PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for General

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. :)

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my knee surgery, and PlanetJune operations

In an unexpectedly speedy turn of events, I’ve just discovered that I’ll be going in for my knee surgery this Wednesday! I’m very happy to be getting my knee sorted out after a year of chronic pain, but it’s going to affect operations at PlanetJune for as long as it takes me to recover from the surgery.

Hopefully it won’t take too long, but please bear with me in the meantime. Here’s how it’ll play out:

Patterns: No change

You can always buy my patterns from the PlanetJune shop at any time, as they are automatically available for download. (I will be temporarily closing my external Etsy and ArtFire shops though.)

Shipped items: Order today, or wait…

I won’t be able to fulfill any orders for physical items until my knee is fully recovered and I’m able to drive to the post office again! So, if you think you may need a stuffing tool, stitch markers, or an amigurumi kit in the near future, please place your order by the end of the day today (Monday), so I can ship them to you tomorrow before my surgery on Wednesday.

If you miss the deadline and would like to be notified when PlanetJune crochet tools are available to ship again, please sign up for the one-off notification email.

Help: Check my resources first

I’ll be offline while I recover, so anything that requires personal attention from me will be unavailable for a time – how much time depends on how long my recovery takes. If you email me for help, I’ll reply when I’m able to, but I suggest you check my online resources first – you may well find the answer to your question:

  • If you have crochet questions, please visit my Crochet Tutorials page for help. (And if you’re having trouble with a PlanetJune pattern, but aren’t sure what you’re doing wrong, check my Amigurumi Troubleshooter to find which of my tutorials will solve your problem!)
  • If you have any other questions for me, please check the FAQ first to see if I’ve already answered them there.
  • If those pages don’t answer your question, feel free to ask for further assistance in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, where your friendly fellow PJers are ready and waiting to help! This is the quickest way to receive knowledgeable help from a real live person.

If you still have questions about PlanetJune patterns or tutorials, or anything else you’d like to say to me, you can still e-mail me, but please be aware that I may not be able to respond for days (or weeks), depending on how my recovery is going and how many email questions have piled up.


Please keep me in your thoughts on Wednesday. My health has to be my first priority for a little while, but I’ll be crossing my fingers for a full and speedy recovery so I can get back to coming up with new designs for PlanetJune!

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February update

Wow, what an amazing month January has been: the response to my AmiCats far exceeded my expectations (although I had been secretly hoping that my 3 years of refining prototypes would end up paying off financially as well as artistically) and it’s so rewarding to finally see my patterns out in the world after all this time of working on them.

AmiCats CAL

The AmiCats crochet-along is in full swing! We’re only a couple of weeks into this CAL, and just look at the cute kitties:

AmiCats CAL entries (crochet patterns by PlanetJune)
We’ve already got AmiCats representing 4 continents of crocheters, so I’m hoping they’ll be popping up all around the world very soon…

The AmiCats CAL runs until the end of February, so if you’ve bought the patterns, please join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group and post photos of your ami kitties 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 section of my shop.)

Love Hearts pattern

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d remind you of my free heart pattern for your seasonal decorations. Love Hearts includes perfectly-shaped flat hearts in 3 sizes, plus a puffy heart:

love hearts crochet pattern by planetjune

Love Hearts 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. :)

Hack Attack

My web server was subjected to a DDoS attack over the past few days. It’s been very stressful – after the first wave of the attack was blocked, another popped up to take its place – and I apologise if you experienced any difficulties accessing PlanetJune (e.g. slowness, pages not loading correctly) in the past week.

The attacks have all now been blocked (thanks to stellar tech support from my webhost, ServInt), and PlanetJune is running smoothly again. Phew!

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 have two months of prizes to announces today, as I posted my 2014 Year In Review instead of a monthly update in January.

chinchilla1 iguana1

December’s winner is Simone N‘s review of my Chinchilla:

This great pattern provides you with easy-to-follow instructions for a super cute, realistic Chinchilla. Also the sewing part is very easy to understand, thereby guaranteeing an amigurumi you’ll immediately want to cuddle with!

And January’s winner is Alexa B‘s review of my Iguana:

As you can see, this iguana is highly realistic and also surprisingly easy to make. I really liked the color changes here, you can barely see them, unlike with most patterns. Great technique!

Thank you for your reviews, and congratulations to both of you – I’ve emailed you both to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

What’s Next?

I’m happy to be making good progress with my latest commissioned design, so there’ll be a new PlanetJune Camel pattern coming very soon. I can’t wait to be able to show it to you – watch this space…

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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