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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 it’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 – 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!

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Scaling Amigurumi: a crochet investigation

I’m often asked how to scale one of my amigurumi patterns up or down by a specific amount. It’s hard to answer that without relevant data, so that means it’s time for another crochet experiment – yay!

Want to skip straight to the results? Jump down to the Amigurumi Size Conversion Table.


Method

I made 8 versions of my Tiny Whale pattern, ranging from the largest 25mm hook I own down to the smallest hook I felt I could manage (0.9mm), and choosing the most appropriate yarn size for each hook.

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

Of course, it’s possible to crochet outside this range – massive 40mm hooks exist (or you can crochet using your whole hand instead of a hook!), and some talented people are able to crochet with sewing thread and a 0.4mm hook – but I had to set some limits for my experiment…

The three dark blue whales in my photos mark these limits: largest, smallest, and the standard size (made with worsted weight yarn and a US E/3.5mm hook).

I’ve named all eight sizes so we have something to refer to throughout this post, from largest to smallest (and top to bottom in the photo above):

  1. Extreme Amigurumi
  2. Giant Amigurumi
  3. Mini Giant Amigurumi
  4. Large Amigurumi
  5. Standard Amigurumi – regular amigurumi!
  6. Small Amigurumi
  7. Mini Amigurumi
  8. Micro Amigurumi

The difference in scale is incredible – one stitch of an Extreme Amigurumi whale is larger than an entire Micro Amigurumi whale!

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

And here’s a top-down photo of all 8 sizes (this is a single photo so the scale is exact; the only editing I did was to add the pink spiral for clarity):

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

Look for the three dark blue whales to see the differences in size between the Standard size and the Micro (smallest) and Extreme (largest).  Isn’t that something?!


Calculations

Time to quantify those differences. To get an idea of the scale change, I took four measurements from each of my whales:

  1. the average width of one stitch (sampled over several stitches for higher accuracy)
  2. the average height of one round (sampled over several rounds for higher accuracy)
  3. the overall length of the whale
  4. the width of the whale at its widest part

Then, for each whale, I compared each measurement with the same measurement on my standard sized whale (made with worsted weight yarn and a US E/3.5mm hook). I used the average of the four comparisons, rounded to a nice number, to give me an approximate overall scale factor for each amigurumi size.

There’s a lot of variability here – not only in the numbers I measured from my samples and the accuracy of my measurements, but in the difference between specific yarn and hook combinations and the individual crocheting style of each crocheter – so a rough conversion factor is the best we’re going to get.

My scale factor is not intended to be an accurate number, but a rough idea of the size difference you can expect from scaling up or down.


Results: Amigurumi Size Conversion Table

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune
Pictured above are the main amigurumi sizes with the hooks used to crochet them (L-R): Micro, Mini, Small, Standard, Large, Mini Giant, Giant, Extreme

In the table below, for each amigurumi size I’ve given the yarn weight and hook you’ll need to make that size, and its approximate scale factor compared with standard amigurumi (the row marked in bold in the table below).

Amigurumi Size Yarn Hook1 Scale Factor
Micro2 crochet thread #30;
pearl cotton #12
0.9mm (14) 30%
Mini crochet thread #20;
pearl cotton #8
1.4mm (8) 40%
Small sport (#2) – DK (#3) 2.25-2.75mm
(B-C)
80%
Standard worsted (#4) 3.5mm (E) 100%
Large 2 strands worsted (#4);
1 strand bulky (#5)
5mm (H) 150%
Mini Giant super bulky (#6) 8mm (L) 240%
Giant 2 strands super bulky (#6);
1 strand jumbo (#7)4
15mm (P/Q-19) 360%
Extreme3 6 strands super bulky #6;
1 strand jumbo (#7)4
25mm 650%
Notes:
  1. As hook size names can vary between brands, I’ve given the mm size first, followed by the common (US) size name. The best hook size for you will vary depending on the exact yarn you choose and how tightly you crochet – the hook sizes given here are good starting points, but you should choose an appropriate hook for your project, no matter the scale of the amigurumi:
    • If your stitches stretch open too much and the stuffing is clearly visible, reduce the hook size.
    • If you cannot insert the hook into your previous stitches, increase the hook size.
  2. Micro Amigurumi refers to any extremely small amigurumi, so you may also find ‘micro amigurumi’ made with sewing thread and a 0.4-0.6mm hook – those could be much smaller than the sample I measured, so the scale factor would also be smaller.
  3. Extreme Amigurumi refers to any extremely large amigurumi, so you may also find ‘extreme amigurumi’ made with unplied roving and a 40mm hook (or hand-crocheted with no hook) – those could be much larger than the sample I measured, so the scale factor would also be larger.
  4. Jumbo #7 weight is a catch-all term for any yarn thicker than super bulky, so these yarns can range widely in weight, with recommended hook sizes of between 15mm and 40mm! For Giant Amigurumi, you’ll need a jumbo yarn that recommends using a 15-19mm hook; for Extreme Amigurumi you’ll need a jumbo yarn that recommends using at least a 25mm hook.

