PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for Crochet

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern

Don’t miss the launch discount, at the end of this post!

With the winter chill setting in, it’s always my ears that feel the cold first. I usually wear a very functional earwarmer – just a shopbought band of boring black insulated fleece – but I really wanted something a bit more stylish to bring some cheer to the season this year. And here’s what I came up with – a wonderful cable pattern that looks far more complex than it is!
 
Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I’ve given two width options using different yarn weights depending on how wide and bulky you’d like your earwarmer to be, and how quickly you’d like to get it finished (thicker yarn needs fewer repeats!) 

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJuneCozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

The dense crochet cables make a plush squishy fabric that’s great for blocking wind. The edges of cabled panels tend to be gappy, but I’ve filled those gaps with some hidden stitches with extra squish on the inside to keep you warmer around the edges.

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune 
They’re only hidden from the outside! You can clearly see those snuggly stitches all around the inside top edge in the photo above.

The worsted weight option can also be worn as a fitted neckwarmer, as shown below. If you want a chunkier neckwarmer, you could upscale it further with a bulky or super bulky yarn to make a wider cowl.

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

This earwarmer is worked flat and seamed, you can easily customise the fit by working the pattern until it’s the desired length. Try it on as you go and check if it’s long enough to give a snug fit around your head, or just use my standard measurements as a guide if it’ll be a surprise gift for a child or adult! 

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

As always with my PlanetJune Accessories designs, the pattern includes full stitch instructions and my tips for all the techniques used, as well as written and charted versions of the pattern.

If you’ve been nervous to tackle cables, I’ll walk you through it in the pattern. There’s a 4-row repeat, but every wrong side row is just plain half double crochet, so you only have two pattern rows to remember. After you’ve made a few repeats, you’ll be able to fly through the pattern and make impressive-looking earwarmers for everyone on your list! 

Links and Launch Discount

Ready to get crocheting? You can buy the Cozy Cables Earwarmer pattern individually from my shop, or as part of a Custom Set of any 3 PlanetJune Accessories patterns of your choice.

PlanetJune Accessories crochet patterns by PlanetJune

And, for this week only, save 50c on the Cozy Cables Earwarmer pattern by using discount code COZY at checkout. (Valid until Monday November 30 2020.)

Tip: The discount is valid on the Earwarmer alone and the Custom Set including the Earwarmer – so you can save even more by buying the multipack deal with the discount!

Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it:

If you’re planning on making one (or more!), please join the PlanetJune End of Year 2020 CAL – I’d love to see your earwarmers, and you’ll be entered in the CAL contest! Join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group (or click here for full details of the CAL, including non-Ravelry entry option) 🙂


I do hope you’ll enjoy this pattern as much as I’ve enjoyed designing it. I’ve been wearing my earwarmers out in the snow already this week, and I can report that they’re keeping my ears and forehead toasty warm, even when my cheeks are freezing!

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PlanetJune End-of-Year 2020 Crochet-Along

This year has been a struggle for everyone, so let’s try to end it on a high note, and celebrate our love of crochet together, with prizes for everyone!

The annual PlanetJune Christmas Crochet-Along (CAL) is back, but it’s even more inclusive this time around. You can enter the End-of-Year 2020 CAL any time from now until the end of the year by:

  • Crocheting any PlanetJune Xmas/winter-themed patterns you’re making for your holiday decorating
  • Crocheting any PlanetJune pattern you’re giving as a holiday gift or as a donation to a good cause (or selling to someone who’s buying it as a gift)
  • Crocheting any PlanetJune pattern you’re making for yourself – remember, you deserve treats too!

Basically, you can make any PlanetJune patterns you want – the more the merrier! Share what you’re making and join our crochet party as we approach 2021.

Come to the PlanetJune group on Ravelry and join the fun! Share your crochet plans, post photos of your projects in progress, let everyone else know you like their projects, and (of course) post pics of your finished projects so we can all appreciate them.

If you don’t use Ravelry, or can’t at the moment due to their accessibility problems, see the ‘How to Enter’ section below for how to participate via social media instead.

