PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

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 šŸ™‚

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)

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern

Don’t miss the launch discount, at the end of this post!

With the winter chill setting in, it’s always my earsĀ that feel the cold first. I usually wear a very functional earwarmer – just a shopbought band of boring blackĀ insulated fleece – but I really wanted something a bit more stylish to bring some cheer to the seasonĀ this year. And here’s what I came up with – a wonderful cable pattern that looks far more complex than it is!
Ā 
Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I’ve given two width options using different yarn weights depending on how wide and bulky you’d like your earwarmer to be, and how quickly you’d like to get it finished (thicker yarn needs fewer repeats!)Ā 

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJuneCozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

The dense crochet cables make a plush squishy fabric that’s great for blocking wind. The edges of cabled panels tend to be gappy, but I’ve filled those gaps with some hidden stitches with extra squish on the insideĀ to keep you warmer around the edges.

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJuneĀ 
They’re only hidden from the outside! You can clearly see those snuggly stitches all around the inside top edge in the photo above.

The worsted weight option can also be worn as a fitted neckwarmer, as shown below. If you want a chunkier neckwarmer, you couldĀ upscale it further with a bulky or super bulky yarn to make a wider cowl.

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

This earwarmer is worked flat and seamed, you can easily customise the fit by working the pattern until it’s the desired length. Try it on as you go and check if it’s long enough to give a snug fit around your head, or just use my standard measurements as a guide if it’ll be a surprise gift for a child or adult!Ā 

Cozy Cables Earwarmer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

As always with my PlanetJune Accessories designs, the pattern includes full stitch instructions and my tips for all the techniques used, as well as written and charted versions of the pattern.

If you’ve been nervous to tackle cables, I’ll walk you through it in the pattern. There’s a 4-row repeat, but every wrong side row is just plain half doubleĀ crochet, so you only have two pattern rows to remember. After you’ve made a few repeats, you’ll be able to fly through the pattern and make impressive-looking earwarmers for everyone on your list!Ā 

Links and Launch Discount

Ready to get crocheting? You can buy the Cozy Cables Earwarmer pattern individually from my shop, or as part of a Custom Set of any 3 PlanetJune Accessories patterns of your choice.

PlanetJune Accessories crochet patterns by PlanetJune

And, for this week only, save 50c on the Cozy Cables Earwarmer pattern by using discount code COZY at checkout. (Valid until Monday November 30 2020.)

Tip: The discount is valid on the Earwarmer alone and the Custom Set including the Earwarmer – so you can save even more by buying the multipack deal with the discount!

Or, if youā€™re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you donā€™t forget about it:

If you’re planning on making one (or more!), please join the PlanetJune End of Year 2020 CAL – I’d love to see your earwarmers, and you’ll be entered in the CAL contest! Join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group (or click here for full details of the CAL, including non-Ravelry entry option) šŸ™‚


I do hope you’ll enjoy this pattern as much as I’ve enjoyed designing it. I’ve been wearing my earwarmers out in the snow already this week, and I can report that they’re keeping my ears and forehead toasty warm, even when my cheeks are freezing!

Comments

machine knitted dog sweater

After the success of my first big machine knitting project, I wanted to try something smaller so it wouldn’t take as much energy to knit, and now I have Maggie I finally have a small recipient to knit for!

(You may think machine knitting sounds easy and automated, but there’s a lot to it: pushing the carriage back and forth across the needles; remembering to move the weights up every few rows; checking no stitches have jumped off the needles, and following the pattern by counting rows and manipulating stitches to make increases or decreases. Doing all that at the same time takes physical and mental energy – and the more tired you get, the more chance you forget to do something and risk dropping a stitch or skipping a section of the pattern. No prizes for guessing how I know all this!)

I decided to keep it simple for my first attempt at a dog sweater: I drafted a basic pattern by measuring the sweater I bought for Maggie last winter – it’s just formed from two knitted rectangles stitched together, so it should be simple to make. By using the leftover yarn from my last sweater, I didn’t even need to make a gauge swatch to calculate the number of stitches and rows I’d need, so I could get started right away.

My knitting machine is very basic and only forms knit stitches, so in my last project I hand-knitted all the ribbing after machine-knitting the bulk of the sweater. This time I was brave enough to knit extra rows for the ribbing, and then drop every other column down by the length of the ribbing while the piece was still on the machine and latch them back up in the other direction to form purl columns, so there was no hand-knitting at all involved. Once you get the hang of this, I think it’s much faster than hand knitting ribbing.

I knitted my two rectangles on the machine, remembering to leave a slit for the leash at the shoulder, and stitched the two rectangles together (without finishing anything in case it needed to be altered). Then it was time for the first test fitting!

machine knitted dog sweater

Maggie wasn’t so sure about this monstrosity with all the dangling yarn ends, but it fit nicely, so I could weave in all those ends and move onto phase 2 of the sweater…

You see, Maggie’s fur attracts snow, and the more she walks in the snow, the more tiny snowballs form on her legs, until she ends up with snow and ice ‘boots’ caking her entire legs!

machine knitted dog sweater

By that point, it’s difficult for her to walk – that’s no surprise, with blocks of ice in her armpits – so I decided to add some sleeves to this sweater, in the hope of preventing the snow from getting too high up her legs.

The armholes in the sweater are just slits, so I knitted some teeny-tiny little rectangular sleeves with ribbed cuffs:

machine knitted dog sweater

I seamed them up and stitched them into the armhole slits.

machine knitted dog sweater

I wasn’t at all sure how this would look, as it’s the equivalent of a drop-sleeved sweater for a human – a boxy shape without a close fit – but this is a dog sweater, so I wasn’t too worried: it’s going to get dirty and snagged on twigs and thrown in the wash dozens of times over its lifetime. All it needs to do is keep her warm and stay in place on our walks.

