PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for July, 2018

Punchneedle PlanetJune logo

I’m so happy to see punchneedle embroidery starting to get more popular (finally!) and thought it was about time I dust off my needle and start some new embroideries of my own. Although it’s mostly the large rug-punch style that’s trending right now, it’s miniature punchneedle embroidery – worked with a smaller tool and standard embroidery floss – that I’ve been enjoying for almost a decade.

Punchneedle really is the easiest form of embroidery – you can draw any shapes on your fabric and fill them with punched loops of colour just like a paint-by-number painting!

Intrigued? Learn more on my Punchneedle info pages.

And now here’s the PlanetJune logo, punchneedle style!

PlanetJune logo in Punchneedle Embroidery

I love the depth that the looped stitches give to the finished piece, don’t you?

PlanetJune logo in Punchneedle Embroidery

I thought you might like to see a little look at the process!

This is the back of the embroidery, and the side that faces you while you punch. You can see it looks like rows of straight stitches. Here, I’ve finished all the red but I’ve only done about half of the white areas:

PlanetJune logo in Punchneedle Embroidery

From the front, you can see the nice even loops that are formed by the punchneedle tool as you punch. The loops are so dense that you can’t even see any spaces in the upper half where the white will define the red sections. But that will all change soon…

PlanetJune logo in Punchneedle Embroidery

After punching the rest of the white stitches and the finishing steps to tidy up any loose threads and messy stitches, here’s the result:

PlanetJune logo in Punchneedle Embroidery

And then the final step – it’s basically finished, but, at this stage of a punchneedle embroidery, you can choose what to do next depending on what you want to do with the embroidery.

You could keep it attached to the backing fabric as in the photo above and frame it like that, fill in the backing fabric with more colours and/or patterns to fill the hoop and use the hoop as a frame, square off the embroidery with more stitches and then frame it, turn it into an applique to attach to something else… Lots of choices!

I decided to mount my logo on a felt backing and cut it out so it became a free-standing ornament:

PlanetJune logo in Punchneedle Embroidery

Isn’t it cool?

Next, I think I’ll return to my punchneedle butterflies project – I want to make a beautiful Monarch to commemorate my return to Canada!

If you’d like to learn more about punchneedle, see my Punchneedle info pages.

And if you’re ready to get started, my ebook, The Punchneedle Handbook: Miniature Punchneedle Embroidery Basics & Beyond, walks you step by step through the entire process of miniature punchneedle embroidery, from selecting tools and materials, to how to punch correctly, and the all-important finishing steps for perfecting your finished embroideries. It’s available in two versions, for right- and left-handers, so you can see step-by-step photos that show you exactly how you’ll be punching.

The Punchneedle Handbook by PlanetJune

Have you tried punchneedle embroidery yet? If not, I’d love to help get you started with this easy and satisfying craft! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below 🙂

Comments (6)

Extreme Amigurumi: Extreme Whale!

After the success of my giant amigurumi baby bunny, Mega Bun, I decided to try some more extreme amigurumi experiments using regular yarn that’s currently available in stores, so I can give you some recommendations.

As before, I used my Susan Bates Xtreme crochet hook, which is size 50 (that’s 25mm, or 1 inch!) and this time I decided to use my smallest, simplest amigurumi animal pattern, Tiny Whale. Is it possible to make an extreme Tiny Whale?! Why yes, it is:

extreme amigurumi whale and standard size whales - all use the Tiny Whale crochet pattern by PlanetJune)

And now let’s look at how I got to this point…

First Attempt: Jumbo Yarn

extreme amigurumi experiments

Bernat Blanket Big is a #7 jumbo weight yarn with a recommended hook size of 25mm – exactly what I was looking for!

(Note: this is a completely different yarn from the #6 super bulky weight Bernat Blanket yarn, which is only a fraction of a size of this monster yarn! You may find ‘Bernat Blanket Big Ball Yarn’ for sale online, but that’s just a big ball of Bernat Blanket, not a ball of Bernat Blanket Big…)

This chenille-style yarn works up beautifully to make a massive and super-soft amigurumi with no large holes. Look at these huge single crochet stitches:

extreme amigurumi experiments

And then: disaster! A ball of Blanket Big weighs 300g but only contains 32 yards (29m) of yarn. It turns out my one ball made less than half of a Tiny Whale, and I had no way to get more of the same colour…

extreme amigurumi experiments

So that was the end of this attempt, but at least my experiment proved that the #7 jumbo yarn is a viable choice for extreme amigurumi.

Verdict: Thumbs up for this yarn, provided you’re prepared to buy several balls to make a single amigurumi! (But please check that your jumbo yarn recommends a 25mm hook size if you’re going to replicate this: “jumbo” covers everything larger than super bulky. Most jumbo yarns I’ve seen are designed for a 19mm hook, and are much less bulky than this.)

