PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for Tutorials

How to Fix Uneven Stuffing: The Pinch-and-Push Method

I have a new tutorial for you today that you’ll probably find especially useful if you’re working on a Temperature Snake (although it isn’t just for snakes!)

Is your stuffing less smooth and even than you’d like? I can help with that!

tutorial: fix lumpy stuffing in amigurumi; the pinch and push method

With my ‘pinch-and-push’ technique, you can manipulate the stuffing of an amigurumi from the outside of the piece, by using both hands to encourage the stuffing to shift into the desired area. This method will save you from having to pull out all the stuffing and start again (which may not even be possible if you have a snake that’s already several feet long!)

I’m demonstrating on a snake because it’s easiest to see what’s happening with a long thin tube, but you can also use this method to pinch-and-push stuffing into a different area of any long or large amigurumi, as long as you still have an opening so you can add extra stuffing to replace the quantity you move.

Note: This technique will help to redistribute stuffing that’s uneven, but it can’t help much with actual lumpy stuffing. Always fluff your stuffing by teasing it apart into light fluffy layers before you use it; if you add stuffing in clumps, it will form lumps inside the amigurumi.

The Problem

For the purposes of this demonstration, I’ve intentionally under-stuffed my in-progress Temperature Snake in a couple of places.

Below, you can see both dark blue sections aren’t stuffed as much as the rest of the body, giving my poor snake a bit of a lumpy, uneven appearance when straight:

tutorial: fix lumpy stuffing in amigurumi; the pinch and push method

It’s especially important to try to even out the stuffing in something long and thin like an amigurumi snake. You need enough stuffing inside to fully support the crocheted fabric in any position you’ll use it, as these areas will tend to crease or buckle when you try to curve the snake’s body, and that’s definitely not the look you want!

Method

The idea of the pinch-and-push process is to move stuffing forward (away from the open end – i.e. toward the head in this case) to fill any under-stuffed areas.

Note: In all the photos below, the snake’s head is on the right, and the open end of the snake on the left, so we’ll be shifting the stuffing from the left to the right.

Here’s the first under-stuffed area:

tutorial: fix lumpy stuffing in amigurumi; the pinch and push method

We’re going to move some of the stuffing forward from the well-stuffed purple area to the under-stuffed dark blue area.

Pinch-and-Push Instructions:

  1. Grasp the work loosely in front of the under-stuffed part, leaving your thumb and forefinger free, and pinch the piece firmly behind the under-stuffed part.
  2. Push the pinched part forward. (The rounds of your crochet will be forced closer together, and all the stuffing in that part will be squashed together more firmly.)
  3. Pinch the squashed part with your other hand to hold the squashed stuffing in place.
  4. Release your push.

tutorial: fix lumpy stuffing in amigurumi; the pinch and push method

As you can see below, after just one pinch-and-push, some of the stuffing has been moved a little further forward (to the right in this photo), leaving most of the dark blue section nicely stuffed and a new under-stuffed section (marked by arrow) a little closer to the open end.

tutorial: fix lumpy stuffing in amigurumi; the pinch and push method

But you won’t be doing this just once! Repeat the pinch-and-push process over and over, as many times as necessary, inching your way back toward the open end as you persuade the stuffing to move forward with each push:

"tutorial:

Note: You can’t shift stuffing forward from an area that’s already under-stuffed – if you end up with an empty section, move further back and pinch-and-push more stuffing forward to fill the gap.

Once you get close enough to the open end, you can add more stuffing through the opening to replace the quantity you’ve shifted forward.

Below, you can see that I’ve shifted the under-stuffed section to be much further back. Now it’s close enough to the open end of my snake that I can add additional stuffing to fill that area properly, instead of continuing with more pinch-and-push movements.

tutorial: fix lumpy stuffing in amigurumi; the pinch and push method

Confused?

Don’t worry, this method is easier to do than to explain! Once you’ve tried it a couple of times, you should understand how it works and be able to do it instinctively.

If you’re still having trouble grasping the concept, imagine dropping an orange into a sack. You can grip the orange through the sack fabric, and then use both hands to move the sack fabric around the orange from the outside, allowing you to shift the position of the orange inside the sack.

This is basically what we’re doing here – moving the stuffing (the orange) around through the crocheted fabric (the sack).

Finishing Touches

When you’ve finished shifting the stuffing, squeeze and squash the amigurumi to further even out the stuffing. For something long like a snake, you can also combine that with bending it back and forwards in several directions a few times, to encourage the stuffing to compress and settle into its final state. Repeat until you’re happy with how your amigurumi looks and feels.

