PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for May, 2015

Crochet Terminology

This is the final post in my three-part series aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. For the rest of the series, see Yarn for Amigurumi and Crochet Hook Styles.

Non-Standardised Terminology

The names of the crochet stitches are, unfortunately, not standardised throughout the English-speaking world. Most crochet patterns you’ll find through online sources are written in US terminology (which is why I call this ‘standard’ terminology) – but if you buy/use a pattern written or published in UK/Aus, that may not be the case.

Conversely, if you learnt crochet from a British or Australian source, or some other countries with a historical British influence, you probably know the UK terminology. Your ‘double crochet’, for example, refers to a different stitch (US single crochet) than a US double crochet (which is equivalent to your ‘treble crochet’) – confusing, huh?

Note: If you’re not sure which terminology you use, look at my single crochet tutorial: right-handed or left-handed. If you know this stitch as a ‘double crochet’, you’re using UK terminology!

US/UK Conversion Table

Here are the most common stitches with their equivalent US and UK names:

US Stitch Name UK Stitch Name
chain chain
double crochet treble crochet
half double crochet half treble crochet
slip stitch slip stitch
single crochet double crochet
triple (or treble) crochet double treble crochet

The basic rule is that the UK stitches are always named one step higher than their US counterparts.

Converting Amigurumi Patterns

Amigurumi patterns aren’t too difficult to decipher, as they are (almost) always worked in (almost) all single crochet stitches (i.e. ‘double crochet’ stitches in UK terminology), so it’s very easy to convert these patterns between US/UK. Using the above table, you’ll see that chain and slip stitch are unchanged, so it’s just the single/double crochets you may need to change to convert to your preferred terminology.

Note: All PlanetJune patterns – amigurumi and accessories – are written in standard (US) terminology, but, to prevent confusion, my patterns always also include a conversion table at the start for all stitches used, so you can look up the pattern abbreviations and see which stitch should be used, whichever terminology you’re used to.

Terminology Tips

  • There is no stitch known as ‘single crochet’ anywhere in UK terminology, so, if you see any pattern that uses ‘sc’ stitches, you know it’s a standard/US pattern. UK/Aus: work a dc in place of every sc, and convert all other stitches.
  • If you see an amigurumi pattern worked in ‘dc’ stitches, but the stitches look like those of a regular amigurumi, it’s almost certainly a UK pattern and you should work a US single crochet everywhere the pattern calls for a double crochet. UK/Aus: work the pattern as written.
  • If in doubt when you use an indie pattern that doesn’t have a terminology table to clarify the stitches, check with the pattern designer.
  • A pattern in a book or magazine will almost always use the terminology of the publication’s country of origin, but you can check the description of the stitches used (usually at the start or end of the book/magazine) to make sure.

It’s very unfortunate that when you find a crochet pattern that calls for, for example, a ‘double crochet’ stitch, that may mean one of two different stitches depending on where the pattern was published (or which terminology the designer/publisher decides to use), but I hope this post will help to clear up the confusion!

Do you find my tutorials helpful? If so, please consider making a contribution towards my time so I can continue to create clear and concise tutorials for you:

Thank you so much for your support! Now click below for loads more crochet video and photo tutorials (and do let me know what else you’d like me to cover in future tutorials…)

See more helpful PlanetJune crochet tips and technique tutorials

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Crochet Hook Styles

This is the second of three information posts aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. See also last week’s Yarn for Amigurumi, and the final post: Crochet Terminology.

the differences between in-line and tapered crochet hooks

Crochet hooks come in two main styles: in-line, and tapered. Within North America, these are often known as Bates and Boye styles, respectively, for the most common brands of each style. Outside North America, the tapered hook shape is used almost exclusively, and you may not be able to find any in-line hooks locally.

I think this is unfortunate, as I find the in-line hook shape preferable for forming uniform-sized stitches, and for not snagging the tip of the hook on my previous stitches as I draw up each loop:

  • The head of an in-line hook has the same size, shape, and alignment as the shank (where your working stitch sits on the hook), so you can draw the hook back through each stitch in one straight line.
  • If you’re not careful when using a tapered hook, you can easily make too-small stitches by forming them over the narrow tapered neck (between the throat and the fixed-width shank).

