PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for May, 2022

update: worsted weight yarn comparison

I’ve had such great feedback about my worsted weight yarn comparison chart – being able to tell in advance which yarns are likely to work well together if you mix them within the same project is so helpful! It would have been worth making the chart just for myself, but I’m so glad to know you’re finding it useful too.

But there was something missing from my comparison – all of my samples so far have been from North American yarn lines. I often have questions from UK- and European-based customers who don’t have access to the same yarns, and I’d love to be able to offer some alternatives that are more readily available to them, so I asked my favourite UK- based online yarn store, Wool Warehouse, if they’d collaborate with me on this project. They generously provided samples of all the UK and European 100% acrylic worsted (aran) weight yarns they carry, so I could test them and add them to my chart for you – isn’t that great?

New Yarn Samples

worsted weight yarns from Wool WarehouseNew additions: Cygnet Aran, James C Brett Super Soft Baby Aran, King Cole Big Value Aran, Scheepjes Chunky Monkey, Sirdar Hayfield Bonus Aran, Sirdar Snuggly Supersoft Aran, Stylecraft Special Aran, Stylecraft Special for Babies Aran

You’ll see that all these yarns are called ‘aran’. This is where things get a bit unclear with the terminology differences between countries: technically, aran weight yarn should be equivalent to heavy worsted weight, so we’d expect that all these yarns would end up on the right-hand side of my chart. But in the UK, all medium weight #4 yarn is called ‘aran’ instead of ‘worsted weight’, so that may not be the case…

And that’s why I like to test and compare, not just go by the information on the ball band. In fact, it turns out that some of these aran yarns are equivalent to a light worsted weight yarn, proving once again that worsted (and aran!) weight yarns are not all the same.

worsted weight yarn comparison - yarn bobbins

Testing the Yarns

I wound yarn bobbins to add to my reference collection, and compared samples to figure out where each of these additional yarns belongs in the table.

This addition to the chart will be so valuable for crocheters (and all yarn crafters) based in the UK and Europe, who often don’t have access to the worsted weight yarns we have here in North America. Now if you buy a pattern that recommends a specific US yarn, and you want yours to look as close as possible, you’ll be able to see which yarns are the closest match!

And vice versa – if you, like me, have been curious about the yarns our UK/Euro friends use (and maybe want to order some that we can’t find in the craft stores here), here’s a way to find out which US yarns they most resemble!

worsted weight yarn comparison - yarn bobbins

I was most excited to find that I finally have the first entry in my ‘soft and thick’ category – usually, the softer worsted yarns tend to be thinner, and the sturdier yarns tend to be thicker. But Scheepjes Chunky Monkey yarn is a very heavy worsted weight and it’s also very soft and shiny – that’s a first for me!

Download the Comparison Chart

I’ve categorised all the other new (to me) yarns too, and you can find the results in my updated Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison.

Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison - a free 2 page PDF file by PlanetJune

Both the online and downloadable versions of the chart have now been updated, so, if you’ve already ‘bought’ the downloadable version (it’s a free product in my shop – no charge), there’s no need to order it again; as with all your PlanetJune orders, you can re-download the PDF from your PlanetJune account at any time to get the latest version.

About Wool Warehouse

This addition to the comparison chart wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Wool Warehouse! I’ve been a customer of Wool Warehouse for years (every time I visited my family in the UK, I’d place an order for some interesting-looking yarns that I don’t have access to where I live). It feels like a real treat to receive my orders, as they always come beautifully packaged in organza drawstring bags, which I reuse as project bags or to help organise my stash.

worsted weight yarns from Wool Warehouse
It feels like my birthday when I open a Wool Warehouse package!

Wool Warehouse is based in the UK but ships worldwide, and I see that they also stock a selection of common US yarns, so if you’re outside North America and want to try some of the amigurumi standards (Bernat Satin, Caron Simply Soft, Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, Red Heart Soft, etc), this is a convenient way for you to do that too.

