Crochet Life

“Poufs & Pillows” by Ashley Leither – Giveaway!

Moogly - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 16:00

Whenever I see something crocheted, my first instinct is to touch it – and I really really want to touch the projects in Ashley Leither’s new book, Poufs & Pillows, published by Leisure Arts! Ashley sent me a copy to review and giveaway to one very lucky winner – so read on to get a peek [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Speedy Button Pouch

Moogly - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:51

I recently wrote a post about how to create a no-sew fabric lining using the Cricut Maker. But I needed something to line, and I’d also noticed a need for a few more small pouches/pockets/and organizers in my office, and when I travel. So I whipped this up super fast (and lined it in just [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Moogly CAL 2018 – Afghan Block #1

Moogly - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 16:00

I’m so happy you’ve decided to join in the 2018 Moogly Crochet Along! I’ve been absolutely thrilled to have led this CAL for the last few years, and I think it keeps getting better and better. So let’s get started with our first block of the year, courtesy of Jessie At Home. Disclaimer: This post [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

knit camel vest

Planet June - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:10

This is sweater #12 of my ‘learn to knit by making a dozen self-designed sweaters’ project. (Here are links to #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 #8, #9, #10, and #11, if you’d like to see my progress.)

What could I do for my 12th sweater project that I haven’t already done?! I started thinking this would have to be a spectacular finale to the project, and that put so much pressure on me, I couldn’t get started! So I decided to step back and just make something I wanted to make, as I did for all the others.

Now, you could argue that a vest is not really a sweater, but all it’s missing is the sleeves (and I definitely know how to knit sleeves by now) so I don’t think this is cheating – I could have added sleeves if I had more yarn, and I had plenty to learn from designing and knitting this vest, which was really the point of my whole project.

I had about 500m of deliciously soft baby camel yarn left over from my amigurumi Camel (I’d bought 5 hanks to take advantage of a wholesale discount price – it was far too expensive to justify buying 100% baby camel yarn for a toy at retail price). I’d hoped to think of some way to use this extremely warm yarn to make something useful, but the low yardage was going to be a challenge, so I decided it’d have to be a fairly close-fitting vest, and I’d do some calculations on the fly to make sure I could use as much of the yarn as possible without running out.

To keep it interesting and build my skills, I chose an all-over textured stitch pattern instead of plain stockinette.

Instead of joining a new ball of yarn at the end of a row, I used the Russian join to minimise wasted yarn (and had to consult my own book for the instructions – it’s been a long time since I’ve used this join and I couldn’t quite remember how to do it!)

And my plan worked, eventually! It took some re-knitting: I started my textured stitch pattern in a way that caused the whole bottom border to flip up (a fact that didn’t reveal itself in my swatch or until I was way past the point of wanting to unravel it all and restart). I kept going and then unravelled from the bottom cast-on edge up until the point where I could fix the problem (and also to recover some yarn to use for a more substantial neckband than I’d budgeted for – I didn’t like the look of the narrow one I tried first), then I reknitted the bottom border and added the neckband.

I added a new tool to my knitting toolkit: an interchangeable crochet hook (size E/3.5mm) for picking up stitches. Being a left-hander, but a right-handed knitter, I’ve found that picking up stitches along an edge (as a way to start e.g. a button band or armhole edging) with a needle is too challenging for me. Until now, I’d been picking up a few stitches at a time with a normal crochet hook, then dropping them off the hook and picking them up on the needle, but this was slow and fiddly.

Now, I can just unscrew the needle tip from the cable, screw on the hook, pick up all the stitches with ease and slide them onto the cable as I go, and then switch back to the needle tip to begin knitting! The interchangeable hook has been a brilliant addition to my interchangeable needle collection.

In the end, I used 99% of my yarn (woohoo!) to complete the vest, and I’m happy with the result – it’s extremely soft and very warm without being bulky. It isn’t the sort of thing I’d usually wear – either in style or colour – but this extra-warm layer is turning out to be very useful, and it’s the natural colour of the baby camels who donated their yarn so that I could knit this vest, so that’s pretty cool!

