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teaching with PlanetJune patterns

Did you know that you can teach classes using my paid or donationware/free patterns? Well, today I have a PlanetJune Story for you on just that topic, from Beth Graham, a designer and teacher who works and teaches crochet at Shall We Knit? in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. (You can connect with Beth on Ravelry or Facebook.)

Shall We Knit? is a crochet friendly shop featuring rooms of yarns, fiber, books, and inspiration for knitters, crocheters, and spinners. You can contact the store for info on their crochet classes and one-on-one instruction. Sadly, I just missed out on the chance to count them as my own local yarn store, as they relocated to my old home town of Waterloo shortly after I left for South Africa! I’m still a bit sad about that even now; just look at all that pretty yarn…

Shall We Knit?, Waterloo, Ontario
Shall We Knit? photo, borrowed from www.shallweknit.com

Beth taught an Amigurumi Apples class last Saturday, and has kindly offered to share her experience with us. Over to you, Beth:

I offered a successful class at Shall We Knit? featuring June’s Amigurumi Apples pattern. The two-hour project class on beginner amigurumi introduced crocheters to the adjustable loop technique, the formula for creating flat circles using increases and decreases to create 3-D shapes, and June’s ingenious invisible decrease.

amigurumi apples class

Because of the apple’s simple, yet elegant, design, students left the course feeling quite clever, and – even better! – having finished their projects!

amigurumi apples class

Amigurumi Apples is a perfect teaching tool for introducing all these techniques and more, and I highly recommend it to other instructors considering a beginner amigurumi class. (I got permission from June to use the pattern prior to the class and purchased a copy for each student.)

amigurumi apples class

Well done, Beth – it sounds like your class was a great success! I’ve taught classes using a few of my patterns and I know how good it feels to guide new crocheters – or new amigurumists – to complete their first amigurumi. Once they’ve mastered the basic skills, they’ll have the confidence to attempt any amigurumi pattern.

As Beth said, it’s easy to teach with any PlanetJune pattern (paid or donationware) – all you need to do is purchase a copy of the pattern for yourself and one for each of your students. So, if you work in a yarn store or teach crochet classes independently, why not use a PlanetJune pattern for your next class?

Please see my Teaching FAQ for further details, and don’t forget to take a couple of photos of your class – I’d love to share them here!

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PlanetJune Stories: Monica’s amigurumi dolls

Today’s PlanetJune Story comes from Monica from Magical Amigurumi – you may remember her previous appearances on my blog from her first PJ Story and when she was commissioned to crochet my Fruit Bats for the Ralph Lauren store window last year!

I love it when people use my techniques and the Boy and Girl patterns from my Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi to create custom toys, and I don’t think anyone has taken that concept to heart as much as Monica has – I’m sure you’ll be as delighted and impressed as I am with her amigurumi doll collection. Over to you, Monica…


I love collecting dolls! Porcelain dolls, baby dolls, stuffed dolls, hand sewn dolls from all over the world. Each doll is unique and special to me. At the moment, most of my dolls are in two 30 gallon totes for safe keeping; small apartment means small space.

Monica's amigurumi dolls

When I first received June’s book Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi I really liked the look of her crocheted dolls. Some of the other crocheted patterns out there make the dolls look a little creepy for my liking, and June’s were really life-like (and super simple to create!) and they are the perfect size to hug, hold and carry around! I was not brave enough to try them out for several months and then took my first try on the boy pattern, turning him into this Scarecrow. After a cute success I was not able to make another doll for a year, but I had many ideas floating around in my head.

Monica's amigurumi dolls

I made this standard Girl Doll in a pink mist color and really liked how she turned out. Cute but simple. After which, I started making a list of doll ideas, yarn colors, and other items I would need to make these dolls the best I could. Searching for the best yarn colors took the longest, but after looking at my finished dolls, I’d say the search was worth it! I even ordered special eyes from some of my dolls from Michelle at Suncatcher Craft Eyes to make them perfect (for me anyways).

I made these two special dolls for my children first before my long list of wants for myself 😉 and I love how they turned out: The Flash (from the Justice League) and Ariel the Mermaid. They love them and play with them constantly, and sleep with them, and best of all, the dolls may be a few months old, but they hold up really well.

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Then in one afternoon I made myself my first crocheted doll! His name is Dastan from the Prince of Persia movie, and I enjoyed customizing him to make him as realistic as I could! I am a bit of a perfectionist, so making him as close to the character as I could was a big must for me, a reason I had held off on making myself the crocheted dolls because I was afraid I could not do it…but…after seeing that I could, and that he was super cute, I started (slowly) on the rest of the dolls I wanted to make!

(Top row, below) I started with my Disney-inspired Princesses for myself really but I like to share. My children helped me pick out the correct colors for their gowns, and I went back to June’s book a lot for help with the unique hairstyles. I am very pleased with how they turned out!

