PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

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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. :)

Comments (3)

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 (11)

February update

Wow, what an amazing month January has been: the response to my AmiCats far exceeded my expectations (although I had been secretly hoping that my 3 years of refining prototypes would end up paying off financially as well as artistically) and it’s so rewarding to finally see my patterns out in the world after all this time of working on them.

AmiCats CAL

The AmiCats crochet-along is in full swing! We’re only a couple of weeks into this CAL, and just look at the cute kitties:

AmiCats CAL entries (crochet patterns by PlanetJune)
We’ve already got AmiCats representing 4 continents of crocheters, so I’m hoping they’ll be popping up all around the world very soon…

The AmiCats CAL runs until the end of February, so if you’ve bought the patterns, please join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group and post photos of your ami kitties 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 section of my shop.)

Love Hearts pattern

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d remind you of my free heart pattern for your seasonal decorations. Love Hearts includes perfectly-shaped flat hearts in 3 sizes, plus a puffy heart:

love hearts crochet pattern by planetjune

Love Hearts 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. :)

Hack Attack

My web server was subjected to a DDoS attack over the past few days. It’s been very stressful – after the first wave of the attack was blocked, another popped up to take its place – and I apologise if you experienced any difficulties accessing PlanetJune (e.g. slowness, pages not loading correctly) in the past week.

The attacks have all now been blocked (thanks to stellar tech support from my webhost, ServInt), and PlanetJune is running smoothly again. Phew!

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.

I have two months of prizes to announces today, as I posted my 2014 Year In Review instead of a monthly update in January.

chinchilla1 iguana1

December’s winner is Simone N‘s review of my Chinchilla:

This great pattern provides you with easy-to-follow instructions for a super cute, realistic Chinchilla. Also the sewing part is very easy to understand, thereby guaranteeing an amigurumi you’ll immediately want to cuddle with!

And January’s winner is Alexa B‘s review of my Iguana:

As you can see, this iguana is highly realistic and also surprisingly easy to make. I really liked the color changes here, you can barely see them, unlike with most patterns. Great technique!

Thank you for your reviews, and congratulations to both of you – I’ve emailed you both to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

What’s Next?

I’m happy to be making good progress with my latest commissioned design, so there’ll be a new PlanetJune Camel pattern coming very soon. I can’t wait to be able to show it to you – watch this space…

Comments (1)

December update

I’m still concentrating on nursing myself back to health at the moment, so I can enjoy the upcoming Christmas summer holiday (the advantage of living in the southern hemisphere!) and have a fresh start in 2015.

Taking this time off to rest was a very hard decision to make – especially at this time of year: the best time for doing business – but as I slowly inch back to my normal self, I know it was the only choice I could have made. Thank you all so much for your messages of support on my last post (and on Facebook and by email) – they’ve meant so much to me in this very frustrating time.

Now I’m finally starting to feel a bit better, and I have some fun news to share…

Crochet Award Nominations

What a lovely surprise to discover I’ve been nominated for three Flamies:

Badge - I've been nominated for Flamie

Please cast your vote now for your favourites in crochet – you don’t need to make a choice for every category, just the ones you care about.

(And I’d be very happy if your choices include me in the above categories!)

Fan Mail!

Today I received an amazing surprise in the mail: Monica (MagicalAmigurumi) made me a mini-me using the Girl pattern from my CIG to Amigurumi with some clever mods – she’s the spitting image of me, even down to the miniature glasses and a tiny version of my Lacy Bobbles Cowl. Isn’t she great? I feel like a superstar now :D

me and my mini-me from Monica
me and my mini-me from Monica

ServInt Spotlight

And, just in case my head hadn’t already got big enough, my excellent webhost, ServInt, just featured PlanetJune in a spotlight on their Facebook page. (FYI, if your traffic has outgrown your shared hosting, I highly recommend them for a fast, reliable, easy-to-upgrade server solution.)

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.