Skills I learnt in this project:

  • Working an all-over texture throughout a piece (I really like the result of the stitch pattern I used – I think it looks like a yummy waffle).
  • Garter stitch… I know, it’s the most basic stitch, and yet I’ve actually never knitted anything in garter stitch until I decided to use garter edgings on this vest. I haven’t been a big fan of the look of garter, although I’m willing to change my mind on that point, because I love how flat my edgings are compared with stockinette! There are definite benefits to not being an anti-garter stitch snob.
  • Decreasing in pattern for the V-neck (note to self: if I was doing it again, I’d have left two stitches of stockinette at the edge instead of one: one for the selvedge and one to make a neat border at the base of the edging).
  • Weighing the work so far and adapting the design on the fly to account for the lack of yarn.
  • Picking up stitches around an armhole.
  • Making an armhole edging.
  • Making a buttonhole in garter stitch.

I was hoping to find some colourful buttons (maybe turquoise or dark purple) to contrast with the yarn colour, but there wasn’t anything in the right size and colour in the button shop, so I went with this dusty pink. I think it looks okay, although I may make some polymer clay buttons and swap them at some point. But, for now, it’s finished.

And, with that, my 12 sweater project is complete. Isn’t that amazing?!

I have a lot to say about the experience of the project and where I’ll go from here, but I’ll save those thoughts for a wrap-up post…

Categories: Crochet Life

MooglyCAL2018: My Colors Revealed!

Moogly - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:00

The MooglyCAL2018 kicks off tomorrow with square #1 – and today I get to announce what yarn I’ll be using: Red Heart With Love! Disclaimer: Red Heart provided the yarn for this post; this post includes affiliate links. I can’t wait to share tomorrow’s square with you all – it’s so pretty! And I love [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Hookin On Hump Day #159: A Yarny Link Party!

Moogly - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 02:00

One of my favorite things about Hookin On Hump Day is discovering new designers and patterns that I’d missed before – and sharing them with all of you! This week’s collection is no exception – a wonderful mix of favorites and new faces. Thank you all for joining up again – and thank you for [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Crochet Stories: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz & Peter Pan Giveaway

Moogly - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:00

Two classic tales get a new interpretation – in crochet! Crochet Stories: L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Crochet Stories: J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan have both been turned into amigurumi patterns and storybooks! Today I get to show off my own copies, and give away a set to one lucky Moogly reader, courtesy of [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Modern Luxe Throw

Moogly - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 12:47

The Modern Luxe Throw is a different take on the crocheted blanket. It’s still blankety: cozy, warm, and super cuddly! But it’s also very unique – and I’m absolutely in love with the finished result. Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; yarn provided by Lion Brand; hook provided by Furls. The Modern Luxe Throw starts [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Cobblestone Stitch

Moogly - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 15:10

I love the Cobblestone Stitch – it’s easy enough for beginners, using only the basic stitches, but it’s also fun to crochet and creates great movement when worked in 2 or more colors! Here’s how to crochet the Cobblestone Stitch Pattern. Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; yarn provided by Lion Brand; hook provided by [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Lion Cub and Family crochet patterns

Planet June - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:00

After having the privilege of watching packs of lions in the wild at Kruger Park, I thought my Lion and Lioness pattern would be adorable with a little Lion Cub pattern to complete the family. And after making the cubs, I think I was right…

What do you think?

My new Lion Cub pattern complements my existing Lion & Lioness pattern perfectly, and is also a sweet standalone pattern in its own right.

Lion Cub is very fast to crochet, at only 5″ long, so you can whip up a few realistic baby lions in no time! They’re sure to charm with their big cub paws and cute little faces.

You can buy the adorable Lion Cub pattern alone, or get a great deal when you buy the whole Lion Family multipack together!

Note: If you’ve already bought the Lion and Lioness pattern, you don’t have to miss out on this deal! Just buy the Lion Cub, then email me with 1) your Lion Cub order number and 2) the order number (or date) from when you bought Lion & Lioness, and I’ll send you a coupon for $2 off your next order of $5 or more. (The coupon will remain valid for a whole year, so don’t worry if there’s nothing else you want to buy right now!)

