PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for General

Maker Faire Cape Town 2015

Yesterday, I attended the first annual Maker Faire in Cape Town and it was inspiring – there was lots to see and explore.

We got to see a variety of 3D printers up close and see new concepts that are being designed and created locally. The Maker Movement is clearly thriving here, with electronics, scrap sculpture and upcycling, environmentally-friendly innovations, maker groups, and even a South African-based alternative to Kickstarter for crowdfunding local projects.

Digital technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting bring the potential for inventing creative solutions to anyone, without the need for a large startup capital or external manufacturers, and that’s especially exciting for me to see here in South Africa.

Now is a good time to be creative, and I’m excited to see the new ideas that will emerge from local makers in the near future… (Plus, I’m getting my own ideas for things I’d like to make using digital tech!)

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August update

Anyone for (Crocheted) Fruit?

I was honoured that some of my crocheted fruit patterns were used to create the farmer’s market-themed window of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio store in Manhattan! (All the non-PlanetJune fruit and veg were freestyled by the creators of the window display.) I’d love to see this window in person, wouldn’t you?


Photo courtesy of Lion Brand.

Read all about it in the Crochet World newsletter, or try my free patterns to make your own: Amigurumi PearsAmigurumi Citrus Collection (and Amigurumi Apples – not pictured above, but the perfect way to round out your crocheted fruit salad!)

Summer of Dinosaurs CAL

The Summer of Dinosaurs CAL was a massive success, with well over 100 entries! I’ll be posting the winners of the contest and a roundup of our amigurumi dinosaur army here in a couple of days :)

Free-For-All CAL

Keeping it simple for the summer, the August crochet-along is a free-for all! That means free choice: you can join in by making any PlanetJune patterns, including finishing up WIPs you’ve already started.

You can make any PlanetJune patterns from my shop (amigurumi and accessories), any free patterns from my website, or any of the patterns from my books – lots to choose from! Luckily Ravelry has a nice list of all 212 patterns on my designer page if you feel like browsing :)

(Until I wrote that paragraph, I had no idea I had so many designs. That’s an average of 25 designs per year for the 8.5 years I’ve been a crochet designer… Wow!)

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.

As I didn’t post a monthly update in July, I have two winners to announce today :)

crocheted lion and lioness by planetjune

June’s winner is Heather R‘s review of my Lion & Lioness pattern:

Having made both the lion and lioness, I could not have been more thrilled with this pattern! June’s pattern is both realistic and adorable. This pattern includes loop stitch for the lion’s mane – something I had never attempted – but the instructions are very clear, and there is even a video online which is incredibly helpful. I found the pattern easy to follow and loved the end result!

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune

And July’s winner is Jaclyn M‘s review of my AmiCats Calico Cat (far left in the above photo of the AmiCats Collection):

This was the first pattern I bought from PlanetJune, and I was not disappointed! The pattern is very easy to follow, with lots of pictures and detailed instructions. I was very pleased that my cat came out looking like the picture. In fact, I was so pleased that I bought two more AmiCat patterns!

Congratulations, Heather and Jaclyn – I’ve emailed you both to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

What’s Next?

This month, I’ll be busy with three AmiDogs design commissions, and I’ll be working on some new amigurumi, PlanetJune Accessories designs and non-crochet craft projects for next season. I’m hoping to squeeze in a visit to my family some time this year, so I have to try to get ahead now so I can afford to take some time off later – I love being self-employed, but it does require careful planning… :)

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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!

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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!

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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…

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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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