PlanetJune Craft Blog

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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. :)

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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!

Comments (50)

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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May update

My Mum has come all the way to South Africa to visit me at the moment, so my Meerkat pattern release (and newsletter) will be a bit delayed while I spend some quality time with her – I’m sure you understand; these opportunities don’t come around very often. But we’re planning a day trip tomorrow and we’ll be taking the Meerkat and my camera along with us so he’ll be ready for his close-up if we spot the perfect location for his photoshoot!

AquAlong CAL

For this month’s crochet-along we’ll be making all things related to life in marine and fresh water – join us in the PlanetJune ravelry group for the AquAlong, with an amazing 21 PlanetJune patterns to choose from:

PlanetJune AquAlong CAL 2014

So much choice… Which of these will you pick to join in the aquatic fun in the CAL thread on ravelry?

Spring/Easter CAL Report

The March-April CAL has now ended, with 51 gorgeous entries that really captured the essence of Spring. Here’s a sampling of the entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune Spring/Easter 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.

April’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Lisa J, with her review of my Aardvark:

Aardvark amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

After spending a few weeks perusing all the helpful info on PlanetJune, I was ready to take the plunge and buy a pattern. Couldn’t decide which one I wanted first, so started alphabetically with the lovely Aardvark – and I’m so happy with the results! The instructions are meticulous, precise, and easy to follow. I also followed June’s tutorial for invisible seaming, and voila! Everthing came together perfectly. I really appreciate June’s attention to detail, and I can’t wait for the meerkat pattern!

Congrats, Lisa – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize. And the meerkat is coming very soon ;)

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April update

I’m still on the giddy high of being my own boss again and having real time to work on my business instead of squeezing PlanetJune things in around book priorities. It feels so satisfying every time I get to cross something off my to-do list; many items have been on there for well over a year, and that’s been weighing me down. Now I’m back in control, and in March I’ve made several behind-the-scenes improvements as well as publishing 2 new patterns and 8 re-releases, and making good progress on my meerkat commission, so I’m really making a dent in the to-do list.

The next challenge will be to pace myself – there’s just so much I want to do, it’s hard not to eat, breathe, and sleep PlanetJune. But my plan for this year was to slow down and find a healthy balance, and that’s still my goal. Let me finish just one more tempting design idea first, and then I’ll get right on that….

Spring/Easter CAL

The PlanetJune Spring/Easter CAL is going strong and continues until the end of April, so I hope you’ll join us! I’ve already released 2 new patterns since the start of this CAL, and there’s another new one on its way, so there’ll be even more options to choose from, including all these:

PlanetJune Spring/Easter CAL 2014

…and of course the new additions from March, Primroses and Baby Bunnies 2:

Primroses crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Baby Bunnies 2 Expansion Pack crochet pattern by PlanetJune

It’s even more fun to crochet when other people are making the same thing, and you can compare yarns and colour choices and enjoy seeing photos of their finished pieces too. For full details and to crochet any of these patterns along with us, see the CAL thread in the PlanetJune ravelry group :)

Review and Win contest

March’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Jennifer B, with her review of my Brachiosaurus:

crocheted brachiosaurus dinosaur by planetjune

This brachiosaurus dinosaur is as cute as can be! I made one in neon red and the little boy loves him. It’s really easy for little hands to hold the dinosaur around the neck and over the back. The pattern instructions are clear and well-written – you will get the same dinosaur as pictured. Also to attach the body parts invisibly planetjune has an excellent youtube how-to video.

Congrats, Jennifer – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize :)

Have you enjoyed any PlanetJune patterns recently? Please consider writing a review for them in my shop – you’ll automatically be entered into the monthly draw with every review, and you’ll help future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying. Thank you!

And I have one more new spring-themed crochet pattern ready to publish: it’s a sweet and quick-to-crochet new donationware pattern, and it’ll be coming tomorrow. (I was planning to release it today, but with it being April Fools’ Day, I thought it was safest to avoid confusion and hold off until tomorrow – PlanetJune patterns are no joke!)

