PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for Tutorials

Crochet in the Back Bumps of a Chain [video tutorial]

I’ve updated my How to Crochet in the Back Bumps of a Chain article with a brand new video tutorial! Now you can see exactly how it’s done, with my helpful highlighted stitches to guide you.

the front and back of a crocheted chain, showing the V shapes on the front and the back bumps on the back

In the video, I’ll also show you my tips to make sure you’re starting from the back bump of the correct stitch (something that confused me for a long time!)

And, as always, the video is available in right-handed and left-handed versions.

Why would you want to crochet in the back bumps of a chain? Not only to make a neat, non-loopy edge at the bottom of a rectangular piece like a scarf or blanket, but also to make small details for amigurumi, appliques, etc.

examples of PlanetJune crochet patterns that make use of crocheting into the back bumps of chains

You’ll see back bumps details in a lot of my patterns, for example Cephalopod tentacles, Snow Star snowflakes, Iguana toes and spikes, Maple Leaves 🙂

I hope you’ll find this new video tutorial helpful! (And please let me know if you have any video requests for me to demystify any other techniques I use in my patterns!)

Go to the video tutorial >>

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free pattern: Tulips (and a new video!)

Here’s a new addition to my stemmed flower patterns: a beautiful realistic tulip flower with a clever one-piece construction. You’ll love how it comes together!

tulips crochet pattern by planetjune

Don’t they look gloriously spring-like in their distinctive tulip colours? (I had so much fun picking the colours for these!)

tulips crochet pattern by planetjune

I’ve also completed a new video (the first of many!) using my new audio/video equipment to accompany this pattern, and all my other stemmed flowers: Easy Yarn-Wrapped Stems for Crochet Flowers. As always, my videos are available in right- and left-handed versions, so you can see exactly what to do.

I hope you can see/hear the quality improvement in this new video, but if you don’t even notice because you’re concentrating on the content, that’s fine too. Clear, close-up and well explained techniques are always my top priority. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll always see my latest videos – I have lots more in store!

basic rose, daffodils, carnations and tulips crochet patterns by planetjune
Here are all my stemmed flowers together: Basic Rose, Daffodils, Carnations and the new Tulips. I hope they all brighten your day!

As I like to reward people who chose to donate for my donationware patterns, the PDF version of the Tulips pattern includes additional assembly photos (including left-handed photos) and my special technique for fastening off the yarn neatly at the base of the stem. As always, the pattern is free for you to use, and you need only donate if you’d like to thank me for my time in creating it, or if you’d like the easy-to-print PDF version.

Go to the free Tulips pattern >>

Or jump straight to donate:

Order the Tulips pattern >>

Not ready to make it yet? Add it to your Ravelry queue:

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Mini Giant Amigurumi

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - available in right-handed and left-handed versions

Are you unsure about taking the plunge into full-scale Giant Amigurumi? Then Mini Giant Amigurumi might be just what you’re looking for!

Allow me to demonstrate with my cute purple whale:

standard, mini giant and giant amigurumi whales, using the Tiny Whale crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Front: Standard (worsted weight) whale (silver)
Middle: Mini Giant whale (purple)
Back: Giant Whale (blue)

As you can see, the Mini Giant whale bridges the gap between a standard amigurumi and a giant – it isn’t close to the size of a full giant ami, but is still over twice the size of a standard amigurumi.

Why Mini Giant Amigurumi?

There are lots of reasons why Mini Giant Amigurumi might appeal to you vs Giant Amigurumi:

  • You don’t have a 15mm hook
  • You want to ease yourself gradually into sizing up
  • You don’t have the strength or mobility for the larger hand/arm motions
  • You’re short on funds for all that yarn and stuffing
  • You don’t have the space for giant ami!

Don’t let that be a reason to stop you trying to size up some amigurumi – you can still join in the supersizing fun and use all the techniques from The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi to great effect by making mini giant amis.

How to Make Mini Giant Amigurumi

To make a Mini Giant Amigurumi, instead of worsted weight yarn and an E US/3.5mm hook, you’ll need:

  • 1 strand of a super bulky (#6) yarn – I recommend a chenille-type yarn such as Bernat Blanket
  • an L US/8mm crochet hook

standard sized whale and mini giant whale, using the Tiny Whale crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Then use the techniques from The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi (especially my Secure Magic Ring, which works beautifully on this chenille-type yarn) to make and stuff your Mini Giant Amigurumi!

To finish, you can either use one of my crocheted ‘glinting’ eye patterns from the ebook, or you may find that you have plastic animal eyes large enough. For my whale, 15mm plastic eyes were just about large enough; for a larger amigurumi, the Small Eye pattern from the book would work perfectly.