How to Use the Size Conversion Table

Note: There are many factors that affect the exact size of an amigurumi. As you can see from my worsted weight yarn comparison, even using the same hook and pattern with different worsted weight yarns can result in a remarkable range in size. (And that doesn’t account for other factors: the differences between our hook styles; how tall we each draw up our loops; our tension…)

So please be aware that the scale factor in my table is only a rough estimate. This isn’t an exact science; crochet is handmade, after all!

Reading the Scale Factor

I’ve given the scale factor as a percentage difference from standard size (100%), so, for example, 650% (for Extreme Amigurumi) means the amigurumi will be 6.5 times larger than standard (650/100).

How Large will my Amigurumi Be?

To find out roughly how large your amigurumi will be at a different scale, look at the standard size in the pattern, and find the scale factor that corresponds to the hook and yarn you want to use.

final size = [starting size] x [scale factor] / 100

So, for a 4″ long standard amigurumi, converting it to Extreme Amigurumi scale (650%) means:

final size = 4 x 650 / 100 = 26″

Resizing To a Specific Size

To find your scale factor, look at the standard size in the pattern, and the size you want your amigurumi to be.

scale factor (%) = [desired size] / [starting size] x 100

So, for a 6″ tall amigurumi that you’d like to reduce to 3″ tall:

scale factor = 3 / 6 x 100 = 50%

Then find the closest scale factor from my table to find the hook and yarn you should use.

Resizing in Between the Options

If you’d like to go for a scale in between two of my options, look at the closest size option on either side and choose a yarn weight and hook size that lie in between the two.

Example 1: Half Size (50%)
From the table, you can see that Mini Amigurumi is 40% and Small Amigurumi is 80%, so you’ll want to choose yarn and hook sizes between those listed for those two sizes, i.e. a yarn weight in between size 20 crochet thread and sport (#2) yarn, and a hook size between 1.4 and 2.25mm.

  • As a starting point, I’d try a size 10 or 5 crochet thread, or a super fine (#1) or lace (#0) yarn, and a 1.6-1.8mm hook.

Example 2: Double Size (200%)
From the table, you can see that Large Amigurumi is 150% and Mini Giant Amigurumi is 240%, so you’ll want a yarn weight in between bulky (#5) and super bulky (#6), and a hook size between 5mm (H) and 8mm (L).

  • As a starting point, I’d try holding 3 strands of worsted weight (#4) yarn together, or 1 strand of bulky (#5) and 1 of worsted (#4),  and a 6mm (J) hook.

resizing amigurumi by scaling up and down, by planetjune

So there you have it – a way to make amigurumi in any size from extremely small to extremely large! You can use my table of results as:

  • A starting point for figuring out how big your amigurumi will be when you use a different yarn and hook
  • A reference for the yarn and hook sizes to choose to make an amigurumi of a specific size

I hope you’ll find this conversion table as helpful as I will!


How to Go Giant!

Learn all my upsizing tips and techniques (including patterns for the giant eyes!) in my ebook The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi:

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

This is the perfect guide for all your Mini Giant, Giant and Extreme Amigurumi – every stage of making a super-sized amigurumi is slightly different from what you might expect, and I’ve designed this book as a comprehensive reference guide that covers everything from the absolute basics to tips for fixing problems and making complex amigurumi.


Do you find my tutorials helpful? If so, please consider making a contribution towards my time so I can continue to create clear and concise tutorials for you:

Thank you so much for your support! Now click below for loads more crochet video and photo tutorials (and do let me know what else you’d like me to cover in future tutorials…)

See more helpful PlanetJune crochet tips and technique tutorials

 

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How to Design and Arrange a Crocheted Wreath

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I thought I’d share my tips on how to arrange a (crocheted) wreath so it looks balanced and beautiful, using my Christmas Decor wreath as an example.

