PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for October, 2012

Halloween CAL roundup

Just a mini-CAL roundup this month, as the main Accessory-Along is in full swing for the rest of the year, so a few people decided to whip up some Halloweeny amigurumi in the meantime as a bonus October CAL.

PlanetJune Halloween CrochetAlong

For November, we’ll be continuing the Accessory-Along, and also having an amazing Dino-Mania CAL! I hope you’ll join us – it’s going to be fun. (If you’d like to take part in one – or both! – see the end of this post for more details.)

And now for the Halloween roundup!
(For speed, I just give credit with participants’ Ravelry usernames.)

PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL
CraftinMama & CrochetChrisie

PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL
MagicalAmigurumi & CrochetChrisie

PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL
Fatals-attraction & klopferli

PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL
aaBrink & daveslady

PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL PlanetJune Halloween2012 CAL
nakedorangie, AKmtnnymph, & MagicalAmigurumi

It’s a case of quality, not quantity, for this roundup ๐Ÿ™‚ I do love seeing everyone’s creative spin on my patterns.

November CAL: it’s going to be Dino-Mania!

I have high hopes for this month’s Dino-Mania CAL – it should be so much fun! Join us making Dinosaurs galore – with 18 designs to choose from now, I can’t wait to see all the dinosaurs that’ll be made, and what colours people will choose…

18 amigurumi dinosaur crochet patterns by planetjune

And the Accessory-Along runs until the end of December and is going strong so far – my new Frosty Windows scarf is proving especially popular! Take a look at all the pretty scarves (and shawls, cowls, etc) that have already been finished and posted in the CAL thread and maybe you’ll be inspired to join in and make one too…

We’d love to welcome you to the PlanetJune ravelry group for the CALs, as well as for pattern support, new pattern suggestions, and chat – we have over 1000 members now, and it’s a fun, friendly and supportive place to hang out ๐Ÿ™‚

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9 new dinosaur crochet patterns

What could be better than my 9 amigurumi dinosaurs? How about 18 amigurumi dinosaurs?!

18 dinosaur amigurumi crochet patterns by PlanetJune
Click image to enlarge! The 9 new dinos are on the left in this picture, with the original 9 on the right.

This project has been a long time in the making; I kept getting requests for more dinosaur designs, but a lot of dinosaurs look fairly similar and I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of changing a few parts and calling it a whole new pattern – that doesn’t seem fair to my customers! – so my Expansion Pack (EP) idea was born.

What’s an Expansion Pack?

Expansion Packs by PlanetJune

  • An Expansion Pack (EP) is an add-on to an existing PlanetJune pattern.
  • The EP lets you modify or add to the original pattern to create something else.
  • You cannot use the EP alone – you must also purchase the original pattern in order to be able to complete the pictured items in the EP pattern.

I put on my research hat and investigated all kinds of dinosaurs to find the most interesting types to add to the collection, and now I’d like to introduce them to you…

Meet the New Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs Set 1X Expansion Pack crochet patterns by PlanetJune: Amargasaurus, Kentrosaurus, Pentaceratops
Dinosaurs Set 1X, L-R: Amargasaurus, Kentrosaurus, Pentaceratops

  • Amargasaurus was small for a sauropod, at only 33 ft long. It could easily be recognised by its impressive neck and back spines. It was a herbivore and lived in the early Cretaceous period.
  • Kentrosaurus was 17 ft long – only half the size of its better-known relative, Stegosaurus. It was well-armoured with a spiked tail and shoulders. Kentrosaurus was a herbivore and lived in the late Jurassic period.
  • Pentaceratops was a 28-ft long relative of the Triceratops. Its name means ‘five-horned head’, but its large elongated neck frill was even more impressive than its horns. It was a herbivore and lived in the late Cretaceous period.

