PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Christmas Decor Collection crochet patterns

Don’t miss the launch discount, at the end of this post!

I can’t believe there are only 2 weeks left until Christmas! So now’s the perfect time to crochet up some fast and beautiful realistic ornaments and decorations, or go all out with a fabulous seasonal wreath – and my new collection has you covered, whichever you prefer…

Christmas Decor Collection crochet patterns by June Gilbank (made into a seasonal wreath)

I hope you’re as excited by this as I am?! It’s my new Christmas Decor crochet pattern collection!

Christmas Decor Sets 1-4 crochet patterns by June Gilbank

This collection includes four new seasonal pattern sets (although I’d advise you to consider picking up the complete collection!) Each Christmas Decor set includes one leafy nature pattern and one decorative pattern. The nature patterns are all realistic life-sized designs, worked in as few pieces as possible to minimise finishing. The coordinating decorative patterns will finish your arrangements with pops of fun and stylish seasonal colour.

You’ll get so much value from these patterns – each one can be used in multiple ways and you’ll be using them in your holiday decor for years to come!

  • Use individual components as Christmas tree ornaments, a pin/brooch/accessory, place settings, a personal touch on a wrapped gift, etc.
  • The components from each of the 4 pattern sets can be mixed-and-matched to assemble into a garland/swag, wreath, candle ring, etc.

Now, let’s take a look at each of the designs…

Set 1

Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Holly Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Candles

Holly: You can use this pattern to make a single holly leaf, or a triple leaf cluster (all worked continuously, as a single piece). The finishing touch is the cluster of red berries, which are, again, all worked as a single piece

Candles: This candle design includes two widths so you can make a narrow taper candle or a chunky pillar candle. Both patterns include instructions for adapting the height.

Set 2

Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Mistletoe Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Mini Baubles

Mistletoe: You can use this pattern to make a small four-leaf sprig of mistletoe, or a multi-leaf bunch (all worked continuously, as a single piece). The finishing touch is the cluster of white berries, which are, again, all worked as a single piece.

Mini Baubles: A trio of tiny baubles (small, smaller and smallest!) – make them in any colour to match your decor. You can use these mini baubles individually, or use the included instructions to assemble them in groups as a cluster or hanging ornament.

Set 3

Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Ivy Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Bow

Ivy: You can use this pattern to make a single realistic ivy leaf, or a strand of ivy (all worked continuously, as a single piece). You can hang your ivy strands horizontally or vertically, or lay them out flat. Making two strands in two shades of green and twining them together looks even more realistic.

Bow: A beautifully-shaped realistic ribbon bow. It’s made from only 3 pieces and you’ll love the clever assembly process!

Set 4

Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Poinsettia Christmas Decor Set 1 crochet pattern by June Gilbank: Bells

Poinsettia: This pattern includes instructions for making a double-layer poinsettia in red or cream, or adding a third layer in dark green (each layer is worked continuously, as a single piece, to minimise assembly).

Bells: A beautifully-shaped bell with an innovative design that’s all worked in one piece – including a tiny crocheted clapper! A pair of bells makes a beautiful ornament.

About the Patterns

  • All techniques used include tips, step-by-step photos, and/or links to my online tutorials.
  • All the flat pieces include charted stitch diagrams in addition to full written instructions, so you can follow the patterns in the way you find easiest.
  • Mix and match the pieces to make your own unique decorations!

Christmas Decor Collection crochet patterns by June Gilbank (several elements made into a candle ring)

If you’d like to make a wreath or candle ring like mine, I’ll also be releasing the pattern and instructions for the crocheted bases for my wreath/ring as a free/donationware pattern next week!

(You can buy a base if you don’t want to crochet one, but if you’d like to, why don’t you get a head start on your wreath/ring by crocheting some of the decor pieces now – you can use my photos as a guide for what to crochet or mix-and-match your own favourite pieces from the Christmas Decor Collection!)