Christmas Decor Collection crochet patterns by June Gilbank (made into a seasonal wreath)

Wreath Inspiration Gallery

Of course, wreaths aren’t only for Christmas, and there’s no one right way to design or arrange a wreath! Depending on your aesthetic, you may like your wreath packed full or sparse, colourful or minimal, with one big focal piece or a sea of little ones.

Here are some beautiful wreaths made from PlanetJune patterns, and designed and crocheted by members of the PlanetJune Ravelry group, so you can see how versatile and fun crocheted wreaths can be:

crocheted wreath by MagicalAmigurumi, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by petrOlly, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by aaBrink, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by Marli2311, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by petrOlly, patterns by planetjune
crocheted wreath by petrOlly, patterns by planetjunecrocheted wreath by sujavo, patterns by planetjune

Image credits (L-R, row by row): 1 MagicalAmigurumi; 2, 6, 7, 10 sujavo; 3, 8, 9 petrOlly; 4 aaBrink; 5 Marli2311

Pattern credits: You can find all the crochet patterns in my shop! (Ask me in the comments below if you don’t recognise something specific, and I’ll let you know which pattern it is!)

Different styles, different seasons, different themes, different results, and yet don’t they all look gorgeous? (Well done, PJers!) As you can see, with a little imagination and a few crochet patterns you can create a crocheted wreath for any occasion…


Ready to Crochet Your Own Wreath?

If you’re short on time, space or funds for your holiday decorating this year, how about whipping up my (free) Mini Wreath Ornament crochet pattern instead? It’s only 3″ across, works up in no time, and comes together like magic with almost no sewing required!

mini wreath ornament crochet pattern by planetjune

But if you’d like to decorate a larger wreath and don’t feel confident to create a design that looks balanced, I’ll give you some tips below. You can copy my method completely for your next wreath, or you can take any of my ideas that you like and make your wreath in your own style.


Design Your Wreath

Start with a wreath base

If you’d like to make your wreath completely from scratch, check out my free Crocheted Wreath Base pattern. Otherwise, you can buy a wreath form from a craft store as a starting point – there are lots of options (see the gallery above for some ideas).

Crocheted Wreath Base crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Choose your patterns

In this tutorial I’m using all eight of the patterns from my Christmas Decor Collection, but you can use any patterns that fit your theme.

Christmas Decor Sets 1-4 crochet patterns by June Gilbank

Decide on your overall colour scheme

Your wreath will look more harmonious if you crochet all the embellishments from a limited colour palette – see the gallery above for some great examples of the effect of different palettes.

designing a wreath - detail

To make the different elements stand out and give the wreath more interest, try using tones of your main colours – lighter or darker versions of the same colour.

e.g. I used three shades of green (and two different reds) to crochet my pieces. This helps you to tell the mistletoe, holly and ivy apart, even when they overlap each other.

Add highlights
designing a wreath - detail

To draw the eye and stop everything from blending together too much, you’ll need some highlights in a contrasting colour.

e.g. The small pops of yellow and white in my wreath bring it to life.

Less (colour) is more
designing a wreath - detail

Don’t go overboard with the colours – if your wreath gets too busy, your eyes won’t know where to look! Repeating colours around the wreath help to give it a cohesive look.

e.g. I used the same shade of red for the poinsettias, baubles, and bow.


Arrange Your Wreath

Arrange the elements

If you have a main focal piece, place that first, then arrange the other elements around it.

Space each type of component out around the wreath so there aren’t any clusters where the same item or the same colour are touching. Go for balance but try to avoid too much symmetry or repetition – the aim is to make your wreath look natural and not too ‘perfect’.

arranging a wreath - main components

Start by placing the larger pieces, spacing them out around the wreath, and then start to fill in the gaps with smaller pieces.

e.g. This diagram shows the positions of my larger pieces – the bow, holly and poinsettias. First I placed the bow at the bottom centre of my wreath. Using three of each of my larger components (instead of two or four) made it easier to spread them out around the wreath without arranging all the components in a repeating pattern or perfect mirror-image.

Fill all the spaces (or don’t)

Your design may be intentionally sparse, so parts of the wreath form are visible. This can look lovely if you buy a pretty wreath base, or crochet the form in a cheerful colour – maybe with stripes or other colourplay – and make the form a feature of the design. (There are some beautiful examples of all these in the gallery above!)