Second Attempt: Super Bulky Yarn

Jumbo yarn isn’t very common, so, for my next experiment, I wanted to know how many strands of super bulky yarn, held together, would make the equivalent of a single strand of my jumbo yarn.

I used Bernat Blanket yarn, which has the same chenille-style construction as Blanket Big, but is a much more usable size (the recommended hook size for this yarn is US L/8mm).

I tried to gauge how many strands I’d need by holding several strands up against the jumbo yarn to compare visually and by feel, and then crocheting with them to see what gave the most similar result to my first experiment. And the result? You need a whopping six strands of super bulky yarn to replicate the weight of one strand of the jumbo!

extreme amigurumi experiments

I came up with a variation of chain plying that let me wrangle 6 strands relatively easily, but it was still hard work on such a massive scale. The multiple strands, held tightly together, are clearly visible in the amigurumi and don’t give as soft a finish as the jumbo yarn, but I quite like the effect, and, most importantly, it worked!

Extreme Whale used 500 yards (460m) of Bernat Blanket yarn with a 25mm hook. Despite this huge stitch size, there are no large holes between the stitches and I was able to stuff him directly (unlike Mega Bun, who needed a net to contain the stuffing).

Verdict: The end result is a definite success, but wrangling 6 strands of yarn was an added challenge!

extreme amigurumi whale and standard size whales - all use the Tiny Whale crochet pattern by PlanetJune)

Extreme Whale is exactly six times the size of the original Tiny Whale, at 24″ (60cm) long vs 4″ (10cm) in the original pattern, and weighs in at over 1kg (well over 2lbs) including stuffing!

Final Thoughts

These experiments have shown that it’s definitely possible to scale up an amigurumi pattern by multiple times, provided you don’t mind the look of the huge stitches and you choose an appropriate hook and yarn for your project.

extreme amigurumi experiments

Mega Bun is very happy to finally have a friend of her own size!

extreme amigurumi experiments

If you’d like to make an extreme ami and are debating buying ridiculously thick yarn vs using multiple strands of a finer yarn, you may be interested to know that I compared the cost of each yarn, and the cost of an ami made with 6 strands of Blanket yarn is the same as making the same ami from 1 strand of Blanket Big yarn.

If I make another extreme whale, I’d try to use the jumbo yarn to save on having to hold all those strands together! But Bernat Blanket is very readily available in a wide range of shades, whereas Blanket Big is often unavailable (I think it may be released seasonally in the winter and discontinued every summer) and only comes in a handful of shades. So either option is fine, depending on what you can find.

Pattern Info

If you’d like to make your own extreme (or standard-sized!) amigurumi whale and bunny like mine, the PlanetJune patterns I used are:

What’s Next?

Will I be putting away my giant hook now? Oh no, I’m not done with extreme crochet just yet!

I’ve come up with lots of recommendations throughout this journey so far, and I’ll be compiling all my extreme amigurumi tips for you – and the pattern for my giant crocheted ami eyes – when I’ve finished my final supersized crochet experiments.

Stay tuned for the next extremely thrilling update…

Comments (4)

Donkey crochet pattern

Today I have a new animal design for you that’s particularly close to my heart: a Donkey!

Donkey crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I’ve loved donkeys for as long as I can remember – how can you resist those big soulful eyes and that sweet, gentle character?

Donkey Fun Facts

  • Donkeys are members of the horse family, Equidae, together with horses, zebras and wild asses.
  • Donkeys were domesticated many thousands of years ago and helped to moved the stones that formed the ancient pyramids of Egypt.
  • Today, donkeys are found all over the world and the majority still work as pack animals, helping people to transport heavy loads.
  • Donkeys can be crossbred with horses (to make a mule) or with zebras (to make a zonkey)!
  • As well as being sturdy and dependable workers, donkeys are also friendly and intelligent.

Donkey crochet pattern by PlanetJune

About the Design

I was planning to make my donkey as an expansion pack for my Horse pattern, but once I started making it and comparing real-life horses and donkeys, I found that every single piece was a different shape and size. Donkeys have such a different body type and build, plus completely different ears, mane and tail – there wasn’t anything of the horse pattern left by the time I’d finished!

Just compare the sweet, stocky donkey with the tall, elegant horse:

Donkey and Horse crochet patterns by PlanetJune

Definitely related, but definitely different. Donkeys may not have the glamour of horses, but I think they’re totally adorable. I hope I’ve captured that big-eyed, long-eared, sturdy donkey essence in my design.

Donkey crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Buy Now & Launch Discount

If you love donkeys too, you can pick up my Donkey crochet pattern from my shop right now. Or, if you’re not ready to make it just yet, add it to your Ravelry queue or favourites so you don’t forget about it:

And for one week only, you can take an extra 50c off the price: add the Donkey pattern to your shopping cart, and enter the discount code EEYORE at checkout! (Offer ends Wednesday 11 July, 2018.)

Donkey crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I hope you’ll love my pattern – don’t you agree that donkeys are just adorable?

Comments (10)

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    June Gilbank

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