Links & Launch Discount

Ready to get started? You can pick up each set individually from my shop:

But you’ll probably want to take advantage of the special price on the entire collection:

And for this week only, you can take an extra $1 off the collection and get crocheting right away: add the Christmas Decor Collection to your shopping cart, and enter the discount code HOLIDAYS at checkout! (Offer ends Sunday 15 December, 2019.)

I hope you’ll enjoy these seasonal decorations as much as I’ve enjoyed designing them for you! Happy Holidays 🙂

Comments (5)

Customize a Crocheted Accessory Pattern

How to modify the size of an accessory crochet pattern, choose an alternate yarn, and find the right hook for your yarn.

Many accessory patterns – especially shawls, scarves and wraps – are easy to modify: you can use a different weight of yarn and/or make it in a different size. By choosing yarn in a colour and weight you like, you can make a unique accessory from a pattern!

In this post I’ll walk you through the easiest ways to customize a pattern, with examples of the differences you can achieve.


How to Customize a Pattern

Change the Colour

Don’t let yourself be put off from trying a pattern if the sample isn’t in a colour you like – the simplest way to make your accessory unique is to crochet it in your favourite colour (or your recipient’s favourite, if it’s a gift).

Personalizing with colour gives you an original look without modifying the pattern at all, and there are no wrong choices!

shawl comparison: Sweetheart Lace Shawl crochet pattern by PlanetJune in two different colourways

Look how different – but equally lovely – my Sweetheart Lace Shawl looks in two different colourways.

Resize the Pattern

If you want to make the piece a different size (for example a narrow scarf instead of a rectangular shawl, or a bandanna instead of a triangular shawl), you’ll need to increase or decrease the number of repeats in the pattern so you end up with a larger or smaller piece.

The exact way to do this depends on the shape of the pattern and the way it’s worked. (All PlanetJune Accessories patterns include instructions for how to modify the pattern to make the pattern larger or smaller.)

Cozy Mesh Triangular Shawl, a PlanetJune Accessories crochet pattern by June Gilbank

The full-size Cozy Mesh shawl (above) uses the same pattern as the kerchief-style mini shawl (below) – the larger shawl just has more rows!

Cozy Mesh Triangular Shawl, a PlanetJune Accessories crochet pattern by June Gilbank

Substitute a Different Yarn

The thickness, composition and texture of your yarn, together with your crocheting style and tension, will all affect the end result of your piece.

When you’re making an accessory, if you want to use a different weight of yarn, all you need to do is choose a suitable hook for the yarn you’re using, and then modify the pattern so you end up with the correct size.

  • If you choose a finer yarn with a smaller hook, you’ll need more repeats and more rows to reach the same finished size.
  • If you choose a heavier yarn with a larger hook, you’ll need fewer repeats and fewer rows to reach the same finished size.

shawl comparison: Half Hexagon Shawl crochet pattern by PlanetJune in two different yarn weights

These two shawls are both made from my Half Hexagon Shawl pattern. The shawl on the left uses a thicker yarn and larger hook than the shawl on the right, so it needs fewer pattern repeats to end up with the same size shawl.

Change Yarn Weight and Resize

You can make an accessory look even more different by changing both the yarn weight and the finished size of the piece.

shawl comparison: Diamond Lace Wrap crochet pattern by PlanetJune in two different yarn weights and different finished dimensions

Both these wraps are made from my Diamond Lace Wrap pattern. By changing the yarn weight and the finished size, they have a completely different look even though they use the same stitch pattern! The wrap on the right uses fine yarn and a small hook to give a more delicate look, even though this shawl-sized wrap is much larger overall than the scarf-sized wrap on the left with its bolder stitches.


Swatch to Find Your Hook Size

Swatching to Match Gauge

For almost any crochet pattern apart from amigurumi, the pattern will usually include gauge information: the number of stitches and rows you should have per inch, if you want your piece to end up the same size as the pattern sample.

If you use the same yarn weight as the pattern suggests, and you make a swatch (a sample square using the same stitch as the pattern), you can measure it and compare it with the gauge size given in the pattern.

