PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

in tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

When I heard yesterday that Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away, my first thought was to make something to pay tribute to the man and his work, but then I realised that Terry Pratchett’s writings have already inspired me in so many ways over the years.

Although my heart hurts today, it makes me happy to know that, in 2008, he got to see my tribute to his work in the form of my Amigurumi Discworld, and I hope he could tell from that how much his books mean to me:

amigurumi discworld by planetjune
See my Amigurumi Discworld page for more details on this project

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

I’ve just realised that Terry Pratchett’s books have been a part of my life for over a quarter of a century! At age 11, when my best friend recommended Reaper Man to me, I took one look at the skeleton on the cover and decided it looked weird, creepy, and definitely not a book I’d enjoy reading. Luckily I ignored that first impression and trusted my friend (thank you Helen, wherever you are now) and my life was forever changed…

I could never have guessed that Death, that ‘weird, creepy’ skeleton, would become one of my favourite characters in literature! That’s part of the Pratchett genius, and something you can’t possibly understand until you read his books. The characters, the humour, and the way the strands of the plot always come together in such a satisying way by the end of the book – every Terry Pratchett book is a gem.

As time went by, I devoured every new Discworld book as soon as I could get my hands on it. In high school, I was delighted to ‘get’ the Shakespearean references in Wyrd Sisters after studying Macbeth in English classes. During my student days, I queued for hours at Cambridge book signings to exchange a few words with the man himself and get a favourite book or two signed. And commuting through a long Canadian winter (2 hours each way, driving cross-country through the darkness and snowstorms) was made bearable by having my Discworld audiobooks for company.

crocheted orang utan by planetjune
See my Crocheted Orangutan page for more details on this project

My enduring love for orangutans was first sparked by Terry’s interest in them via, of course, the Librarian from the Discworld books, and also by a documentary he made (Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest) about his trip to Borneo to see the endangered orang utan population. This not only led to my year-long art project to make a life-size realistic poseable baby orang utan (above), but also to last year’s trip to Borneo where I trekked through jungle (with my bad knee!) just so I too could see orangs in the wild.

And it’s not just the Discworld books: his Bromeliad trilogy for children (Truckers, Diggers, and Wings) – together with a documentary by my other hero, David Attenborough – inspired me to learn about, and create my own, tiny bromeliad-dwelling frog:

strawberry poison dart frog polymer clay sculpture by planetjune

Which in turn led to my Poison Dart Frog crochet pattern:

poison dart frog amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

As you can see, Terry Pratchett’s writing has always been a source of enjoyment and inspiration to me. Last year, I started re-reading all the Discworld books, and once I finish those, I’m going to continue reading (or re-reading) the entire Pratchett canon – I know it’ll be a pleasure.

Although I’m desperately sad to know that he’s no longer with us, Sir Terry will live on forever through his books, which will continue to inspire and delight me and millions of other people all over the world. Now that’s a legacy to be proud of.

Comments (4)

March update

Knee update

It’s coming up for 2 weeks since my knee surgery, and my knee is starting to improve! I’ll spare you the details, but the surgeon had to do several procedures inside my knee to fix the damaged areas and to attempt to realign my kneecap so the problems won’t reoccur (it’ll be a few months before we know how well that worked). Once I can move my knee properly again I’ll be going for rehab sessions to get the strength back in my leg muscles.

I’m very relieved I’ve had the surgery before things progressed any further, though: there was extensive degeneration inside my knee, and it would have continued to deteriorate and become even more painful. My main problem at the moment is that I’m still not sleeping well, leaving me feeling exhausted and run-down, so please keep bearing with me – although I have started working again, I’ll need a lot more rest before I’m back up to speed!

I wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you who’ve contacted me with messages of support – this has been quite a scary time, and your kind words mean a lot to me.

PlanetJune operations update

I’ve reopened my Etsy and ArtFire stores and I’m trying to catch up on email, but please be patient if it takes me a couple of days to respond to your questions. (If you asked me something over 2 weeks ago and I haven’t yet responded, please email me again – if it’s been buried in my email I may never find it…)

I won’t be reopening the Crochet Tools section of my shop yet – although I can drive again, my knee won’t be up to climbing the stairs and standing in line at the post office for a while! (If you’re waiting to order a stuffing tool or kit, sign up and I’ll send you a one-off email when they’re available again.)

