately for $8, or you can get the second collection for almost half price when you buy both together for the ridiculously low price of $12.50.

crocheted succulent and cactus collections by planetjune
Click through to see the super-sized version at Flickr 🙂

Back L-R: Cactus Collection 2, Cactus Collection 1
Front L-R: Succulent Collection 1, Succulent Collection 2

Just to make things even more exciting, as you can see from the picture above, I’ve made the Succulents on the same scale as my Cactus Collections 1 & 2, so now you can mix-and-match between all 4 plant collections to make a completely customized cactus/succulent garden, or a cute selection of mini pots with individual plants! (Or even a mini jungle like mine!)

Handy links to the patterns:
Succulent Collections 1 & 2
Succulent Collection 1
Succulent Collection 2
Cactus Collections 1 & 2
Cactus Collection 1
Cactus Collection 2

And, in a case of excellent timing, the PlanetJune February CAL will be a Plant-Along, so please join us at the PlanetJune Ravelry group if you’d like to participate in the crochet-along and make succulents and cacti (and any of my other plant patterns) with the rest of the group! The CAL officially starts on Feb 1st, but if you want to pick up the patterns now and get a head start, I won’t tell 😉

I’ve spent a huge amount of time making these succulent patterns into something special, so I really hope you’ll enjoy them! Please let me know what you think of them…

Comments (38)

PlanetJune Stories: Judy Carlson

After a long break, it’s time to resurrect my PlanetJune Stories series, and hear from more of my wonderful customers. Today’s story is from Judy Carlson of Boulder, CO, who is one of a handful of people who has bought pretty much everything I’ve ever published! So let’s find out what she does with all those PlanetJune amigurumi patterns…

PlanetJune stories
Here’s a little sampling of what Judy has made with my patterns… impressive, huh? How many do you recognise?! Read Judy’s story, and then I’ll show more of her photos at the end of the post!

Judy writes:

The first PlanetJune pattern that I ever used was her Basic Rose pattern. I crocheted a cake and wanted some roses for decoration and they were perfect!

PlanetJune stories

Then I did a PlanetJune crochet-along project or two, but what really got me hooked on her patterns were her Cactus Collections: they are SO real looking and awesome! After that I have been NUTS for June’s patterns and now have almost all of them and have completed the majority of the patterns I own.

In addition to having really great patterns with easy to follow instructions and new techniques that result in nice crisp finished products with clean lines and incredible cuteness, she allows people to sell finished items as long as they credit her as the designer. Knowing this, in January 2011, I opened my Etsy shop, Judy’s Ami Shop.

Currently, everything I have in stock is made from PlanetJune patterns. I am having so much fun with my shop! I love getting orders, boxing them up, and taking them to the post office. I have had a husband order a Chinchilla for an anniversary gift for his wife, an Alpaca ordered for a wedding gift, and recently I got an order for a Guinea Pig to be a companion to a real Guinea Pig whose brother died. (My customer reports that her Guinea Pig likes his new crocheted buddy!) The furthest away that I’ve gotten an order is from Japan – where my fuzzy Red Fox now lives.

All the money I have made from my store has gone into buying new PlanetJune patterns, yarn, and supplies. I can only expect that my Etsy shop will continue to grow! But I don’t put everything I crochet up for sale; some go to friends and family for gifts. And sometimes I am tempted to close my shop, surround myself with all of the amis and say, “mine all mine!”, as I laugh maniacally! After crocheting the Aardvark pattern, I decided that this Aardvark was my Aardvark – I love him so. I look forward to seeing June’s pattern store continue to grow and see what she comes up with next!

I hope most of my customers realise by now that you, like Judy, are allowed to sell as many items as you want, made from my patterns, provided you credit me as the designer and don’t share the patterns themselves!

(I’ll blog in more detail about this later, but if you have an online shop where you sell items you’ve made from my patterns, you might like to add your shop details to my list of PlanetJune-designed toy sellers. I refer anyone who enquires about finished items to this list, so it’s a great way to get a little free promotion for your shop!)