Prizes

Thanks to a generous anonymous benefactor, we have extra prizes this year:

  • First prize: $20 PlanetJune Gift Certificate
  • Second prize (2 winners): $10 PlanetJune Gift Certificate
  • Participation prize (2 winners): $5 PlanetJune Gift Certificate
  • Runner-up prize (everyone else!): 10% PlanetJune discount code to spend in 2021

Pattern Options

While you aren’t limited to my seasonal patterns with this CAL, I thought I’d whet your appetite for project ideas with a collage of all my Christmas patterns:
Christmas crochet patterns by PlanetJune

Isn’t that amazing? There are soooo many to choose from! You can find all these patterns at www.planetjune.com/xmas – including plenty of free/donationware options if funds are short 🙂

How to Enter

Ravelry Users
Post a pic of your PlanetJune projects to the CAL thread in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, and tag your projects with PJCAL2020 in order for them to appear as part of the CAL.

New to Ravelry or PlanetJune CALs? See my Crochet-Along FAQ for all you need to know!
Non-Ravelry option
If you are unable to use Ravelry, you can still enter the contest by:
  1. Posting a photo of your finished PlanetJune project on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
  2. Tagging me (@PlanetJune) in the post so I’ll see it
  3. Using the hashtag #PJCAL2020 in the post so I know it’s an official entry (only use the hashtag once per entry please, even if you post multiple photos or in multiple places!)

Example message “Here’s my entry into the @PlanetJune End-of-Year CAL! #PJCAL2020” (and add your photo, too!) 

Rules

  • Prizes will be drawn from all eligible entries, starting from first prize and working down the list, with a maximum of one prize per person.
  • You’ll receive one entry per PlanetJune pattern used in a completed project and tagged PJCAL2020 (if you make e.g. a Christmas wreath using 5 different patterns, you’ll get 5 entries).
  • Entries will be capped at 8 per person, to give everyone a chance of winning.
  • Bonus entry option (for the participation and runner-up prizes only): even if you don’t manage to complete a project, you can still be entered into the contest – all you need is to have posted at least 5 posts in the CAL thread. So do join in the conversation – you’ll be guaranteed at least a runner-up prize!

I do hope you’ll join us for this PlanetJune end-of-year crochet party – I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’re making from my patterns, as holiday gifts or for yourself! See you in the ravelry group or on social 🙂

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Tortoise: a 10-month (or 10-year!) design study

I’m so happy with the reception my Tortoise patterns have had already! Thank you so much to everyone who’s already bought them or shared them on social – I’m so glad you love them too!

Tortoise crochet pattern and Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin expansion pack by PlanetJune

It’s been a very long journey to get to this point, so I thought I’d put together a visual diary of creating my most complex, detailed and challenging pattern to date.

For anyone who looks at the pictures of my finished tortoises and thinks that doesn’t look so hard to design, this post should be an eye-opener! Although my style is to create designs that look smooth and simple, the process is anything but.

So here goes: a decade to get properly started, and then 10 months to get finished!

2011: Conception

I came up with the idea to make a tortoise along the same lines as my AquaAmi Sea Turtle, with a segmented shell and amigurumi-style head and limbs.

AquaAmi Sea Turtle crochet pattern by PlanetJune

There were a couple of other cute tortoise patterns out there, but they all had circular shells and that’s just not right: tortoises have very oval-shaped shells. I sketched out a design for the shell segments that would make an oval shell using simple geometric shapes, and started crocheting.

initial concept for tortoise crochet pattern by planetjune
The initial concept for the shell

Once I started to assemble my pieces, I quickly realised the problem with my design: it was going to produce a flattish shell top. That’s fine for a sea turtle, with its streamlined shape for swimming, but completely wrong for a land tortoise with its domed shell.

I was a fairly new designer back then, with only a few years of experience, and the challenge of creating a very specific asymmetrical 3D shape from simple geometric segments was beyond me – I just didn’t know where to go from there – so I set it aside, and the notes and prototypes were filed for later…

amigurumi wip by planetjune
You can see a couple of the original shell segments (with some dinosaur parts!) in this work-in-progress photo from 2011 – before I realised my idea wasn’t going to work…

2012-2017: Research

Moving from Canada to South Africa in 2011 brought an unexpected benefit. Although I knew that tortoises must live wild somewhere in the world, I only specifically knew about giant Galapagos tortoises, until I made the delightful discovery that ‘normal’ tortoises are pretty common in conservation areas and empty wild spaces in the Cape!