AmiCats CAL Report

This was one of the most fun PlanetJune crochet-alongs we’ve ever had – although I wasn’t able to add my own comments, I so enjoyed browsing the thread (from my bed!) and seeing all the perfectly-shaped kitties emerging in different colours, with whiskers, collars, embroidered eyes, and other special touches. Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune AmiCats CAL 2015 - sample of entries

Raining AmiCats & Dogs CAL

Our group rule is that, unless there are special circumstances, like a CAL with prizes, you can always enter WIPs (works-in-progress) into our CALs, so if you didn’t quite manage to finish your AmiCat in February, you haven’t missed out on the AmiCats CAL fun – the March crochet-along started yesterday, and for this one you’ll be able to keep making AmiCats, as well as your choice of my 21 AmiDogs patterns!

PlanetJune Raining AmiCats & Dogs CAL crochet pattern options

The Raining AmiCats & Dogs CAL runs until the end of March, so please join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group and post photos of your ami kitties and pups to the CAL so we can all enjoy them!

(If you haven’t bought the patterns yet, you can find them all in the AmiCats and AmiDogs sections of my shop – and don’t forget you can save money by buying the complete AmiCats Collection and/or a Custom Set of any 3 AmiDogs!)

Shamrocks pattern

With St Patrick’s Day in a couple of weeks, I thought I’d remind you of my free shamrocks pattern! Shamrocks is a clever little pattern to make sweet shamrocks with a dimensional 3D effect, in two sizes: a realistically-shaped design, and a tiny miniature version:

shamrocks crochet pattern by planetjune

Shamrocks is a donationware pattern, so you’re free to use it at no cost, and, if you’d like to leave me a donation of whatever you feel it’s worth, you’ll also get a handy printable PDF version as a thank-you (which also includes bonus crochet stitch diagrams for both shamrocks, in both right- and left-handed versions).

PlanetJune in the Media

Thanks to Simply Crochet magazine for interviewing me about crocheted accessories for the article Adorned with Crochet in Issue 27!

simply crochet simply crochet

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune

February’s winner is Janet Y‘s review of my AmiCats Single-Coloured Cat (2nd from the left in the above photo):

A great pattern, beautifully written and with so many helpful photographs. The shaping achieved is wonderful and the clever way of joining the front legs to the body gives a really neat look. Joining the legs looks a bit daunting at first, but if you follow the instructions and look at the photographs it comes together quite easily. June has captured the essence of a cat perfectly and you will love the end result.

Congratulations, Jan – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

What’s Next?

My Mum is arriving today from the UK, so I’ll be mostly offline for the next 10 days enjoying my rare time with her. I do have an extremely cute new design in the works though, so I hope to have a new pattern to release later this month, if my knee cooperates! If not, my primary goal for this year is to get my health back; there’s no need to stress about arbitrary deadlines. I’ll work on it when I can, and rest when I can’t, so the new pattern will be ready when it’s ready. :)

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my knee surgery, and PlanetJune operations

In an unexpectedly speedy turn of events, I’ve just discovered that I’ll be going in for my knee surgery this Wednesday! I’m very happy to be getting my knee sorted out after a year of chronic pain, but it’s going to affect operations at PlanetJune for as long as it takes me to recover from the surgery.

Hopefully it won’t take too long, but please bear with me in the meantime. Here’s how it’ll play out:

Patterns: No change

You can always buy my patterns from the PlanetJune shop at any time, as they are automatically available for download. (I will be temporarily closing my external Etsy and ArtFire shops though.)

Shipped items: Order today, or wait…

I won’t be able to fulfill any orders for physical items until my knee is fully recovered and I’m able to drive to the post office again! So, if you think you may need a stuffing tool, stitch markers, or an amigurumi kit in the near future, please place your order by the end of the day today (Monday), so I can ship them to you tomorrow before my surgery on Wednesday.

If you miss the deadline and would like to be notified when PlanetJune crochet tools are available to ship again, please sign up for the one-off notification email.

Help: Check my resources first

I’ll be offline while I recover, so anything that requires personal attention from me will be unavailable for a time – how much time depends on how long my recovery takes. If you email me for help, I’ll reply when I’m able to, but I suggest you check my online resources first – you may well find the answer to your question:

  • If you have crochet questions, please visit my Crochet Tutorials page for help. (And if you’re having trouble with a PlanetJune pattern, but aren’t sure what you’re doing wrong, check my Amigurumi Troubleshooter to find which of my tutorials will solve your problem!)
  • If you have any other questions for me, please check the FAQ first to see if I’ve already answered them there.
  • If those pages don’t answer your question, feel free to ask for further assistance in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, where your friendly fellow PJers are ready and waiting to help! This is the quickest way to receive knowledgeable help from a real live person.