Here’s the result – fairly smooth, with no lumps or under-stuffed areas!

tutorial: fix lumpy stuffing in amigurumi; the pinch and push method

I hope you’ll find this technique useful, whether you’re participating in the Temperature Snake CAL, or making a different long/large amigurumi where you realize that you haven’t stuffed the front end of your amigurumi enough.

Give my pinch-and-push technique a go before you resort to removing all the stuffing to start again, or decide to put up with an unevenly-stuffed amigurumi – with a bit of patience, you can probably fix it!

Comments (4)

new Ultimate Stripes for Amigurumi [video tutorial]

No time to read this post? Jump straight to the new Ultimate Stripes for Amigurumi tutorial! >>

In 2012, I first presented the two amigurumi ‘Perfect Stripes’ techniques I’d developed (the Invisible Join and No-Cut Join), and they were vastly superior to any of the other techniques that existed at the time. But now, a decade later, it’s time to revisit my recommendations – can I improve on ‘perfect’? I believe I can!

ultimate stripes for amigurumi: crochet tutorial by planetjune

I’ve spent a lot of time making amigurumi stripes this year – while working on the samples for my upcoming Snake Collection and Temperature Snake patterns (both coming next week – stay tuned!) – and all this practice has led to some innovations and a new recommended stripe method for you.

To compare my three perfect stripes techniques, I worked up each of my new striped snake designs using a different stripe method, so we can clearly see how each method looks in a real project.

amigurumi stripe techniques: no-cut join, invisible join, ultimate stripesL-R: No-Cut Join, Invisible Join (modified – see below), Ultimate Stripes

It turns out that neither of the old ‘Perfect Stripes’ methods was quite perfect – if you’re interested in seeing why, let’s take a close look at both, and then I’ll introduce you to my Ultimate Stripes technique!

(Or you can skip the rest of this explanation and jump straight to the Ultimate Stripes for Amigurumi tutorial – I won’t be offended…)


The No-Cut Join: Good (apart from the seam)

The No-Cut Join is still the best technique I’ve found to get the beginning and end of each stripe of colour to line up without cutting the yarn between rounds.

no-cut join for amigurumi stripes showing 3 carried yarnsI’ve carried all three yarn colours all the way along the inside of this snake – there’s no need to cut the yarn at all!

It does give a perfect ring of colour every time, but if you look carefully you can see the seam line progressing along the length of the amigurumi.

no-cut join for amigurumi stripes showing the visible seamFollow the line between the two arrows and you can see the ‘seam’ running along the body of this snake

The seam line is subtle, but it means you don’t get a truly perfect result.


The Invisible Join: Great (but only with a fix)

The Invisible Join can be truly invisible, but (as I discovered this year) that’s only the case if you make sure to insert your hook beneath both the duplicated stitch and the original loops beneath the duplicate stitch. If you fail to do this, you’ll end up with a visible horizontal bar above the first stitch of each round (it’s actually the front loop of the first stitch).

invisible join problem: visible horizontal barLook closely and you’ll see two horizontal bars (marked by arrows) visible at the location of the Invisible Joins from two rounds.

I didn’t notice this subtlety until earlier this year (so I didn’t mention it in the original tutorial) but once I’d seen it, I couldn’t unsee it (and then my perfectionism made me do some crochet magic to fix my entire temperature snake that suffered from this problem – ugh!)

Here’s the difference made by the Invisible Join ‘fix’:

invisible join fix to avoid the horizontal barL: Working into just the top loops (the duplicated stitch) leaves a visible horizontal bar in the round below (marked by arrow).
R: Working into both the duplicated stitch and the top loops of the original stitch just below makes a slightly bulkier stitch that covers that extra bar.

As with the No-Cut Join, the colour stripes do line up perfectly, and yes, there’s no seam with this method, but there is still that error if you’re looking for it, unless you remember to always catch that extra loop in your stitch when you get to the start of the previous round.

invisible join for amigurumi stripesIf you remember to crochet over the extra loop, it’s practically impossible to spot the join (although the stitch that’s worked over the extra loop may look slightly taller).

Both these methods are still very good, and far better than the jog you get with any of the traditional methods for striped amigurumi, so if you don’t want to change how you work, I’m still happy to recommend either of these methods.

But I still wasn’t satisfied, so I went back to the drawing board to come up with a new method that, in my opinion, is the best ever…


The Ultimate Stripes for Amigurumi: The Best!

After experiencing frustration with both my old methods this year, I’ve come up with a new ‘perfect stripes’ method that looks completely perfect!