Monica's amigurumi dolls

With the recent CAL in August, I felt compelled to accomplish my set of dolls that were adapted from my favorite fantasy book! And I knew that if I made my two favorite characters, I would have to make their companions; a giant blue-feathered iguana (Iguana) and a giant cream colored hound (AmiDogs Great Dane), and I was not able to make the white Star Stallion as I do not have a horse pattern yet. I was (still am) very excited about this set of four! While I was making them I had to re-read my six books (not only for fun, but to make sure I got their descriptions just right).

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Monica's amigurumi dolls

My next two special ones are from characters of my own fantasy book that I started writing in high school and have finally typed it out, so I thought it fitting to make my main characters into dolls as a self gift of accomplishment! :)

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Captain Jack Sparrow! I have always loved that character, and thought it would be fun and challenging to crochet him into a doll. I loved how he turned out! He is my most detailed doll I have done yet, and he inspires me to make more dolls even more detailed than before!

Monica's amigurumi dolls

In between all of my special dolls, I have made some regular dolls in different colors of yarn. I really like how simple and cute they are just as dolls (my favorite of them being this girl in the green mist dress).

(Below) The Cranberry China Doll, as I’ve been calling her, was fun to customize. I was not sure how she would turn out in the standard Chinese style dress, but I am very pleased. I was not sure if I could make a Xena Warrior Princess, but my son loves how she came out, and even asked when I was going to make a Gabrielle. I told him I had not planned on it, so she may be a Christmas gift for him this year. 😉

Monica's amigurumi dolls


(Back to me, June, again!)

Aren’t they all wonderful? Thank you, Monica, for sharing your beautiful customization work! Please leave Monica a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!

And if you’d like to try your hand at making some custom (or standard) amigurumi people, you can find the Boy and Girl patterns in my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi :)

Comments (16)

PlanetJune Stories: petrOlly

Today’s PlanetJune Story comes from Aleksandra in Poland, who many of you will be familiar with as petrOlly, one of the much-appreciated moderators from the PlanetJune ravelry group! This is a really wonderful story and I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read it. Over to you, petrOlly…


My PlanetJune story started as a very spontaneous idea but it turned into a long-term project. In November 2012 I learnt about an art contest for 10-12 year olds at the Polish Geological Institute – National Research Institute. The semi-finals were to be held in the Marine Geology Branch in Gdansk in May 2013.

Official logo of the contest
Official logo of the contest “The predatory face of the Earth”
Some of the artworks awarded in the contest
Some of the award-winning artwork from the contest

I’ve known and seen myself as a part of the Institute since I was a kid – my mother has worked there for as long as I can remember, I helped out there on several occasions during my studies, and I’m a huge fan of their Geological Museum in Warsaw.

As the subject of the contest was “The predatory face of the Earth” (Polish: “Drapiezne oblicza Ziemi”), I instantly thought about June’s dinosaurs making a superb addition and an extra prize for the winners. All I crocheted between November 2012 and April 2013 was dinosaurs – I ended up making 30 of them, and luckily this was enough for all the kids whose stunning artwork was awarded. Phew!

30 dinosaurs were additional prizes in the contest
Thirty dinosaurs made by petrOlly as additional prizes for the contest
30 dinosaurs were additional prizes in the contest
The thirty dinosaurs
The dinosaurs had little notes with facts attached to them
Each dinosaur included a note with facts about it
The dinosaurs had little notes with facts attached to them
Each dinosaur included a note with facts about it

Although I wasn’t there in person for the ceremony, it was a very exciting day for me as well :)

Before the ceremony
Vice-director of the Marine Geology Branch and the dinosaurs minutes before ceremony
The auditorium was full
The auditorium was full – a total of 780 entries were received, including 658 pieces of art!

Later that day I talked on the phone with co-workers at the Institute in Gdansk and they told me all about the ceremony. My dinosaurs were a huge hit! People (mostly adults – the kids’ teachers) were asking where they could buy more of the toys as they would like a whole set for the school. And – what was most important for me – the kids loved the dinos as well.

People asked questions about the dinosaurs / More artworks awarded in the contest
Contestants from a school in Elblag and their teacher asking the director of the Marine Geology Branch questions about the dinosaurs / More artwork awarded in the contest

One story touched me especially: a boy came to collect the prize his friend won, and he was sad, as he would have to give the dinosaur away. Luckily, there was one last dino left and he got his own toy, which he received with tears in his eyes.

Listening to this story gave me the most rewarding feeling. I could never have hoped my work would be appreciated that much. For that I have two people to thank: my mother, who taught me how to crochet, and June, for the awesome patterns.

I hope that – if I ever participate in an event like this again – I will be able to make it to the award ceremony :)

After the ceremony - participants and the co-workers of the Institute in the foyer
Participants and the co-workers of the Institute in the foyer after the ceremony – notice the great work from previous contests hanging on the walls
After the ceremony - winners and participants in front of Institute's building
Winners and participants after the award ceremony in front of the Institute’s building in Gdansk

You can see all of the award-winning artwork here (PDF file, 12.6MB) and more photos from the award ceremony here.