If you don’t want to make the wreath form part of the design, try to fill all the large spaces with more embellishments. You can either choose part of one of your patterns, e.g. a single holly or ivy leaf or tiny bauble would work well in my case, or add other tiny pieces from simple patterns – e.g. a small flower, leaf, or heart – in a colour to match your design!

small embellishment ideas: Posy Blossoms and Love Hearts crochet patterns by PlanetJune

When adding the smaller pieces, you can choose which pieces go where semi-randomly, but do your best to choose different colours wherever pieces are going to touch or overlap.

It’s always okay to leave small spaces where the wreath form shows – if your form is a dark colour like mine, it’ll recede into the shadows, or if you make it match your components, it’ll blend in nicely.

Christmas Decor Collection crochet patterns by June Gilbank (made into a seasonal wreath)

Rules are made to be broken!

arranging a wreath - main components

e.g. Breaking my colour palette ‘rule’, my silver bells don’t fit my colour scheme, but I think it makes them stand out more than if I’d made them in yellow, white or red, don’t you?

In the end, the best design for you is one you like the look of, so
don’t be afraid to play around, try moving pieces about and pinning them in different places to see how they’d look. Stand back and look at the whole wreath from a distance to see if any elements look out of place.

It’ll probably take a little tweaking before you come up with a layout you’re happy with, but I think it’s worth it!

And please ignore any of my tips that don’t feel right in your wreath – they’re only suggestions, and you can see from the gallery above that there are countless different ways to make a very attractive-looking wreath.


A wreath can be a lovely way to display small crocheted amigurumi, appliques and other embellishments, to celebrate an occasion or just to look pretty.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration, and, if you decide to crochet a wreath, I’d love to see it! Please tag me (I’m @PlanetJune on all the socials) or email me a photo 🙂

And enter it into the PlanetJune End-of-Year CAL too! You’ll get a contest entry for each PlanetJune pattern you use (and there are prizes for everyone, so don’t miss out…)

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amigurumi skills for Turtle Blanket makers

It’s amazing how popular my Turtle Beach blanket pattern is – I published it over four years ago, and it still gets viral boosts on social media every few months that make it consistently one of my most popular designs!

turtle beach crochet pattern by planetjune

Selling Turtle Blankets

I’ve even started a special section of my Sellers’ List page for people who are making turtle blankets to sell, because I get so many requests for finished blankets…

turtle beach crochet pattern (by planetjune) - blankets for sale by crocheters
Don’t they all look great? I love how people respond to this pattern – both makers and buyers!

(By the way, if you make turtle blankets to sell, see the bottom of that page for details of how to be added to the list.)

Turtle-Making Tips

Thanks to this unexpected and long-lasting Turtle Beach popularity, I’m seeing many experienced crocheters try to tackle amigurumi for the first time, to make the turtles for their blankets, and some are getting frustrated.

Baby Sea Turtle Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone! Amigurumi is a special subset of crochet that requires its own skills. Even the most experienced crocheters can be startled when they pick up their first amigurumi pattern and discover it’s full of new terms and techniques, or amigurumi standards that aren’t specifically addressed within each pattern.

Although all my patterns point you to my main tutorials index (www.planetjune.com/help), the list below is a shortcut to only the tips and techniques you’ll need to tackle and master my Baby Sea Turtle Collection pattern, so you can make adorable turtles for your blankets with minimal frustration!

1. Magic Ring

The magic ring gives the perfect start to every piece of amigurumi: you can start crocheting in the round without any trace of a hole in the middle. Mastering this is a must!
Go to Magic Ring tutorial >>

2. Which loops to work into

Unless otherwise specified in the pattern, all amigurumi should be worked into both loops of the stitch below.
Go to Front, Back, Both Loops tutorial >>

3. Which is the right side

It’s very important that all your amigurumi pieces are right-side out before you stuff, close, flatten or assemble them.
Go to Which is the Right Side? tutorial >>

4. Invisible Decrease

Decreasing without leaving any bumps or gaps sounds too good to be true, but the invisible decrease (abbreviated invdec) really does live up to its name!
Go to Invisible Decrease tutorial >>

5. Changing Colour

Always change colour in the last loop of the stitch before the colour change.
Go to Changing Colour tutorial >>

6. Flattened Pieces

Vital to understand how to make your turtles’ flippers! What does it mean when a pattern says to flatten a piece of an amigurumi after crocheting it?
Go to the Flattened Pieces tutorial >>

7. Seamless Join

This technique creates a smooth, almost invisible join for stitching the flippers to the shell.
Go to Amigurumi Seamless Join tutorial >>

These seven tutorials cover every mistake I’ve ever seen anyone make with my Baby Sea Turtle pattern, so make sure you understand these seven concepts and you’ll be good to go!

