PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

life as a fashion model…

Although it may not look like it from the new PlanetJune Accessories collection cover pictures, I had a really hard time getting those photos – it actually took 6 photoshoots to get enough decent photos to release the collection. That’s 6 sessions of dressing up nicely and doing my hair and makeup, and 6 sessions of getting strange looks as I posed, feeling like an idiot, in various locations near the river…

PlanetJune Accessories Fall 2011 Collection of crochet patterns

It’s spring here, not autumn, and if you look carefully you can see huge palms, giant cacti, and other unusual foliage in the background of my photos, which doesn’t exactly set the autumnal scene I had in mind… Plus my two winters in a row this year, together with months of being stuck in the house with my busted rib, has left me with an even paler than usual complexion (if that’s possible).

It’s a world away from the carefully controlled lighting and scenery I use for my amigurumi photos! For the whole time I was trying to get these pics, I was blessed with bright endless sunshine every day, which meant I was often either squinting in the sunlight, or hidden in deep shadow. When there were a few clouds, by the time I got dressed up and on location, the clouds had all mysteriously vanished. And the wind! The wind here is so strong that it has its own name (‘The Cape Doctor’, as it supposedly blows away all the pollution). My lacy scarves and shawls would not stay put, and my carefully-styled hair whipped across my face and into a mess within seconds.

I was about to throw out all the rejected photos (500+!), but I thought these few were a good demonstration of a tiny fraction of what I went through, so I made them into a little animation for you:

planetjune shawl blowing in the wind
Hahaha! It’s a miracle I ever got any half-decent photos, with winds like this!

And by the way, for anyone who thinks you can’t block acrylic yarn, look at the drape of my shawl! Blocking works miracles on ALL yarn.

Don’t forget you only have until this Sunday to take advantage of the launch week discounts on the new PlanetJune Accessories collection (details in the previous post) – and thank you so much to everyone who’s already bought some (or all) of my new designs! I hope you’ll enjoy crocheting them as much as I enjoyed designing them, and a lot more than I enjoyed modelling for them πŸ˜‰

18 Comments »

  1. Haley J. said

    June, what procedure do you use to block acrylic yarn? I’m always afraid I am going to ruin my acrylic projects by blocking them incorrectly!

    • June said

      The only way you can ‘ruin’ acrylic is with too much heat, so you can always spray block or wet block without any worries. It depends on the project: if those methods aren’t enough to get your project the way you want it, I’ve also had success with steam blocking – if you steam block carefully, without overheating the yarn by steaming for too long or touching the iron directly to the yarn, it again works very well.

      If you do overheat the yarn, it ‘kills’ the acrylic. This isn’t as bad as it sounds: it permanently changes the properties of the yarn and makes it very flowy and drapey, so there are situations where you may want to do that on purpose. Of course, you can go beyond even that: if you lay the iron directly on the acrylic, it would melt – so don’t do that!

      For these accessories, I wet-blocked the green shawl, which opened up the lace stitches beautifully, as you can see. I spray-blocked one of the rugs to help it lie flat (it was so thick I thought it would never dry if I wet-blocked it!) and the other rugs didn’t need any blocking.

      All my patterns include blocking instructions, btw πŸ™‚

  2. Haha, I love the animation you made of all the imperfect photos. Product photos make a huge difference in how professional a pattern looks, so those 500 extra photos definitely aren’t a waste. πŸ™‚

    • June said

      I agree, some of the earlier shots were just appalling – I know I wouldn’t have sold any patterns if I’d used those (well, maybe a couple, to die-hard fans), and then all my hard work would have been for nothing.

      And, to be completely honest, thanks to that wind I never achieved the perfect shawl photo, so I had to merge two together in the end – one where the right side looked good, and one where the left side looked good! I couldn’t have done that if I hadn’t kept all the ‘outtakes’ as backups.

  3. I love the animation. And it all gives great insight into the big process that can be involved in getting a product line available to show the public!

    • June said

      Yes, it was much harder than I remembered from last year! I don’t think I’ll be saving my designs to put into collections in future – it’s just too much work for one person, like putting out an entire crochet magazine when I’m playing the parts of all the contributors, the editor, photographer, models, and entire production staff!

  4. Thank you for the little peak into your world of designing.

    I thought you looked a little paler and thinner then before in those pictures. I had forgotten that it was two winters in a row for you. πŸ™

    • June said

      At least I’ve got through the double winter, and now I have summer to look forward to (and dread: hotter than Canada and no air conditioning…) while you’ll have to deal with snow again soon enough! And now I’m not injured any more, so I can try to get healthy again and get some colour back into my cheeks πŸ™‚

  5. Julie said

    Oh man! I feel your pain of having to reshoot photos so many times! This is actually really funny timing for me because I just shot a set of photos that were ruined by lens flare! Wind is my nemesis though! Why is it ALWAYS windy at photo time? Always happens to me! You’re so brave shooting your photos in public! I would love to but I’m such a wuss. I can’t stand people looking at me while doing a shoot!

    • June said

      Argh, lens flare! I had a similar problem (dust on the lens that made a really big pale circle across the photo) for some of my pics, but I managed to photoshop it out – I won’t tell you which pics πŸ˜‰

      I’d love to not shoot in public, but there’s nowhere more private that would be safe – crime is a big problem here and my garden isn’t photogenic enough to help sell the designs. It is totally embarrassing, especially when I’m out by myself and running back over to the camera when anyone comes near, just in case they get any ideas about grabbing the camera and running off with it!

  6. Jeannine said

    Difficult shots : Great photos. Thanks for your tenacity to get good pics.
    Simply change your mind about being a wuss and bringing attention to yourself. You’re a pretty, talented woman, and people are only curious.
    πŸ˜‰

  7. Meg P said

    When I first saw the collection, I was so impressed by the photos — I wondered if you used your timer and a tripod or if you had a pal playing photographer. I also really enjoyed seeing the South African background in the photos — it didn’t bother me at all that it wasn’t autumnal. This post joins your photo studio set-up post and your design process post in giving us such an interesting look into what it takes to be an independent designer and publisher. I’ve bought all the shawl/wrap patterns and can’t wait to get my Halloween crocheting out of the way, so I can start on holiday shawls, scarves and wraps (and maybe another Lacy Bobbles cowl — I did 3 last winter).

    • June said

      Meg, I am glad you’re enjoying my posts – thank you! I have a tripod and a remote control for my camera, so I try to do the bulk of the photography myself, with the remote hidden out of shot in one of my hands. For some photos (like the triangular shawl, where I couldn’t tell if I had it on straight or if the wind was blowing it about) I coerced my long-suffering husband into helping me – I directed, set up the tripod and told him exactly what I wanted everything to look like, and he tried to make sure everything matched my descriptions and then pressed the button when it was all perfect πŸ™‚

  8. paula benning said

    It certainly seems you had a hard time with this shoot. I have done a little modeling and it can definitely tire you out. I used to have bad sore necks and shoulders from modeling such as this. And you are a reindeer antler model, not many of us can say that..

    • June said

      Haha, yes, modelling the reindeer antlers was… different… Actually the hardest part of that was that my blue backdrop isn’t large enough to fill the whole background of the photos (it’s just a sheet of posterboard and the antlers meant I needed much more height and width than a usual portrait) so I had to photoshop in the blue background wherever the edge of the board was showing!

      If I’ve done my job right, you’ll never notice all the post-processing that went into these photos, but that took at least as long as taking the pics in the first place…

  9. stacy long said

    I think the photos came out great ! What is the doiley looking thing next to the vase, I must have missed something. Is that a product of some kind ?

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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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    crocheted Canadian flag by PlanetJune
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