PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for February, 2018

easy fleece and crochet cushion cover

Sometimes a project is so simple that it seems like cheating! I’d planned to sew a cover for this new body pillow once I had time to buy fabric and set up my sewing machine, but then I spotted a fleece blanket in the dollar store with a convenient blanket-stitched border…

fleece body pillowcase with crocheted trim by planetjune

I draped it around my pillow, and it was almost exactly the right size to make a soft and snuggly cover (surely a sign that this project was meant to be).

fleece body pillowcase with crocheted trim by planetjune

In case you don’t know, adding a border of blanket stitches around the edge of any fabric project makes the perfect set-up row for a crocheted trim – you can just insert your hook under the edge of each blanket stitch to begin each stitch of the first row:

fleece body pillowcase with crocheted trim by planetjune

Top tip: If you’d like to add a crocheted trim to any fabric item, just use a sharp needle and crochet thread, embroidery floss or fine yarn to blanket stitch around the edges of the fabric first, and then you can add any crochet border you want, by crocheting into the blanket stitches.

(And if you need some ideas for border stitch patterns, I can recommend Edie Eckman’s two books on just that topic!)

I’d loved this Red Heart Soft yarn in shade Watercolors in the ball, but soon realised when I tried to crochet with it that every stitch turned out as a different colour, which made the result way too busy for anything I’d wear. But this project has just a single row of crochet, so the different colours can shine without being buried by the next row. I did try out a few more interesting stitch patterns for my edging, but the constantly-changing colour is interesting enough – why over-complicate things?!

fleece body pillowcase with crocheted trim by planetjune

I tested a variety of hooks with my yarn and the blanket stitches, and determined that anything larger than a G (4mm) was too big to fit easily under the blanket stitches, so I went with the G. I folded the blanket in half and, starting at one end of the fold, began to single crochet around, inserting my hook under the blanket stitch at the edge of both layers of fabric to begin each stitch.

fleece body pillowcase with crocheted trim by planetjune

Top tip: I was worried that the two halves may not stay aligned as I continued to crochet around, so I grabbed my Wonder Clips (highly recommended for any crafters, especially to replace pins when you sew – and if you crochet or knit you can also buy them in an extra-large size to keep your pieces together when seaming). I matched the corners and clipped them together, added a clip halfway between them, and then kept adding more clips halfway between the previous ones until I had a clip every few inches.

fleece body pillowcase with crocheted trim by planetjune

As I crocheted around the edge, I added a few extra stitches around the curved corners, and anywhere the blanket stitches seemed spaced a little too far apart for one single crochet stitch to be large enough to get to the next stitch without being stretched too far.

Once I got to the second open corner, I inserted the pillow, and then crocheted along the last open short edge to close the remaining gap. I fastened off, leaving an extra-long yarn end which I ran underneath all the stitches on the short edge, so I can easily retrieve the end and unravel some stitches if I need to remove the pillow to wash the cover, and then crochet it back up afterwards.

And here’s the end result – simple, but effective:

fleece body pillowcase with crocheted trim by planetjune

I think this project was a perfect use for my yarn and adds a touch of colour to a basic cushion cover (especially in a variegated yarn which does all the work for you).

If I’d started making the cover from scratch instead of using a pre-made blanket, I’d have done 2 things differently:

  • Cut 2 rectangles of fleece instead of one large piece, so I’d have a crocheted border around all 4 sides of the cushion
  • Made the blanket stitches in a different colour, to either blend in with the fleece, or co-ordinate with the yarn

But, overall, I’m very happy with this project – definitely half an hour well spent!

How about you? Have you ever considered adding a crocheted border to a fabric project?

I’ve always liked the idea of crocheting a trim around the bottom edge of a skirt – maybe this will inspire me to make it happen next summer 🙂

Comments (6)

12 Knit Sweaters Project wrap-up

When I decided to learn to knit by making a dozen self-designed sweaters, I didn’t really think I’d ever reach this point – surely I’d lose interest in knitting such time-consuming pieces before I’d completed 12 sweaters?

12 knit sweaters project

Apparently not! Shall we take a look at them all properly?

12 knit sweaters project: sweaters 1-3

12 knit sweaters project: sweaters 4-6

12 knit sweaters project: sweaters 7-9

12 knit sweaters project: sweaters 10-12

(Find details of each sweater project in its own post, here.)