Baby Sea Turtle Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Still Struggling?

Now, if you’ve decided you’re allergic to amigurumi and you never want to see an amigurumi turtle again, I understand! Although I love amigurumi, I know it isn’t for everyone, and I’m working on an alternative for you.

I’ve developed a flat applique-style baby turtle design that closely matches the look and size of my ami turtles, so you’ll be able to stitch those to your turtle blankets for a similar effect (except that the turtles will be flat instead of three dimensional). The new pattern will be much faster to make, with only two pieces, simple embroidered eyes, and almost no sewing! 🙂

Watch this space – I’ll post as soon as the new pattern is ready…

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Sprouting seeds – easy, fun and tasty!

I’ve been growing my own sprouts for about a year now, and I thought now would be the perfect time to share the process with you. Even if it’s not practical to get out to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, you can still have nutrient-packed fresh and crunchy sprouts every day.

(And it’d be a great project for kids – it’s so fun to watch the sprouts grow over a few days and then be ready to eat!)

This is my almost-daily lunch:

a sandwich made with home-grown clover sprouts

Mmm, yummy! The act of germinating the seed unlocks all the nutrients contained within it, and the resulting sprout gives you a boost of fresh plant goodness.

And look how much fun it is to watch the seeds sprout – from seed to food in just 5 days!

growing clover sprouts - from seeds to sprouts

My Favourite Sprouts

There are lots of seeds you can sprout, depending on what you enjoy. I started out with broccoli sprouts, because they have loads of health benefits, but I found their flavour overpowering unless I paired it with a spicy condiment in my sandwich (mustard or horseradish are perfect choices).

After some experimentation, I decided on my favourite sprouts – these would both be a great starting point if you’d like to make your own, as they are easy to grow and have a mild flavour that you can easily add to your food without overwhelming it.

Clover
clover seeds and sprouts

Clover sprouts have a mild, fresh flavour. They are perfect in a sandwich or wrap, added to salads, or anywhere else you might use lettuce. I also like to pile them on top of burgers.

(If you can’t find clover sprouting seeds, I hear that alfalfa is similar.)

Mung Beans (Bean Sprouts)
mung bean seeds and bean sprouts

I’m sure you’re familiar with bean sprouts, most commonly used in Chinese cooking. Growing them at home in a jar means you don’t end up with the long straight sprouts you find in the supermarket, but they taste just as good and it’s incredibly easy to toss a handful into your stir fries and sauces when you’re about to serve them, and add a tasty crunch to your dish.

Supplies

To get started, you’ll need some seeds, a wide-mouthed jar and some sort of screen to cover the top of the jar with.

I started my sprouting adventures with the no-cost method: a well-cleaned pasta sauce jar with a doubled layer of cheesecloth across the top, held in place with a rubber band.

Once I knew I’d be keeping this hobby going, I invested in a set of wide-mouthed mason jars and screw-on sprouting lids (there are lots of options – if you buy some, just make sure the width of the top is the same as the mouth of your jars.)

And then, you’ll need some seeds! You can buy these from health food stores or online. Just make sure you search for sprouting seeds that are intended for consumption – regular seeds that are intended to be planted in the ground to grow into plants are usually treated with a fungicide, so the seeds are not edible.

Get Sprouting!

Here are my notes for sprouting clover. The process is the same for other sprouts; the only differences would be a) how much seed to use, b) how long to soak the seed for, and c) how many days until the sprouts are ready.

But these instructions will give you an idea of how easy it is to grow your own sprouts…