  • If your gauge is smaller (more stitches per inch), then redo the swatch with a larger hook until your gauge matches that in the pattern.
  • If your gauge is larger (fewer stitches per inch), then redo the swatch with a smaller hook until your gauge matches that in the pattern.

If you don’t match the gauge given in the pattern, your finished piece won’t match the dimensions listed in the pattern.

Is Swatching Necessary?

Yes and no…

  • Are you unconcerned about meeting the designer’s gauge?
  • Are you using a completely different yarn weight?
  • Are you adapting the pattern to give you a different size anyway?

In any of those cases, making a gauge swatch to make sure you match the designer’s gauge isn’t something you need to do.

But, there’s still a very good reason to do at least a bit of swatching, even if you’re making a scarf or shawl where you don’t care if it’s a couple of inches larger or smaller than it’s ‘supposed’ to be…

Test Your Yarn/Hook Combination

With an accessory pattern, the exact size of the finished piece generally isn’t as important as the look and feel. You don’t want to end up with a stiff heavy blanket if you were hoping for a soft, airy shawl!

So, although you may not care about swatching for gauge, it’s still a good idea to swatch to make sure you’ve chosen the right hook size for your project.

Tip: The ‘right’ hook size depends on the exact yarn you’re using, how tightly you crochet, and your personal preference. There’s no right or wrong answer here – if you’re happy, you’ve made the right choice!

No matter which yarn you’re using, I do recommend you try out just a few rows of the pattern and see if it feels too stiff and firm. If so, try going up a hook size or two, and keep experimenting until you find a yarn/hook combination that gives you a nice-feeling fabric, then unravel everything and start again using the hook you liked best.

shawl comparison: Diamond Flowers Scarf Wrap crochet pattern by PlanetJune swatches using different hook sizes
Jamie from my Ravelry group worked up three quick samples of my Diamond Flowers Scarf/Wrap in the same yarn with 3 different hook sizes (I, J, K). You can see how much difference going up or down a hook size can make!

But what is a ‘nice-feeling’ fabric? Here’s how I decide…

3 Rules to Find the ‘Right’ Hook Size

How do you know if you’re happy with your yarn/hook combination?

Here are my rules of thumb that I use to help me choose the perfect hook for a project:

  1. First, I usually go by feel – I wiggle and smush (yes, those are my technical terms!) the swatch to try to see if it’s at all stiff, or soft and drapey. Generally, you’ll want your shawl or scarf to drape cosily against your body, so try to avoid a hook that produces a stiff fabric.
  2. Next, from any options that are large enough to feel nice, I look closely at the stitches to see if the looser ones look messy, and I pick the best option (no stiffness, but stitches are small enough to look neat and tidy). Note: Your stitches will all even up a bit if you choose to block your piece after crocheting, but they should still look reasonably neat at this stage!
  3. Finally, if I can’t choose, the third factor is that you can make a larger piece in less time with a larger hook, so if two hook sizes both feel good, and the stitches look good in close-up, that may be the deciding factor!

It’s not so much about the yarn as it is about the combination of yarn and hook. If your projects turn out too stiff, that means you’re using a hook that’s too small for the yarn you’re using. Everyone crochets differently, so it may be that you crochet very tightly, and always need to use a larger hook to compensate.

It’s worth putting in that bit of extra work before you start, so you don’t end up wasting hours making something you’re not happy with!


Crocheted scarves, shawls and wraps make a lovely holiday gift – and they’re even more special if you personalise them by using your giftee’s favourite colours.

I hope this post has inspired you to consider using your own creativity to customize your next crocheted accessory project with the size and colour you’d prefer!