Pine Cone Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

By complete coincidence, November’s winner is Andrea M‘s review of my Flamie-nominated Pine Cone Collection:

I just downloaded the pattern on Saturday and made 7 cones over the weekend, they are totally addictive! They are really a lot of fun and this is a very versatile pattern that generates all possible sizes of cones. I will make dozens for gifts and decoration this year, four weeks to go!
Very well explained tutorial with helpful photos and a lot of good tips. Love it, June!

Thank you, and congratulations, Andrea – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

Now I’d better get back to resting and knitting and listening to audiobooks, and trying to ignore that persistent voice in the back of my head that’s telling me I really should be working. This recovery is a slow process, but now I think my health is actually improving, I’m going to enjoy relaxing and taking it easy for a while longer…

Comments (5)

November update

I’m a little giddy with anticipation right now, as I’ve almost reached the end of a design process that’s been eluding me for a very a long time. My upcoming collection of animal designs has taken several years and over a dozen prototypes to reach the point where I’m truly satisfied with the shape and construction, and I’m hoping to have the resulting patterns complete and ready to reveal in the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to show them to you!

In the meantime, here’s the latest PlanetJune news:

Christmas CAL

Now November is here, it’s time to begin my annual Christmas CAL. We’re doing things a bit differently this year: not only will the CAL include all the classic PlanetJune Christmas patterns pictured below – perfect for your seasonal decorating – but you can also enter with any PlanetJune design that you’re making as a Christmas present. We’ll cheer you along between now and Christmas as you crochet your handmade gifts – fun!

PlanetJune Christmas CAL 2014
You’ll find the links to all my Christmas crochet patterns here

If you’re planning to make any PlanetJune designs as Christmas decorations or gifts, please join us in the PlanetJune ravelry group and share what you’re making…

Crochet Tools Hiatus

I’ve reluctantly decided I have to temporarily close the Crochet Tools section of my shop (where I sell Detail Stuffing Tools, Stitch Markers, Amigurumi Essentials Kits, and free bookmarks) until the new year.

The postal strike in South Africa is still ongoing, and I can’t hazard a guess as to how long your order will take to reach you – the post office workers only shrug when I ask, and I’ve just discovered there are packages I shipped in September that haven’t yet reached their destination. This obviously isn’t acceptable, and I anticipate the delays will only get worse as the strike lengthens and as we approach the busy Christmas season, when delivery times are always longer than usual.

As I have no other way to ship small packets at reasonable cost to you, I see no alternative but to suspend shipping until the strike is resolved, the backlog is cleared, and the Christmas rush is over. I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this causes. If you’d like to be notified when PlanetJune crochet tools are available to ship again, please sign up for the one-off notification email.

Fall CAL Report

My ever-popular Pumpkin was the most popular entry in the Fall CAL, with lots of giant and multi-coloured varieties popping up as well as the classic orange. Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune Fall CAL 2014 - sample of entries

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.

Primroses crochet pattern by PlanetJune

October’s winner is Becky G‘s review of my colourful Primroses:

I decided to crochet the entire four plant pot and it looks so pretty. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to figure it out but the directions are easy to follow and looks life like when finished I would definitely recommend this pattern. I love it!

Congratulations, Becky – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize! And thanks to everyone who takes a minute to leave a review in my shop for a pattern they’ve enjoyed – I (and other would-be customers) appreciate every one…

Comments (1)

October update

September is over which means I’m back from my mini sabbatical, which went by in a flash – did you even have time to miss me?!

I achieved some major goals: an amazing trip to Malaysia (I’ll share that with you when I’ve finished sorting through the 2000-ish photos I took…) and some big technical improvements with the shop (I’ll tell you about those in a later post too).

And then I hit a snag: I was stricken with first a bad tummy bug (while travelling), then a cold (probably caught on the long journey home) and now I have bronchitis, so I’m not at all rested and revitalised as I’d expected to be after this time away from you. The best laid plans…

While I do have several new and exciting patterns in the works, nothing is anywhere near ready to publish, and I think I’m going to have to pass on designing any new Fall- or Christmas-themed patterns this year. I know it seems like a wasted opportunity, but my designs take inspiration, time and a clear head to develop and I don’t have much of any of those right now – being awake coughing all night will do that to you!