  1. Measure 2 tbsp of seed into the jar, then screw on the lid.
  2. Fill with water and soak for 8-12 hours.
  3. Tip out the soaking water.
  4. Without removing the lid, add water, swirl the seeds around and tip out the water.starting clover sprouts
  5. Repeat step 4, making sure to shake out all the water so the seeds won’t be sitting in water.
  6. Shake the seeds down away from the jar lid so air can circulate.
    starting clover sprouts
  7. Lay the jar on its side, out of direct sunlight.
  8. Every morning and evening, repeat steps 4-7.
  9. When the jar is fairly full (3-5 days) and the sprouts have leaves, leave the jar on a sunny windowsill for a day for the leaves to green up.
  10. Tip the sprouts into a large bowl and fill it with water.preparing clover sprouts
  11. Swish the sprouts around so the hulls float to the top.
    preparing clover sprouts
  12. Skim off the hulls or push them to the sides of the bowl, then grab a handful of sprouts and pull them out of the bowl.preparing clover sprouts
  13. Place into a salad spinner or onto a kitchen towel-covered plate.
  14. Repeat to get all the rest of the sprouts out (leaving a few hulls with them is fine).preparing clover sprouts
  15. Spin the sprouts to dry them, or leave them on the counter for a couple of hours to dry out.
  16. Put the sprouts in a plastic container and refrigerate for up to a week.
  17. Enjoy!

a sandwich made with home-grown clover sprouts

I hope this has inspired you to think about growing your own fresh sprouts!

And, if you’ve tried growing sprouting seeds before, which varieties are your favourites? I’d love to try some different seeds – do let me know your recommendations in the comments below…

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Customize a Crocheted Accessory Pattern

How to modify the size of an accessory crochet pattern, choose an alternate yarn, and find the right hook for your yarn.

Many accessory patterns – especially shawls, scarves and wraps – are easy to modify: you can use a different weight of yarn and/or make it in a different size. By choosing yarn in a colour and weight you like, you can make a unique accessory from a pattern!

In this post I’ll walk you through the easiest ways to customize a pattern, with examples of the differences you can achieve.


How to Customize a Pattern

Change the Colour

Don’t let yourself be put off from trying a pattern if the sample isn’t in a colour you like – the simplest way to make your accessory unique is to crochet it in your favourite colour (or your recipient’s favourite, if it’s a gift).

Personalizing with colour gives you an original look without modifying the pattern at all, and there are no wrong choices!

shawl comparison: Sweetheart Lace Shawl crochet pattern by PlanetJune in two different colourways

Look how different – but equally lovely – my Sweetheart Lace Shawl looks in two different colourways.

Resize the Pattern

If you want to make the piece a different size (for example a narrow scarf instead of a rectangular shawl, or a bandanna instead of a triangular shawl), you’ll need to increase or decrease the number of repeats in the pattern so you end up with a larger or smaller piece.

The exact way to do this depends on the shape of the pattern and the way it’s worked. (All PlanetJune Accessories patterns include instructions for how to modify the pattern to make the pattern larger or smaller.)

Cozy Mesh Triangular Shawl, a PlanetJune Accessories crochet pattern by June Gilbank

The full-size Cozy Mesh shawl (above) uses the same pattern as the kerchief-style mini shawl (below) – the larger shawl just has more rows!

Cozy Mesh Triangular Shawl, a PlanetJune Accessories crochet pattern by June Gilbank

Substitute a Different Yarn

The thickness, composition and texture of your yarn, together with your crocheting style and tension, will all affect the end result of your piece.

When you’re making an accessory, if you want to use a different weight of yarn, all you need to do is choose a suitable hook for the yarn you’re using, and then modify the pattern so you end up with the correct size.

  • If you choose a finer yarn with a smaller hook, you’ll need more repeats and more rows to reach the same finished size.
  • If you choose a heavier yarn with a larger hook, you’ll need fewer repeats and fewer rows to reach the same finished size.

shawl comparison: Half Hexagon Shawl crochet pattern by PlanetJune in two different yarn weights

These two shawls are both made from my Half Hexagon Shawl pattern. The shawl on the left uses a thicker yarn and larger hook than the shawl on the right, so it needs fewer pattern repeats to end up with the same size shawl.

Change Yarn Weight and Resize

You can make an accessory look even more different by changing both the yarn weight and the finished size of the piece.

shawl comparison: Diamond Lace Wrap crochet pattern by PlanetJune in two different yarn weights and different finished dimensions

Both these wraps are made from my Diamond Lace Wrap pattern. By changing the yarn weight and the finished size, they have a completely different look even though they use the same stitch pattern! The wrap on the right uses fine yarn and a small hook to give a more delicate look, even though this shawl-sized wrap is much larger overall than the scarf-sized wrap on the left with its bolder stitches.


Swatch to Find Your Hook Size

Swatching to Match Gauge

For almost any crochet pattern apart from amigurumi, the pattern will usually include gauge information: the number of stitches and rows you should have per inch, if you want your piece to end up the same size as the pattern sample.

