PlanetJune Craft Blog

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lemmings!

Okay, I can’t spin out the suspense any longer – I have to show you what I’ve made… It seems like there are a lot of Mario or PacMan inspired crafts going on at the moment, but I can’t imagine why nobody has thought to make these before: amigurumi Lemmings!

Gamers of the ’90s probably remember the classic Lemmings video game franchise – those hapless green-haired troops who followed each other in a line and would walk straight off a cliff to their doom if you didn’t create a path to safety for them. It was an original and engaging puzzle/strategy game with really cute music. I used to love playing it on my cousins’ Amiga, and later the tiny black-and-white version on my original GameBoy.

The way to play the game was to assign skills to some of the many lemmings in order to help as many as possible to safely navigate their surroundings and make it through each level. There were 9 different skills:

  1. Walker: The basic model lemming. Walks and walks until he hits a wall or falls off a cliff
  2. Blocker: Stops other lemmings from passing
  3. Miner: Digs a tunnel with his trusty pickaxe
  4. Floater: Falls from any height without damage thanks to his handy umbrella
  5. Builder: Builds a bridge using the boards he carries in his backpack

There were also Digger, Climber, Basher & Bomber lemmings, but I didn’t make those because they didn’t have any interesting props.

crocheted lemmings by planetjune
Please click through to see the full-size image – it looks so much better that way!

I crocheted all the Lemmings using my free Mop Top Mascots pattern, and I improvised their accessories to make them into the appropriate lemming. I crocheted around floral wire to make the pickaxe and umbrella handle, and I made a little stand for Builder’s bridge out of black polymer clay (a crocheted bridge isn’t stiff enough to support a lemming!). I also made a stand out of floral wire for Floater (you can see the base of it in the group shot), so he really does hang in the air.

crocheted lemmings by planetjune
Click through to see the full-size image

It was such a fun project. My favourite parts to make were the umbrella and the builder’s backpack – tiny accessories are just so cute!

Retro-game geek June signing off… Please leave me a comment if you like my Lemmings!

ETA: Just to make it clear, if you’d like to make your own lemmings, the basic lemming body uses my Mop Top Mascots pattern, and you can improvise your own accessories for them!

ETA: Bowing to pressure, I’ve added details for how I made the accessories in the next post

ETA: If you are interested in commissioning any lemmings from me, please see this post! I can no longer take commissions – please see my FAQ for a possible alternative option.

Comments (50)

Discworld update

Looking to buy a Discworld pattern or a finished Discworld?
See my Amigurumi Discworld info page.

Thank you so much for the Discworld love; I’m so happy you get what I was trying to do here. I also have some news: I contacted Terry Pratchett’s agent, to ask if there was any possibility that Terry could see my Discworld, and Colin kindly agreed to show the pics to Terry. And I have a reply from Colin about Terry Pratchett’s reaction:

He gave a quiet laugh and said, ‘Well, if you’re going to crochet Discworld then that’s the way to do it!’

Thank you, Terry! (And Colin.) This has made my day!

crocheted Discworld by planetjune

I thought I would share my happiness by revealing some more details of my Discworld project. I’ve had several requests from people wondering how I managed to accurately crochet in the landmasses of the Disc. I’m not intending this as a tutorial or method for you to follow – I just thought you might like to see the crazy method my mind came up with to crochetify the Discworld 🙂

First, I started by crocheting a plain blue circle for the underside of the Disc. I scanned this into the computer. Then I used the Discworld Mapp to sketch (with pencil and paper) a map of the landmasses and a rough guide for my colour changes. I scanned this into the computer too:

plan for amigurumi discworld plan for amigurumi discworld

I edited my sketch to remove the white background and darken the lines to black to make them easier to see. I resized the two images so they were the same size, and then layered the map over the crocheted Disc:

plan for amigurumi discworld plan for amigurumi discworld

Now for the slow part… but I figured it was better to make the mistakes digitally than to have to rip back when it came to the crocheting part. In my graphics software, I picked a paintbrush that was about the same size as one crocheted stitch, then began to colour in my map onscreen. I kept the coloured layer translucent, so I could still see the stitches beneath. Here’s a close-up, and the complete digitally-coloured map:

plan for amigurumi discworld plan for amigurumi discworld

Lastly I turned off the black sketch layer, and printed my ‘pattern’:

plan for amigurumi discworld

With all that work done, I just had to reproduce my digital crochet in reality! No secret method here – just careful counting and colour changes.