I should be clear though: although I have a strong preference to use in my own crocheting, there is no ‘best’ style of hook; just as you may hold your hook differently to me, you may also prefer a different style of hook. I can’t guarantee that my preference will work for you, but if you plan to crochet a lot, I do recommend you try more than one hook style, if you have the option, so you can find a brand you find comfortable and easy to use.

Buying In-Line Hooks

Susan Bates hooks (also sometimes sold as Red Heart brand) are the most well-known in-line hook, and my preferred brand, both for making amigurumi and for crocheting accessories and larger items. If you live outside North America and are importing yarn from abroad or buying from an online shop that stocks them (see my Yarn for Amigurumi post for a selection of online yarn shops that ship worldwide), I recommend you add one Susan Bates aluminium (US: aluminum) hook in your most-used hook size to your order, so you can see if you like it. If you do, you can invest in a selection of all your favourite sizes (or even a complete set) in your next order.

Note: I find the bamboo-handed Susan Bates hooks are especially comfortable, if you can find them. This isn’t a sponsored post (I don’t do that sort of thing!) – just my real opinion. 🙂

If you can’t find a Bates hook, or just don’t like metal hooks, there are other brands that also make in-line hooks, so I suggest you look around your local (and online) shops to see what you can find. You can use my graphic above as a handy reference to compare with the hook you’re thinking of buying, so you can tell what you’re looking for.

UPDATE: I’ve done some sleuthing and there’s a shop on that sells US craft products – including all the Susan Bates hooks! They do ship from the US, but the postage is free, so if you’re in the UK, you may want to check out SuperMart on – that link will show you all the aluminium Susan Bates hooks, so you can find your favourite sizes, both bamboo-handled and the slightly cheaper all-metal hooks. 🙂

Which hook style do you favour: in-line or tapered? (I’d be especially interested to hear why you love tapered hooks, if you do!) Please leave your opinions and brand recommendations below!

Do you find my tutorials helpful? If so, please consider making a contribution towards my time so I can continue to create clear and concise tutorials for you:

Thank you so much for your support! Now click below for loads more crochet video and photo tutorials (and do let me know what else you’d like me to cover in future tutorials…)

See more helpful PlanetJune crochet tips and technique tutorials

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green ribbed cardigan

This is sweater #5 of my ‘learn to knit by making a dozen self-designed sweaters’ project. (Here are links to #1, #2, #3 and #4, if you’d like to see my progress.) There’s a funny story behind this cardigan: I bought 4 balls of this drab green yarn on clearance – it was all they had left in the shop. I thought it’d be a tight fit to get a whole sweater from so little yarn, so I made all my design choices based on helping the yarn to go as far as possible…

Knitting is supposed to be my relaxing hobby, and I was worried that getting into complex stitch patterns might require too much concentration to be really relaxing for me, but I did want to try venturing away from the pure stockinette fabric of all my previous sweaters, so I thought I’d try an all-over 4×1 rib pattern (that’s 4 stitches of knit, then 1 stitch of purl, repeated, to give narrow vertical purl stripes in the cardigan). The stretchy fabric should also give a nicely fitted result without needing any shaping to be built in, so I could concentrate on just getting the purl stitches in the right place without needing to keep track of anything else.

green ribbed cardigan

I started with the body, and designed it to be close-fitting and shorter than my usual preferred length, to minimise the amount of yarn it used – once the body was finished, I’d be able to judge how much yarn I had left for the sleeves and plan accordingly (either to make short/no sleeves, or make the sleeves in a different colour, if necessary). Keeping it minimal, I opted to avoid a decorative border around the bottom – the all-over rib is enough to keep the fabric from curling up at the edges, and the cable cast-on makes a tidy edge.

green ribbed cardigan

After finishing the body, there seemed to be plenty of yarn left for full-length sleeves, which was a relief. I made the sleeves close-fitting too, to match the style of the body, and I used what I learnt from the mistake in my last sweater to make very neatly set-in sleeves – I think I’ve nailed this technique now!