Handy Links:

Categories: Crochet Life

My Favorite 2017 Lion Brand Crochet Patterns

Moogly - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:00

As I plan projects and posts for 2018, I wanted to take a moment to look back at 2017 – and my favorite crochet patterns for the year. So I’ve put together a list to share, featuring my own favorite 3 patterns that I designed last year, and favorites from some of my fellow designers, [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Printable Crochet Project Planner Giveaway

Moogly - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 16:00

My friend Kara at Petals to Picots has put together a fantastic Printable Crochet Project Planner – and she’s giving one away right here on Moogly! Disclaimer: I was provided materials for review but all opinions are my own; giveaway sponsored by Petals to Picots. This post includes affiliate links. I am not a robot. [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Parkway Scarf

Moogly - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 15:44

The Parkway Scarf is pretty, cozy, and just a little luxurious – and the *perfect* pattern for people who hate weaving in ends! And it’s a free crochet pattern here on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; yarn provided by Lion Brand; hook provided by Furls. I loved crocheting the Parkway Scarf using beautiful [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Hookin On Hump Day #158: A Yarny Link Party!

Moogly - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 02:00

Welcome to 2018! We’ve loved seeing what you have come up with in 2017 – and put together a “Best Of” Collection too! But now it’s time to see what all the amazing designers and crocheters have been up to over the holiday break – new patterns, no projects, and so much gorgeous inspiration! Thank [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Giveaway!

Moogly - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 16:00

Over the last few years, Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick has become one of my favorite yarns to design with. It looks great, feels fantastic, and works up like a dream. And I’m so glad to be giving away 5 balls of it this month to one lucky Moogly reader! Disclaimer: This giveaway was [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

2017: year in review

Planet June - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 14:00

2017 has been very far from the year I was expecting; when I started another year in South Africa, I didn’t dare to dream that I’d be back home in Canada by the end of the year. And yet, here I am – yay! ♥

An Unexpected Turn of Events

Things seem to have a habit of going in different directions than I’d anticipated, but at least the advantage of keeping my business small is that, without anyone else on the PlanetJune team, I can easily change plans and switch directions on the fly, to adapt to circumstances.

  • I invested a big chunk of time towards the end of 2016 in updating my Commissions system, but then decided that it was time for it to be retired (and, a few months later, I don’t regret that decision at all).
  • With a goal to concentrate on my YouTube channel in 2017, I invested financially in new video recording equipment and editing software, but a minor-but-ugly thumb injury that’s only just healing now has meant I haven’t been able to make even one new crochet video all year. (I’ve managed to keep making patterns through a combination of careful hand positioning and photoshopping, but neither of those are practical for videos!)
  • And, of course, the big one: I didn’t start the year expecting I’d be planning and coordinating another move halfway around the world, and have to simultaneously plan how to bolster my business to weather the storm of having no office/studio or equipment for 3 months, so no way to produce new patterns…
2017 Achievements

Wearing my web developer hat, I’ve completed some dull-but-necessary tech projects:

  • Added a privacy policy page to comply with privacy and disclosure requirements.
  • Converted PlanetJune to HTTPS (so you can tell I’m 100% trustworthy by the green padlock in your browser’s address bar).
  • Added credit card processing in my shop (finally!) so you aren’t required to use PayPal any more.
  • Updated my shop to also allow payment in Canadian dollars, and to prepare for the sales taxes I’m going to need to start collecting from Canadians from today onwards.

Wearing my designer hat, I’ve been splitting myself in two this year, and squirrelling away half my new designs so I’ll have some new releases to get PlanetJune through the lean winter months while I can’t create new patterns! Despite that, I’ve had some strong pattern releases this year and made some good decisions that have helped PlanetJune to keep growing.

I’ve always said that quality is more important than quantity, so I’m not disappointed in my 10 new patterns (plus one re-release) this year – especially as so many of my latest patterns include multiple designs. Count up all the different options here and you’ll see I actually have 25 new pieces you can crochet – that’s not a bad number at all!