PlanetJune Accessories crochet patterns - new covers

All the examples in this post were taken from my PlanetJune Accessories pattern collection. Take a look now and see if your next crochet project is waiting for you there – or mix-and-match your own Custom Set of any 3 PlanetJune Accessories patterns for a special price. 🙂

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Adventures in Weaving

Aside from crochet, my other craft interests wax and wane – you may have noticed that I love to try new crafts and learn new skills! A few months ago, Kim Werker tweeted that IKEA now sells an inexpensive weaving loom, and a plan started to form in my mind: a way to experiment with a completely new-to-me craft, and use up some of my excessive yarn stash at the same time…

Getting Started

The IKEA Lustigt loom costs only $20 and is marketed for kids, but all you need to get started in weaving is a sturdy frame with something at the top and bottom to loop the warp threads around, and the IKEA loom is just as good as any other frame loom.

So, one trip to IKEA later, I was ready to start learning how this weaving thing works. I checked out all the (five) weaving books from my local library and got reading. If you’re as new to weaving as I was a couple of weeks ago, here’s the 5-second primer:

  • To weave, you first set up a series of vertical threads, called the warp threads.
  • Then you pass another thread (the weft) over and under alternate warp threads, going back and forth across the warps in rows, so the fabric starts to build up.

I’ve decided I’m most interested in the traditional style of tapestry weaving (where the warp threads are completely covered by the weft). It takes longer, but makes a sturdy fabric and it’s perfect for drawing pictures with yarn – the weaving equivalent of punchneedle embroidery!

Tapestry Weaving Sampler

I found the book ‘Tapestry Weaving’ by Kristen Glasbrook had the best instructions and most techniques from my borrowed collection. Her included sampler pattern looked like a good way to get started and learn lots quickly, so I followed the instructions and got started…

tapestry weaving in progress

Excuse the colours, they were the nicest trio from the cheapest worsted acrylics in my stash. This is only a practice piece, so it doesn’t need to look pretty!

And here’s the end result:

tapestry weaving sampler

It’s a bit wonky, but I think it’s pretty good for my first attempt at weaving, and now I know which techniques I like the look of (the dots near the bottom and the outlining at the top are my favourites) and which I don’t (I’m not a fan of the distorted weft, second from the top). And I now know I definitely won’t be using this type of yarn for my real tapestry projects – I don’t like the look of it at all.

Things I learnt:

  • The IKEA loom is incredibly easy to set up and very sturdy. The wooden bars that cover the pins at the top and bottom probably aren’t necessary, but I found they stopped me getting my weft yarn caught in the hooks, so they are quite useful.
  • The warp thread IKEA provides with the loom is pretty weak. Save yourself some heartache and use a decent cotton instead! I’m using size 10 crochet thread and it seems to work fine.
  • Tapestry weaving produces a lot of ends! (Here’s a pic of the back of my sampler after weaving in all the green and pink and some of the grey…)

back of tapestry weaving sampler

What’s Next?

I’m really excited by the possibilities here! Now I understand the basics of tapestry weaving, I’m going to try designing something I actually like the look of – I want to try weaving simple animal pictures instead of abstracts.

I have no idea how that’ll go, but I’m looking forward to experimenting, and I’ll report back here so you can accompany me on this weaving journey!

Have you ever tried weaving, or has this post intrigued you? Do let me know in the comments below 🙂

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Giant Crochet Harvest

The (crochet) harvest is good this year!

giant Amigurumi Apple, Pumpkin and Pear (crochet patterns by PlanetJune)

These are just my standard-sized Apple, Pear and Pumpkin patterns, super-sized into giant amigurumi. I love how quickly giant amigurumi work up for their size, and the results are adorably huggable. 🙂

giant and regular Amigurumi Apple, Pumpkin and Pear (crochet patterns by PlanetJune)
Giant fruit with their worsted weight counterparts – the giants are just a little bit larger!

Giant fruit would make such cute cuddly toys with some eyes and a little smile added, don’t you think? And I’m thinking the giant pumpkin would also make the most amazing decor for Halloween – maybe with a felt Jack o’Lantern face!