If you still have questions about PlanetJune patterns or tutorials, or anything else you’d like to say to me, you can still e-mail me, but please be aware that I may not be able to respond for days (or weeks), depending on how my recovery is going and how many email questions have piled up.


Please keep me in your thoughts on Wednesday. My health has to be my first priority for a little while, but I’ll be crossing my fingers for a full and speedy recovery so I can get back to coming up with new designs for PlanetJune!

Comments (12)

Camel crochet pattern

Today has an extra reason to be known as Hump Day, because it’s Camel time! For my latest commission, I’ve designed a realistic camel complete with curved neck, eyelids, tasseled tail, and of course the essential hump:

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

The Camel crochet pattern is a new addition to my natural fibres range of amigurumi designs (together with the alpaca Alpaca and the angora Baby Bunny) and I’ve been waiting for almost 3 years to have the chance to use the 100% baby camel yarn I bought just for this purpose. Of course, I created my design with standard worsted weight acrylic yarn in mind – there’s no need to splash out on pricey camel yarn unless you want that added realism :)

The regular worsted weight camel is a sturdy 8.5″ (21cm) long. My little camel-yarn camel is only 6.5″ long, because the camel yarn is finer (DK weight) so I used a smaller hook (C US/2.75mm) to keep the stitches tidy. (You can get the same scaling effect with any of my patterns by using a thicker/thinner yarn and a correspondingly larger/smaller hook to resize the pattern to any scale you wish.)

I love how my two samples look like they’re part of an amigurumi camel train:

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

Camel Fun Facts

  • There are two types of camel: the one-humped dromedary (like my design), and the two-humped Bactrian camel.
  • The dromedary is adapted to survive in the hot, dry desert environment of northern Africa and the Middle East.
  • The Bactrian camel comes from Asian climates that can get much colder. Its soft thick undercoat is shed annually and is used to make camel yarn.
  • Camels store fatty deposits in their humps that let them survive in drought conditions.
  • They also have other clever adaptations like the ability to close their nostrils in sandstorms!

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and I’d like to give an extra-special thank you to every one of my patrons who commissioned this pattern last year, paid for it the week before my home invasion trauma, and have been waiting ever since for me to be able to complete their pattern. I’m so grateful for your patience and trust through these many months, and I’m delighted to be able to finally say that your pattern is now ready for you to download from your PlanetJune account!

camel amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

If you weren’t one of the camel commissioners, my Camel pattern is now available to purchase from the PlanetJune shop.

Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please add my Camel to your queue or favourites on Ravelry, so you don’t forget about it:

I hope you like my Camel design!


As you may know, I’ll be going for knee surgery at some time in the next few weeks. As I can’t predict how long my recovery will take, I’ll wait until I’m better before I accept payment for my next commission, as I don’t want to create another situation like the Camel where personal circumstances cause months of delay between your payment and receiving your pattern. So, if you’ve pledged towards the Armadillo design, please know that I won’t be sending out the invoices until I’m ready to begin work on your design. :)

Comments (7)

Commissions Review: 36 months

It’s been about 3 years since I launched my crowd-sourced model for crochet pattern commissions. The first 18 months went amazingly well, and the second 18 months didn’t – not through the fault of my system, but from all the other things that kept me from working on commissions (book-writing, health issues, etc).

PlanetJune crochet pattern commissions
I designed all these patterns thanks to my crowd-sourced design commissions!

Now I’ve picked up the reins of the commissions again, and I’m very happy that my next commissioned design (Camel) will be launched this week.

So, today seems like the perfect time to make some more changes to the commissions process, firstly to give me a chance to work through the huge waiting list of commissioned designs, and secondly to make the commissions process sustainable for the future.

Summary of Commission Changes

I’ve written a long post below to explain my thoughts, but, if you don’t have time to wade through it all, here’s a summary of the changes:

  • As of today, I’ve raised the commission price to $300.
  • All patterns that were fully pledged at the old price will remain fully pledged.
  • I’ll revisit this pricing decision once I’ve cleared the backlog of commissioned designs.
  • Please continue to pledge for the designs you really want me to make!
  • If you’d like to cancel any pledges, just let me know (you can check what you’ve pledged for here).

It may seem like an extreme measure to double the price of my commissioned designs, but I have good reasons. I like to run my business transparently, so I’ll explain my reasoning below…

__(‘Read the rest of this entry »’)

Comments (5)

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    June Gilbank
    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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