Once the sleeves were finished, I made my first real button band (my previous buttoned cardigan used an attached i-cord, with detached sections to form the buttonholes, so I’d never tried to knit a buttonhole before). I decided to make the button band in seed stitch with a smooth stockinette edge, and, after a few attempts, came up with a tiny, neat, stretchy buttonhole to fit into my band.

green ribbed cardigan

Instead of picking up stitches for the button band, I knitted it separately (as hundreds of 8 stitch wide rows!) and then stitched it on so it lay flat without my needing to calculate a ratio to pick up stitches beforehand. Stitching the ‘button’ half of the button band down before I knitted the ‘buttonhole’ half let me calculate exactly where to place my buttonholes as I knitted. This is a really nice method if you’re winging it and not following a pattern – I love the freedom of just making it all up as I go along! It’s such a break from keeping accurate notes of all my stitches for my crochet pattern.

And the irony: far from running out of yarn as I’d feared, I actually ended up with an entire ball left over! I guess my yarn quantity estimation skills still need a little polishing 😉

The finishing touch for the cardigan was to make polymer clay buttons, inspired by Lisa Clarke’s knitted cardigans with polymer clay buttons. It’s such a pleasure to be able to combine two of my hobbies in one project!

green ribbed cardigan

I decided not to try to match the yarn colour, and cut my buttons from a sheet of marbled clay: bright turquoisey blue and darker green. I had to brighten the photo above so you can see the marbling more clearly, as the very bright blue became muted with the marbling, and the green darkened more than I expected in the oven, so the overall result is quite subtle. I still really like them though, even if hardly anyone else will notice the marbled effect.

green ribbed cardigan

I found some perfect small buttons in my button bag to act as anchor buttons on the inside of the button band – I know nobody but me will ever see them, but it’s a tiny thrill to know that these little hidden buttons match my yarn so well.

green ribbed cardigan

And using a sewing thread that matched my yarn to stitch the buttons to the cardigan tied the whole thing together perfectly.

green ribbed cardigan

I’m really happy with how this cardigan turned out – although shorter than I’d usually prefer, it’s not too short. It’s snug and fits well, and it feels a little lighter than my other sweaters, so it’s nice for a chilly, but not cold, day. And it’s very satisfying to see how my knitting skills are progressing with each finished piece: I’m learning new techniques as I need them, and perfecting the ones I didn’t fully understand while making my previous sweaters. Onto #6!

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Yarn for Amigurumi

This is the first of three information posts aimed predominantly at crocheters outside North America. For the rest of the series, see Crochet Hook Styles and Crochet Terminology.

Most amigurumi patterns are worked in worsted weight yarn. This is confusing for non-Americans because 1) it’s not called ‘worsted weight’ outside North America, and 2) this weight isn’t very popular on other continents, so it can be very difficult to find a nice ww yarn to crochet with! If you do find worsted weight yarn outside North America, it’ll be called aran weight or 10-ply yarn.

Note: The ’10-ply’ name does not refer to the number of strands (aka plies) that make up the yarn – worsted weight yarn typically has 4 ‘plies’, but it’s a very different thickness from a 4-ply yarn, as you’ll see in the list below!

International Yarn Weight Names

  • #0 Lace: lace weight, approximately 1-ply to 3-ply
  • #1 Super Fine: fingering weight, 4-ply
  • #2 Fine: sport weight, baby weight, 5-ply
  • #3 Light: DK, light worsted weight, 8-ply
  • #4 Medium: worsted weight, aran weight, 10-ply
  • #5 Bulky: bulky weight, chunky, 12-ply

The situation is slightly more complicated than this: as you can see from my worsted weight yarn comparison investigation, all yarns labelled ‘worsted weight’ (or any other weight) are not necessarily all the same thickness, so your yarn may not crochet up exactly the same as the sample, even if you do find an aran/10-ply yarn.

Substitutions for Worsted Weight Yarn

  • Some DK yarns are barely finer than the yarns at the fine end of my comparison post, so DK yarn may be a good choice, although, depending on your yarn and how tightly you crochet, you may find you need a smaller hook to make the best amigurumi; I typically use a 2.75/3.25mm (US C/D) hook for amigurumi made with DK yarns.
  • You can also substitute for worsted weight yarn by using multiple strands of finer yarns to approximate a worsted weight, for example you could try two strands of sport weight (5-ply) held together.

