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attempting advanced origami

Planet June - Tue, 01/23/2018 - 14:00

Last year didn’t leave me with much time for ‘fun’ crafts, so I’m trying to pick that up again this year, and make time to make things just for the fun of it!

I received a pack of origami papers for Christmas, so I thought I’d try to learn more origami skills by picking a far more challenging pattern than I’ve attempted before. I chose to try a Cape Dwarf Chameleon (now I won’t be able to see real chameleons in my garden any more!) using a pattern by Quentin Trollip that’s rated as 4 out of 6 (advanced intermediate) on the origami difficulty scale.

Advanced intermediate is far beyond how I’d rate my origami skills, but there’s only one way to improve, and that’s to try something that’s out of your comfort zone! Although I’ve made lots of origami before, I usually stick to basic models with folds that you can understand with only wordless diagrams, so I was really jumping in at the deep end here.

At almost every step, I had to stop and google what each fold and instruction meant. Swivel fold? Inside reverse fold? Rabbit ear?! All new to me.

I found it difficult to understand all the new folds and spent ages staring at diagrams to try to see how one step could possibly lead to the next. But, finally, I figured out all the folds and, after a few hours, I had a finished model. It’s far from perfect, but if you squint you can just about recognise it as a chameleon!

For comparison, here’s the perfect original from Quentin Origami:


Haha, my attempt doesn’t look much like this!

Still, this is not a failure. I’ve learnt a lot from this project – persevering through learning so many new folds, and ending up with something close to what I was trying to make (although clearly a beginner-level attempt, with many mistakes).

So I thought I’d share it with you as an example of how there’s a learning process with every craft, and your first attempts may not look anywhere near perfect, but they’re a necessary step on the road to mastery, and nothing to be ashamed of.

I’ve also discovered that I prefer to make modular origami – simple folded units that combine to form a more complex result – vs trying to achieve the entire shape with a single sheet of paper. There’s a lot of dexterity and artistry needed to make advanced origami look good, but I prefer to keep my paper folding at an easy relaxing level. You don’t need to aim for mastery in order to enjoy a craft!

If you’d like to try some origami or paper-folding too, I have a few designs you may enjoy, such as these:

See all my papercraft tutorials at PlanetJune Papercraft – I can promise they are far more beginner-friendly than an origami chameleon!

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

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

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

My AthensCon Activities

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 20:19
Here are snaps from the AthensCon site detailing my activities for the convention December 2 & 3.

There might be another panel; and if there is I will update this post.

Happy Gaming All!




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Attending AthensCon Dec. 2 &3

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:02
I am a special guest for AthensCon, December 2 & 3, a convention which last year had 15,000 attendees.  My duties/events include (besides having fun and eating gyros):


Running a two-hour RPG workshop:  The Genius of Original Dungeons & Dragons:  Leaping Outside the Box of Design History.
Participating in a large panel discussion on board game design.
DMing two sessions of my redesigned Lake Level from Castle El Raja Key, a level Gary Gygax cut his teeth on during the play-tests of D&D in 1973 and which was later incorporated into Castle Greyhawk as the "Black Reservoir." I have greatly expanded it to two maps with the commensurate encounters and added a back history and living depth to it.  Should be a riot! 

Here's the link to my appearance:  http://www.athenscon.gr/en/guests/item/robert-j-kuntz

See you there?  C'mon, everyone likes gyros with gaming!  :)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dave Arneson's True Genius Published

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 03:46
Hot off the press and already steamrolling ahead!



What is Dave Arneson’s True Genius??
Well...  It kinda starts below...

...and then by leaps and bounds...
Breaks the sound barrier of game design history by 2,000 years...
Join us in a giant step into the past that re-opens a future doorway David L. Arneson created and gifted to us!
###
From the award-winning game designer and author Robert J. Kuntz
Available From:  threelinestudio.com


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Breaking News!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 00:01

Breaking News From Archeology Today!
NYC, in the year 2376...


Today archeologists from the Smithownisan Institute of Japan unearthed what is thought to be the last vestiges of a long defunct U.S. political party once called the Democrats.
Dr. Kumwatmae expounded upon the find:  "It's an exciting artifact that we are studying around the clock.  We believe these Democrats, in their dying days, resorted to baby worship by sacrificing millions of them upon the altar of a mysterious pseudo-religion that we can only now identify as something having to do with 'Planning'.  We strongly believe that this symbol may very well be a link to that religion, although my colleague at the dig, Dr. Cumwatmyte, still insists that the representative image is more likely an expression of some hidden angst that was on the rise among their kind and that lead to their untimely demise about 250 years ago."
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Project I'm Writing and Laying Out at the Same Time

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 20:18
The material dates from 1974 and, oh boy, has it been updated! Cool adventure in the future folks!

More to come!




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dave Arneson's True Genius Cover FINISHED!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 16:37



This is a highly reduced resolution JPEG of the cover for Dave Arneson's True Genius that my wife, Nathalie (with some specific help from myself on the graphics end, i.e., the concept lettering for the blackboard), finished today.  Nathalie is very excellent at layout (and many other things, she always surprises)!

Nat has proceeded to laying out the text.  Meanwhile I am plugging away on 2 maps for 2 separate adventures as well as laying out TLS's first PDF product!

We are getting excited here!  I hope you are too!

Enjoy!

Rob & Nat


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

BoardGameGeek Composite Rating for El Raja Key Archive: So Far So Good!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Tue, 12/06/2016 - 17:22



Initial reactions from buyers at BGG of El Raja Key Archive is at a composite 9.5 out of 10.

LINK:  https://www.boardgamegeek.com/rpgitem/212609/el-raja-key-archive

Not blowing our horn too much here, but we expected very high ratings for this product.

Almost 3 years steady production time went into finishing the project and it also launched a new adventure book line with it.  Its nearly 1,100 hi-res scanned files date back to 1971 and are a roadmap to pre-D&D, early D&D, ancient Greyhawk material, World of Kalibruhn, early TSR and so much more, spanning 48 years of my design history through the original artifacts that were auctioned 2005-2015 but, with foresight, were preserved for the gamers, collectors and historians through hundreds of hours of scanning work over that time.

There has never been an item of this sort produced and made available for the public in the history of RPGs.

TLB Games is currently running a Holiday Sale for ERKA (see link at the right side bar).  Get yours before Santa heads back to the North Pole!


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

My Interview at the Multiverse Blog

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 17:22
"Chillin' after the interview"

Timothy Connolly and I had a week-long give-and-take resulting in an interview that should be of special interest to TSR/D&D historians and serious designers.

LINK:  http://multiverse.world/blog/2016/11/30/qa-robert-j-kuntz/
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

TLB Games Holiday Specials

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 21:15

Holiday Sale Special!!!
Check out our specials for El Raja Key Archive and Sunken City Adventure!

https://www.tlbgames.com/
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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