Comments

March update

I just finished the last of the page proofs for the book – now all that remains is waiting 5 more months for the release date! With such short deadlines, it’s been an intense and exhausting process, but the advantage is that we don’t have too much longer to wait until you can see what I’ve been working so hard to create. In the meantime, here’s the latest PlanetJune news:

Press Mentions

I’ve just updated my Publications and Media page with new publications and press mentions from the past few months:
June Gilbank 2013 press/publications
Clockwise from top left:

  • Hey look – it’s my new book, Idiot’s Guides: Crochet!
  • Homespun magazine interviewed me about my Succulent patterns.
  • My Amigurumi balloons were featured in Crafty magazine.
  • My Magic Ring tutorial was published in The Bead Book.

These publications hail from the US, Australia, UK and South Africa – it really is a small world, these days. It’s always an honour to be asked to appear in a magazine, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get a chance to acknowledge these features. (If you found me through any of these magazines, here’s a long overdue welcome!)

Spring/Easter CAL

The PlanetJune Spring/Easter CAL runs through March and April, and includes a wide range of patterns: Spring flowers, St Patricks Day and Easter designs, and lots of baby animals! Join us in the PlanetJune ravelry group for this CAL by making any of the PlanetJune patterns pictured here:

PlanetJune Spring/Easter CAL 2014

For full details, please see the CAL thread on ravelry – I hope you’ll join us there!

(There’ll also be at least one new addition to the Springtime patterns during this CAL – I have several new designs in progress that would fit the theme, so we’ll just have to wait and see how many I can complete in time…)

Ravellenic Games Report

Team PlanetJune - Ravellenic Games 2014

The medals have yet to be awarded, so we don’t have a team total yet, but Team PlanetJune performed brilliantly, with dinosaurs and lots and lots of baby turtles being the most popular projects. Well done to all the team members! Here’s a sampling of the entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

Ravellenic Games 2014 - sample of Team PlanetJune entries

I failed to win any medals myself, as last-minute book commitments meant I had to postpone my Meerkat design. I’d still like to continue my plan of sharing my Meerkat design as I complete it, so I’ve decided to instead chronicle my design process as a series of blog posts, so you can follow along with me here – I hope you’ll find it enlightening to see what goes into a PlanetJune design!

Review and Win contest

February’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Heather L, with her review of my AmiDogs Basset Hound:

AmiDogs Basset Hound amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

June’s attention to detail makes for a super cute finished product. Floppy ears, droopy eyes, and a little legs. As always, June’s instructions are so well written that you are essentially assured a wonderful result.

Congrats, Heather – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize :)


Is the fact that I’ve succeeded in publishing this update on March 1st a sign that I’m finally starting to feel a little control over my life again? Let’s say it is. The book is finished, my taxes are finished – that means all my critical deadlines are finally out of the way and I can finally take some time to relax. Remind me not to sign up for anything else time-critical any time soon!

The looking-after-myself plan that I talked about in my 2013 Year in Review starts now – and not a moment too soon…

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changing plans and catching up

Time for a confession: my time management has had a bit of a hiccup, because of the book. I assumed that, at this stage, all I had left to do was a final read-through of basically perfect pages, but I grossly underestimated this stage of the book production process.

We’re now at the critical stage where all the different jobs – editing, photography, design and layout, illustration – come together for the first time, and all those elements, expertly created by different people, have to be carefully aligned and tweaked to get all the pieces to come together perfectly.

The reason for my misunderstanding is that neither of my other books had this stage: Paper Chains & Garlands was much simpler in terms of design and content, so there was little that could go wrong; and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi had no page design beyond the stylesheet, and all the photographs and illustrations were inserted exactly as I provided them, so, again, the pages needed little more than a cursory glance from me at this stage.

Idiot’s Guides: Crochet will be very different, with clean, attractive page layouts and professional photography – it’s very exciting, but it just takes much longer to get it all right. Each page needs to be tweaked and cuts may need to be made to get it all to fit beautifully into the design without losing any essential information.