Dinosaurs Set 2X Expansion Pack crochet patterns by PlanetJune: Dimorphodon, Kronosaurus, Spinosaurus
Dinosaurs Set 2X, L-R: Dimorphodon, Kronosaurus, Spinosaurus

  • Dimorphodon was a member of the Pterosaur family. (Pterosaurs aren’t actually true dinosaurs, but flying reptiles that lived in the same time period.) Dimorphodon was a small pterosaur, with only a 4 ft wingspan, but had a large head, a puffin-shaped beak and a long tail with a diamond-shaped tip. It ate fish and lived in the Jurassic period.
  • Kronosaurus was a huge 30-ft long member of the Plesiosaur family. (Plesiosaurs aren’t actually true dinosaurs, but aquatic reptiles that lived in the same time period.) Kronosaurus was a short-necked plesiosaur from the early Cretaceous period. It lived in the sea and ate cephalopods.
  • Spinosaurus was 40-50 ft long – even larger than a Tyrannosaurus Rex! A long crocodile-like skull and the spines which formed a sail on its back made Spinosaurus instantly recognisable. It was a carnivore from the middle Cretaceous period.

Dinosaurs Set 3X Expansion Pack crochet patterns by PlanetJune: Protoceratops, Iguanodon, Panoplosaurus
Dinosaurs Set 3X, L-R: Protoceratops, Iguanodon, Panoplosaurus

  • Protoceratops was a small herbivorous dinosaur, at only 6-8 ft long. Unlike its relatives (including Triceratops and Pentaceratops), it had no horns, only its ridged neck frill. It lived in the late Cretaceous period.
  • Iguanodon was a herbivorous dinosaur from the early Cretaceous period. It was 30 ft long and weighed 4-5 tons. It could walk on all four legs or run on its back legs. Its name means ‘iguana tooth’ (as its teeth resemble those of modern iguanas).
  • Panoplosaurus was a 23-ft long ankylosaur from the late Cretaceous period. It was a herbivore with a heavily armoured back, a row of spikes along each side, and extra-long shoulder spikes. Unlike the related Ankylosaurus, it did not have a tail club.

EP Pricing Info

These expansion pack designs keep about half of the original pattern, and the other half is new, so I’m charging only $2.50 apiece – half the price of the original. And it gets even better if you buy a multipack set: only $6.50 for a set of 3.

The multipack EP sets correspond to Dinosaurs Sets 1, 2 and 3, so I’ve called them Dinosaurs Sets 1X, 2X and 3X to make it clear which EPs match up with which original set. And, for this launch week, you’ll only pay $6 each for any (or all!) of the three 3-pack expansion packs – a real bargain for 3 new dinosaur patterns! (No code required – the additional discounts are already set up in the shop, for this week only.)

Original Dinosaur Re-releases

All 9 of the original dinosaur patterns have now been given their makeover. If you log into your PlanetJune account, you can download the new versions of any dinosaur patterns you’ve already purchased, for no additional cost, for the next 2 weeks. (If you order any dinosaur patterns from today onwards, you’ll automatically get the updated versions.)

Dinosaur amigurumi crochet patterns by PlanetJune
18 dinosaur patterns – all in the new and improved format!

Future Plans

As I moved further into designing the Expansion Packs, I realised that the dinosaur I’ve had most requests for – Velociraptor – wouldn’t be possible here: in order to make a raptor, every component of the closest pattern (T rex) would have to be rewritten, which means it’s not an EP; it’s a whole new pattern! So, although 18 dinos is already an impressive collection, if these EPs sell well, it may not be a completely crazy idea for me to design Dinosaurs Set 4 (and maybe even Set 4X?) before I call this range complete ๐Ÿ˜€

Handy Links

  • If you’ve already bought the original Dinosaur patterns, you can pick up the new Expansion Packs (individually or in sets) from the Expansion Packs section of my shop.
  • If you’d like to pick up any original Dinosaurs + EPs, you’ll find each relevant EP as an add-on for the original patterns and sets, in the Prehistoric & Mythical section.
  • If you’d like to add any of the 9 new dinosaurs to your Ravelry queue and/or favourites, there’s a link from each individual pattern page in my shop.
  • If you’re admiring the colours of my dinosaurs, they are all made from Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn – it has the best range of beautiful colours, and nothing in the range clashes with anything else, so you can’t go wrong.

Oh, and if you’re intimidated by the thought of crocheting the thin spikes on some of the dinos, don’t worry – those will be the subject of my next video tutorial, coming later this week! And then I may just need to collapse for a little while and recover from this mammoth project…

I really hope you love my new (and improved) dinosaur collection!

