PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for June, 2013

Red Panda crochet pattern

My latest commissioned design – Red Panda – is ready at last! I’d like to thank my commissioners for their patience when unforeseen personal circumstances meant I couldn’t complete the pattern writing as quickly as I’d hoped to. I hope you’ll think the end result was worth the wait…

red panda amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

Red Panda Fun Facts

  • Red Pandas live in mountainous regions of China and the Himalayas.
  • Like their Giant Panda namesakes, Red Pandas primarily eat bamboo.
  • Red Pandas are more closely related to Raccoons than to Giant Pandas!
  • Red Pandas are about the same size as a large domestic cat.
  • Their thick fur and bushy tails help to protect them from the cold.

Real red pandas have at least 6 colours (white, cream, light red, dark red, brown and black) but I’ve intentionally simplified the colours to use only the bare minimum of three – the fewest I could get away with! Of course, you can also substitute black and a paler orange/red for some of the brown and red areas, just as you’re welcome to modify any of my designs to add extra details or personalise your creations.

red panda amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

I think my design gives you the best of both worlds – the distinctive look of an adorable red panda without too much colour changing; I’ve limited the detailed colour changes to 6 rounds that make the all-important face patterning – it’s not a red panda without those face colours!

Once you’ve finished those, you should be able to fly through the rest of the crocheting and enjoy the clever leg construction and overall shaping. I opted to make my panda nice and chunky to imply the fluffiness without needing to brush him, but of course you can make yours extra-fluffy by brushing the tail, or the entire panda, if you like.

red panda amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

A tip for finding a good shade of red yarn: I spent weeks looking at photos of red pandas in preparation for my design, and I’ve realised that they come in all different shades from pale to dark, and from very red to orange to almost tan or brown. So don’t worry about finding a yarn to match the shade I used; you can make a red panda in any natural-looking shade of red, orange, rust, or reddish-brown you can find and it’ll be recognisable and realistic – and lovely!

I hope you’ll enjoy my latest pattern! Are you ready to get started on your Red Panda? If so, you can pick up the Red Panda amigurumi crochet pattern right now from my shop. Or, if you’re not quite ready to buy, why not favourite/queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it?

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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 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, 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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Singing Frog crochet pattern

To celebrate my return to full-time PlanetJune work, I have a fun new release for you today: an Expansion Pack for my Poison Dart Frog pattern, so you can turn it into a ‘singing’ frog with inflated vocal sac! (I’ve also re-released the Poison Dart Frog and Gecko patterns today – see later in this post for details.)

singing frog crochet pattern by planetjune
Ribbit, ribbit…

I made my frog in a bright golden yellow to match the beautiful Golden Mantella frog from Madagascar, but, of course, you can make frogs in just about any colour. You can also mix and match between the original Poison Dart Frog and this Expansion Pack, to make a singing Poison Dart Frog, or a non-singing single-coloured frog.

What is an Expansion Pack?

Expansion Packs by PlanetJune

  • An Expansion Pack is an add-on to an existing PlanetJune pattern.
  • The Expansion Pack lets you modify or add to the original pattern to create something else.
  • You cannot use the Expansion Pack alone – you must also purchase the original pattern in order to be able to complete the pictured items in the Expansion Pack pattern.

You can buy the Singing Frog Expansion Pack for only $2.50 individually from the shop, or, if you haven’t yet bought the Poison Dart Frog pattern, you can select it as an add-on to that pattern before you add it to your shopping cart, and save 50c on the pair.

Launch Discount

If you’ve already bought the Poison Dart Frog, you won’t be able to save that 50c. But, for 7 days only, add the Singing Frog Expansion Pack pattern to your shopping cart, together with anything else (totalling $5 or more), then use the code FROGLOVE at checkout and you’ll still get your discount! (Valid until next Thursday: 20th June 2013.)

Note: If you don’t need anything else right now, this also applies to Gift Certificate purchases, so you can pick up a $5 gift certificate now, get your discount, and have $5 in your PlanetJune account ready for your next purchase, or to send to a crocheting friend!

singing frog crochet pattern by planetjune

Pattern Re-releases: Gecko & Poison Dart Frog

I’m updating my entire back catalogue of patterns with extra information and tips and a new space-saving layout, and re-releasing them in batches as they are ready. Please see the Pattern Re-Release FAQ for more information.

Reptiles & Amphibians CAL at PlanetJune
Reptiles & Amphibians: now you can crochet a singing frog for this CAL too!

I realised that only 2 of the 23 patterns in the Reptiles & Amphibians CAL hadn’t yet been updated, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to rectify that. If you’ve previously purchased the Gecko and/or Poison Dart Frog pattern(s), the update(s) are now ready for you to download in the new format!

Log back into your PlanetJune account at any time in the next 2 weeks and you’ll see the download buttons for these pattern purchases have been re-enabled, so you can click and download the new versions.

gecko and frog patterns by planetjune

I hope you’ll be tempted to join the crochet-along, if you weren’t already… Happy reptile- and amphibian-making!

PS – Yay! It feels so great to be back in action 😀

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7th blogiversary

My 7th blogiversary couldn’t have come on a more appropriate day! Today my new visa application was submitted, which means I can begin to concentrate on PlanetJune again, and now is the perfect time to take stock and re-evaluate how things have been going and what my next steps should be.