Throughout my years in Africa, I had endless opportunities to meet and study tortoises, from spotting wild tortoises while I was out in nature…

tortoise photo by June Gilbank

… to hanging out with rescued tortoises at my local wildlife sanctuary, World of Birds (tortoises live for a very long time, and keep growing throughout their lives, so ‘cute’ pet tortoises are often abandoned when they get too large)…

June and a tortoise

… to braking for wild tortoises crossing the road in undeveloped areas (and ‘awwww’ing whenever I spotted an adorable baby tort!)…

tortoise photo by June Gilbank

… to getting to hold those baby torts and learn more about them at an education and conservation centre…

tortoise photo by June Gilbank

In all that time, I learnt to appreciate these fascinating reptiles more than ever, and study their shells and markings up close.

2020: Realization

January

After my Christmas break, I was ready to jump into new designs for 2020! With an extra decade of design experience under my belt, I had a new idea for how to tackle that tortoise shell shape.

After all my research time, I knew exactly what I was aiming to create: a life-sized realistically-shaped tortoise with correct (if simplified) shell structure:

  • The carapace (upper shell) has 13 main scutes (segments) with 5 vertebral scutes down the middle, 4 costal scutes around each side, plus a rim of marginal scutes.
  • The plastron (lower shell) is shaped to give the legs room to emerge, and has a gular (throat) scute at the front.

You don’t need to know all those details, but when you look at the tortoise, it should just look right to you, from all angles.

prototype tortoise by PlanetJune
An early prototype: the general idea is good, but it’s too boxy and the scute shapes are all just a bit wrong

prototype tortoise by PlanetJune
Completely reworked in shape and size, this is almost the final shell design, minus the edging

prototype tortoise by PlanetJune
It’s beginning to look like a tortoise!

February

The basic design was finished – and check, check, check, I’d included all the features I wanted in the shell, the shape was lifelike, the size was great, and the shell fit around the body beautifully.

Tortoise crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Tortoise crochet pattern by PlanetJune

You probably think great, I was 90% done and it’d all be smooth sailing from there? If only that were true – the fun designing part was now basically finished, but a lot of hard work was still to come…

March

To take my mind off the lockdown etc, I decided to test my prototype instructions by making a giant tortoise (using the techniques from my Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi)…

giant tortoise in progress by planetjune
My biggest (and certainly heaviest) giant amigurumi to date!

It was so much fun to make, but it highlighted a lot of things I’d need to explain in the pattern, and that I’d need to refine the design to simplify the assembly process. It turns out that coming up with the design, although it was a long time in the making, was just a small step in the process of producing this pattern – being able to clearly explain something that’s so unique was a whole new challenge.

May

I started prototyping expansion pack ideas while trying to figure out how on earth to make a useable and enjoyable pattern from my well over 150 step-by-step photos and 16 pages of handwritten notes…

prototype tortoise by PlanetJune
Maggie looks a little perturbed by the shell-less tortoises!

July

I felt like the pattern was starting to get into shape, but I still had parts I hadn’t figured out how to explain clearly when I had my accident and temporarily broke my brain. Concussion meant no chance of making progress on such a high-level task – I couldn’t concentrate on anything, let alone something so demanding.

giant amigurumi tortoise by planetjune

My giant tortoise was now part of the family and a fixture in my living room, but I wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to have any crocheted relatives around the world…

giant amigurumi tortoise by planetjune
Yes, my giant tortoise is bulkier than Maui and Maggie combined!

September

With the post-concussion symptoms finally fading, I could get back to whipping this pattern into shape. But – disaster – I couldn’t remember anything I’d been planning to include, or where I’d left off! I had to make another complete tortoise from my notes so I could re-learn the design well enough to explain it clearly.

handwritten notes for tortoise crochet pattern by planetjune
My 16 pages of handwritten notes – there’s a pattern hidden in there somewhere…

I started to regret thinking this could even be possible – the shell was so complicated, and there were no precedents to consult for any of the techniques I’d come up with to make this design work with 18 pieces and no sewing at all (except the back legs).

I threw out pages and pages of explanation I’d put into the pattern that were either too technical or relied on too much expertise – I didn’t want to drown you in irrelevant info, or for this to be a pattern that only a few advanced amigurumists would be able to tackle!

I kept tweaking the techniques and the instructions to make things clearer and cleaner and easier to follow, but it felt like I’d never reach the end of this marathon.