Fall CAL

However, I do already have a million and one designs (approximately), so all is not lost. ;)

This month’s crochet-along theme is all things fall, halloween and autumnal, from cute and spooky amigurumi, to seasonally-appropriate accessories. You can choose from any PlanetJune patterns and the patterns from both my books, provided they fit the theme (either as-is, or with your own customizations). Here’s a selection of ideas to get you started:

a selection of Fall-themed PlanetJune patterns
Note: This photo doesn’t even include all the PlanetJune options, let alone any pics from Idiot’s Guides: Crochet – if you’ve already bought the book, you’ll know there are lots of seasonally-appropriate options there too!

I hope you’ll join us in the PlanetJune ravelry group for the Fall CAL this October :)

Book-Along CAL Report

The vast majority of entries in the Book-Along were made from the patterns (and creative uses of the stitch patterns) from my new book, Idiot’s Guides: Crochet. It hasn’t even been out for 2 months yet, and it’s an amazing feeling to see it being put to such good use, and to see people taking my advice from the book and modifying my patterns to make their own gorgeous versions. Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune BookAlong CAL 2014 - sample of entries

I’m going to start a new thread in the Ravelry group for future book projects – it’s lovely to be able to browse through and see what everyone is making.

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.

I have a bumper crop of winners to announce this month, as circumstances haven’t left me time to draw any winners since May(!), so here are the whole summer’s randomly-drawn winners:

PlanetJune pattern reviews

June’s winner is Jessica C‘s review of the ever-popular Baby Bunnies:

Very well-written pattern, easy to follow and with plenty of pictures to assist in placement of parts. They work up quickly and easily.

July’s winner is Stacey H‘s review of the Baby Sea Turtle Collection:

I made several of these! This was the very first pattern I made. I actually learned to crochet so I could make this pattern! It was easy enough for a beginner!

August’s winner is Peggy G‘s review of the classic Stegosaurus:

My nephew is dino-crazy, so I have made him almost every single one of June’s dinosaurs. They are a huge hit with him and they are so cute and fun to make. Super detailed pattern makes them zero-stress. Highly recommended!

And September’s winner is Chevelle G‘s review of my Gecko pattern:

I’ve been crocheting for just over a year now, but this was my first amigurumi project! I’ve been wanting to try my hand at it for ages, and when my fiance saw that I’d pinned this pattern from Ravelry to my Pinterest board, he fell in love and asked me to make him one! June’s pattern was so straightforward and easy to follow, making it perfect for someone having a go at amigurumi for the first time. It was amazed to see it taking shape so fast – I had this little guy finished in just a few hours, and my fiance loved him! I can’t wait to try more of June’s patterns – they are detailed, easy to follow and full of photos that are a great reference. Thank you, June! :)

Congratulations to all the winners – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize! And thanks to everyone who takes a minute to leave a review in my shop for a pattern they’ve enjoyed – please do keep those reviews coming…

Comments (3)

August update

I skipped July’s monthly update, as I didn’t have anything to report except more burglary aftermath, but now I’m being treated for the PTSD, and today I had new extra-strong security gates installed at every entryway into my house, so things are getting better and I should feel much more secure from now on. And that’s enough about that – let’s move swiftly onto the good stuff!

Book-Along CAL

I’m most excited this month to start a new crochet-along for the new book (and the previous book, to be inclusive) in the PlanetJune Ravelry group. Throughout August and September, you can join in by making anything using the patterns, concepts and techniques from either of my two crochet books: Idiot’s Guides: Crochet and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi:

Idiot's Guides: Crochet by June Gilbank - patterns
IG Crochet: Easy Stitch Gallery patterns
IG Crochet: Intermediate Stitch Gallery patterns
IG Crochet: Motif patterns
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank - patterns

So yes, you have a lot of choices! I think you’ll find something you’ll like in this Crochet-Along and I hope you’ll join us by making one (or many) projects over the next 2 months and sharing them in the Book-Along CAL thread – you’ll find full details of the CAL there.

