PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

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June update

New Prize CAL coming soon!

If you like dinosaurs, you have some treats in store… June 12th will mark not only the release of the new Jurassic World dinosaur movie, but also the start of the PlanetJune Summer of Dinosaurs!

From June 12th until the end of July, we’ll be going dino-crazy in the PlanetJune Ravelry group with all 18 of my amigurumi dinosaur patterns. These patterns are always popular because they’re simple to follow (with no colour changes), work equally well in any colour you can imagine, and make lovely sturdy toys for both girls and boys of all ages.

PlanetJune dinosaur crochet patterns

Lion Brand

And, as if that’s not exciting enough, this will be a prize CAL

Lion Brand have generously offered to sponsor this CAL with a yarny prize! (All the dinosaurs you see in the above photo are made from their lovely Vanna’s Choice yarn – it’s perfect for this sort of sculptural amigurumi.) I’ll also be kicking in some PlanetJune prizes, so this is going to be one CAL you won’t want to miss.

I’ll give you all the details in a post on the CAL launch date, but you can start get a head start by choosing your favourite dinosaurs and yarn colours right now (and joining the PlanetJune group on Ravelry, if you haven’t already). To be entered for the prizes, you can’t start crocheting until the official start date of June 12th, but you can pick up your patterns and yarn now, so you’ll be ready to go on the 12th!

You can find all the PlanetJune dinosaur patterns, individually and in sets, here in my shop.

Plant-Along CAL

While you’re waiting for the dino CAL to begin, the Plant-Along CAL continues until June 11th in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, so you still have some time to grab a PlanetJune botanical pattern and join in with making some spring flowers.

PlanetJune Plant-Along CAL crochet pattern options

The Primroses (top left in the above photo) have been the surprise favourite this time around – and the small pot is pretty quick to whip up, so you can still make one before the end of this CAL!

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

May’s winner is Jennifer B‘s review of my AmiCats Single-Coloured Cat (second from left in the above photo of the AmiCats Collection):

This pattern is so well-written and designed that anyone can make a realistic and awesome cat just by following instructions. They include positioning of body parts which allowed me to place limbs in just the right spot. The chest joins to the legs in a unique technique that creates a smooth and realistic front of the cat. The sitting cat’s body shape is so accurately cat-shaped it just astounded me. I made the first one like my sister’s first cat she had so many years ago. I plan to make remembrance cats for her of the four cats she’s had. Thank you for the best patterns ever!

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

Health update

I was looking forward to telling you in this update post that my knee is really improving, but I managed to catch a bad cold and chest infection that’s kept me in bed for the whole of the past week… My knee is very sore now after returning to rehab yesterday for the first time in over a week, but, apart from that short-term setback, it’s definitely been getting stronger.

I’m very grateful to the systems I’ve built for PlanetJune that allow me to take time off to rest when I need it without having to worry about money. Setting my health as my top priority for this year has been quite a revelation: I’d usually be battling on through every illness so I wouldn’t let my customers down, and I’d end up completely exhausted. Now I’ve realised the obvious: doing that doesn’t help anyone in the long term. Taking care of myself will hopefully get me to a point where I can be much stronger and more productive, so everyone wins.

What’s Next?

My week of rest last week has definitely paid off, and I’m all ready get back to working on my Armadillo pattern (look out for that very soon…) and preparing for our Summer of Dinosaurs. Fun times ahead!

Comments (3)

May update

Knee update

I’ll keep you posted about my knee for as long as it affects my work! The rehab sessions are wiping me out – I lose about half a working day three times a week, because I’m invariably so exhausted when I get home that I end up falling asleep. But my knee has been keeping me awake at night, so the post-rehab naps are a welcome rest.

