Planet June

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The crafty journal of a nature-inspired crochet pattern designer
Updated: 1 year 1 month ago

first machine-knitted sweater!

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 21:36

This is my first FO of the year, and I’m completely thrilled by it!

It’s a combination of machine and hand knitting, and to explain how that came about, let’s start with some backstory…

Despite having filled my wardrobe with handknits, I haven’t finished knitting a sweater for over a year now. With hindsight, I think the reason is that knitting kept me going through the worst of my PTSD. When I couldn’t do anything else, I could still move my needles, loop my yarn, and make one neat stitch after another to pass the time in a constructive way. Knitting became my therapy, and it did that job so well that it ruined knitting for me as a fun hobby.

I’d started on a simple project that should have been easy and fun – remaking my simplest sweater design in a different colour (the lovely periwinkle you see above). I got most of the way through the sleeves, and then… I stalled.

I put the project away and hadn’t been tempted to knit another sweater for ages, until I bought my knitting machine. I used the rag hems I told you about in my previous post as guides to try to match my gauge to the sleeves I’d already knitted by hand, and then got started trying to machine knit the missing parts (the front and back) of the sweater.

The back went so well that I got a little too enthusiastic (or too confident!) when I knitted the front – I got over-tired and didn’t notice I’d skipped the whole section from waist to underarms!

It’s hard to see what’s going on while you’re knitting, as the work is weighted down and completely stretched out of shape, so I didn’t notice my mistake until I’d finished and laid the sweater front out flat…

Bet you’ve never seen a sweater with this shape before! (Ignore the green rows at the bottom – those are my rag hem and won’t be part of the final sweater.)

Haha! Disaster! I fed a lifeline (the yellow yarn across the photo above) through the row below the point where I went wrong – there should be an extra 32 rows of knitting at that point!

But I wasn’t too discouraged by my mistake – it was good practice for following my at-the-same-time armhole decreases and neck decreases, and I was encouraged by how neat the stitches looked.

I frogged all the way back to the lifeline, hooked it all back onto the machine, and tried again (without making any stupid mistakes this time).

Once I’d finished, it was just a matter of seaming the front, back and sleeves together, then picking up stitches to knit the bottom band and neckband by hand. And it seems I’ve got my knitting mojo back! I really enjoyed hand-knitting the ribbing so I could see how the sweater would turn out.

There are some minor flaws in my knitting, where the yarn must have caught on something and so the tension of the whole row is too tight, but I’m delighted with this as my first attempt. The gauge is exactly what I was aiming for, and it’s a perfectly cosy sweater for this time of year!

I’m so impressed with how well the stitches match between my hand knit sleeves and the machine knit body – if you didn’t know, would you be even able to tell there was a difference?!

Concept proven, and now I’m back in the knitting game with lots of ideas for what to knit next with my combination of machine- and hand-knitting – I think it’s the best of both worlds. So exciting!

Categories: Crochet Life

Backyard Wildlife Photography: UK & France

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 17:23

I’ve just got back from a holiday visiting family in England, Jersey and France. The weather and time of year meant everyone’s gardens were in full bloom and the bird feeders were busy, so I took the opportunity to practice some garden wildlife photography.

After the photography workshop I took a few months ago, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to composition, depth of field, etc, to improve my skill level. This is especially challenging when it comes to wildlife photography – wild creatures don’t tend to sit around and wait while you try to get the best angle and compose the perfect shot!

The galleries below showcase my favourite bird and butterfly sets from the 1200+ photos I took over the past couple of weeks, and I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to relax and enjoy them…

Click into each gallery to see the full-size photos.

Butterflies Birds

I consider some of these photos to be among the best I’ve ever taken – do you agree? Even a humble house sparrow can be quite enchanting when posing for a photo.

Although the subject matter of these photos isn’t as exotic as my African photos, my safari experiences have changed me – these days, I’d much prefer to watch and photograph wild animals and birds in their natural habitats instead of caged animals in zoos.

I’ve really missed practicing this hobby – it’s so relaxing to get out into nature and watch and wait for something interesting to photograph! When I have my own garden again (we’re currently renting until our new house is built) I’m planning to make a native wildflower meadow so I can attract pollinators (birds, bees and butterflies) and other local wildlife to visit my back yard. Isn’t that a lovely idea?!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos, and that you’ll remember to take time to look out for your local wildlife too…

Categories: Crochet Life

free pattern: Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Rounds

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 14:41

I recently started using a facial toner, and suddenly I was throwing out more cotton pads in a week than I usually use in a year! I try to minimise the amount of trash I generate, and, as the bathroom bin started to fill, I decided this had to stop. Enter my new free crochet pattern: washable, re-useable Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Rounds.

Use these washable rounds anywhere you’d use a disposable cotton round or facial wipe – for cleansing, toning, or removing makeup – and save money while helping the environment! They crochet up in minutes, take very little yarn, and make a pretty and practical gift.

Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Rounds are easy to clean – simply toss the used pads into a mesh laundry bag or a drawstring bag and run them through your washer and dryer with your laundry.

As I like to reward people who choose to donate for my donationware patterns, the PDF version of the Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Rounds pattern also includes the bonus pattern for the Mini size (pictured above; I find this size is perfect for applying my toner!) and additional instructional photos and tips, including left-handed photos. As always, the pattern for the Standard size 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 with the bonuses.

Go to the free Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Rounds pattern >>

Or jump straight to donate:

Order the Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Rounds pattern >>

Not ready to make them yet? Add this pattern to your Ravelry queue:

I hope you’ll find this pattern useful! And every step we can make towards helping the environment by reducing waste is a step in the right direction, no matter how small.

Categories: Crochet Life

Using a Stitch Marker in Amigurumi [video tutorial]

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 13:30

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?

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 >>

Categories: Crochet Life

crochet for Canada Day

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 14:16

My patriotic Beaver just can’t wait until Canada Day (July 1st) to start his celebrations!

I’ve just updated my Maple Leaf Collection crochet pattern to also include instructions for making this small thread Canadian Flag too – it’s perfect for an amigurumi to hold.

If you’ve already bought the Maple Leaf Collection, log back into your PlanetJune account, go to your old order for the Maple Leaf Collection and re-download the Canadian Flag Background PDF – you’ll see a new page at the end with the updated details for the thread flag!

Canadiana crochet patterns

I have a small, but growing, collection of Canadian-themed patterns now – the adorable Beaver, and the Maple Leaf Collection (which includes the Canadian Flag background):

Find all my Canadiana crochet patterns here!

Are there any other Canadian icons you’d like me to add to my Canadiana pattern collection? Let me know in the comments!

Categories: Crochet Life

free pattern: Tulips (and a new video!)

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 13:04

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!

Don’t they look gloriously spring-like in their distinctive tulip colours? (I had so much fun picking the colours for these!)

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!


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:

Categories: Crochet Life