Collaborating with the rest of the team to make sure everything ends up perfect would be painstaking and time-consuming work in the best case, but, as I’m also on the other side of the world from my team, their working day is only just beginning as mine ends. I stay up late every time we need a meeting, and email exchanges usually take the best part of 24 hours to get a simple yes/no reply, and much longer if it’s a back-and-forth conversation!

Baby Sea Turtle Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I had to pull a few 12-hour days trying to get my Baby Sea Turtle Collection published in time for the Rav Games as promised while all this was going on. The pattern has had a great response, so I’m happy I did that, but I can’t keep overdoing things.

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll still be busy checking and re-checking every page of the book, to make sure the book is as close to perfect as we can get it before it goes to print. I’m not going to cut corners with this crucial step, so that means I’ve had to drop the ball on a few other things…

CAL roundups

This is a good thing really – it’s a clear sign that my CAL roundup posts need an overhaul. I just don’t have the time to put together roundup posts as I have in the past, but I’ve come up with a neat solution!

From now on, I’ll be posting a screenshot from Ravelry as a sample of the CAL entries, and you can click through to see all the entries in full. (This does mean you’ll need a Ravelry username to see them all, but it’s free to join and hugely beneficial to anyone who crochets (or knits). If you haven’t joined already, now would be a good time – and then come and join the PlanetJune group too so we can help you get to know Rav better!)

This change also has a big benefit for CALers: no more image dimension requirements! Upload any photos you want to your project, any size or shape, tag your project with the CAL tag (v important!), and you’re entered. My summary screenshot will show the projects with the most favourites, so it’ll add a little friendly competition – take the best photos you can and see if you can make it into the top 12 so your project will appear in the summary pic :)

Let’s start this off now with the January CAL roundup that I missed: the 2013 Designs CAL. All the designs I released in 2013 were eligible for this CAL, which led to a nice variety of projects. Here are just a few of the lovely entries we had:

PlanetJune 2013 Designs CAL - sample of entries
Click through to Ravelry to see all the 2013 Designs CAL entries!

(It’s a process… For the next roundup, we’ll know that everyone should tweak each project’s first photo so the project doesn’t fall off the edges of the thumbnail, as some of these do! Do click through to see them all in their full glory.)

Meerkat Design Process

The additional book work has thrown a huge spanner in the works for my plan to share the progress on my Meerkat design as I go. Something as demanding as a new design is always a challenge, and even more so if I’m sharing the details of designing it as I go – quite a nerve-wracking proposition for me!

I’ve only been able to write the first update so far, and now I think it’ll be better all round if I postpone the entire plan until after my book commitments are complete. The book and the meerkat commission both deserve my full attention, and that’s not going to happen if I try to do both simultaneously.

I’ll still share my design process as promised, and the commissioners will still get their Meerkat pattern in the not-too-distant future, but I’m going to set this aside until the book is 100% finished. I think I’ll make the Meerkat design process into a series of blog posts instead, hopefully running throughout March.

Finding a Balance

This year, I’m trying to keep a flexible attitude and be willing to change plans to keep my work level more manageable. So, although the Meerkat is on hold for a couple more weeks, I am using my non-book time productively – I have another couple of (less stressful) designs in the works, so there will be more PlanetJune patterns coming soon.

I feel confident that, once the book work is really out of the way (as I mistakenly thought it already was!) I’ll be able to find a balance without over-committing, and my life will finally calm down. And I’m really looking forward to getting stuck back into PlanetJune full time – there’s so much I want to do, and I can’t wait to be able to show you some of the other exciting designs that currently only exist inside my head – the Baby Sea Turtles were just the beginning…

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February update

February already! I’m still busy with book edits and didn’t manage to get any new designs ready to release in January, but there should be a new surprise PlanetJune amigurumi animal coming later this week! I also have more exciting plans for this month…

Ravellenic Games – join Team PlanetJune!