And now let’s look at a few more of Judy’s crocheted creations:

PlanetJune stories
Cactus Collection

PlanetJune stories PlanetJune stories
Amigurumi Pears; Alpaca

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AmiDogs Basset Hound & Boxer; Fuzzy Guinea Pig

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Red Fox; Mop Top Mascots

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Poison Dart Frog; Lion and Lioness

Thank you so much, Judy, for sharing your story and lovely photos with us! Please leave Judy a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post, or visit Judy’s Ami Shop if you’d like to buy one of her lovely (and familiar-looking!) creations.

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!

Comments (9)

Cape Town wildlife VIII

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

My biggest problem right now is deciding which photos to show you this month – between our adventures over Christmas and adding a birdbath and a new bird feeder to our garden, I have enough wildlife pics for at least three posts! But I’ve decided that this month I want to talk about the lizards in my garden. (Please don’t be squeamish; these little guys are totally harmless, and they’re really helpful to have around because they eat bugs and stop my garden from being overrun with insects.)

It’s hard to believe there’s such a variety of wildlife in one small back garden – I’ve found three completely different types of lizard, and and they are all very small (5″ long or less) and non-threatening. I love having them around – it’s fascinating to be able to watch them.

PS – keep reading to the end; I’ve saved the best for last!

Geckos

There are lots of little geckos in the garden, although we usually only see them when we move something they were sitting behind or inside, and then they run like lightning to escape to safety! That makes them very difficult to photograph; these are the best photos I’ve managed so far.

gecko

As you can see from the pics above and below, their colouration is quite varied, so I’m not sure if they’re all Marbled Leaf-Toed Geckos, or if we actually have a second species too.

gecko

Skinks

Our Cape Skinks are a little more scary looking – they have long smooth snakelike bodies and flicky tongues. It’s only when you spot their tiny legs that you know you’re not looking at a snake! They also move lightning fast, but if you sit still for a while they get braver and come out to sunbathe or look for insects. Of course, they only do that when I don’t have my camera handy, so even in my best photos, they are half-hidden in foliage…

skink
A Cape Skink – or is it a snake?!

skink
No, it’s definitely a lizard – you can see the leg more clearly here.

Chameleons

You can’t imagine my excitement when I looked at our wild peach tree one day and saw a bright green Cape Dwarf Chameleon looking back at me! Completely different from the other lizards, the chameleon’s camouflage involves moving veeeeeery slooooowly and swaying, so their motion looks like a leaf blowing in the wind. And it works! It’s very hard to spot, even when you know it’s there, but once you do, it’s great for taking photos. Just look at these:

chameleon
How amazing is this?! Look at his two-toed feet.

chameleon
Colour changing from bright green to blackish green (yep, it’s the same chameleon in both pics!)

chameleon
Tongue shooting out to catch food – his tongue is as long as his whole body, with a suction cup on the end…

chameleon
Perfect accuracy with the tongue grab – tasty insect acquired.

chameleon
This pic just made me laugh – I feel like he’s about to reach for his top hat and cane and break into ‘Hello, My Baby‘ 😉

I still can’t really believe I took these photos in my own garden – it’s like having my own private zoo! I think it’s partly because we have an older house (1920s) so the garden and our big tree are very established, and there are lots of wildlife habitats. And it’s partly because I go outside most days and actually look for wildlife in the garden – I bet that, if you have a garden, there’s more interesting wildlife in it than you realise! (Although you probably won’t find anything as cool as a chameleon, sorry…)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s photos! Please leave me a comment if you did – I’ll stop posting if/when you get bored with seeing my pics, so I’d really like to know that you’re still interested.

***

crocheted gecko pattern by planetjune
In case these pics have inspired you to crochet a lizard of your own, my Gecko pattern might be just what you’re looking for. And I’m pretty sure there’ll be a PlanetJune Chameleon coming at some point in the future! 🙂

Comments (21)

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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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