If you use the same yarn weight as the pattern suggests, and you make a swatch (a sample square using the same stitch as the pattern), you can measure it and compare it with the gauge size given in the pattern.

  • If your gauge is smaller (more stitches per inch), then redo the swatch with a larger hook until your gauge matches that in the pattern.
  • If your gauge is larger (fewer stitches per inch), then redo the swatch with a smaller hook until your gauge matches that in the pattern.

If you don’t match the gauge given in the pattern, your finished piece won’t match the dimensions listed in the pattern.

Is Swatching Necessary?

Yes and no…

  • Are you unconcerned about meeting the designer’s gauge?
  • Are you using a completely different yarn weight?
  • Are you adapting the pattern to give you a different size anyway?

In any of those cases, making a gauge swatch to make sure you match the designer’s gauge isn’t something you need to do.

But, there’s still a very good reason to do at least a bit of swatching, even if you’re making a scarf or shawl where you don’t care if it’s a couple of inches larger or smaller than it’s ‘supposed’ to be…

Test Your Yarn/Hook Combination

With an accessory pattern, the exact size of the finished piece generally isn’t as important as the look and feel. You don’t want to end up with a stiff heavy blanket if you were hoping for a soft, airy shawl!

So, although you may not care about swatching for gauge, it’s still a good idea to swatch to make sure you’ve chosen the right hook size for your project.

Tip: The ‘right’ hook size depends on the exact yarn you’re using, how tightly you crochet, and your personal preference. There’s no right or wrong answer here – if you’re happy, you’ve made the right choice!

No matter which yarn you’re using, I do recommend you try out just a few rows of the pattern and see if it feels too stiff and firm. If so, try going up a hook size or two, and keep experimenting until you find a yarn/hook combination that gives you a nice-feeling fabric, then unravel everything and start again using the hook you liked best.

shawl comparison: Diamond Flowers Scarf Wrap crochet pattern by PlanetJune swatches using different hook sizes
Jamie from my Ravelry group worked up three quick samples of my Diamond Flowers Scarf/Wrap in the same yarn with 3 different hook sizes (I, J, K). You can see how much difference going up or down a hook size can make!

But what is a ‘nice-feeling’ fabric? Here’s how I decide…

3 Rules to Find the ‘Right’ Hook Size

How do you know if you’re happy with your yarn/hook combination?

Here are my rules of thumb that I use to help me choose the perfect hook for a project:

  1. First, I usually go by feel – I wiggle and smush (yes, those are my technical terms!) the swatch to try to see if it’s at all stiff, or soft and drapey. Generally, you’ll want your shawl or scarf to drape cosily against your body, so try to avoid a hook that produces a stiff fabric.
  2. Next, from any options that are large enough to feel nice, I look closely at the stitches to see if the looser ones look messy, and I pick the best option (no stiffness, but stitches are small enough to look neat and tidy). Note: Your stitches will all even up a bit if you choose to block your piece after crocheting, but they should still look reasonably neat at this stage!
  3. Finally, if I can’t choose, the third factor is that you can make a larger piece in less time with a larger hook, so if two hook sizes both feel good, and the stitches look good in close-up, that may be the deciding factor!

It’s not so much about the yarn as it is about the combination of yarn and hook. If your projects turn out too stiff, that means you’re using a hook that’s too small for the yarn you’re using. Everyone crochets differently, so it may be that you crochet very tightly, and always need to use a larger hook to compensate.

It’s worth putting in that bit of extra work before you start, so you don’t end up wasting hours making something you’re not happy with!


Crocheted scarves, shawls and wraps make a lovely holiday gift – and they’re even more special if you personalise them by using your giftee’s favourite colours.

I hope this post has inspired you to consider using your own creativity to customize your next crocheted accessory project with the size and colour you’d prefer!


PlanetJune Accessories crochet patterns - new covers

All the examples in this post were taken from my PlanetJune Accessories pattern collection. Take a look now and see if your next crochet project is waiting for you there – or mix-and-match your own Custom Set of any 3 PlanetJune Accessories patterns for a special price. 🙂

Comments (2)

Using a Stitch Marker in Amigurumi [video tutorial]

My next few crochet video tutorials will be in response to customer requests. If there are other crochet techniques you’d like me to cover in future videos, please leave a comment below, or email me (june@planetjune.com) with your suggestions!