(Back to me, June, again!) I love this story on so many levels – not only seeing my designs being enjoyed by petrOlly while she crocheted them and then by the award-winning children, but also that my work is somehow helping in some small way with education, and the children are learning and being encouraged to express that through creativity. Thank you, Aleksandra, for your generosity in giving away all your beautiful dinosaurs, and for sharing such a lovely account of the contest with us today :) Please leave petrOlly a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!


And if petrOlly’s lovely work has inspired you to crochet some dinosaurs too, please join the Reptiles & Amphibians CAL – it runs for another month so you have plenty of time to make some lovely dinos of your own :)

Reptiles & Amphibians CAL at PlanetJune

You’ll find all these patterns here!

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PlanetJune at Ralph Lauren!

Today I have an amazing PlanetJune story for you: how my Fruit Bat design ended up in the window display of the Ralph Lauren Children’s Store on Madison Avenue, New York!

Here’s the Ralph Lauren window. It’s a beautiful display, combining seasonal elements (autumn leaves, pumpkins) with a handmade crafty theme (stitched details on the trees and moon, yarn-wrapped pumpkins) and their fall childrenswear range. And the perfect finishing touch is the 8 PlanetJune amigurumi fruit bats hanging from the trees:

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats
Can you see the bats yet?

I was approached by Ralph Lauren to make some of my fruit bats for their window. As you probably know, I don’t accept commissions for finished items any more, instead pointing enquirers in the direction of my Sellers’ List, which lists the shops of my customers who sell items made from my patterns. (I love being able to help out my customers in this way.)

In this case, with multiple bats needed and a fairly tight timeframe, I decided to go one step further and recommended a specific seller for this commission. Most of my sellers are active members of my Ravelry group, and post about how they are doing in the selling PlanetJune-designed items thread. As I read all the messages in my group, I get a good feel for how busy each of them is, and who might currently have the time and inclination to take on a large commission like this.

Note: I never make any money from these commissions – connecting buyers and sellers is just a service I offer my customers and people looking for handmade amigurumi.

So, I put Monica from Magical Amigurumi in touch with the Ralph Lauren people, they sorted out all the details of their transaction, and, a few weeks later, these cute-but-unassuming little bats…

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats

…were high-fashion superstars on Madison Avenue!

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats

I do love how the window dresser arranged all the bats in different positions, some with wings open and some folded.

The funny thing is that this was the third time my amigurumi designs have been requested by fashion designers! Maybe I need a new tagline for my website: PlanetJune: Amigurumi with Style 😉

If you’ll be in Manhattan in the near future, do stop at the window of the Ralph Lauren Children’s Store (878 Madison Avenue) and take a look at Monica’s PlanetJune Fruit Bats:

Ralph Lauren Children's Store window with PlanetJune Fruit Bats

Handy links:

If you’d like to sell PlanetJune-designed items, even if you don’t sell online, please come and hang out in the PlanetJune Ravelry group! I occasionally announce special commission opportunities in the group itself, and, if I know from the photos you post in my group that you do good work, I’m happy to match you up with a potential buyer. Who knows when the next big commission opportunity will arise?!

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PlanetJune Stories: Cherie Fishlock

Today’s PlanetJune Story is from Cherie Fishlock and comes to us from Australia. (Isn’t it amazing how crafting connects us all into one big global community?)

Cherie writes:

I’ve been crocheting for a year and am self taught. June’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi, was my go-to guide when crocheting amigurumi especially after I discovered the brilliance of the invisible decrease.

Thanks to June’s amazing emperor penguin pattern I won first prize at the Royal Show in Canberra, Australia in the beginner’s crochet class. I also won champion. It was great seeing the penguin amongst all the crocheted blankets.

I just want to thank June for the well written pattern. I must confess that I crocheted it at the last minute and her clear instructions made the process so much easier especially since I had never done colour changes before.

Unfortunately I couldn’t give June the credit she deserves; I wrote on the entry that it was designed by planetjune.com however that was not displayed.

Considering it was the first show I had ever entered I must say I’m now hooked. 😉

I am impressed: my Emperor Penguin, with its white belly and black back, is my most ambitious pattern for colour changes and Cherie obviously handled them like a pro to scoop the prizes with her lovely penguin.

Congratulations, Cherie – I’m really glad that my pattern could help you showcase your crochet skills and capture the attention of the judges :)

PlanetJune stories
Cherie’s Emperor Penguin.

PlanetJune stories
Cherie showing off her prize-winning penguin at the show!

PlanetJune stories
Excellent achievements: certificate, ribbon and rosette.

All very well-deserved, I think, don’t you? Please leave Cherie a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!

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  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    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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