PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for February, 2022

Join the PlanetJune community on Discord

I’ve just set up a PlanetJune Discord server, so now we have a private place for our community to chat and share pics about anything at any time.

After a soft launch with members of the PJ Ravelry group, we’ve got used to how Discord works, so now I’m ready to welcome you to the group! Keep reading to find out how to join…

Ready to Join?

If you already have a Discord account, you can join the PJ server now with this invite link:

If not, read on for more info…

What is Discord?

It’s an app that gives us a private invite-only home for the PlanetJune community – a place where we can talk, hang out, and have fun. (See the Discord Beginner’s Guide for an overview.)

PlanetJune Discord server using the desktop app
Here’s how the PlanetJune Discord looks on a computer (and you can switch to light mode if you don’t like the black background)

Why join the PJ Discord?

  • For friendship: Chat about crochet or anything else in a friendly, private community.
  • For crochet help: Get immediate crochet help from anyone in the community who’s online (or type @planetjune in your message to make sure I’ll see it and get to it asap).
  • To hang out with me: We have a monthly scheduled Chat Hour where we all try to show up at the same time and chat (I hope you’ll join us for the next one, on Wed 2nd March!)ย 
  • For PJ insider knowledge: Be a part of the PJ Think Tank by sharing your opinion on my secret plans and ideas. You’ll help contribute to the future of PlanetJune!

How do I join?

To join the PlanetJune group:

  1. If you aren’t already on Discord, sign up for a free Discord account.
  2. Click the verification link in the email you’ll receive from Discord.
  3. Visit the PlanetJune group here.
  4. Post a message in the lobby to ask to join.
  5. Recommended: download the Discord app for your phone and/or computer.
  6. Once one of our mods has approved you, you’ll be able to join in our text and voice chats!

PlanetJune Discord server using the phone app
Here are a couple of screen grabs of the PJ Discord on my phone (with happy Maggie saying hello!)

FAQs

What is Discord?
Discord lets us create an invite-only home for our community – a place where we can talk, hang out, and have fun. See the Discord Beginner’s Guide for an overview.

How do I use Discord?
You can download the Discord app for your phone or computer, or use it through a browser. (I find the app much easier, but it’s up to you.)

Sign in and you’ll see the PlanetJune server (once you’ve joined through the invite link above), and any other servers you’ve joined. You can check in as often as you want, read past messages, reply to anything you want to, and chat in real-time with anyone else who’s online.

You can upload pictures directly into the chat (this is much easier than Ravelry, as you don’t need to add the photo to a project first). You can share pics of anything related to what you’re chatting about.

How do I get help with Discord?
Ask your questions in the #discord-help channel and we’ll help you. There are no stupid questions – unless you’re a gamer, Discord is probably brand new to you (it was to me too!) Our helpful mods probably know the answers, but, if not, we’ll figure it out together. ๐Ÿ™‚

Is Discord replacing the Ravelry group?
No! Ravelry is great, of course, and the PlanetJune Ravelry group isn’t going anywhere – the Discord server is an additional space where we can catch up, chat, and socialise. Ravelry is definitely the best place for long-term stuff like keeping a record of your projects, but our Discord is perfect for real-time chat about anything, sharing a quick pic of your work in progress, or getting instant feedback, support or giggles. (It’s like social media without all the negative parts!)

How do text and voice chat work?
We have two options for chatting: we mostly use text chat (like our rav chat room, but open all the time), and live voice chat (optional, but sometimes it’s nice to actually speak to people and hear their voices in return). You can read over the text chats you’ve missed and reply later, but voice chat isn’t recorded – it’s just live, and you can pop in or leave whenever you want.

How private are our messages?
Unlike Ravelry, where anyone with a Ravelry account can read all our chat threads, the PlanetJune Discord server is private. You need to request access to join (all are welcome!) and our moderators will make sure any trolls or disrespectful people who sneak in are banned, so it’ll always be a safe and welcoming space for everyone.

You can also DM (direct message) another PJ member and have a completely private conversation between the two of you that nobody else can access.

What are channels?
Text chats appear as channels with different topics, so choose a crafting channel (e.g. #crochet) if you want to talk about that subject, and/or post in the general #chat channel to talk about anything and everything!

Our mods will add new channels if there are other specific things we want to talk about, so please let us know and we can split that topic into a separate channel.

What can we talk about?
Crochet, of course, but the PlanetJune community has more than just crochet in common! Whatever else you’re interested in – whether it’s knitting, sci fi, baking, practicing your English, fitness, or anything else – you’ll probably find some of us are also interested and would love hear from you!

For example, in the past we’ve had threads in the Ravelry group for things like reading recommendations, weight loss, photography resources, pets and wildlife, and other non-crafty things. We can add new channels for any or all of those topics, and more…

Can we add new channels?
We can add new channels for anything you’re interested in – I bet other PJers will want to talk about them too! Just suggest a new channel topic in the main chat thread and one of our mods will add it as a new channel.


See you there?

I’d love to say hello to you in the chat room and get to know you better, so please do come and join our PlanetJune community on Discord (jump back to the instructions here). It’s a positive, friendly space, and we’d love to welcome you to the party!