When I had finished, I crocheted both discs together around the edges, to keep it together and give a subtle Rimfall effect. I also stitched the two discs together at various points across the surface (with blue yarn in the blue areas only, so it doesn’t show), to avoid any problems with it trying to puff up in the middle – it’s called the Disc, not the Lens 😉

Oh, and you may also be able to see from this pic that I used a variegated green yarn, so I chose the lighter green parts of the yarn to be closer to the Hub, fading to darker green towards the Rim. I just thought it added a little more depth:

completed amigurumi discworld

That’s it! As I said before, it really was a labour of love, and it took much longer to design than to actually crochet! And now I can say it’s officially Pratchett-approved 🙂

You can, of course, buy the patterns for my Turtle and Elephants, if you are so inclined.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into the unusual way my mind works. Please leave me a comment if you did…

Looking to buy a Discworld pattern or a finished Discworld?
See my Amigurumi Discworld info page.

Comments (85)

Amigurumi Discworld

Looking to buy a Discworld pattern or a finished Discworld?
See my Amigurumi Discworld info page.

In general, I’m not one for picking favourites, but ever since I was first introduced to Terry Pratchett’s books at age 11-ish, I have bought and loved every single one of his books. I even have two copies of some of them! In my student days, while I still lived in the UK, I queued for hours at book signings so I could spend a few seconds with the man himself, and he was unfailingly nice every time.

Since I made my sea turtle in March, I had a feeling it reminded me of something… Then it came to me: most of Terry’s books are set on the Discworld: a flat world carried through space on the backs of four elephants who themselves stand on the shell of the giant star turtle, Great A’tuin… (Google image search if you don’t know what I’m talking about 🙂 )

The idea to make a crocheted Discworld has been running around inside my head ever since. I thought it would make a wonderful art piece, so I’ve been slowly designing and assembling the pieces to create my Discworld model. I made sure the size for my small elephant design would fit on the turtle’s back… I spent hours studying, sketching, simplifying and photoshopping the Discworld Mapp so I could recreate it in cotton yarn (and my process for that would take up a whole post by itself)…

And, finally, today it has all come together with the finishing touches to the fourth elephant. Drumroll please… In honour of the genius of Terry Pratchett and his books (and totally unauthorized, so I hope he won’t take offence), allow me to present the Amigurumi Discworld:

crocheted Discworld by planetjune

crocheted Discworld by planetjune

crocheted Discworld by planetjune

Small print: Discworld is © Terry Pratchett. I have made my homage only for fun, not profit. I don’t have the rights to create a crochet pattern based on the Discworld, so please don’t ask me to do so 🙂

Please leave me a comment if you like my work – your words mean a lot to me!

UPDATED 5 Sep 08: I have just posted a Discworld update. Terry himself has seen the pics and commented! And I have added some details on how I made the Disc.

Looking to buy a Discworld pattern or a finished Discworld?
See my Amigurumi Discworld info page.

Comments (77)

an elephant tale

Baby Elephant was bored. He wanted to play with his family, but he didn’t know where they were.

He walked through the jungle until he spotted someone. “Aha! Here’s one of my family!” he thought…

But it wasn’t an elephant at all! “I’ll help you find your family,” said Hippo, and they walked on through the jungle.

Soon, they spotted something. “I think I see my family,” called Baby Elephant…

But it wasn’t an elephant, either! Rhino had a big scary horn, but he was friendly and offered to help look for the elephant family.

They walked on until they spotted two more animals. “Are they your family?” asked Hippo and Rhino. But Baby Elephant wasn’t sure…

But, this time, it was his family! The elephants and their new friends celebrated together for the rest of the day.

THE END

In case you hadn’t guessed from the above, I’ve been working hard on some new designs, and now I can finally unveil big brother Elephant and pals, the Hippo and White Rhino:

AfricAmi by PlanetJune
Click for larger picture

The Elephant, Hippopotamus and Rhinoceros are all made with bulky weight yarn (like the AquaAmi), and are each about 6″ long. The three will form Set 1 of a new range, once I have written up the patterns. I’m going to call them AfricAmi, which gives me plenty of scope for future animal designs – there is a lot of interesting wildlife in Africa! Do you like the name?