Project Stats

I started my first sweater in June 2012, and knitted the final stitch on my 12th sweater in June 2017. So that’s 12 sweaters in 60 months, or an average completion time of 5 months per sweater.

I was very surprised to discover I’ve been working on this project for 5 whole years, but then, I’m busy with work a lot of the time, and summers in Africa aren’t very conducive to knitting sweaters, so maybe it’s not so surprising!

Techniques I’ve Learnt

This project has helped me learn a huge number of knitting techniques. And, while there’s still much, much more I can learn, I’m almost comfortable calling myself a knitter now without feeling like a fraud.

  • I’ve made sweaters from the top down and bottom up, seamed and seamless, flat and in the round, with raglan and set-in sleeves, and sleeveless.
  • I’ve made cardigans and pullovers and a vest.
  • I’ve tried lace and cabling, ribbing and all-over texture.
  • I’ve used provisional and cable cast-ons, directional increases and decreases, mattress stitch, kitchener stitch and 3-needle bind-offs.
  • I’ve used short rows and turned hems, attached i-cord and picked-up stitches.
  • I’ve made buttonholes and inserted a zip.
  • I’ve learnt how to reliably make a sweater that will fit me, in a range of yarn weights and fibres.

Final Thoughts

12 knit sweaters project

I feel quite proud, seeing the whole dozen together like this. Although they almost all have features I’d change, with hindsight, were I to knit them again, I enjoy wearing all of them. (And I have my notes, so I can always reknit them with a few tweaks once the originals wear out!)

All in all, I’d say I’ve met my original goal:

I’m teaching myself to knit by making myself a dozen self-designed sweaters, and learning new techniques with each one I make. I’m hoping that, by the end of this journey, I’ll be a real knitter and not have to survive on guesswork!

It’s time to own it: I am a real knitter.

What’s Next?

Now I’ve completed my mission, I don’t have any plans to stop knitting sweaters for myself – it’s become a long-term hobby, and I can’t imagine buying a sweater at this point! I’ve already bought the yarn to make another half dozen – I think we can safely say I’m addicted… 😉

(You might also be wondering if I’m considering selling patterns for my knitwear designs… and I’ll save that topic for another post!)

Comments (5)

Fennec Fox crochet pattern

The Fennec Fox might just be one of the cutest animals out there, and it’s even cuter in crochet!

Fennec Fox crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Fennec Fox Fun Facts

  • Fennec Foxes are the smallest foxes in the world.
  • They live in the deserts of northern Africa and eat insects, rodents and plants.
  • Their massive ears stop them from overheating and help them to locate prey underground.
  • Fennec Foxes live in family groups, in large underground dens which they dig into the sand.
  • Their paw pads are covered in thick fur to protect them from the desert heat.
  • They can survive without water, getting all the moisture they need from their food and dew.

Fennec Fox crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Don’t you think this adorable little Fennec Fox is so distinctive with his huge ears, cute little nose and black-tipped tail?

You can buy my Fennec Fox pattern alone, or in a new foxy multipack with his cousins (Red Fox and Arctic Fox):

red, arctic and fennec fox amigurumi crochet patterns by planetjune

Note: The new ‘Three Foxes’ multipack replaces the old ‘Red Fox & Arctic Fox’ deal, so that item is no longer available for purchase. (If you bought it previously, both your fox patterns are still available in your PlanetJune account, of course.)

Special Deal!

I’ve set up an amazing deal for these foxes: the Multipack is only $11 – that’s buy two fox patterns, get the third free!

Note: If you’ve already bought the Red and/or Arctic Fox, you can still get a deal, for this week only! (Valid until next Tuesday: February 13 2018).

  • If you’ve already bought one fox and want the other two, buy the Multipack, email me with your order numbers (or dates) of both your fox orders, and I’ll send you a $3 PlanetJune Gift Certificate.
  • If you’ve already bought both the other foxes, buy the Fennec Fox, email me with your order number(s) (or date(s)) for all your fox orders, and I’ll send you a $3 PlanetJune Gift Certificate.

Or if you only want your favourite fox, you’ll find each pattern individually in my shop too 🙂

Handy Links:

I hope you’ll enjoy my fox patterns! Which is your favourite?

Comments (1)

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