Thanks so much, Wool Warehouse, for helping me (and all of us!) with this project 🙂

Adding to this List

I want this resource to be as useful and complete as possible, so I’m always happy to compare and add more samples of 100% acrylic worsted weight yarns. If your favourite amigurumi yarns don’t appear in the list, there are instructions for how you can send me a sample on the ww yarn comparison page.

(And, if you’re a yarn manufacturer or distributor and would like me to include your yarns, please get in touch. I’m always happy to receive new yarns to try, and they may even end up being used in a future PlanetJune design as well as being added to the chart!)

I hope you’ll find this update useful, and if you haven’t grabbed the downloadable Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison chart yet, please do – it’s completely free, no strings attached!

I’d never force you to sign up for my newsletter, for example – although if you want to do that too, I’d be delighted 😉


designing the PJ logo

I just realised that my PlanetJune logo is 10 years old! To celebrate that anniversary I thought I’d give you a peek behind the scenes and show you how I designed my logo.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo

I’m a complete amateur when it comes to graphic design, so it took many attempts to come up with a good logo. I’ll show you my complete design process from start to finish – even the embarrassing parts.

This is not a professional “how to design a logo” post, but I think it’s fascinating to see how the PJ logo developed, and I hope you will too!

What makes a good logo?

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo - yarn planet only

I love my sweet and simple yarn planet – it clearly says ‘PlanetJune’ even without the text, don’t you think? And that’s exactly what a good logo should do.

Think of the Nike swoosh or the McDonald’s golden arches – when you see one of those simple symbols you instantly know exactly what to expect. (That’s a combination of a good logo and a consistent brand identity.)

But the simplest end results can be the hardest to design – if you’re working with clean, simple lines, each line needs to be just right to make the design work. (Hmm, that applies to crochet pattern design too!)

Developing an Idea

I don’t think you can fully appreciate what’s right until you have a wrong to compare it with, so let’s take a look through from my initial design concept for a ‘yarn planet’ to the terrible first prototypes, and then you can see how I gradually edged closer and closer to the logo that has represented me for an entire decade and is still going strong.

But first, here’s 2012-June to tell the story (taken from my blog post where I first launched the logo!)

I started the process in 2009. I read books and articles on good logo design and I knew exactly what I wanted, but I had problems drawing it without adding too much detail.

I’m too stubborn/controlling to ask for outside help: PlanetJune is my baby and it just wouldn’t feel right for the symbol that represents me to be created by somebody else.

Long story short: I drew 2 pages of sketches, made 15 digital prototypes, and now, 3 years later, it’s finally ready.

My Design Iterations

After 10 years, I’m finally brave enough to show you those previously-secret sketches and digital prototypes! Graphic design and digital art are really not my forte, so my first attempts were very… well, let’s just say ‘not good’ 😀

But – and this is important – if you follow through all the steps below you can actually see how each iteration got me closer to ‘good’. Determination and perseverance – that’s the PlanetJune way!

Sketches, round 1: the one with the arrow is the idea I chose as the starting point for my digital design (and the curve of the loose yarn strand at the bottom right was the spark that led to the angled ring around my planet)

preliminary sketches for PlanetJune logo

Version 1: my first digital attempt at my ‘yarn planet’
prototype logo for PlanetJune 1/15

Version 2: angled the rings around the planet
prototype logo for PlanetJune 2/15

Version 3: added bumpy edges to the yarn wraps
prototype logo for PlanetJune 3/15

Version 4: added a darker shade of yarn, changed text to 2 lines

prototype logo for PlanetJune 4/15

Version 5: dark rings, light yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 5/15

Version 6: outlined yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 6/15

Version 7: lighter yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 7/15

Sketches, round 2: back to the drawing board (literally) to figure out how to simplify the yarn – you can see I came up with the basic concept for my final logo in the one with the arrow!
preliminary sketches for PlanetJune logo