Team PlanetJune is limbering up and getting ready for the Ravellenic Games opening ceremony on February 7th! If you’re new to the games, they are a non-competitive fun yarny challenge that runs over the timeframe of the Olympics. As a member of Team PlanetJune, you’ll challenge yourself to complete one (or more) PlanetJune patterns in the Feb 7-23 timeframe, and each project you complete will earn you ‘medals’ you can display on ravelry.

Team PlanetJune - Ravellenic Games 2014

Between us, we’ll try to win as many medals for Team PJ as we can, and we’ll all be cheering each other on in the team thread. It’ll be lots of fun and I hope you’ll join us as a member of Team PlanetJune – whether you choose to participate or just to cheer us on :)

To sign up, all you need to do is post in the Team PJ thread in the PlanetJune ravelry group before Feb 7th, saying you’d like to join, and then start planning your projects!

Follow my Meerkat Design Process

As I have a new commission (the Meerkat) to begin at exactly the time of the games, I’m going to attempt to create my Meerkat as my entry into the Ravellenic Games.

I’ll do all my research and preparation for the design before the games begin on February 7th, and attempt to complete the design (to at least the stage of a good prototype) between the opening ceremony on February 7th and the closing ceremony on February 23rd.

I’ll be sharing my progress in the Team PlanetJune thread on ravelry, so if you’d like a rare chance to see my design process in action, please join us there.

Meerkats at Durrell (photo by June Gilbank)
I took this photo at Durrell in November. How will I translate those little scamps into crochet? Follow my progress in the Team PJ thread!

For Meerkat Commissioners: how does this affect your commission?

  • Follow along in the Team PJ thread and you’ll be able to see bonus in-progress photos of my design before it’s complete (not something I would usually do!)
  • Don’t worry: my design will not be adversely affected by the games. If I’m not completely happy with it, I’ll ‘fail’ the time challenge of the games so I can take as much additional time as I need to make it as good as possible.
  • Your pattern will definitely not be completed by the end of the games! Even if my design is finished, I’ll still have the bulk of the work ahead of me: writing the instructions, taking and editing photos, creating the pattern, and everything else that goes into every PlanetJune pattern. I have other commitments (I’m still working through the book edits), so it could take several weeks after completing the prototype design before I can complete the pattern. As you don’t usually get to see my designs until I’m ready to release the pattern, I want you to be aware of this upfront so you’re not disappointed later – it’s a slow process, but it’ll be worth it!

Review and Win contest

January’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Alicia B, with her review of my Plesiosaurus:

amigurumi plesiosaurus by planetjune

The shaping on this water reptile is amazing. And again I love the extra info on the animal itself that June provides. You can tell she does a lot of research into her projects before she even picks up a hook and yarn. Nice bonus not much sewing on this one! Especially after some of the spikey dinos

Congrats, Alicia – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize :)

Don’t forget: join Team PlanetJune before February 7th to take part in the Rav Games with us – it’ll be fun, I promise!

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January update

I’m still technically on holiday for another week, but in this age of smartphones and wifi it’s hard to ever take a complete break – there are always more questions to answer and people to help! I’m trying to keep work to a minimum, though, and enjoying some relaxing crafting time.

My Craft WIPs

It’s such a treat to have time to make things again! I’ve really missed this…

cross stitch wip by planetjune

I’m making progress on my secret long term cross stitch project, which I started well over a year ago (and its companion piece over 2 years ago)! I don’t think I’ll be finishing it any time soon, but that’s fine by me – it’s a nice relaxing project to pick up whenever I have time.

fimo chameleon wip by planetjune

I’ve been playing with my polymer clay for the first time in a couple of years. My FIMO is getting pretty old now, and took a long time to condition so it didn’t crack when I worked it. My hands were hurting after that, so I only got partway through sculpting the basic body shape of a chameleon before I had to stop. It was going well, but I don’t expect the clay to stay workable; I’ll probably have to ball up my efforts and start again from scratch for my next claying session (boo). At least I have a good chameleon colour mixed now, so I can get straight into sculpting next time!