Comments (2)

How to Print a ‘Large Print’ Version of any PDF File

If you need to print a PDF pattern so the text is larger, you can do it by printing each page of the PDF so itโ€™s split onto two sheets of paper.

sample result for splitting one page of a PDF file onto two pages

I’ve worked out which settings to use in Adobe Reader to tell it to print in this way:

  • The text size will be increased (the exact amount depends on your printer, but it’ll be around 125-130%).
  • No instructional text will be cut off. Note: If you see a partial line of text at the top (or bottom) of one page, don’t worry: I’ve added enough overlap that the complete line will be repeated on the previous (or next) page.
  • Unfortunately, any images that are located in the middle of the page may be cut in half (so the top half of the image is printed at the bottom of one page, and the bottom half of the image is at the top of the next page).

While this isn’t a perfect solution, if you need to work from a printed copy of a pattern (instead of a digital copy where you can zoom in as much as you like) and you need large print text, this is something you can try!

Here’s how to do it:

The dialog box may look slightly different depending on your version of Adobe Reader โ€“ here are the settings in mine:

Print dialog box for splitting one page of a PDF file onto two pages

Step by step instructions:

  1. Open your PDF file in Adobe Reader.
  2. Go to File > Print
  3. In the print dialog settings that comes up, make the following changes:
    • Printer: make sure your printer is selected at the top (where it says Printer: Adobe PDF in the picture above)
    • Orientation: Landscape
    • Page sizing (or scaling): Poster (or may be called ‘Tile All Pages’)
    • Tile Scale: somewhere around 125-130% (see below for details)
    • Overlap: 0.2 in
  4. Click ‘Print’ to send your file to your printer.

Setting the Maximum Scale

Your printer’s settings will control the maximum size you can print – it depends how close it can print to the edge of the page. To set the maximum zoom, you’re looking to type the largest number you can in the Tile Scale box without the page breaking onto four sheets of paper instead of two.

Here’s an example with my printer. At 125% Tile Scale, you can see in the preview box that my page has one horizontal dotted line through the middle. That’s what you want to see – it means the page will be split onto 2 sheets of paper:

Print dialog box for splitting one page of a PDF file onto two pages

At 126% Tile Scale, my page preview now has a horizontal and a vertical dotted line, indicating that it’ll be split over 4 sheets of paper:

Print dialog box for splitting one page of a PDF file onto two pages
You definitely don’t want this! The pattern would be unusable, as each line of text would be split in half vertically, plus it would waste lots of paper.

So, in my case, the largest number I can use is 125%. Play around with the number – yours may be a little higher or lower, depending on your printer’s margins.

Before and After

Before (below, left): Each page of the PDF prints in portrait format.

After (below, right): Each page of the PDF prints in landscape format, split in half so one page of the original PDF prints onto two sheets of paper.

sample result for splitting one page of a PDF file onto two pages

If you compare the size of the pattern page shown in the image above, you can see that the printed text is much larger – perfect if you need to print a PDF but find the text is just too small to comfortably read.

Of course, if you don’t need a printout, you can simply zoom the PDF to any size you need so you can read it on your screen.

Although I’ve only ever had one request for large print patterns to date, I’m sure this technique could be useful for people with visual impairment, or anyone who needs to print a larger version of a PDF without losing any content off the edges of the printed pages – you can use this method to print any PDF file at a larger size if you need to, not just PlanetJune patterns!

Comments (2)

a portrait of Maui

Thank you all so much for your messages of sympathy on my memorial post for Maui – it’s meant so much to me. It hasn’t been easy adjusting to the Maui-shaped hole in our lives, but our sweet pup Maggie is doing her best to keep us happily occupied! I don’t know how I’d have coped without her.

I’ve sold or donated most of Maui’s things, just keeping a couple of his favourite toys, but I wanted to have something special to remember him by. And, while I was preparing my memorial post by looking though 16 years of Maui photos (almost 2000 pics!), I spotted one random photo from 2013 that looked like it had the potential to become something more than a quick snap.

Maui was sitting in front of the TV (with the screen off):

source photo for portrait of Maui - setting the scene

As I got closer and continued to snap photos, he gazed up and out of the window, probably watching a bird outside:

source photo for portrait of Maui, pre-editing

The sunlight highlighted his beautiful eyes and whiskers, and the dark TV screen made for a dramatic background. I thought that, with a little cropping and editing, I could make this into a stunning portrait – a fitting tribute to my most elegant boy.

At first, I thought all I’d need to do would be to crop the photo around his head and then remove the bottom right of the picture, where the wall and clutter shows below the bottom of the TV screen. But, of course, the more I tweaked and adjusted, the more things I noticed that needed to be perfected.

I used my graphics tablet to create a complex system of layers and masks to remove all the background in a way that looked natural. It definitely wasn’t the way a pro would do something like this, but this is the first time I’ve tried to edit a portrait beyond removing the occasional blemish or stray hair, so I did a lot of experimenting and refining.

I ended up having to draw in and blend the edges around every single whisker by hand after I brightened and recoloured the photo, and then added another mask to tweak the colours further. It became more of an artistic process then I’d expected!

As I’d only started with a crop of a quick snap, my starting image wasn’t the highest quality, so that added some challenges, but finally I ended up with a portrait that I think captures Maui’s beauty in a truly eye-catching way. Here it is:

photographic portrait of my Maui cat, by June Gilbank

What do you think? Wasn’t he the most stunningly beautiful cat?

I sent my picture off to be printed on canvas, and waited…

And here’s the result!

canvas portrait of Maui on the wall

A little bit closer…

canvas portrait of Maui

I love it! Although it makes me feel a bit tearful to look at it right now, I know I’m going to appreciate my portrait of Maui for years to come.

I’m so pleased I happened to notice the potential in that original photo, and spent half a day turning it into this magical tribute to my handsome boy.

Comments (9)

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