PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for October, 2014

South Africa wildlife V: baby Chameleons!

I had a truly magical wildlife experience last week, and I just had to share it with you. Every day, I check the bushes in my garden for Cape Dwarf Chameleons – they’ve been absent for the past year, but made up for it when they finally returned last week, as I got to spend a day with 6 teeny tiny newborn baby chameleons who were each barely an inch long (excluding tail)!

If you’re short on time, here’s a collage of my baby chameleon photos:

baby chameleons

And scroll to the end of this post if you’d like to see my baby chameleon video. But, if you have the time, let me share some bigger photos and more details with you first:

__(‘Read the rest of this entry »’)

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Frilled Lizard crochet pattern

When I was doing dinosaur research for Dinosaurs Sets 2 & 3, I was very disappointed to discover that one of my ‘must-make’ dinosaurs didn’t live up to my expectations. Remember the classic scene in Jurassic Park where a man tries to steal dinosaur embryos and is attacked by a venom-spitting Dilophosaurus with a giant expanding neck frill? It turns out that the neck frill (and the venom) were dramatic licence on the part of the film-makers.

But hang on, if I can’t make a scientifically-inaccurate Dilophosaurus for my Dinosaur collection, why not make the real lizard that inspired the movie-makers?! The frill was actually ‘borrowed’ from the 100% real (and very cool) Australian frill-necked lizards.

And hence today’s fun new release: an Expansion Pack for my Iguana pattern, so you can turn it into a Frilled Lizard in full display mode, with gaping mouth and fully-spread ridged frill.

frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

Frilled Lizard Fun Facts

  • Frill-necked lizards are part of the agamid family of lizards, otherwise known as dragons or dragon lizards.
  • The amazing brightly-coloured mouth lining and dramatic frill work as a defense mechanism for the lizard, to make it look big and threatening when it’s frightened.
  • When un-expanded, the pleated frill lies flat along the lizard’s neck with the bright colours hidden, to help the lizard stay camouflaged against predators.
  • Frilled lizards live in trees and come to the ground to feed on insects.
  • They can reach up to 3 feet long (although a good fraction of that comes from their tail!)

frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

Pattern Info

This expansion pack pattern is intermediate level, but only because of the frill, which requires both changing colours and using different stitches (not just amigurumi-style single crochet). Please don’t be intimidated if you’re new to this type of crochet, though, as I’ll walk you through developing your crochet skills as you crochet the frill:

  • In addition to my usual full written instructions and charted stitch diagrams, I’ve included instructional appendices for the frill for right- and left-handers.
  • Each appendix walks you through the frill row by row via a special colour-coded stitch diagram for the row and a photo of the frill at the end of the row.
  • If you’re printing the pattern, save paper and ink by only printing the right- or left-handed appendix as applicable (or don’t print either, if you don’t need the additional instructions).
frilled lizard crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

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 Frilled Lizard Expansion Pack for only $2.50 individually from the shop, or, if you haven’t yet bought the Iguana pattern, you can buy the multipack of both lizards, and save 50c on the pair.

Launch Discount

If you’ve already bought the Iguana, you won’t be able to save that 50c. But, for 7 days only, add the Frilled Lizard Expansion Pack pattern to your shopping cart, together with anything else (totalling $5 or more), then use the code FRILLY at checkout and you’ll still get your discount! (Valid until next Sunday: 19th October 2014.)

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!


My Frilled Lizard makes me laugh, with his wide open mouth and colourful frill. I’ve also just realised that his colours are very seasonally appropriate in autumnal shades of brown, orange and yellow – although that was just a happy accident based on the colouring of the real lizards! If you’re not ready to make one just yet, don’t forget to heart and queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about him:

I hope you’ll enjoy this pattern as much as I enjoyed creating him! 🙂

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Shop more easily at PlanetJune!

You may have noticed some changes in the PlanetJune shop over the past few weeks – and now it’s time to officially announce the new and improved PlanetJune shopping experience:

PDFs for Everyone

That’s right, there are no more zip files to deal with! I’ve converted the hundreds of items in my shop (and the thousands of past orders) from zip files to plain PDF files. Now you can download your PlanetJune patterns directly as PDF files that are simple to download and open on any device.

Unlimited Access

As you probably know, when you buy a PlanetJune pattern, you’re buying a perpetual, non-transferable, single-user licence for that pattern. That means you’re entitled to free updates and may download the pattern again (for your own use only) whenever you need to.

Now that process is even simpler: just log back into your PlanetJune account and you can automatically re-download any pattern purchases at any time. There’s no need to contact me first to reset the limit; the links to your pattern PDFs are all stored under their original orders in your PlanetJune account and will never expire.

pumpkin crochet pattern by planetjune
A little seasonal crochet to brighten your day – details at the end of this post 🙂

About the Changes

When I first started my online shop in 2008, zip files were the way to go, as they were smaller and faster to download, and you could include multiple PDFs in a single zip file. Since the advent of faster internet speeds that rendered smaller downloads unnecessary, and new devices (smartphones, tablets and e-readers) that don’t natively read zip files, I was spending more and more of my time providing technical support for those pesky zip files.

I’ve been working for months on finding a way to both update the shop and convert all past orders without breaking anything or losing any past orders. Slowly but surely I pieced together my strategy. Working out all the code and updates required was a huge technical project, but, once all the plans were ready, it only took a few days to implement.

To make sure my server could cope with the demands of larger files being downloaded more frequently, I actually made the switch over a month ago. Now I’m confident there are no glitches in the new system and everything is running smoothly, it’s time to make this official.