Crochet your Own Giant Fruit

Do you want to make some too? (Why wouldn’t you – they’re so much fun!) I can help with that…

Learn all my upsizing tips and techniques in my ebook The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi:

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - available in right-handed and left-handed versions

And here are the links to my free crochet patterns for the fruit:

Bonus tip for making a Giant Apple: To make the dimpled top and bottom for the giant apple, I found it was easiest to attach the stem before stuffing and closing the apple. I let the yarn ends dangle from the open bottom of the apple, and stuffed around them. After I finished crocheting the apple, I had the yarn ends in place and ready to pull tight to create the apple’s shaping.

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New PlanetJune Crochet Tools: Limited Edition

A quick announcement today: for one week only, until October 4th, I’ve re-opened my Crochet Tools shop with some old favourites and new offerings. Pre-order now and I’ll ship your package by the start of November, in plenty of time for Christmas gifts 🙂

Detail Stuffing Tools

The ever-popular PlanetJune-exclusive stuffing tools are back, in all 5 cheerful colours:

Detail Stuffing Tools for Amigurumi and Plush by PlanetJune

The Detail Stuffing Tool lets you get a grip on your stuffing, stuff the tiniest pieces and stuff right into the corners with ease. Don’t miss out on your chance to grab my bestselling tool that’s already an essential for thousands of amigurumi makers!

Go to Detail Stuffing Tool >>

More Crochet Tools

Feast your eyes on these beauties:

Crochet Tools by PlanetJune: extra-strong stitch markers, yarn needles, embroidery and handsewing needles

PlanetJune stitch markers are back in new extra-strong black plastic with a wider opening, but still with the same rounded tip that won’t snag your yarn, a secure clasp that won’t pop open accidentally, a large enough size (3cm/1.2″) to be able to open and close easily, and a super-cute safety pin shape. Sold in a set of 5. Go to Stitch Markers >>

Needles in Flip-Top Pebble Cases – finally, the perfect way to store your needles so you won’t lose them! The stylish flip-top Pebble container is smooth and flat and easy to slip into your project bag, but large enough not to be mislaid. Each high quality needle slides into its own space in the Pebble, so it’s easy to see if you’ve forgotten to replace it after use. John James is a renowned English needle brand that I’ve used for years and highly recommend.

  • Knitters Pebble (jade green). I didn’t name it – we can call it a Crocheters Pebble if you prefer! Whether you’re stitching your pieces together or weaving in loose yarn ends, a high quality yarn needle makes the task of finishing your crochet (or knit) projects much easier. The strong steel passes smoothly through even the smallest spaces, and the rounded tip won’t damage your fibres. Includes 3 large assorted yarn needles. Go to Knitters Pebble >>

And, as I expect some of you enjoy other crafts too, here are some other handy pebbles you might enjoy:

  • Tapestry Pebble (lavender purple). Whether you’re stitching features onto an amigurumi or enjoying a relaxing embroidery or cross stitch session, high quality tapestry needles make all the difference. The slightly rounded tips slide between your fibres without damaging them, giving a smooth finish to your work. Includes 6 assorted tapestry needles. Go to Tapestry Pebble >>
  • Household Pebble (pink). Whether for emergency repairs or hand sewing projects, every household needs a selection of high quality sharp needles. Use them to stitch on buttons, fix loose seams, hand-sew soft toys, and for all your other hand sewing needs. Includes 12 assorted general hand sewing needles. Go to Household Pebble >>

Buy More, Save More!

Christmas is coming, and wouldn’t these tools make perfect stocking stuffers for your yarny friends and family too? Here’s an added bonus if you want to stock up on several items – use these discount codes at checkout to save on your tools purchase:

  • Spend at least $10 on tools, save 10% with code SAVE10
  • Spend at least $15 on tools, save 15% with code SAVE15
  • Spend at least $20 on tools, save 20% with code SAVE20

Choose your Crochet Tools now! >>


I hope you like this selection of essential tools I have for you. Don’t forget to order before the tool shop closes on October 4th, and, as my stocks are limited, if there’s something in particular you have your eye on, don’t wait!

Happy tool shopping 🙂

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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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