If you’ve ever lost your place while crocheting in a spiral, or discovered that you must have made a mistake many rounds earlier, I highly recommend you use a stitch marker to mark the start of every round while you crochet your amigurumi! But how do you go about doing that? How does it help you avoid mistakes, and what do you do if you realise you’ve made one?

Or, if your pattern directs you to mark a specific stitch while you crochet, how exactly do you do that?

thumbnail image for the crochet video tutorial 'Using Stitch Markers in Amigurumi'

In my latest video, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about using a stitch marker with amigurumi (or any other crochet worked in a continuous spiral), including:

  • How to mark the first stitch of the round
  • How to fix a mistake
  • How to mark a specific stitch

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

This video is ideal for amigurumi beginners, but I recommend you watch it even if you’ve been making amigurumi for years – you may still pick up a tip or two!

Go to the Using Stitch Markers in Amigurumi video tutorial >>

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Crochet Investigation: Invisible Finish

The standard way to finish an open-ended piece in amigurumi is to join with a slip stitch (sl st) to the next stitch, to reduce the height jog of the spiral between the first and last stitches of the final round. It’s a quick and easy method, and is perfectly fine if you’ll be stitching the piece down to something else so the edge won’t show in the finished amigurumi.

That’s not always the case, though – sometimes the edge will be visible in the finished piece, and in this case the sl st finish isn’t the best choice – it leaves a little bump that’s impossible to hide completely.

When I decided to make a video tutorial to show the most invisible finish for an open edge in amigurumi, I realised that, while there’s a standard method for amigurumi worked in joined rounds (and this actually forms the basis of my Perfect Stripes Invisible Join), there’s no consensus for amigurumi worked in spirals…

And you know what that means: it’s time for another crochet investigation!

Method

All my candidates are based on the standard invisible finish for joined rounds, but I considered two ways that the method can be varied that may affect the look of the finished edge:

  1. Should there be a slip stitch before the join, or not? A slip stitch would reduce the height difference before the join, but might end up more visible than without.
  2. Should there be a duplicated stitch, or an additional stitch added? The additional stitch was my original preferred method from 2009 (there’s no need to maintain the stitch count if the edge won’t be worked back into, so the duplicate stitch isn’t necessary) but is that a good reason to keep doing it? (Of course not – not if there’s a better way…)

So that gives us four candidates for the experiment:

C: no slip stitch, join in next stitch
D: no slip stitch, duplicate stitch join
E: slip stitch, join in next stitch
F: slip stitch, duplicate stitch join

The photos below show the results of each test, together with:

A: the piece after the final stitch is worked, before any join (note the difference in height between the final stitch, below the hook, and the next stitch to its right)
B: slip stitch join (the yarn tail isn’t woven in here, but you can clearly see the knot just below the tail that can’t be completely hidden)

candidates for the most invisible finish around an open edge in amigurumi, by PlanetJune

Results

I compared the 4 samples and noted my observations (don’t worry if you can’t see all these in the photos above; they are much more apparent when viewed from multiple angles):

C: height jog very visible; stitch count not maintained
D: height jog minimised; skipped stitch visible from front; stitch count is maintained
E: height jog minimised; sl st visible from front; stitch count not maintained
F: height jog minimised; sl st and skipped stitch visible from front; stitch count is maintained

C is an immediate fail: you can clearly see that it does the worst job of blending the height difference between the start and end of the final round.

F is the next to go: there’s an extra bar visible beneath the V from either a slipped stitch or a skipped stitch, and F has both while D and E only have one each, so it’s the worst in terms of invisibility, with extra bars visible beneath two stitches.

That leaves D and E. They’re both pretty good in terms of invisibility, but I’m going to award the prize to D: the fact that it maintains the stitch count around the edge makes it the most versatile; you can use it for an open-ended piece or one that will be stitched to something else with no problems, so this means you’ll have one fewer technique to remember!

Refining the Technique

While working on the test, I also noted that the downside of any of these methods is that you have to pull the duplicate stitch very carefully to the right size to make it look truly invisible, which makes it more difficult to then weave in the yarn tail without disturbing the size. So, I came up with a tiny refinement that makes it much easier to control the size of the duplicate stitch and keep it held in place once you’ve adjusted it to the right size.

Intrigued? Good! I’ll explain all in my new Invisible Finish video tutorial 😉

Invisible Finish for Open Edges in Amigurumi - a crochet tutorial by PlanetJune

Continue to the Invisible Finish for Open Edges in Amigurumi video tutorial >>

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