  • It’s slightly more invisible than the Invisible Join (and you don’t have to remember to catch that pesky extra loop with each round).
  • It’s barely more trouble than the No-Cut Join (although it does still mean cutting the yarn with every round, even when you don’t change colour).

ultimate stripes for amigurumiWith Ultimate Stripes the joins are completely undetectable! Where are they in this pic? I honestly couldn’t tell you…

I’m calling this new method Ultimate Stripes for Amigurumi (as the ‘perfect’ and ‘invisible’ names were already taken with my previous techniques!) and this technique is the official PlanetJune-recommended stripe method from now on.

I believe this truly is the ultimate method for making perfect amigurumi stripes, and I hope you’ll give it a try with your next stripey amigurumi!

Go to the Ultimate Stripes for Amigurumi tutorial >>

Comments (6)

How to Attach Crochet Appliques [video tutorial]

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!

Crocheted appliques are small flat embellishments that you can attach to larger crocheted pieces as decorative elements. I’m often asked for my recommendation on how to fix appliques to their background. There are different ways to tackle attaching an applique to a crocheted background, and the best method depends on what you’re making:

  • Will the reverse side of the background be hidden – for example, on a cushion or a hat?
  • Will the reverse side be visible – for example, on a blanket or a scarf?
  • Or if you’re attaching the applique to an amigurumi – for example adding crocheted eyes or spots – is it a decorative piece, or will it be played with?

thumbnail image for the crochet video tutorial 'How to Attach Crochet Appliques'

In my latest video, I’ll show you the three different methods I use to attach crocheted appliques, and the pros and cons of each. You’ll learn how to attach appliques with fabric glue, and two methods for stitching down appliques: the faster variation (for when the back of the piece won’t be seen) and a neater method (for when the back will be seen).

Although there’s no actual crocheting in this video, I’ve made right- and left-handed versions anyway, so you can see the shape of the crochet stitches and the way to sew them down exactly as you’ll see them when you do it yourself! (I’ve also added text instructions with photos for those of you who prefer to read written instructions.)

I know this question will come up even more frequently as I add more applique patterns to my catalogue, so having a helpful guide is going to come in very handy, and I hope you’ll find it useful!

Go to the How to Attach Crochet Appliques video tutorial >>

Comments (4)

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!

Comments (2)

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) 0.3
Mini crochet thread #20;
pearl cotton #8
1.4mm (8) 0.4
Small sport (#2) – DK (#3) 2.25-2.75mm
(B-C)
0.8
Standard worsted (#4) 3.5mm (E) 1
Large 2 strands worsted (#4);
1 strand bulky (#5)
5mm (H) 1.5
Mini Giant super bulky (#6) 8mm (L) 2.4
Giant 2 strands super bulky (#6);
1 strand jumbo (#7)4
15mm (P/Q-19) 3.6
Extreme3 6 strands super bulky #6;
1 strand jumbo (#7)4
25mm 6.5
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 the difference from standard size (1), so, for example, 6.5 (for Extreme Amigurumi) means the amigurumi will be 6.5 times larger than standard.

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]

So, for a 4″ long standard amigurumi, converting it to Extreme Amigurumi scale (6.5) means:

final size = 4 x 6.5 = 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]

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

scale factor = 3 / 6 = 0.5

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 (0.5x)
From the table, you can see that Mini Amigurumi is 0.4 and Small Amigurumi is .08, 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 (2x)
From the table, you can see that Large Amigurumi is 1.5 and Mini Giant Amigurumi is 2.4, 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

 

Comments (13)

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…)

Comments (3)

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…

Comments

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…

Comments (12)

« Previous entries
  • Quick Links: Crochet

    navigation: arrow

    buy crochet patterns and accessories from my online store

    Everyday Crochet, and the Idiot's Guides to Crochet and Amigurumi by June Gilbank

    Crochet video tutorials and step-by-step photo tutorials

    Free PlanetJune crochet patterns

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Quick Links: Crafts

    navigation: arrow

    Punchneedle Embroidery information, ebook & patterns

    Papercraft ebook & tutorials

    Free PlanetJune craft projects & tutorials

  • Blog Post Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    June Gilbank

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

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can contact me here.
    crocheted Canadian flag by PlanetJune
  • Support PlanetJune!

    Want to say thanks? You can send me money in seconds at paypal.me/planetjune (over $20) or paypal.me/planetjune2 (under $20) or send me a donation through my shop.

    Or simply click through from my links before you shop at Amazon, Etsy, KnitPicks, LoveCrafts or Crochet.com, and I'll make a small commission on your purchase, at no cost to you! Start here:

    ♥ Support PlanetJune ♥

    Tip: This link is also in the footer of every page!

    Thank you so much for your support!