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June Gilbank is a crochet pattern designer, writer, blogger, and multi-crafter. She runs the PlanetJune craft blog and pattern store (planetjune.com) and has designed and self-published over 100 Amigurumi-style crochet patterns.
June Gilbank is a crochet pattern designer, writer, blogger, and multi-crafter. June taught herself to crochet when she moved from the United Kingdom to Canada in 2003, and she has since designed and published more than 150 unique crochet patterns at PlanetJune (www.planetjune.com). Her specialties are cute and realistic animal, plant, and seasonal amigurumi designs as well as elegant accessories that showcase the beauty and variety of crochet.
June studied science and math at university and has worked as a technical writer. She uses these skills on a daily basis to bring clarity and precision to her crochet patterns and tutorials.
June is the author of "Idiot's Guides: Crochet" (2014, Alpha Books), "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi" (2010, Alpha Books) and "Paper Chains & Garlands" (2009, Quirk Packaging). She has contributed articles and patterns to books and magazines such as "Inside Crochet", "One Yard Wonders", and "A Needle Pulling Thread".
When she isn't crocheting, June enjoys exploring wildlife and nature, trying new crafts, and cozying up at home with her husband, Dave, and cat, Maui. They currently live in Cape Town, South Africa.
Generally, I don't buy books that start off with "The Complete Idiot's Guide To..." anything. Sometimes those books just aren't worth the money.
BUT, June Gilbank's* new book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi does not fit into that description. I am familiar with M's Gilbank's whimsical work through her blog site, Planet June. I've purchased a few patterns from her and have found the patterns to be well written and concise. Obviously, she tests these patterns thoroughly so there isn't that thought while you making something that "yeah, it's supposed to look like groundhog but it looks more like a monstrous snake". If the pattern is describing how to make a groundhog, you will achieve a groundhog that you can be proud of and show off. Plus the directions are easy. If it says "start off with a magic ring", that's what you do. And if you don't understand how to make a magic ring, M's Gilbank walks you through the procedure, complete with black and white close-ups so you can understand what is being produced. This is a great help for those of us that needs the visual to go along with the written word. M's Gilbank includes directions to make tubes, cones and circles so you can plan to make your own amigurumi design. Maybe you want to do one of your cat and you can't quite find any suitable pattern. With M's Gilbank's instructions, you will be able to figure out exactly what shape the body parts should be. You'll also be able to figure out, with M's Gilbank's instructions, where and how the color changes should be executed. She also offers various options to give your amigurumi a special look - maybe handmade eyes?Read more ›
June Gilbank's book, The Complete Idiot's guide to Amigurumi, is one of a kind! There are plenty of Ami pattern books out there, and most offer one or two tips and simple stitches. However, June's book is unique because it doesn't just give you patterns, it tells you HOW to make Ami's step by step with lots of pictures! Part 1 of June's book is all about the basics: materials, how to hold your hook and yarn, and following patterns. June shares some of her individual techniques that make your Ami's not only polished, but easier to construct! Part 2 of the book takes a tremendous step forward from any other kind of Ami book out there-she tells you how to make the various shapes that can help you to design your OWN! Ch. 8 explains various ways you can make jointed Ami's, so that they can stand or be posed. This is great information to have, especially if you are making an Ami for a child to play with. Part 3 is all about the finishing touches: Eyes, hairstyles (I found this section especially fun, since I have a baby granddaughter and want to make her some dolls!), and fancy stitches and other materials you can use to make your Ami's truly unique! Finally, June includes four of her own designs for you to make. There are hamsters (she is famous for her animal patterns), a mushroom and toadstool, and a boy and girl Ami. I have made several of June's patterns and every one of them has been the best written pattern available anywhere. June pays particular attention to detail, and her patterns are thoroughly tested before she publishes them, so I have yet to come across a mistake! With each of her patterns, you also get wonderful photographs to aid those visual learners. This book is a MUST HAVE for anyone who crochets, from the beginner to the experienced. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
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This is a wonderful reference book for amigurumi. The book is indexed in a way to instantly go to the section ones needs. The pictures are excellent and the tips throughout the book are wonderful guides to making the best creations possible.
If you love making this type of project, do yourself a favor and purchase this book.
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I read every single word ... and loved every bit of it.
Starting From Scratch
The book is designed to tell you everything you need to know to get started creating your own amigurumi - even if you've never crocheted before. You can learn everything from the anatomy of a crochet hook to how to make an invisible decrease ... and the magic circle (below). The instructions are clear and are accompanied by helpful photos that June took herself.
Tips And Tricks
After she's armed you with the basic crochet skills you need, she reveals the nitty gritty of designing amigurumi (or ami, for short), which is how to make shapes like flat circles, tubes, cones, and spheres.
June offers guidance about whether you want to make your ami-parts as closed shapes or open shapes depending on how you want it to look. And then she gives you several ways to stuff, close, and assemble your ami.
Not to mention the details about using different colors and types of yarn, creating expressive eyes, making your ami poseable. There is a whole chapter about all the ways you could make hair. It's clear from the amount of information she's packed into this book, that she's thought about all the ways you could do something and tried them all to see what works.
Pattern Boot Camp
Once you've absorbed all that information, you can hone your skills using the patterns she provides at the end of the book. They are arranged in order of difficulty and incorporate many of the techniques she reveals in the book.
I made the mushroom pattern. Easy and cute! The colorful mushroom cap was a perfect way to use up some tiny bits of leftover yarn. I also used her surface crochet idea to make gills under the mushroom.Read more ›