Comments (10)

Crochet Pattern Re-releases

When I launched my new PlanetJune logo last March, I took the opportunity to completely redesign my pattern stylesheet at the same time. You may have noticed that all my patterns released since then have a subtly different look from my older designs.

old PlanetJune pattern layout

My game plan is to convert my entire back catalogue into the new format, and, at the same time, add any tips and clarifications that I think would improve the patterns – after all, I’ve come a long way in my 6 years of pattern design, and I’d like my older patterns to include my new-found wisdom!

new PlanetJune pattern layout
An easy way to tell old from new – the new editions have my yarn planet logo at the top of every page.

The improvements are all functional, to make my patterns easier to use, easier to print, and easier to understand. Here are the improvements you’ll see in the re-releases (and all new patterns since April):

Design and Layout:

  • The layout has much less wasted space, so each pattern is an average of 1 page shorter, saving on paper if you decide to print them.
  • My new page size is designed to print perfectly onto both letter and A4 sized paper.
  • I’ve updated the font to be cleaner and more readable, especially if you’re reading on-screen.
  • The design is intentionally clear and simple so you won’t waste ink printing decorative borders, coloured backgrounds, etc.

Terminology:

  • Abbreviations list gives UK/Aus equivalents for all stitches used, to prevent confusion.
  • Invisible decrease: all patterns will now say invdec instead of sc2tog (except in places where a sc2tog stitch is specifically needed).

Size: The finished size will now be included in the patterns.

Added tips and links to tutorials: I’ll link to my relevant tutorials in any pattern that would benefit from a specific technique, e.g. any patterns with colour changes will link to that tutorial.

Clarifications: Any areas in the patterns that I’ve had several questions about over the years will be revised to include additional explanations. I’ll also re-edit all patterns to check for anything else that can be clarified.

Improved photos: Especially in the older 2007 patterns, some of the photos aren’t up to my current standards. I’ll be reprocessing those to be brighter and clearer.

Get the re-releases – free!

Of course, if you’ve happily used the existing versions and had no problems, you won’t need the updates, but I’ll offer them to all my customers, so you can save/print a copy of the latest version.

As I have 124 patterns to reformat, the thought of trying to create all those new editions for one grand re-release day was hugely intimidating. Instead, I’ll be re-releasing them in manageable batches over the coming month, starting next week. Look out for my announcements, as, for 2 weeks following each batch announcement, you’ll be able to download the new version of any of the patterns you’ve already purchased, at no extra charge, directly from your PlanetJune account!

If you’d like notification reminders, as well as posting about them here, I’ll always announce them in my monthly newsletter. And, to make sure you don’t miss out, I’ve also set up a special mailing list: Crochet Pattern Updates. This list is just for pattern re-release announcements. If you sign up for it, you’ll get a short email notification every time a new batch of patterns has been re-released (no more than one or two emails per month until the reformat project is complete).

Once all 124 patterns have been reformatted, there’ll be another 2 week window for you to download all your previously purchased PlanetJune patterns in the new format, so you’ll be able to download any you missed. (That window will also be announced in both newsletters.)

* * *

This is a big project for me and it’ll take many more months to complete, but re-editing all my patterns has been one of my long-term goals – it was just waiting for my logo and new stylesheet to be completed so I could make all the updates for each pattern at once. I’ve been working steadily through the list whenever I’ve had a moment over the past few months, and, although I still have a long way to go, I think it’s well worth my time to revisit all 124 of the pre-logo patterns to make them more useable, so they’ll hopefully answer any future customers’ questions before they’re asked!

Comments (7)

PlanetJune at Ralph Lauren!

Today I have an amazing PlanetJune story for you: how my Fruit Bat design ended up in the window display of the Ralph Lauren Children’s Store on Madison Avenue, New York!

Here’s the Ralph Lauren window. It’s a beautiful display, combining seasonal elements (autumn leaves, pumpkins) with a handmade crafty theme (stitched details on the trees and moon, yarn-wrapped pumpkins) and their fall childrenswear range. And the perfect finishing touch is the 8 PlanetJune amigurumi fruit bats hanging from the trees:

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats
Can you see the bats yet?