Your Guidebook to Giant Amigurumi

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - available in right-handed and left-handed versions

Now, between standard amigurumi, mini giant amigurumi, and full giant amigurumi, you have the choice of sizing up your amigurumi as much as you like!

And if you haven’t bought my new ebook, The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi yet, check out the reviews (here) to see what people are saying about it – I think you’ll love it too 🙂

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Amigurumi Clean Edge Join tutorial

Usually in amigurumi, the goal is to join pieces with an invisible, seamless join, so you can barely tell where one part ends and the next begins. But sometimes, especially with a piece of a different colour, you can get a neater finish by not smoothing the join, and instead making invisible stitches so it looks like the pieces are magically holding themselves together without any stitching at all:

Amigurumi Clean Edge Join crochet tutorial by PlanetJune

You can use this technique to attach something where you want there to be a clear defined edge between pieces, for example, attaching a beak to a face, or (as I’ll show in this demo) attaching a cactus to the soil of its pot.

Continue to the Amigurumi Clean Edge Join tutorial:

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Crochet Investigation: Avoiding the Jog in a BLO Round

Spoiler alert: in doing this jog-minimising back loop only round amigurumi experiment, I have a recommendation for a simple modification to make to your amigurumi that will minimise the jog with those back loop only rounds! If you’re not interested in my experiments, jump straight to the Jogless Back Loop Only Round for Amigurumi video tutorial 🙂

jogless back loop only round for amigurumi by planetjune


Crocheting a round of back loop only (BLO) stitches is a standard method for creating a sharp corner in amigurumi. The biggest problem is that, when you work in a continuous spiral, you end up with a noticeable jog between the first and last unworked loops of the round.

I’ve had several requests to develop a method for minimising that jog, so you know what that means: it’s time for another PlanetJune crochet investigation!

Method

For this experiment, I tested a few candidates that I thought may improve the look of that jog. Modifying one or other of my Perfect Stripes methods seemed like a promising idea, as well as changing the height of the end stitches to bring them closer together.

I crocheted the same small sample for each method so we can compare the effectiveness of each one. Each sample was crocheted in a spiral with a flat circular base, a round of BLO stitches to turn the corner, and then a few more rounds worked straight.

So, here are the candidates:

A. The control sample, as described above, with no attempt to minimise the jog
B. Sample using the No-Cut Join technique for the round before the BLO round and the BLO round
C. Sample using the Invisible Join technique for the round before the BLO round and the BLO round
D. Sample modifying the height of the stitch before the BLO round with a slip stitch

The photos below show each sample from two angles, and, if you’d like to play along, you can compare the appearance of the line of unworked loops around the edge of each sample and see what you think of my ‘improvements’…

jogless back loop only investigation - candidate A

jogless back loop only investigation - candidate B

jogless back loop only investigation - candidate C

jogless back loop only investigation - candidate D

Results

I compared each candidate with the control sample (A) to see how much it improved the appearance of the jog, judging on two criteria:

  1. How continuous the line of unworked loops appears between the first and last stitch of the round (left photo)
  2. How circular the entire round of unworked loops appears (right photo) – note that this effect is more noticeable because the samples are quite small; it wouldn’t be as obvious for a larger piece such as the base of an ami plant pot

Here are my observations:

B. The No-Cut Join gives the worst result of all the test pieces. Although the jog is reduced, extra mess is introduced to the surrounding stitches, and I think the overall effect is actually worse than doing nothing.

C. The Invisible Join gives a flawless result – the join is completely invisible and the round of unworked loops is almost completely circular. However, it’s slow, and leaves a lot of extra yarn ends, so it’s quite an investment in time and effort.

D. The height modifying method is very quick and simple to execute and gives a pretty good result. As the spiral is almost uninterrupted, the unworked loops don’t quite form a perfect circle, but the jog is almost invisible.

My Recommendations

If you want the best-looking back loop only round possible and don’t care how long it takes, switching to joined rounds (for both the round before the BLO round and the BLO round) and using the Invisible Join method from my Perfect Stripes tutorial will give you the most perfect result.

But, my recommendation is: for the best balance of a good result with a quick and easy method, use my height modifying method – now called my Jogless Back Loop Only Round method – for minimising the jog. (And, to give an even better result, combine it with my Better BLO technique – between the two, you’ll end up with a very neat and practically jogless back loop only round, as you can see below.)

jogless back loop only round for amigurumi by planetjune

Impressed? Now learn how to do it, with my new video tutorial:

Continue to A Jogless Back Loop Only Round for Amigurumi video tutorial >>

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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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