Version 8: simplified yarn wraps and added yarn strand below text

prototype logo for PlanetJune 8/15

Version 9: fixed bumpy cutout on ring behind planet

prototype logo for PlanetJune 9/15

Version 10: simplified ring by removing white band

prototype logo for PlanetJune 10/15

Version 11: dark yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 11/15

Version 12: pale ring

prototype logo for PlanetJune 12/15

Version 13: pale yarn strand

prototype logo for PlanetJune 13/15

Version 14: changed yarn ball to look less like a fist (can you see the 4 fingers in the above versions, or is that just me?)

prototype logo for PlanetJune 14/15

Final logo: completely redrawn yarn strands to make them more rounded and even.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo

So there you go! You can see from the early attempts how having a good idea doesn’t necessarily translate into having a good design, but each stage brought me closer and closer to the adorable and completely unique yarn planet that is the representation of PlanetJune.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo - yarn planet only

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into the long process of creating the PlanetJune logo. I’m so grateful to 2009-2012 June for putting all that effort in to create a logo I can still be proud of today, 10 years later!

Comments (8)

Squirrel crochet pattern

Today I have a brand new PlanetJune crochet pattern to share with you. I’ve been wanting to make a realistic Squirrel crochet pattern for a long time, and it’s turned out just as cute as I’d hoped!

Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJuneWhich is your favourite? It doesn’t matter – you can make both!

I started this design during the Ravellenic Games, but I had to set it aside for a while – it took 6 prototypes to get that perfect squirrel tail, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. All those curves are built right in, and I love the result 🙂

Squirrel Fun Facts

Note: If you hear an animal called just a ‘squirrel’ that means it’s a tree squirrel, but there are also other types of squirrel (ground squirrels and flying squirrels). My pattern, and these fun facts, specifically relate to tree squirrels!

  • Squirrels are rodents that are found all over the world.
  • They live in trees and eat nuts, seeds and berries.
  • Squirrels have long bushy tails that help them to balance as they run and jump through the trees.
  • Their tails are also used to keep them warm in winter, and for communication. For example, they flick their tails rapidly when they sense danger!
  • Squirrels hoard their food, and hide caches of nuts and seeds in trees or buried in the ground.

About the Design

With this design, my goal was to capture the smooth curves of the essential squirrel pose: perfectly balanced while standing up on its back legs with its beautiful bushy tail curving up behind it.

Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

The front legs are crocheted right into the body, so there are very few parts to assemble at the end, and you can choose to attach the head at any angle, to give your squirrel its own personality – will your squirrel be cute and bashful, or bold and inquisitive?

I’ve included two versions in this pattern: a standard Grey Squirrel (aka Eastern Gray Squirrel):

Grey Squirrel from Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

…and an adorable European Red Squirrel with long tufted ears:

Red Squirrel from Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Ideas for variations:

  • Despite their names, ‘grey’ squirrels can be brownish, black, orange or white as well as grey, and ‘red’ squirrels vary from orange through deep red to black, so you have lots of colour choices, even if you want to make a realistically-coloured squirrel.
  • Although I designed both my squirrels to use regular yarn, you can brush your squirrel’s tail before assembly to give it a fluffy, furry look (and you can brush the tips of the red squirrel’s ear tufts too!) See my brushed crochet tutorial for instructions.

About the Pattern

The Squirrel pattern includes 4 pages of step-by-step bonus info in 2 two-page appendices (for both right- and left-handers) that clearly explain my innovative method for joining the front legs and body while you crochet so they sit at exactly the right angle in the finished squirrel.

If you’ve made any of my AmiCats, you’ll already be familiar with the concept of this technique and how well it works – the assembly method is the same here, although of course the squirrel shape is very different!

Buy Now

Ready to get started? Pick up my Squirrel 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:

Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

By the way, I’m sure you know that squirrels love to gather and hoard their pine cones – and mine are no exception! My Pine Cone Collection pattern is now officially squirrel-approved 😉

I hope you’ll love my Squirrel pattern and will start making your own adorable squirrels right away. And please do let me know what you think of them!

Comments (10)

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    June Gilbank

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