I was approached by Ralph Lauren to make some of my fruit bats for their window. As you probably know, I don’t accept commissions for finished items any more, instead pointing enquirers in the direction of my Sellers’ List, which lists the shops of my customers who sell items made from my patterns. (I love being able to help out my customers in this way.)

In this case, with multiple bats needed and a fairly tight timeframe, I decided to go one step further and recommended a specific seller for this commission. Most of my sellers are active members of my Ravelry group, and post about how they are doing in the selling PlanetJune-designed items thread. As I read all the messages in my group, I get a good feel for how busy each of them is, and who might currently have the time and inclination to take on a large commission like this.

Note: I never make any money from these commissions – connecting buyers and sellers is just a service I offer my customers and people looking for handmade amigurumi.

So, I put Monica from Magical Amigurumi in touch with the Ralph Lauren people, they sorted out all the details of their transaction, and, a few weeks later, these cute-but-unassuming little bats…

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats

…were high-fashion superstars on Madison Avenue!

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats

I do love how the window dresser arranged all the bats in different positions, some with wings open and some folded.

The funny thing is that this was the third time my amigurumi designs have been requested by fashion designers! Maybe I need a new tagline for my website: PlanetJune: Amigurumi with Style ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you’ll be in Manhattan in the near future, do stop at the window of the Ralph Lauren Children’s Store (878 Madison Avenue) and take a look at Monica’s PlanetJune Fruit Bats:

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats

Handy links:

If you’d like to sell PlanetJune-designed items, even if you don’t sell online, please come and hang out in the PlanetJune Ravelry group! I occasionally announce special commission opportunities in the group itself, and, if I know from the photos you post in my group that you do good work, I’m happy to match you up with a potential buyer. Who knows when the next big commission opportunity will arise?!

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review: ruffle yarn

The team at Kollabora thought I might enjoy playing with a crochet kit (and they were right!), so they sent me their tutorial for making One-Skein Finger Crochet Scarves, and 2 skeins of Red Heart Boutique Sashay yarn. I’ve been curious about these new novelty ruffle yarns, so I thought I’d review the yarn for you and these two very different scarf projects I used it for…

ruffle yarn scarves
Ruffle yarn scarves

About Ruffle Yarn

As this yarn is so unusual, let’s take a better look at it…

ruffle yarn
Straight off the skein, it looks like a ribbon

ruffle yarn
Opened out – you knit or crochet into the top edge; the decorative sparkly bottom edge will be on the outside of the ruffles

If you want to try out a ruffle yarn, Red Heart Boutique Sashay isn’t the only yarn of this type – ruffles are a hot novelty yarn trend and many yarn producers have jumped on board, so you can probably find similar yarns, from different brands, wherever you live.

Project One: Finger Crochet Scarf

I’ve never tried finger crochet, so I thought this would be fun. And it really was! The yarn was actually a perfect match for this project – straight from the skein without stretching the mesh out, it’s very thick and works up quickly. The colour changed every couple of stitches to keep things interesting. If you have kids, this project would be a great way to get them chaining, maybe as a prelude to teaching them to crochet with a hook. Even small children could easily make a necklace/scarf they could wear proudly afterwards.

You can find the One-Skein Finger Crochet Scarves instructions on Kollabora. As an experiment, I tried varying my tension from tight loops, through normal tension, and then then intentionally elongating each loop. The end results are noticeably different, but all 3 look good:

ruffle yarn
Tension variations, top to bottom: loose, normal, tight

I must admit, I didn’t think this scarf/necklace thing was for me, especially in such bright colours (this colourway is called Twist) – I intended to unravel it and reuse the yarn in the ruffly way it’s intended. But then, just for fun, I tied the ends together, coiled it into 4 giant loops, then wound those 3 times each around my neck to make a giant cowl with 12 wraps, and I kind of love it!

ruffle yarn scarf: finger crocheted
Finger crocheted cowl (12 wraps of giant chain stitches)

Even with my tension experiments, it looks good, but perfectionist me thinks I might just unravel it all and redo it at even tension – it was so fast and fun that it wouldn’t be a hardship to remake it anyway.