Importing Worsted Weight Yarn

If you’d like to use a genuine worsted weight yarn, there are US-based online shops who ship worldwide, and some non-US online shops are starting to stock US brands (see a few examples below), so you may well be able to pick up some of my favourite yarns for amigurumi, or other worsted weight acrylics online.

Note: Do bear in mind that if you order from abroad, you may get landed with an additional fee for your package to clear customs. Check the customs rules for your country to avoid an expensive surprise!

worsted weight acrylic yarns

A Few Online Stockists:

Note: I have no affiliation with any of these stockists, but I have either used them personally or had them recommended by my customers who have used them successfully.

Using a Different Weight of Yarn

Of course, for amigurumi, there’s no requirement to use a worsted weight yarn – a different weight of yarn will just give you a different-sized finished amigurumi! Provided you use a hook in a suitable size to match the yarn you use, you can create perfect amigurumi with any weight of yarn you like and can find locally – see my Resizing Amigurumi article for details and examples.

Note: Although outside the scope of this article, I should point out that if you’re making something from a pattern where the finished size matters (for example, a garment), substituting a different weight of yarn is unlikely to be successful. Unless you’re comfortable calculating the difference in your gauge and adapting the pattern to match (or calculating which size in the pattern would give you the correct finished size in your gauge), you should use the International Yarn Weight Names list and/or my substitution suggestions above to find a yarn that closely matches the yarn suggested in the pattern.

I hope this article has given you some helpful information and resources, especially if you live outside North America. If you know of any more good online international sources of worsted weight yarn, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

Do you find my tutorials helpful? If so, please consider making a contribution towards my time so I can continue to create clear and concise tutorials for you:

Thank you so much for your support! Now click below for loads more crochet video and photo tutorials (and do let me know what else you’d like me to cover in future tutorials…)

See more helpful PlanetJune crochet tips and technique tutorials

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May update

Knee update

I’ll keep you posted about my knee for as long as it affects my work! The rehab sessions are wiping me out – I lose about half a working day three times a week, because I’m invariably so exhausted when I get home that I end up falling asleep. But my knee has been keeping me awake at night, so the post-rehab naps are a welcome rest.

Putting my health first is obviously the sensible thing to do, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when there’s so much I want to do for PlanetJune but this recovery process is taking forever! But my knee strength is improving a tiny bit each week, so I’ll keep going to the rehab/torture sessions for however long it takes to be able to walk normally and be able to sleep through the night without discomfort. 🙂

Baby Animals CAL Report

Baby Bunnies, Guinea Pigs and Sea Turtles were the main stars of the extra-cute April CAL. Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune Baby Animals CAL 2015 - sample of entries

Plant-Along CAL

The Plant-Along CAL runs from 1 May – 11 June 2015, and you can join in by making any PlanetJune botanical patterns: flowers, plants and fruit – i.e. any of these patterns:

PlanetJune Plant-Along CAL crochet pattern options

The options include an amazing 12 free/donationware patterns, so you should be able to join in even if you’re very short on funds and/or time! All these patterns are available in the Flowers & Plants section of my shop, except Mushroom and Toadstool, which you can find in my book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi.

For more details, check the first post of the CAL thread. Join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group for this colourful crochet-along – I hope to see you there. 🙂

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune
The Frilled Lizard is an expansion pack for my Iguana crochet pattern.

April’s winner is Judy C‘s review of my Frilled Lizard Expansion Pack:

Great frilled lizard pattern! So realistic! All instructions are clear and easy to follow. I have added this frilled lizard to my collection of amigurumi reptiles and amphibians. A must for any herpetology geek!

Congratulations, Judy – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

What’s Next?

With my other commitments out of the way, it’s back to the commissioned designs for me. The next animal in my queue is an Armadillo (nine-banded), and I’m looking forward to a really fun challenge to recreate this unique animal in crochet!

Comments (1)

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    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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    crocheted Canadian flag by PlanetJune
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