It’s important to me that PlanetJune CALs are always inclusive and supportive, no matter your skill level or how much time you can afford to spend: you can enter with your first ever attempt at crochet, or if you’ve been crocheting for decades; with a quick pic you snapped on your phone, or with a beautifully-composed photo you spent ages setting up to perfection.
Crochet-alongs are supposed to be fun, and an enjoyment of crocheting is the only requirement to join a PlanetJune CAL! If you’ve been too shy to join in until now, I hope you’ll reconsider – I can guarantee you’ll be met with support and encouragement if you do 🙂 (If you’re interested, see the end of this post for details of the next CAL…)
Now for this month’s roundup! We added a last-minute bonus Fruit-Along CAL for July, to include all my fruity patterns:
These one-piece patterns are so quick to work up that almost everyone couldn’t stop at just one or two and made lovely fruit collections! Take a look:
There are millions of teddy bear designs out there, but what about bear-shaped bear patterns? I think real bears deserve some appreciation too! I already have my Polar Bear pattern, but they aren’t shaped like other bears, so I decided it was time for a series of realistic bear designs:
Which bear is your favourite: Black, Polar, or Brown?
I must confess that I wasn’t much of a bear expert, going into this project. I had no idea of the differences between Black, Brown and Grizzly Bears, apart from the obvious (colour) – and it turns out I didn’t even get that right… For a start, Brown and Grizzly are two names for the same bear – you can use them interchangeably. And here’s where it gets really surprising: despite their names, you can’t reliably tell Black and Brown Bears apart by their coat colouring; both are found in a wide spectrum of colours.
If Black Bears can be brown, and Brown Bears can be black, how do you actually tell if you’re looking at a Brown Bear or a Black Bear? I took an online course (actually intended for hunters – boo – but I had a much nicer reason for my study!) and here’s the lowdown:
Bear Identification Tips
Brown bears have short round ears.
Black bears have taller, pointier ears.
Brown bears have a dish (concave) face shape when viewed in profile.
Black bears have a straight face in profile.
Brown bears have a very prominent shoulder hump.
Black bears have no shoulder hump.
You can also tell the two bears apart by claw length (brown bears have much longer claws) and footprint differences, but neither of those features apply to amigurumi bears!
My Bear Designs
Put all that together, and here’s the result:
Realistically-shaped Brown/Grizzly Bear (top) and Black Bear (bottom) – mine are coloured the way you’d imagine they should be!
What about Polar Bears?
Polar Bears are more closely related to Brown Bears than Black Bears, but their bodies have adapted for their carnivorous diet and lifestyle in the frigic Arctic:
small, low-set ears
large feet with short claws
sharp teeth (not included in amigurumi bears!)
a more streamlined shape (for swimming)
dense white fur with black skin beneath (to keep them warm)
Got all that? Then you’re ready to properly appreciate all three of my bear designs!
Adult and Baby Bears
One pattern, two sizes of bear: bulky weight yarn option (left); worsted weight yarn option (right)
The smaller Polar Bear you see in the photos above is made with the worsted weight option from my bulky weight Polar Bear pattern. You can easily make any adult bear and cub in the same way, by using a larger hook and thicker yarn for the mother bear, and a smaller hook and finer yarn for the baby bear. (See my Resizing Amigurumi article for more information.)
Tip: Using proportionately larger eyes for the smaller bear, as I’ve done here, will give it a cuter, more babyish, cub-like appearance.
I’ve set up an amazing deal for these bears: the Multipack is only $10 – that’s buy two bear patterns, get the third free!
Note: If you’ve already bought the polar bear, you don’t have to miss out on this deal! Just buy the Multipack (or the remaining 2 bears in one order), then email me with 1) your bears order number and 2) the order number (or date) from when you bought the polar bear, and I’ll send you a coupon for $5 off your next order of $10 or more. (The coupon will remain valid for a whole year, so don’t worry if there’s nothing else you want to buy right now!)
Or if you only want your favourite bear, you’ll find each pattern individually in my shop too 🙂
Time to let the cat out of the bag: I’ve just signed the contract to write a new crochet book! This is the first book offer I’ve actually wanted to accept since writing the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi, and I’m already giddy with anticipation about this new book; it’s exactly the book I wanted to write next.
My goal as an author is to write books that become valuable long-term reference sources on your bookshelf, not just collections of patterns. And that, I’m afraid, is all I’m saying for now – I’ll share more details as we near the publication date!
But, of course, I have many months of work ahead of me before I can share my fabulous new book with you, so please excuse me if I’m slower to respond to questions, and less prolific with new designs, for the rest of this year; I’m going to be working very hard to get all the pieces of the book ready so it can be published in late summer 2014 (if you’re familiar with publishing schedules, that’s a pretty fast turnaround)!
If you need crochet help while I’m in the book-writing zone (or at any time), I recommend the PlanetJune Ravelry group as your first port of call – you’re guaranteed to get fast and friendly advice there, and I’m always lurking to weigh in if nobody else has an answer for you 🙂
And, in other news…
Review and Win contest
June’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Susanna V, with her review of my Fruit Bat:
This was the first PJ design I ever bought and it’s still probably my favorite. I love bats, and this guy is the perfect mix of realistic but still cute. It’s actually fairly easy to crochet and the shapes are basic. The most challenging part for me was sewing the wings on straight; it’s very easy to start angling without realizing it. Also, if you’ve only ever done amigurumi, you’ll need to know how to do standard crochet rows for the wings, but it’s very easy and the simple trick for making the points on the wings really adds a lot to the design. I’ll never tire of making this one!
Congrats, Susanna – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize 🙂
If you feel like a fast and refreshing crochet project, we decided to have an extra crochet-along throughout July, featuring all my fruit designs:
As a bonus, my Apple, Pear, and Citrus patterns are all donationware, so you can pay as much or as little as you like for the patterns (or nothing, if you can’t afford to pay at all!) Join the fruity fun in the PlanetJune group on Ravelry 🙂
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Okay, now I’d better get back to working on the new book! (Eek!)
It’s Donationware time again! Celebrate summer with my Amigurumi Citrus Collection:
Make your own amigurumi fruit bowl with an entire collection of life-sized and realistically shaped citrus fruits: orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime and clementine patterns. Crochet a realistic fruit selection, or make a cute fruit family by giving each fruit a face – the choice is yours. As these are one-piece patterns, they work up really quickly, and are equally perfect for decoration or play!
Each amigurumi citrus fruit is the size and shape of its real counterpart.
This generous super-sized donationware pattern is a special thank-you from me to you for sticking with me through my challenges this year 🙂
As I like to reward people who chose to donate for my donationware patterns, the PDF version of this pattern includes a bonus citrus leaf pattern, in both written and stitch diagram versions, with full instructions on how to add a crocheted leaf to any of your citrus fruits! As always, the pattern is free for you to use, and you need only donate if you’d like to thank me for my time in creating it, or if you’d like the easy-to-print PDF version.
Send me a donation and you’ll get the citrus leaf pattern as a bonus reward.
I hope you enjoy my fresh and fruity Citrus Collection pattern!