Project Two: Frilly Ruffle Scarf

I thought that using the ruffle yarn without opening it out to reveal the texture was a bit of a waste of the special ruffly properties, so I decided to try the knitted ruffle scarf pattern from the yarn’s ball band with my second skein. (It’s the free Frilly Knit Scarf pattern. If you don’t knit, Red Heart have a companion free Frilly Crochet Scarf pattern, but I didn’t realise that until I’d already knitted mine..!)

The knitting part is really really simple – knit 6 stitches and turn – so if you’ve ever knitted before, you won’t have a problem with that. It’s also very fast, and the end result looks much more impressive and complicated than it really is. The most difficult part is wrapping your head around the fact that you don’t use this type of yarn like a conventional yarn: you only insert your needle or hook into the holes along the top edge of the yarn, and ignore the rest of the mesh (which will form the frilly ruffles) – I recommend you look on YouTube for assistance if this confuses you.

ruffle yarn
Ruffles!

A little tip: if you’re trying to knit this particular frilly scarf, knit into every other space at the edge of the yarn. (The pattern doesn’t mention this.) If you knit into each space, you’ll end up with a dense spiral and no ruffles! I only figured this out after I’d knit about a foot of scarf and realised it looked nothing like the photo… Luckily it’s very easy to frog, as the mesh is smooth, so there are no fluffy fibre strands to get snarled together. After restarting:

ruffle yarn scarf: frilly knit scarf
Frilly ruffle scarf

Ooh! The finished scarf is wonderfully lacy and ruffly, but, even in in this lovely muted colourway (called Shuffle) I think it’s a bit too dramatic for my typical understated style – I felt like I was wearing a feather boa ๐Ÿ™‚

Ruffle Yarn Verdict

Although it’s a ‘waste’ of the ruffles, a finger-crocheted scarf made from unstretched variegated ruffle yarn is fun, and would be a great first yarn craft project for children. You could easily get 2 scarves from one skein – I’m sure 6 wraps of chained scarf around my neck would have been plenty instead of the 12 I got from using the full skein!

A frilly ruffle scarf – either knitted or crocheted – would make a great gift for the right person, without a huge time commitment in making it. And you can really impress your non-crafty friends who don’t realise how simple it is to make – the yarn does almost all the work for you!

I also think that, in cream or white, this type of yarn would be a perfect way to make easy frilly ‘lace’ collars and cuffs for costumes, but I can’t think of many other uses for it. Even the patterns on the Red Heart site only show it used as an edging, to make a quick flower, or in several (apparently identical except for colour) frilly scarves…

I’d been wondering about these new novelty yarns, so I really enjoyed playing with the Boutique Sashay. As it works up quickly (both in ribbon and mesh forms) you can complete a project in no time, and with only one skein of yarn. It’s a bit limited in use, but, provided you have the right project for it, it’s fun and easy to work with (once you’ve figured out where to insert your hook/needle!)

Thanks very much to Kollabora for sending me these yarn projects to try out.

About Kollabora

kollabora: we are what we make
Kollabora is a new community site for makers offering DIY inspiration, learning, sharing, and supplies. They offer curated fashion-forward projects in sewing, jewellery and knitting categories (‘knitting’ includes crochet, btw) and, if you feel inspired, you can buy the pattern and all the supplies you’ll need directly from their page.

Their blog includes trend-spotting, how-tos, maker interviews and more, and they also have some wonderful original projects and patterns available at no cost – for example, I love the knitted Anchored Beach Wrap by Ruby Submarine.

Here’s what they have to say:

We believe that we are what we make, and that people should have a creative alternative to just buying products. They should have the opportunity to make what they’re inspired by. Every project on Kollabora feeds and fosters your creativity, and, above all, offers you the choice to make it yourselfโ€”a fun, unique and truly fulfilling alternative to simply buying an end product. We hope that you’ll share your adventurous experiences and expertise as we continue to craft our site into a wondrous, one-stop destination for everything you need to make something awesome.

I love this idea! In this time of disposable one-season fashions and cheap, low-quality imports, people are looking to make clothes and accessories instead of buying, and Kollabora’s projects show that you can be just as fashion-forward and on-trend when you choose to make it yourself.

I’ve only explored the knitting (& crochet) section of Kollabora so far, so I’m looking forward to checking out the sewing and jewellery categories to see what else I get inspired to make…

Comments (8)

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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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