PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for General

July update

I was hoping to be able to show you my wildlife photos from Hawaii by now, but with several thousand to go through, I’ve only been able to narrow them down to about 100 so far. I’ll try to edit that down to a more manageable number soon, so I can get the best photos posted (sea turtles!!!) for you to enjoy 🙂

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 was in Hawaii last month, so I have 2 winners to announce today:

Pansies crochet pattern by PlanetJune
May’s winner is Judy C‘s review of my Pansies pattern:

Another wonderful and fun plant pattern from Planet June! I’ve made both basket sizes and almost a dozen pins. All instructions are clear and well illustrated. The pansy flower is a bit tricky at first, but once you have done one or two, it is easy. Clever design minimizes having to sew on a bunch of different leaves. Highly recommend.

African Violets crochet pattern by PlanetJune
And June’s winner is Melissa J‘s review of my African Violets pattern:

I made one of the large versions for my mother in law after she killed the real violet I gave her years ago. She absolutely loved it! I am an advanced beginner with crochet, and I found the pattern very easy to follow. All the stitches are very basic, but it comes out looking so amazing and impressive in the end!

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

What’s Next?

I’ll have a summery-themed PlanetJune Accessories pattern to launch shortly, and then I’ll be taking a break from pattern releases for a while, while I work on some big projects to launch in the fall.

And Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! I’m with you in spirit, if not in body 🙂

Comments

10th blogiversary!

Hello! I’ve just got back from travelling to the other side of the world to realise one of my life’s ambitions of watching sea turtles in the wild (and I’ll share more about that once I’ve sorted through my thousands of vacation photos…)

This blog has also been quiet for a while because I’ve been working on big PlanetJune projects – including a huge new pattern collection – so I’ll have lots to share with you very soon, but first it’s time to celebrate a big milestone: my 10th anniversary as a blogger!

10 years ago today, I started my blog with a small goal:

I hope I’ll be inspired to be more creative by keeping track of my crafts here.

Little did I know that this blog would change my life and my career path, allow me to build a successful business, and help me to meet some of my best friends and inspiring crafters all over the world. PlanetJune (the business, and my career) has all come about as a direct result of starting a little blog as a way to document the things I make, way back in 2006.

10 Years of Crafting

Here’s a sampling of my last decade of making:

10 years of PlanetJune - craft projects made by June Gilbank

During my 10 years of blogging, I’ve made and shared several hundred projects, written over 800 blog posts, and received close to 12,000 comments… It’s amazing how it all adds up!

The Changing Face of Blogging

In the past decade, the blogging landscape has changed dramatically. Social media has made blogging unnecessary or irrelevant for many people, and I’ve seen a lot of my craft-blogging compatriots from the early days either abandon their blogs, shift their focus, and/or delete their old content (which always makes me irrationally sad to see).

For me, the situation is complicated: my blog is now a place where I share information about my business (new patterns and tutorials, details about my books and crochet-alongs, and general PlanetJune news) but it’s still also a record of my personal creative pastimes. That includes both the things I make, and the things that inspire me to make, and sharing some of my wildlife and nature photos has also become an important part of my blogging.

This blog isn’t – and never will be – a cynical tool to try to drive sales. My policy has always been to only post when I have something worth posting about, so I’ve never developed a blogging schedule or strategy, or felt guilty during quiet times. I think that freedom is what makes it easy to keep my blog going, because it never becomes a burden or a chore.

Creativity & Inspiration

When I moved to South Africa five years ago, I started sharing some of my wildlife photos. Amateur wildlife photography has been a big part of my life for many years, but I’d never thought anyone else would want to see my photos until I moved somewhere ‘interesting’. Of course, now I realise that everywhere is interesting, and I take and share wildlife photos wherever I travel – 4 continents so far!

10 years of PlanetJune - wildlife photos by June Gilbank

The photography itself is just a hobby for me, but learning more about the natural world is a big part of my creative inspiration for new patterns. I’m so happy that many of the people who enjoy my work also enjoy my wildlife posts – I love being able to share a few of my photos with you, and I hope to find time to put together wildlife posts more regularly in future.

Through Thick and Thin…

I didn’t have a chance to mark my last two blogiversaries (due to my traumatic home invasion experience in 2014 and my knee surgery in 2015). I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years battling ill health and stress. Crafting is a way to regain some sense of control at times when life deals you a hand that’s hard to deal with – all you need to think about is making the next stitch.

Business-wise, it’s been a massive comfort to know that PlanetJune keeps ticking along, whatever happens, and I can keep making ends meet, no matter what I’m going through behind the scenes. But I feel that I’ve reached a turning point with my personal situation now, and things will continue to improve from this point on, so I’ll be able to get back to making things in all sorts of crafts, just for the fun of it – yay!

