PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for General

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)

Failure: Part of Success

I’ve been thinking about the ‘perfect’ craft world that we usually see online – endless photos of beautiful finished projects – and how they rarely, if ever, show the whole story. I’m as guilty as anyone else: unless I’m planning a tutorial, I almost never take photos until I finish a project, so you never get to see how many times I re-knit and adjust until I end up with the sweater I had in mind (or something close to it, at least).

And yet, with everything I make, whether that’s a new crochet design or a personal craft project, nothing ever goes entirely to plan! I enjoy the process of making at least as much as I enjoy the finished item, so I don’t see spending some extra time with each project as a problem. But it’s important to remember that failure is a part of learning and growing, and you shouldn’t be upset when something creative doesn’t go as expected – just learn from it and move on.

Burnt Buttons

I thought I’d share a pretty hilarious example of one of my failures with you – remember this purple cardigan I finished knitting a few months ago?

purple cardigan

The handmade polymer clay buttons were supposed to be the finishing touch, and I spent ages perfecting a set of 8 lovely 4-hole buttons. Then I put them in the toaster oven and waited. I have no idea what happened – I’ve baked polymer clay dozens of times before, I use an oven thermometer, and I monitor the temperature regularly, so I don’t know what could have gone so badly wrong. And yet, my poor buttons grew and swelled and darkened and turned into…

burnt polymer clay buttons that look like chocolate brownies!

Chocolate brownies?! With their bubbled glossy surface and rich brown colouring, I seem to have accidentally discovered the formula for perfect replica brownies – but definitely not the formula for perfect buttons for my cardigan!

After this disaster, I almost gave up and abandoned polymer clay forever, but I thought I’d have one quick last try before making such a drastic decision. I quickly cut a new set of buttons, simplified to thinner circles (one sheet of clay, straight out of the pasta machine) with just 2 holes per button, and popped them in the toaster oven. And, this time, they baked exactly as expected:

replacement polymer clay button with burnt first attempt

It’s hard to believe that these two buttons were made from exactly the same materials – the only differences before going in the oven were the thickness (although the ‘brownie’ buttons were much thinner before they were baked/burnt!) and the number of holes. I still don’t know what I did to make such a difference between the two batches of buttons (although I have several theories as to what may have gone wrong the first time), but, luckily, the new buttons are fine, so I just quit while I was ahead and sewed them onto my cardigan!

Unexpected Inspiration

Failure can even be a good thing, provided you don’t let it defeat you. When it comes to my crochet designs, interesting discoveries often come from my failures in the form of techniques or shapes I can adapt for a future design…

planetjune meerkat head prototypes

One of my failed prototypes for my Meerkat‘s head (above, right) gave me the inspiration for what became my Aliens pattern (below)! I love my cute little alien, but that design would never have happened if I hadn’t seen the potential in the meerkat failure.

Aliens amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Fear of Failure

The fear of failure can be even worse when you’re trying something new. I’ve been wanting to take up painting again for a long time, and I’ve stocked up on paints, brushes, and canvases, but I’ve been too afraid of messing up to even make a start!

I think it’s time to take my own advice: it’s okay to fail. I know I won’t be any good at first – or maybe ever – but I should just paint something and see what happens, shouldn’t I?

Final Thoughts

It’s rare for anyone to show their failures, but we all have them. There’s no chance of success if you don’t even try – and then keep trying, and learning, and improving, until you end up with something you’re happy with.

Nobody is perfect, and (despite what you may think from viewing craft blogs, Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds) many projects don’t go as planned! Some things are beyond our control, but you should never let a crafting mishap stop you from having another go. 🙂

Comments (5)

November update

It’s all CAL news today, with the start of a pair of 2-month long crochet-alongs, running in parallel, to take us through to the end of the year. But before I tell you about those, here’s the result of the October CAL…

Ami Animal CAL Report

A nice mix of exotic animals and pets were assembled for October’s animal bonanza – Chrisie’s hook was especially busy, and Monica ingeniously assembled a dragon by mashing up some dinosaur patterns with the iguana and bat! Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune Ami Animal CAL 2015 - sample of entries

Accessories CAL

Running until the end of the year, the Accessories CAL is a great way to try out some PlanetJune Accessories patterns, and enjoy seeing them crocheted in different yarns and colours!

PlanetJune Accessories crochet patterns by June Gilbank

You can find all the patterns above in the PlanetJune Accessories section of my shop. I recommend the Custom Set of any 3 accessories patterns if you’re looking for a deal, and if you’re really strapped for cash, try some of the 7 donationware options, and choose your own price.

Idiot's Guides: Crochet by June Gilbank - patterns

From now on, Accessories CALs will also include all the patterns (pictured above) from my book Idiot’s Guides: Crochet (even the home dec ones – think of them as accessories for your home!)

And, as if that’s not enough to choose from, I also have two gorgeous new shawl patterns which will be launching very shortly to coincide with this CAL (see a sneak peek of them in my Ravelry group), so look out for the announcement for those later this week. (Hint: there’ll be a launch week discount…)

Sounds good? Crochet-along with us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group 🙂

Christmas CAL 2015

After the success of last year’s slightly different Christmas CAL, we’ll continue with the new tradition: not only will the CAL include all the classic PlanetJune Christmas patterns pictured below – perfect for your seasonal decorating – but you can also enter with any PlanetJune design that you’re making as a Christmas present. We’ll cheer you along between now and Christmas as you crochet your handmade gifts – fun!

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

Already made all your gifts (ha!) and made millions of my Christmas patterns in years gone by? I’ve still got you covered: I’ll have a brand new and very original Christmas design ready before the end of November, so you’ll still be able to enter if you just wait a couple more weeks 🙂

Join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group for this crochet-along!

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.

Armadillo crochet pattern by PlanetJune

October’s winner is Alexa B‘s review of my Armadillo pattern:

Best armadillo pattern out there. Seriously. I’ve tried them all, since I’m an armadillo fan, and this one is the best.

The armor and tail look awesome! The only thing that could have been better are the feet (claws would look great) but it is still completely adorable!

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

What’s Next?

It’s time for my last major push before Christmas: my two new shawls are almost ready to launch, then it’s full steam ahead to get my Christmas design completed and published as soon as possible. And then I’ll be able to take a breath, have a well-earned break and start planning for 2016…

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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