Putting my health first is obviously the sensible thing to do, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when there’s so much I want to do for PlanetJune but this recovery process is taking forever! But my knee strength is improving a tiny bit each week, so I’ll keep going to the rehab/torture sessions for however long it takes to be able to walk normally and be able to sleep through the night without discomfort. :)

Baby Animals CAL Report

Baby Bunnies, Guinea Pigs and Sea Turtles were the main stars of the extra-cute April CAL. Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune Baby Animals CAL 2015 - sample of entries

Plant-Along CAL

The Plant-Along CAL runs from 1 May – 11 June 2015, and you can join in by making any PlanetJune botanical patterns: flowers, plants and fruit – i.e. any of these patterns:

PlanetJune Plant-Along CAL crochet pattern options

The options include an amazing 12 free/donationware patterns, so you should be able to join in even if you’re very short on funds and/or time! All these patterns are available in the Flowers & Plants section of my shop, except Mushroom and Toadstool, which you can find in my book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi.

For more details, check the first post of the CAL thread. Join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group for this colourful crochet-along – I hope to see you there. :)

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.

frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune
The Frilled Lizard is an expansion pack for my Iguana crochet pattern.

April’s winner is Judy C‘s review of my Frilled Lizard Expansion Pack:

Great frilled lizard pattern! So realistic! All instructions are clear and easy to follow. I have added this frilled lizard to my collection of amigurumi reptiles and amphibians. A must for any herpetology geek!

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

What’s Next?

With my other commitments out of the way, it’s back to the commissioned designs for me. The next animal in my queue is an Armadillo (nine-banded), and I’m looking forward to a really fun challenge to recreate this unique animal in crochet!

Comments (1)

April update

Knee update

It’s almost 7 weeks since my knee surgery and things are definitely improving week by week. My rehab is both time-consuming and exhausting, and my knee still feels very uncomfortable at times, but I’m supplementing the rehab sessions with yoga-based stretches and massage therapy which are making a big difference to my range of motion. I still have a long way to go, but I think I’ll get there. :)

PlanetJune update

You may have heard that Google is changing its algorithm on April 21st to penalise non-mobile-friendly sites. A large fraction of PlanetJune sales comes from Google searches, so non-compliance is not a choice I can afford to make. That means I have to redesign my entire website – not a task I’d have undertaken at the moment, given the choice, but it’ll be worth the effort: soon you won’t need to zoom in if you’re viewing PlanetJune on a tablet or phone.

So, in between my knee rehab sessions, I’ve spent most of the past month learning about responsive web design (thank goodness for online courses!) and I’m starting to convert my site. I could hire someone to do this upgrade for me, but keeping on top of the technology means I’ll be able to make more tweaks and improvements in future; that’d be very difficult to do if I hadn’t built the site myself and didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. And I’m enjoying having an excuse to update my tech skills, plus it’s really an investment in my business, so it’s a win-win!

Raining AmiCats & Dogs CAL Report

We had so many adorable kitties and pups made during the March CAL! Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune Raining AmiCats & Dogs CAL 2015 - sample of entries

Baby Animals CAL

Just a reminder that, if you’d like to join us for the Baby Animals crochet-along this month and haven’t yet bought my new Baby Guinea Pigs pattern, today is the last day to take advantage of the CAL discount on the pattern – although you have the rest of the month to make all kinds of cute amigurumi animal babies, such as the ones pictured below:

PlanetJune Baby Animals CAL crochet pattern options

Won’t you join us? You can find all the details in the first post of the CAL thread in the PlanetJune Ravelry group :)

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.

Baby Bunnies crochet pattern by PlanetJune

March’s winner is Rachel G‘s review of my Baby Bunnies:

This is a great pattern! The instructions were clear and thorough, and my finished bunny is adorable. The shaping is great and it has the sweetest expression. I’ll definitely make more bunnies and also try more Planet June patterns (this was my first one). While I was making my bunny, I kept referring to June’s crochet tutorials, and they guided me through everything I needed help with. I don’t have a ton of crochet experience but this pattern presented no problems (well, except for me misreading a line and adding an extra round. But that was entirely my fault and the bunny looks great regardless.). Fellow rabbit lovers-this is the pattern for you!

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

What’s Next?

The new PlanetJune.com is still very much a work in progress, but thanks to Google I have that firm deadline, so it has to be ready in the next two weeks – wish me luck! I’ll let you know when it’s ready to launch…

Comments (3)

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. :)

Comments (4)

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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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