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Archive for Tutorials

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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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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    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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