And, despite my thumb injury, I added a few new helpful crochet tutorials:

Planning for the move hasn’t left much time for creative pursuits this year, but I always try to keep some time free for crafting and personal development:

I’m still knitting sweaters, I’ve played around a bit with needlefelting, and I’ve also started to teach myself Japanese (although I’ve let that slide a bit over the last couple of months – my brain has been fully occupied with more pressing matters!)

Lessons Learnt

Although this year has been anything but easy, I got through it and now I’m at the point where I’ve accomplished the move, and have the next 3 months of PlanetJune designs ready to publish! All this has proved to me that I can still be strong when I need to be, and that simplifying things is the key to dealing with major challenges. I’ll try to remember these lessons when things get overwhelming in future:

  • Don’t be afraid to make big decisions if they’ll bring you closer to your dream job/life/situation.
  • Know that even the best plans need to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Keep moving forwards, even if you’re sometimes moving at a crawl.

I think these wise words can apply to anything you’re trying to do – especially a goal that feels like it may be a bit too ambitious or unattainable.

Looking Forward

It’s tempting to think that, now my move home is complete, I should be able to plunge right back into working hard for PlanetJune, to make up for lost time and get business booming, but the reality of a sustainable one-person business is that you have to balance building the business with caring for the person behind the business.

Although I haven’t talked much about this since it happened, I’ve struggled with my health for the past 3.5 years since the trauma of my home invasion experience. It profoundly affected me, and the PTSD hasn’t gone away.

I hope that now I’m back in Canada, my life will start to stabilise and I can concentrate on rebuilding myself. I think the distance will help me to finally recover from the mental trauma and give me enough energy to also start to rebuild my physical strength after being a virtual prisoner in my own home for years. It’s only been a few weeks and I’m already feeling much better, so I’m confident I can achieve this in the coming year.

You may have also noticed the absence of local wildlife posts since my bad experience – I couldn’t even find the courage to go into my garden alone without bringing on panic attacks, so sitting peacefully in nature with my camera is something I’ve sorely missed, apart from on our occasional holidays to safer places. But now (and especially once winter is over) I’ll be able to get back outside and enjoy nature again!

As for PlanetJune, I still absolutely love what I do here – designing new patterns, developing new techniques, and teaching people how to make beautiful things. I’m very motivated to keep doing all that, and I don’t need to set any specific goals to know that’s how I want to spend my time and earn my living.

I don’t know what the coming year will hold and how much time and energy I’ll have available for all the ideas I have for PlanetJune. As I can’t predict the shape of my life this year, I’m going to keep my business plans very simple and free from anything even remotely resembling a deadline. My overall goal is to work to the best of my ability with the time available to me, to explore, design and create new patterns and supporting tutorials.

For 2018, I want to dial way back on the excitement and build a strong foundation for the future, both personally and professionally. My wishes for this year are for peace, calm, and quiet strength. I wish those things for you too, and a very Happy New Year!

Categories: Crochet Life

City Lights Hat and Mitts Set

Moogly - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 16:58

What’s better than a great big ball of yarn, and a trip to the big city?! Making a set to wear there – the City Lights Hat and Mitts Set! Both free patterns, right here on Moogly! I’m heading to New York for a fun/business trip next month, so I wanted to make a new [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Lion Brand Bonus Bundles – Now at Michaels!

Moogly - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 15:00

Get thee to a Michaels! There are some gorgeous new Lion Brand Yarns there that aren’t to be missed! (And I’m working with Lion Brand to show them off here on Moogly!) Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Lion Brand but all opinions are my own. So just a few days ago I was in [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Best of Hookin On Hump Day 2017!

Moogly - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 16:00

Hookin On Hump Day has been going strong for several years now, as a link party where bloggers and designers add their new projects and patterns – and the best of the best are shared twice a month on Moogly and Petals to Picots! It’s been another amazing year – thanks to all the wonderful [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

DIY Tassel Jewelry with the Clover Tassel Maker!

Moogly - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 16:00

I love the holiday season – so many excuses to craft! And this week I’ve been having fun crafting my own New Year’s Jewelry set using the Clover Tassel Maker! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links and was made in cooperation with Clover USA. Tassels have been everywhere this year, and I wanted my own [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

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