If you’re new to PlanetJune CALs, please see the CAL FAQ page for information and instructions for how to get started!

Subscribing to Blog Comments

It’s come to my attention that a recent WordPress update broke the ‘Notify me of follow-up comments by email’ function on my blog. I’m not sure how long it’s been broken for, so if you asked me a question and were waiting for notification of my reply, please return to the post you commented on to see my reply! The feature is now fixed and runs through Jetpack, so, in future, you can subscribe to comments on any post and you will receive notification by email when I respond to your query.

I do apologise to anyone who’s been negatively affected by this – I got to work fixing it as soon as someone mentioned it wasn’t working, but, as far as I know, it could have been broken for months. :( If you notice any other problems with my website, please let me know – I want everything to run smoothly, and if anything looks or acts strangely, I’d really appreciate it if you’d mention it to me, so I can try to improve it. Thanks!

Fiction and Fantasy CAL Report

The June/July CAL has now ended. Even though it’s been summer (for most) we had a lovely variety of entries – including lots of the new Aliens – and some very creative participants! Here’s a sampling of the entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune Fiction and Fantasy CAL 2014 - sample of entries

Review and Win contest

The monthly Review and Win contest has not been abandoned; I’m just postponing the draws for the winners of June and July’s contests. I’ll announce the 3 winners for all 3 summer months in September’s monthly update – so keep your fingers crossed, one of your June or July reviews may already be a winner and you don’t even know it yet!

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.

It’s Book Launch Time!

Idiot's Guides: Crochet by June Gilbank

Tomorrow, August 5th, is the official launch date for my new book, Idiot’s Guides: Crochet. So, if you haven’t pre-ordered it online, you may be able to pick it up from your local bookstore!

If you do see a copy on the shelf in a real-life shop, please snap me a pic and tweet, facebook or email it to me – I’d love to see my book ‘in the wild’!

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burgled (update)

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who took the time to leave me a message after my last post about the burglary. Reading them has meant a lot to me. These days, so few people comment on blogs, and it feels good to know you’re still out there reading what I write. I really appreciate all your advice and messages of support – thank you.

I still feel sick thinking about how lucky I was to be unharmed – at least physically – and how this could happen again (with far worse consequences) at any time, but here’s a quick update on my situation in case you’ve been worrying about me.

Fixing the Damage

All our belongings that were taken have been replaced. We’ve actually done quite well out of that: everything was insured, and having 2-4 year old laptops and tablets replaced with their current equivalents means nice shiny new models in place of the old slower ones.

But, in a great example of the relaxed pace of ‘Africa time’, I still have no front door! The company our insurance contracted to fit the replacement door and security door finally came to measure for the new door on Friday (9 days after the burglary…), but it’ll probably take another 2 weeks before the new door is made and can be fitted. In the meantime, our old door has been boarded up and screwed into the frame, so don’t worry: this delay isn’t a security problem, it’s just a bit frustrating not having a front door that opens.

Home Security

Thank you for all the advice – I’m definitely not considering buying a gun, but I’d like a dog, if I can figure out if Maui would be happy with that, and if we can find the right dog for our family. I’ve been considering getting a dog for several years, but it’s a big long-term commitment and I’ve never felt 100% sure that I’m ready. Maybe this will be the push I need, so I’ll have the bonus of a barking alarm as an additional burglar deterrent…

I live behind high spiked gates, with bars on all the windows and metal gates over all the doors. I assumed that would keep me safe, but it’s obviously not enough. I’m hoping the replacement doors will be more secure, and we’re also going to see if we can change how the alarm system works so I have more protection against intruders while I’m working from home all day.