But, flattened to the side, it looks like it should work…

machine knitted dog sweater

And it needed one finishing touch before we could field-test the sweater: strengthening the leash slit with an edging. I decided to keep it simple and single crocheted around the slit with the same yarn. It turned out to be an easy way to make a very neat-looking buttonhole.

machine knitted dog sweater

And now for the moment of truth: will Maggie like her sweater?? Let’s try it out at the park and see what she thinks…

machine knitted dog sweater
machine knitted dog sweater
machine knitted dog sweater
machine knitted dog sweater
machine knitted dog sweater

I think that happy face says it all – it’s a big success!

(By the way, it looks from these pics like the sweater might be too short, but that’s just because Maggie’s sweet spiral tail pushes it up her back so it won’t stay in place – I don’t think there’s any way around that!)

As I made Maggie’s sweater from the leftover yarn from my own, we now have matching sweaters. And while we won’t be going out in public like this (any time Maggie’s wearing her sweater, it’ll be cold enough for me to need a coat), I couldn’t resist asking Dave to take a photo of us in our matching outfits…

machine knitted dog sweater

Hahaha – isn’t that hilarious?!

I’m really pleased with how this project worked out. And I’m especially happy because, by the time I got to the second sleeve, I finished the entire piece without making a single mistake – maybe I’m actually getting the hang of this machine knitting thing!

It’ll probably take 24 hours for a wet sweater to dry before Maggie can wear it again, so I think she’s going to need at least a few more sweaters, don’t you? šŸ˜‰

That gives me an excuse to try some more knitting machine experiments without having to make a me-sized sweater. I think I’m going to try some stripes on her next one, so stay tuned to see how that turns out…

 

 

Comments (14)

PlanetJune End-of-Year 2020 Crochet-Along

This year has been a struggle for everyone, so let’s try to end it on a high note, and celebrate our love of crochet together, with prizes for everyone!

The annual PlanetJune Christmas Crochet-Along (CAL) is back, but it’s even more inclusive this time around. You can enter the End-of-Year 2020 CAL any time from now until the end of the year by:

  • Crocheting any PlanetJune Xmas/winter-themed patterns you’re making for your holiday decorating
  • Crocheting any PlanetJune pattern you’re giving as a holiday gift or as a donation to a good cause (or selling to someone who’s buying it as a gift)
  • Crocheting any PlanetJune pattern you’re making for yourself – remember, you deserve treats too!

Basically, you can make any PlanetJune patterns you want – the more the merrier! Share what you’re making and join our crochet party as we approach 2021.

Come to the PlanetJune group on Ravelry and join the fun! Share your crochet plans, post photos of your projects in progress, let everyone else know you like their projects, and (of course) post pics of your finished projects so we can all appreciate them.

If you don’t use Ravelry, or can’t at the moment due to their accessibility problems, see the ‘How to Enter’ section below for how to participate via social media instead.

Prizes

Thanks to a generous anonymous benefactor, we have extra prizes this year:

  • First prize: $20 PlanetJune Gift Certificate
  • Second prize (2 winners): $10 PlanetJune Gift Certificate
  • Participation prize (2 winners): $5 PlanetJune Gift Certificate
  • Runner-up prize (everyone else!): 10% PlanetJune discount code to spend in 2021

Pattern Options

While you aren’t limited to my seasonal patterns with this CAL, I thought I’d whet your appetite for project ideas with a collage of all my Christmas patterns:
Christmas crochet patterns by PlanetJune

Isn’t that amazing? There are soooo many to choose from! You can find all these patterns atĀ www.planetjune.com/xmas – including plenty of free/donationware options if funds are short šŸ™‚

How to Enter

Ravelry Users
Post a pic of your PlanetJune projects to the CAL thread in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, and tag your projects with PJCAL2020 in order for them to appear as part of the CAL.

New to Ravelry or PlanetJune CALs? See my Crochet-Along FAQ for all you need to know!
Non-Ravelry option
If you are unable to use Ravelry, you can still enter the contestĀ by:
  1. Posting a photo of your finished PlanetJuneĀ project on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
  2. Tagging me (@PlanetJune) in the post so I’ll see it
  3. Using the hashtag #PJCAL2020 in the post so I know it’s an official entry (only use the hashtag once per entry please, even if you post multiple photos or in multiple places!)

Example message “Here’s my entry into the @PlanetJune End-of-Year CAL!Ā #PJCAL2020” (and add your photo, too!)Ā 

Rules

  • Prizes will be drawn from all eligible entries, starting from first prize and working down the list, with a maximum of one prize per person.
  • You’ll receive one entry per PlanetJune pattern used in a completed project and tagged PJCAL2020 (if you make e.g. a Christmas wreath using 5 different patterns, you’ll get 5 entries).
  • Entries will be capped at 8 per person, to give everyone a chance of winning.
  • Bonus entry option (for the participation and runner-up prizes only): even if you don’t manage to complete a project, you can still be entered into the contest – all you need is to have posted at least 5 posts in the CAL thread. So do join in the conversation – you’ll be guaranteed at least a runner-up prize!

I do hope you’ll join us for this PlanetJune end-of-year crochet party – I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’re making from my patterns, as holiday gifts or for yourself! See you in the ravelry group or on social šŸ™‚

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    June Gilbank

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