October

Success! With 18 pages, over step-by-step 70 photos with lots of annotations to make things even clearer, and separate right- and left-handed versions, I finally had a pattern that I could be proud of. I’d tried to include solutions to everything that could possibly trip you up, so your questions are answered before you even think to ask them.

Tortoise crochet pattern by PlanetJune

This pattern is unlike anything you’ve seen before. If you follow it carefully and add stitch markers at all the specified places to make sure everything will line up, it’ll guide you step-by-step through the whole process to make a fantastic tortoise!


It’s very fitting that this design is a tortoise: it took a lot of small slow steps to go from a vague concept to a great idea to a satisfying design to a solid finished pattern, but, as in the Tortoise and the Hare fable, slow and steady wins the race.

I always try to give every design the time it needs to become the best pattern it can be. (But I do hope that my ideas won’t all take 10 years to come to fruition from now on!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my design and patterning process. And if you’d like to enjoy the results of all that work, you can pick up my Tortoise crochet patterns from my shop!

Comments (5)

Tortoise crochet patterns

*Cue the fanfare*

Please allow me to present… the PlanetJune tortoises!

Tortoise crochet pattern and Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin expansion pack by PlanetJune

I’m so excited to be able to share my tortoises with you today! I have so much to tell you about them, though, I don’t know where to start…

I’ll limit myself to the relevant pattern details today, and do a follow-up post later to share the long history of this design and my inspiration, and why my tortoise has been the most challenging (and eventually satisfying) pattern I’ve ever written!

Okay, so what you’re looking at above is actually two patterns:

  • Top row: Tortoise – the main crochet pattern
  • Bottom row: Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin – the expansion pack

What is an Expansion Pack?

Expansion Packs by PlanetJune

  • An Expansion Pack is an add-on to an existing PlanetJune pattern.
  • The Expansion Pack lets you modify or add to the original pattern to create something else.
  • You cannot use the Expansion Pack alone – you must also purchase the original pattern in order to be able to complete the pictured items in the Expansion Pack pattern.

Between the two patterns you can mix-and-match to customize your own perfect tortoises (and freshwater turtles and terrapins). Let’s look at them in more detail:

About the Designs

Both the patterns make amazingly realistically-shaped life-sized tortoises. They are about 8.5″ (21.5cm) long from nose to tail. Of course tortoises start life much smaller than this, and just keep growing and growing throughout their very long lives, but I settled on this size as it looks and feels just like a real pet tortoise!

Tortoise crochet pattern by PlanetJune

These are an ingenious low-sew design – the only sewing you have to do in the entire project is stitching the back legs to the body (and those joins will be hidden by the shell, so you don’t even need to do tidy stitching to get a perfect result).

Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin expansion pack by PlanetJune

All the tortoises have separate upper and lower shells which are stretched over a fully-enclosed smooth stuffed amigurumi body. This gives a perfect finish with no worries about stuffing leaking through anywhere, and a satisfyingly solid result.

Tortoise crochet pattern and Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin expansion pack by PlanetJune

And they are just so realistic! Once you’ve crocheted the shells together over the body, your tortoise’s head and legs will look like they’ve just popped out of his shell so he can go for a walk or find some lettuce to munch. 🙂

Tortoise Crochet Pattern

The main tortoise crochet pattern has a realistic patterned upper shell made of 13 shaped segments that are crocheted together into a 3D shape that perfectly matches the shape of the body beneath.

Don’t be intimidated, though: you’ll be working in a join-as-you-go method: crocheting one piece, then crocheting it together with the previous piece(s) to build up the shell, so you never have more than 2 pieces to confuse you. Every step is clearly set out with explanatory annotated photos so you can match what you’re doing to what you see in the photos.

Tortoise crochet pattern by PlanetJune

The lower shell is also realistically shaped and crocheted in one piece so it’s fast and easy to complete.

Tortoise crochet pattern by PlanetJune

As there’s such a lot to this pattern, with 18 pages and over 70 step-by-step photos (with over half of those being for the upper shell!), I’ve released it as separate right-handed and left-handed editions, so you can choose your version before you checkout, and the photos will all correspond to exactly what you’ll be seeing at every stage. I’ve only done this with ebooks until now, but this pattern is special in more ways than one!