Data Security

One excellent thing has come of all this: I’ve had to seriously address the issue of protecting my data with some sort of offsite backup, so I don’t lose my business files (or personal documents). Several of you suggested cloud storage, but I don’t feel that’s a secure solution for sensitive information. I already use Dropbox for saving ideas and sharing files with other people, but I’m not convinced it’s sufficiently safe for important private data such as my business files, tax records, etc.

I now have an excellent solution (thanks to Aleksandra’s recommendation) – I’ve created my own private, secure, cloud storage on my own web server. It works exactly like Dropbox, so all my files are automatically synced whenever I update them, I have access to all my data from any computer or mobile device. The difference is that my data is all encrypted at my end, so only I have the decryption key, and it’s only stored on my own server, so there’s far less risk of a security breach. And, because my server lives in North America, it’s 100% safe from South African burglars ;)

I know this probably won’t help many of my readers, but in case anyone googling for secure offsite data backup and file synchronization finds this post, I’m using Seafile for my own private cloud storage. A one-sentence review: it’s open source, completely free if you have your own server, and so far I’ve found it very easy to use: my files are auto-syncing from my computer, and I can easily access anything I need using the Android app on my phone and tablet. (I also found a similar solution called OwnCloud, but I haven’t tried it, so that’s not a personal recommendation, just another option you could consider.)

Moving Forward

Well, I’m trying to, at least. I’m still very jumpy, and every noise sounds like an intruder preparing to break in and attack me, but I have a plan for that: if I see anyone on my property, I’ll hit the panic button to set off the alarm, and hopefully scare them off before they get into the house. I feel a bit safer knowing I have some way to protect myself if I see anyone coming.

I’ve also made lots of progress on several of my big long-term projects – trying to take my mind off being scared – although there’s nothing to see yet, as I haven’t been able to do any final quality checks while I’ve been too exhausted to think clearly. But this means there’ll be lots of new PlanetJune stuff coming very soon…

Things are getting better. Thank you for caring. :)

Comments (15)

burgled…

Last week was my 8th blogiversary, but that was the last thing on my mind at the time. I had a horribly traumatic week: I disturbed a burglary in progress at my house, and I’m still very shaken up by the experience. I’ll tell the story here for those who want to know, and then I’ll try not to discuss it again. I’d love to hear messages of support or advice, but I don’t want to answer questions, please – it’s still all too raw, and dwelling on it makes the terror flood back.

I’ve never really felt safe in South Africa, but I assumed that, locked up in my house with security bars on all the windows and doors, and protected by an armed response security group, I was safe to be alone at home all day. Not true: the burglars easily forced my front gate, security gate and front door with just a crowbar, in the middle of the day.

I was photographing birds in my back garden, and when I walked back into the house I found two men in my living room, holding armfuls of my stuff. When they saw me, they ran outside to a waiting car. At the car, they turned back and just looked at me, and time stood still… Then they jumped into the car and sped off before I could even grasp what was happening. They got away with the TV, our laptops, my tablet and a few other bits of tech, and our front door and security gate are now wrecked and useless.

Almost a week later, I still can’t stop replaying it over and over in my mind. They may well have been armed; the police sounded very surprised that I hadn’t been attacked. That moment – where the burglars hesitated and stared at me before deciding to drive off – haunts me: if they’d made the other decision, I’d have been completely defenceless with all the doors between us hanging broken and useless…

(And, on a lesser scale of scariness from my lucky escape, but still a big eye-opener: I realised later that I was also only a minute or two away from losing my entire business! Luckily they hadn’t reached my big PC when I disturbed them, so I still have all my critical PlanetJune data. I feel a bit sick that I’ve lost design notes and reference pics from my tablet, but it could have been far worse. Our insurance will cover replacement tech, we’ve changed all the passwords we can think of, and I’m figuring out an off-site backup strategy so I won’t come this close again to losing everything I’ve worked so hard to build.)