Year 7 Review

This year has been all go, but since November my focus has been split by health problems, home problems (power outages, no internet service, water leak, being robbed) and immigration problems. These have consumed me for the past few months, but, hopefully, today is the turning point for all that 🙂

With all this clouding my mind, it’s hard to see what I’ve actually achieved with PlanetJune, so I’ve glanced back through my archives to remind myself. Surprisingly, despite everything, I managed to design and publish 24 new crochet patterns in Year 7 (exactly the same number as in Year 6):

PlanetJune year 7 crochet patterns

That makes me feel pretty good! And I have over a dozen more designs in progress, so the coming few months should see many more pattern releases 😀

I’ve also begun a project to reformat and re-publish all my older patterns, to add additional information and clarifications, and to save space and improve the layout. This requires concentration and meticulous checking to ensure I don’t introduce new errors into the new versions, so I’ve only been able to re-release 41 out of 124 patterns so far. It’s a huge project – I’m only 1/3 through it! – but I’m slowly working my way through the rest. It’s well worth doing though, so all my patterns will be standardised.

Goal Review

My Year 7 goal was to work on strategies to beat the overwhelming feeling of an ever-growing business with only one employee (me!) to do all the work:

I’m working on implementing [strategies] to make the ever-growing PlanetJune more sustainable with less work on my part: automating, prioritising, and re-energising.

Automating my business is still moving forward, albeit very slowly. Luckily my business growth has slowed to a more manageable level while I’ve been distracted, so I’m not completely overwhelmed, and the changes I’ve already made are keeping things in check.

Prioritising (and re-prioritising to account for unexpected incidents) has been critical in getting through the past months. My decisions are always based on keeping my standards high, which means I’ve been shifting due dates forward and planning for projects that I know I won’t even be able to begin until 2014! But there are no shortcuts to producing quality work: better to do it beautifully later than to produce something junky now.

Re-energising has obviously been a big fail over the past 6 months, but one I hope to make up for now – I’ll have more time to knit sweaters for relaxation and we’re planning some new wildlife-related adventures – yay!

What’s Next?

Now I should have more time again, so, once I’ve rested and got my health back, I want to get back up to speed and pick up all the PlanetJune projects I’ve had to abandon recently. Last year, I said:

Yes, I am slightly overworked right now because I’m in the midst of building all my new systems, but that won’t last forever and then I’ll have the payoff: being able to concentrate on the work I really enjoy: creating, innovating, and explaining crochet techniques. I can’t wait!

…and I still feel exactly the same way! I’ll get my new systems finished and the pattern updates completed, but I don’t want to set a time limit. I’ll work for as long as it takes to get everything finished without burning myself out in the process – I’ve had enough of being worn out!

After all the non-work-related stresses of the past few months, though, my work is going to feel like a holiday – I love PlanetJune and I’m very excited to get back to it 😀

To You…

I’ve made some wonderful friends through these past 7 years of craft blogging – some have been my compatriots from the very beginning, and others I’ve only connected with recently; some have become my treasured customers, and others support me with comments and emails. Our global online craft community is a very special environment and I’m grateful to be part of such a kind, generous group of people.

Thank you for accompanying me on my continuing PlanetJune adventure!

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June update

A Personal Note

I’m not telling you my current woe-is-me story to ask for sympathy (not that it wouldn’t be welcome!) but to explain what’s going on with PlanetJune, why I’m so quiet lately, why I’ve fallen behind with my design commissions, and why the situation should be improving very soon!

Last week, we suffered a burst pipe leaking through an electrical outlet at home, which threw off my plans for the whole week while the house was filled with first water (well, a flooded kitchen) and then plumbers and electricians, and we had no hot water, shower or stove for the best part of a week.

This couldn’t have come at a worse time, as I now have only one week left on my visa and it’s going to be a mad scramble for the finish to apply for the new one in time. All this stress and worry is affecting me badly, with crippling tension headaches, eczema, and insomnia.

My Red Panda design was actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I can’t muster the focus I need to complete the pattern to the PlanetJune level of detail and clarity, so the only option I have is to delay – a sub-standard pattern is not an option!

I’ve decided to stop trying to work on the Red Panda until the immigration stuff is out of the way – the added pressure just makes me feel even worse, and I’m really not making any progress on the pattern. Instead, I’m working on several simpler patterns, and making gradual progress on some longer-term design ideas, so there will be more good stuff coming 🙂

And, once the visa applications are in, I won’t have to do anything else except wait, so I should be able to rest and rejuvenate very soon and then get back to business as usual – and a lovely Red Panda pattern! In the meantime, thank you so much for your continued patience.

Review and Win contest

May’s ‘Review and Win’ winner is Kathryn P, with her review of my Baby Cephalopods:

baby cephalopods crochet patterns by planetjune: octopus, squid, cuttlefish, nautilus

I love how quick these work up! I made all four in an evening while watching tv, and they are so cute! Patterns are straightforward and do not require sewing together a crazy number of pieces, plus the end product is cute and realistic. I definitely recommend this set!

Congrats, Kathryn – I’ll email you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize 🙂

Reptiles & Amphibians CAL

The June CAL is an extended 6-week CAL to take us through to mid-July and give you plenty of time to complete one or more patterns. The Reptiles & Amphibians theme includes all my dinosaur, lizard, turtle and frog designs:

Reptiles & Amphibians CAL at PlanetJune

For easy browsing, you can find all these patterns in one place in my shop by clicking this special link: all PlanetJune Reptile & Amphibian patterns.

Please join us in the PlanetJune group on Ravelry for this 6-week CAL – I think it’s going to be a colourful one!

Comments (11)

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    June Gilbank

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