I also painted a new backdrop to stage these guys. It took a lot of painting to get the background to stop looking like a big green board and starting to look a little bit like foliage, but I think the end result was worth it.

I hope you enjoyed the story! And look out for the AfricAmi patterns… coming soon to the PlanetJune store 🙂

UPDATE: Looking for the patterns? You can find the AfricAmi Set 1 crochet patterns in my shop.

Comments (17)

the best of intentions…

So, Drawing Day was yesterday. Pencils (brought all the way from the UK and never once used in the 5 years since): found, after a bit of a search. Sketchbook (ditto): at the ready. Time and inspiration: sadly lacking. So this is really as far as it got:

sketch book and pencils

Ah well, all is not lost. The materials are ready now for when I do find the time.

And if we count digital art as drawing (and I will, so I don’t feel like a complete failure) I’m very happy to report that I’ve finally got the hang of the basics of vector art, so I ‘drew’ the mouse for my PocketAmi logo (it’s a vector image, so it’s scalable to any size – very useful!):

PocketAmi logo by planetjune
A crocheted mouse drawn using a computer mouse, haha

Speaking of which, the PocketAmi sets are almost ready for publication – expect the announcement tomorrow. And it’s my 2 year blogiversary this coming Thursday, so check back then as well, to enter my birthday contest!

Comments (1)

drawing day!

Ever get that feeling where there is so much you want to do, and not enough hours in the day?! I just found out from Drawspace that this coming Saturday is Drawing Day 2008. It’s been years since I’ve drawn anything, but this is really tempting me to get some pencils out and have a go…

Drawing Day 2008

According to the website, “Drawing Day is a worldwide drawing event encouraging everyone to drop everything and draw for the sake of art. The internet is an open canvas. Help us create 1 million drawings online this day and boost online art communities.”

I used to be able to draw (at a very, very slow speed):

cat sketch by June Gilbank
I drew this cat in 1992… 16 years ago?! How old do I feel now…

There’s more of my old stuff in the Gallery if you’re interested.

I wonder if I can still even do it?! I really want to try, and Drawing Day seems like the perfect excuse! Anyone else interested?

Comments (2)

banner art

One of my personal challenges for my other blog, Crochet Along, is to come up with a banner design to reflect the new blog theme every two months. I try not to be influenced by my personal preferences for colour, style, etc and I think it’s helping to improve my graphic design skills.

I thought I’d share how I came up with my design for the new Summer Crochet theme.

First, find source graphics. I looked through stock photography sites for royalty-free photos that matched my design concept (‘orange’ in this case), and made sure to only save images that had no copyright restrictions or required credit to use – no copyright infringements here!

When I had saved about 20 images, I looked at them all together on the screen and eliminated them one by one until I had narrowed them down to my final source images (I took the crochet hooks photo myself):

images for banner

After that, it’s time to cut, paste, resize, arrange, change colours, erase unwanted backgrounds, and add some text. Here’s the end result:

finished banner

If you’d like to see the full sized banner, or you’d like some Summer-themed crocheting fun, head over and join the Crochet Along!

Comments (2)

a puppy painting

One of the things I most love about my blog is the opportunity it gives me to ‘meet’ other artists and crafters and people who make things. One such person is Christy DeKoning, a talented artist who I recently ‘met’ online but coincidentally also lives in Ontario. She paints watercolour portraits and also sells small ACEO-sized paintings in her Etsy store.

When I visited Christy’s website I fell in love with the most adorable ACEO puppy painting I have ever seen. A few days later, and I now own my first piece of original artwork! My painting “Puppy Dog Eyes” is, in reality, even more special that I had hoped for – look at that eye! And I just love the colouring.

Puppy Dog Eyes by Christy DeKoning

I’ll be framing it soon and I’ll hang it somewhere in my craft room. Christy also accepts commissions, so I hope my furbaby Maui is feeling photogenic, because he’s about to become immortalized in watercolour… 🙂

Comments (3)

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    June Gilbank

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