I feel violated and traumatised by this whole experience. I’m trying to get back to a normal routine, but I don’t even have a new front door or security gate yet, I’m not sleeping well, and every sound sends me running around the house checking all the doors. It’s awful to not feel safe in your own home. How do you get over something like this? It just fades with time, I suppose?

So, I’m going to skip my 8th blogiversary roundup. I’m sure I’ve done lots of good stuff over the past year, but that all seems a bit hollow right now. I’m just glad I’m still around to start my 9th year of blogging. Thank you for sticking with me – at a horrible time like this, it’s good to remember I have friends all over the world who do care that I’m still here.

I’ll be back soon with a more cheerful post!

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June update

I went to an optician last week and discovered that my short-sightedness has actually reduced considerably (a side-effect of getting older!) and my glasses are now much too strong. My eyes have been under constant strain as a result, and that’s probably why I’ve been getting increasingly frequent headaches over the past few months. Headaches make me slow because it’s hard to concentrate, and sometimes stop me from working altogether. I’m hoping that, once my new glasses arrive, the headaches will stop and I’ll be able to be much more productive – fingers crossed…

Commissions Update

By popular demand, I re-added the AmiDogs King Charles Spaniel option to my commissions list this week. For some reason, almost nobody pledged when it was last on the list, but this time, it was fully pledged within 2 days! (I’ll have to think about what that may mean for future commissions.) But, this means I now have 3 AmiDogs commissions in a row – I think that’s about my limit, so I’m putting further AmiDogs on indefinite hold, at least until I complete the 3 dog commissions I already have.

Once the commissions queue is shorter (or in a few months’ time if the queue keeps growing), I’ll hold another commissions review and decide which of the remaining options to remove from the list and which new ideas to add! If you’ve been sending me suggestions, I haven’t been ignoring them; I’m just saving them all up for my next review.

It’s time for me to start my next commission, so I’m currently collecting the pledge monies for the Camel design. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this one! I’ve bought some lovely baby camel yarn to make one with, so the Camel will become the latest member of my Natural Fibres collection (with the alpaca Alpaca and the angora Baby Bunny).

Fiction and Fantasy CAL

For this month’s crochet-along we’ll be using any PlanetJune pattern(s) to create something with a tie-in to fiction – take your favourite characters and props (from books, movies, TV shows, or anywhere else) and bring them to life in crochet! Here are a few pattern ideas to get you started – can you figure out which books and movies I was thinking of when I selected these?

PlanetJune Fiction and Fantasy CAL 2014

Customise the Boy and/or Girl patterns from my Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi book into your favourite character and get advice from our group members who have lots of experience with embellishing and customising amigurumi people. Or, make animals and props that feature in stories, books and movies – stick to the pattern, or get as creative as you want!

Please join us in the PlanetJune ravelry group for this CAL – it’s going to be a fun one :)

AquAlong CAL Report

The May CAL has now ended. Congratulations to all the participants – it was lovely to see so many beautiful aquatic animals being crocheted throughout the month. Baby Sea Turtles were the runaway favourite pattern this time around, and we got to see how they look in a huge varieties of colourways (spoiler alert: they’re all super-cute)! Here’s a sampling of the entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune AquAlong CAL 2014 - sample of entries

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.

May’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Rebecca D, with – coincidentally fitting the themes of this post! – her review of my Orca (Killer Whale):

Orca (Killer Whale) amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I was astounded by the beauty of the animal emerging from my crochet hook as I followed PlanetJune’s design. I bought it focused on the accuracy of black-and-white colouration, so I was halfway done before I realised just how perfectly the orca’s head was shaped too. I can tell from the pattern just how complicated it was for June to design, but although it requires concentration, it’s very easy to crochet. I’m overwhelmed by the appearance of the final piece. I bought the pattern thinking solely of my sister, a big orca fan, but it’s such an amazing piece that I will definitely need one of my own.

I’m glad you enjoyed it Rebecca, and congrats – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize :)

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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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