These days, I may not post here as often as I used to – or as often as I’d like to – but I make fewer, larger projects than in the early days of my blog when I had more time and energy to tinker and experiment with various crafts. The act of making, and my love of wildlife, are more important to me than ever, and my blog will continue to reflect those themes 🙂

Thank You!

I’d like to thank you for visiting my blog and sharing in my enjoyment of making, creativity, and nature, whether this is your first visit or you’ve been travelling with me for the entire 10 years! I have a huge list of ideas for projects waiting to be made – both new crochet patterns, and new fun craft projects to try – and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you as my blog continues into its second decade.

I could never have imagined, 10 years ago, that PlanetJune would change my life so completely, and I’m so grateful to this blog, and to everyone who has ever read my posts or left me a comment, for playing a role in that process.

Now, I wonder what changes the next 10 years will bring…

Comments (5)

May update

We could all use a little less pressure in our lives, so I’m changing the PlanetJune crochet-along model to give you a bit more choice and flexibility. We’ll still launch a new CAL roughly every month, but I’m extending the runtime of each so there’s plenty of time to make whatever you want, even if a month turnaround time is too fast for you. So, in future, you’ll see 2-3 CALs running simultaneously, and you can join in with as few, or as many, as you want to.

I’ll keep this model going for the rest of the year as a trial run, but so far it seems to be working well, with Turtle Beach still going strong, while the new Hoofing It CAL is just starting…

Hoofing It CAL

I’m really enjoying seeing the first projects posted for my new Horse, Unicorn and Pegasus patterns, for example:

PlanetJune Hoofing It CAL samples
Photo credit: these lovely projects were crocheted by Ravellers CrochetChrisie, Stormwhisper and craftywhizzbang

Don’t the Unicorn and Pegasus look good in all the different mane and tail colours? Oh, and when I launched these patterns last week, there was so much to say that I actually forgot to mention that my Unicorn & Pegasus pattern includes bonus instructions for the rainbow mane and tail option (pictured middle bottom) – so if you want to make a Rainbow Unicorn, I’ve got you covered 🙂

If you’d like to share your project(s) too, please join the crochet-along in the PlanetJune Ravelry group – I love to see what you’re making from my patterns!

Commissions Update

I’ll be relaunching my crochet pattern commissions system later this year, to make it easier, faster, and more fun. With the completion of my new Horse pattern, I’ve finally cleared the queue of commissioned designs, so I’m temporarily closing PlanetJune Commissions to new pledges while I complete the upgrades.

(If you sign up for my new Commissions newsletter, I’ll let you know when the new system is ready to go, and give you a tour of the new features and a sneak peek at the new design options on the list!)

With the relaunch, I’ll be adding new options to the commissions list, and I’d love to know if you have any requests for new animal or plant designs. Are any of your favourites missing from my pattern range, or is there something special you’d love to see me tackle? Let me know in the comments below!

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

April’s winner is Annette H‘s review of my Primroses pattern:

Everything is very clear described with pictures where necessary. Even the assembling – where most other patterns just say nothing about – is described and very easy to follow. 100% recommendation.

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

What’s Next?

I’ve been planning a very cute and colourful amigurumi collection for a couple years, and I’m finally making it happen. It’s coming together nicely, but I’m putting it on hold for a couple of weeks while I visit my parents in the UK. (So, if you email me, please understand that it may take me a little longer to respond than usual! See my FAQ for the best and fastest ways to get PlanetJune help.)

I’m so driven to make my ideas into reality that I end up working really hard all the time. When it’s just you making it all happen, it’s hard to ever stop thinking about the business and new designs and planning for the future, and that’s a situation I need to improve. Although I truly love what I do, I’m looking forward to getting a little distance from PlanetJune for a short while, and some rest, fresh air, and walks on the beach with my family.

See you when I get back!

Comments (1)

April update

Isn’t it frustrating when external factors affect your productivity? There’s an ongoing construction project happening on my street at the moment, and my house is filled with loud machinery noises all day long. I’m finding it hard to get much of anything done – there’s nowhere I can go to escape this noise!

I like to work in silence so I can really concentrate, so this is proving to be a big problem for me. If you have any suggestions for coping with a noisy working environment, please leave them in the comments – thanks 🙂

Turtlemania CAL

The Turtlemania crochet-along is in full swing and I’m really enjoying seeing the large and small turtle blankets that have already been finished, for example:

PlanetJune Turtlemania CAL samples
Photo credit: these lovely projects were crocheted by Ravellers jomeigs and sujavo

I’d love to see more baby turtles popping up in the PlanetJune Ravelry group – please come and share if you’re making the turtles and/or beach blankets too! 🙂

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 didn’t do a draw last month, so today I’m drawing the winners for both February and March:

AmiDogs Miniature Schnauzer crochet pattern by PlanetJune

February’s winner is Virginia B‘s review of my AmiDogs Miniature Schnauzer pattern:

I needed a schnauzer pattern to make for a friend of my daughter’s. Found the perfect one on Planet June. Very cute. After I downloaded the instructions, I was very pleased with the clarity of the directions, the pictures included and even detailed assembly directions-quite a reasonable price and very professional. I have been crocheting for years and realized a good design when I saw it. I immediately ordered the cat pattern because it was even cuter and I have cats. Told my son about the website and he ordered June’s book The complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi for me as a gift. It is also excellent and well written. Thank you June for your excellent patterns.