mystery amigurumi wip by planetjune

I’ve also started crocheting a very cute new design – all will be revealed in the next few weeks… It’s lovely to have time to think about amigurumi again, and, yes, I count my designing as play, not work! Writing, editing, photographing and publishing patterns is definitely (hard) work, but the design and crocheting part is exactly what I’d be doing even if it didn’t pay – I love this part :)

2013 Designs CAL

The January CAL includes all 18 of the crochet patterns I released last year – a nice mix of free and paid, amigurumi and accessories, and (hopefully!) something to appeal to everyone:

2013 PlanetJune crochet patterns

If you’d like to join in, you’ll find the CAL thread in the PlanetJune ravelry group – I hope to see you there :)

Review and Win contest

I apparently completely forgot to do the monthly update in December (I can’t imagine why…), so I have 2 ‘Review and Win’ winners to announce today!

November’s winner is Aimee N, with her review of my Cascading Clusters Shawl:

Cascading Clusters Shawl crochet pattern by June Gilbank

I bought this pattern as soon as I saw it and put another shawl aside so that I could work on it. I like to work from charts, and the chart for this pattern was very clear and easy to follow. It’s a quick project too. I used an alpaca sport-weight yarn which drapes beautifully. I am so pleased with this shawl that I will probably make it again — and I rarely make the same pattern more than once!

And December’s winner is Jeanne S, with her review of my Christmas Trees:

crocheted Christmas trees by planetjune

Another great pattern from June. Very easy to follow directions, and the tiny star is adorable! I used white worsted weight yarn, red heart shimmer, worked really well. Then I had some finer weight pale blue glittery yarn. Made the small tree again. Stands on its own without being stuffed, and very quick to make up. Thanks again

Congrats to both of the winners – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize :)

And now I’m heading back to a lazy afternoon of watching TV and crafting. My 2014 is going pretty well so far – I hope yours is too.

Comments (5)

November update

Yep, I’m still working on my book, and I still can’t tell you any details, but I’m moving into the home stretch of my responsibilities (researching, desigining, writing, photographing, etc), so, very soon, you won’t hear any more book talk from me for a few months! After that, I’ll be able to spill the beans and share some sneak peeks of some of my beautiful projects, and you’ll finally be able to see that all my hard work was worthwhile ;)

November/December Crochet-Alongs

We’re doing things a bit differently for the rest of the year in the Ravelry group – we’re running 2 extra-long CALs simultaneously. Here are the details:

The PlanetJune Accessories CAL runs November 1 – December 31, so you have plenty of time to complete a large project and/or to make accessories as Christmas gifts. You can join in by making any of the PlanetJune Accessories patterns pictured below, or by turning any of my other patterns into a wearable accessory.

PlanetJune Accessories crochet pattern range, 2013
The new shawl pattern (top left) is almost ready – look out for the new pattern announcement very shortly!

And the Christmas CAL will have prizes for all, as in previous years, but this year you have an extra month to get your entries made and ready for the big day! This CAL ends December 24th, so you can keep making Christmassy designs right up until Christmas Eve, and we’ll have a big celebratory roundup on Christmas Day :)

PlanetJune Christmas designs, 2012
I’ll also have a new Donationware addition to this range coming later this month…

You’ll find all the details in the relevant threads in the PlanetJune ravelry group – please join us!

Review and Win contest

October’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Alison J, with her review of my Protoceratops dinosaur (the sweet little pink dino from the Dinosaurs Set 3 Expansion Pack):

Dinosaurs Set 3X Expansion Pack crochet patterns by PlanetJune: Protoceratops, Iguanodon, Panoplosaurus
Dinosaurs Set 3X, L-R: Protoceratops, Iguanodon, Panoplosaurus

What a cutie!!!! And what could be better than only the 4 legs to sew on! Her head, frill, and body are worked very cleverly as a single piece with very nice details and super clear instructions. I love all of June’s dinosaur patterns, and I think this was the quickest one I have made so far.
Definitely recommend!!!

Congrats, Alison – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize :)

And to everyone else: please remember to write a Review every time you’ve enjoyed a PlanetJune pattern – thank you!

Comments

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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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