Simple Shell Tortoise, Turtle and Terrapin Expansion Pack

This Expansion Pack includes all the modifications required to crochet a Tortoise much more quickly, with a simple but well-shaped one-piece top shell with or without a contrast trim. This is a simpler and more beginner-friendly option, but still has that realistic tortoise shape throughout!

Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin expansion pack by PlanetJune

This Expansion Pack also includes modifications to turn the Tortoise into a (freshwater) Turtle or Terrapin with a pointier nose and pale-coloured lower shell. All these modifications are mix-and-match, so you can make Tortoises, Turtles and Terrapins with the geometric or simple shell style, with either head shape, with or without the contrast trim on the top shell and with a pale- or self-coloured lower shell.

Here are some examples, so you can see the different options in the Expansion Pack:

Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin expansion pack by PlanetJune
Left: Pointed (turtle/terrapin) nose; single colour upper shell; contrast colour lower shell
Right: Rounded (tortoise) nose; upper shell with contrast-coloured trim; matching colour lower shell

Colour Choices

For any of the tortoises, you can stick with muted ‘natural’ colours to match the shades of a real tortoise, or get as creative as you want! A brightly-coloured tortoise (like my magenta-and-mustard example) looks vibrant and cute, and would make a lovely decoration for a baby’s room, or a perfect toy for any child. There are no wrong choices when it comes to amigurumi tortoise colours. 🙂

Tortoise crochet pattern and Simple-Shell Tortoise, Turtle & Terrapin expansion pack by PlanetJune

Buy Now & Launch Discount

Don’t you need these tortoises in your life right now?! If so, pick up the patterns with these links:

Or, if you’re not ready to make them just yet, add them to your Ravelry queue or favourites so you don’t forget about them:

Tortoise:

Simple-Shell Tortoise etc Expansion Pack:

And for one week only, you can take an extra 50c off the price: add the Tortoise or Tortoise + Expansion Pack pattern(s) to your shopping cart, and enter the discount code LETTUCE at checkout! (Offer ends Thursday October 29, 2020.)

I hope you love my tortoises as much as I do!

Don’t forget to tag me (I’m @planetjune everywhere) when you’ve made yours 🙂

Comments (8)

baby sea turtle applique in thread!

My first thought after seeing my Baby Sea Turtle Appliqué was to wonder how it would look in crochet thread, so I decided to find out!

baby sea turtle applique crochet pattern by planetjune, made in crochet thread

I tried a few thread/hook combinations but my favourite ended up being size 10 thread and a size 7 US / 1.5mm steel hook. This size is not ridiculously small, so it’s not too difficult to crochet, but it’s still fine enough to give a satisfyingly petite and lovely baby turtle for an embellishment!

baby sea turtle applique crochet pattern by planetjune, made in crochet thread

My thread sea turtle applique is only 2.25″ (5.5cm) long and it looks so good in crochet cotton! The pattern works really well scaled down like this, provided you have a fine enough needle (with a large enough eye) to weave in the thread ends. (The clever simple assembly technique from the pattern works perfectly too, in case you were wondering!)

baby sea turtle applique crochet pattern by planetjune, made in crochet thread
It’s a perfect miniature!

Seeing how cute this tiny baby turtle turned out, I’m tempted to buy a denim jacket and have turtles ‘swimming’ up one side… A crochet thread appliqué would pair perfectly with denim, and it could go through the wash with no problems. What do you think? Should I do it?!

baby sea turtle applique crochet pattern by planetjune, made in crochet thread


PlanetJune Appliqués

PlanetJune applique crochet patterns

I’ve been developing my own style of appliqué, neither worked in rows (I don’t like that horizontal stripy look) or rounds (I dislike the look of that too, e.g. a leaf that has a big circle in the middle with the points of the leaf formed around it).

In my style, the design builds out from a base crocheted ‘skeleton’, which gives the finished pieces a more uniform look, without the visual distraction of rows or circles breaking up the shape.

I realised that I’ve accidentally built quite a library of appliqués already – especially if you include the flowers of some of my potted plants that could double as appliqués, like my pansy pins.

pansy pins from pansies crochet pattern by planetjune

In case you’re specifically looking for crochet appliqué patterns, I’ve added an Appliqués category to the PlanetJune shop, so you can browse more easily.

And you can expect more flat designs like these in future! (Do let me know if you have any requests…)

Comments (4)

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    June Gilbank

    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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