Baby Guinea Pigs crochet pattern by PlanetJune

March’s winner is Megan W‘s review of my Baby Guinea Pigs pattern:

I love this pattern! The guinea pigs are perfectly chubby and I have a whole family of them! The pattern is very well-written and helps you place the eyes and the legs in the right spots!

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

What’s Next?

My Horse design is just about finished and looking good. I’m working on the pattern, and my next challenge will be to figure out the wings for my Unicorn and Pegasus Expansion Pack! All being well, the patterns should be ready in the next few weeks, so look out for them soon 🙂

Comments (10)

February update

Changing Plans

I’ve spent most of January working on a beautiful new plant-in-a-pot design, which I’d intended to release by today. It’s a big pattern, with lots of options and tips, but when I looked at everything together, although the pattern was great, the design itself wasn’t quite as perfect as I’d like…

I try to spot these things before I’ve completed a 16-page pattern so I don’t have to redo too much work, but that just didn’t happen in this case. The design is very close, but it’ll take a lot of crocheting and re-writing to make the small tweak the design needs to be really special.

Rather than hurry to get the pattern finished, I decided to postpone the release date by 2 weeks, to take the pressure off myself and make sure I’m 100% satisfied with the design before it goes public and am making decisions about what’s best for the final pattern, not what I can manage in the available time.

It’s disappointing to have to change plans, but now I’ve had time to adjust I’m glad I made this decision. As I enter my 10th year(!) of crochet design, it’s becoming even clearer that each new design I add to my pattern catalogue has to be my best work. One standout new design adds far more value to my business in the course of time than I’d get from producing ten mediocre patterns – and there are no shortcuts if you want to end up with something extra-special.

PlanetJune on Instagram

For 2016, I’ve finally joined Instagram!

PlanetJune on Instagram

If you’re on Instagram too:

  • See behind-the-scenes snippets of my work and life (like my first IG pics, above!) by following me @PlanetJune
  • Show off your pics of the lovely things you’ve made from my patterns by tagging them with the hashtag #planetjune

Hearts & Flowers CAL

Postponing my new pattern release has left us with time to enjoy a quick pre-Valentine’s Day crochet-along – I hope you’ll join in by making beautiful hearts and roses from my free (donationware) patterns…

Hearts & Flowers CAL from PlanetJune

Love Hearts and Basic Rose are both fast to work up so I hope you’ll have time to join in – even if it’s just to make one tiny Love Heart (5 mins start to finish!)

Both the CAL patterns are available for free, but donations are always very much appreciated (and you’ll get the nicely-formatted PDF file as a thank you for your donation of any size).

Sounds good? Crochet-along with us between now and Feb 14th 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.

It’s time for a big catch-up today, as I didn’t post monthly updates in December or January, so I have 3 winners to draw!

Sea Otter amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

November’s winner is Linda S‘s review of my Sea Otter pattern:

This is the sweetest little guy, and he was fun to make. Before I buying, I compared it to similar patterns and he came out way on top. I recommend this pattern.

crocheted cactus collections 1 and 2 by planetjune

December’s winner is Elizabeth L‘s review of my Cactus Collection 1 & 2 patterns:

Everything a pattern should be! Simple and easy to follow with beautiful results! I always had problems with French knots but June’s explanation took care of that.

AmiCats amigurumi cat crochet patterns by PlanetJune

And finally, January’s winner is Josh C‘s review of my AmiCats Tuxedo pattern (far right in the above pic):

All of June’s pattern’s I’ve tried so far have been well written and they all produce a realistic result, but this cat really impressed me. I’m not sure what amazed me more – the fact that the finished cat body actually includes contours and curves exactly where you’d expect them to be on a real cat (like the hind legs, or the arch in its back), or the method for joining the front legs to the body (no sewing required, you crochet them straight onto the body…and the tops of the legs just disappear into the body, leaving literally no seam at all)

It took me a while to complete but the finished product was 100% worth it.

Congratulations, Linda, Elizabeth and Josh – I’ve emailed you all to find out which pattern you’d each like as your prize!

What’s Next?

Full steam ahead with perfecting my new plant pattern and preparing the Promise of Spring CAL to begin on Feb 15th. After that, I’ll be able to make a start on my last fully-pledged commission – yay!

Comments (1)

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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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