My goals with these web improvement projects are to give you, my customers, a better shopping experience, and to reduce my tech support workload. Since making the above changes, my customer support log reveals that technical queries (related to downloading patterns, logging in, signing up, resetting download limits etc) have reduced from about 35% of my total customer support requests to well below 10% – that means it’s working!

These changes make it easier for you to buy and download my patterns, and that should also save me countless hours of customer support over the coming months and years, especially if/as my business continues to grow.

How You Benefit

Here’s what the changes mean for you:

  • Downloading PlanetJune patterns is now simple and straightforward from any computer or mobile device.
  • If you need another copy of any of your past PlanetJune purchases, your pattern PDFs are always there in your account ready to download again.
  • And, if you missed the download window for any of my pattern updates, they’re all ready for you again now – and at any time in the future!
  • Note: If any of your PJ patterns are not in your PlanetJune account – for example, if you bought them on Etsy or ArtFire, or won them in a competition – just email me with the details and I’ll add them to your account, so you’ll have access to any updates, and can download another copy if you need one.

I’m so pleased I’ve finally been able to make this happen. I think it’s going to make a big difference to your shopping experience, and I hope you’ll enjoy using the improved PlanetJune shop!


pumpkin crochet pattern by planetjune

About that Pumpkin…
If you’re wondering about the giant pumpkin in my photo, I made it from my free Pumpkin pattern, but I used 2 strands of worsted weight yarn and a larger hook (I/5.5mm) to super-size it compared with the normal pumpkins (the orange ones in the background).

If you’d like to try making one too – or any other seasonal PlanetJune crochet patterns – please share what you’re making in the Fall Crochet-Along thread in the PlanetJune ravelry group 🙂

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Borneo Wildlife

I thought you’d like to see some of the animals I saw on my trip to Malaysian Borneo last month! As this is a craft (and wildlife) blog, I’m keeping this post to just my wildlife photos, but, if you’re interested in knowing more about my trip, I’ve written it up separately as a travel journal with lots more pics: A Bornean Adventure.

We were privileged to get to watch these two rescued orphan orangutan babies in training. Once they’re old enough and have learned how to survive in the wild, they’ll be released back into the forest. (I’ve written more about the orangutan rescue and rehabilitation in my travel journal.)

orangutan1 orangutan2 orangutan3orangutan4

But, although this would have been enough, we saw far more than just orangutans…

__(‘Read the rest of this entry »’)

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October update

September is over which means I’m back from my mini sabbatical, which went by in a flash – did you even have time to miss me?!

I achieved some major goals: an amazing trip to Malaysia (I’ll share that with you when I’ve finished sorting through the 2000-ish photos I took…) and some big technical improvements with the shop (I’ll tell you about those in a later post too).

And then I hit a snag: I was stricken with first a bad tummy bug (while travelling), then a cold (probably caught on the long journey home) and now I have bronchitis, so I’m not at all rested and revitalised as I’d expected to be after this time away from you. The best laid plans…

While I do have several new and exciting patterns in the works, nothing is anywhere near ready to publish, and I think I’m going to have to pass on designing any new Fall- or Christmas-themed patterns this year. I know it seems like a wasted opportunity, but my designs take inspiration, time and a clear head to develop and I don’t have much of any of those right now – being awake coughing all night will do that to you!

Fall CAL

However, I do already have a million and one designs (approximately), so all is not lost. 😉

This month’s crochet-along theme is all things fall, halloween and autumnal, from cute and spooky amigurumi, to seasonally-appropriate accessories. You can choose from any PlanetJune patterns and the patterns from both my books, provided they fit the theme (either as-is, or with your own customizations). Here’s a selection of ideas to get you started:

a selection of Fall-themed PlanetJune patterns
Note: This photo doesn’t even include all the PlanetJune options, let alone any pics from Idiot’s Guides: Crochet – if you’ve already bought the book, you’ll know there are lots of seasonally-appropriate options there too!

I hope you’ll join us in the PlanetJune ravelry group for the Fall CAL this October 🙂

Book-Along CAL Report

The vast majority of entries in the Book-Along were made from the patterns (and creative uses of the stitch patterns) from my new book, Idiot’s Guides: Crochet. It hasn’t even been out for 2 months yet, and it’s an amazing feeling to see it being put to such good use, and to see people taking my advice from the book and modifying my patterns to make their own gorgeous versions. Here’s a sampling of the CAL entries (click the pic to see them all on Ravelry):

PlanetJune BookAlong CAL 2014 - sample of entries

I’m going to start a new thread in the Ravelry group for future book projects – it’s lovely to be able to browse through and see what everyone is making.

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 a bumper crop of winners to announce this month, as circumstances haven’t left me time to draw any winners since May(!), so here are the whole summer’s randomly-drawn winners:

PlanetJune pattern reviews

June’s winner is Jessica C‘s review of the ever-popular Baby Bunnies:

Very well-written pattern, easy to follow and with plenty of pictures to assist in placement of parts. They work up quickly and easily.

July’s winner is Stacey H‘s review of the Baby Sea Turtle Collection:

I made several of these! This was the very first pattern I made. I actually learned to crochet so I could make this pattern! It was easy enough for a beginner!

August’s winner is Peggy G‘s review of the classic Stegosaurus:

My nephew is dino-crazy, so I have made him almost every single one of June’s dinosaurs. They are a huge hit with him and they are so cute and fun to make. Super detailed pattern makes them zero-stress. Highly recommended!

And September’s winner is Chevelle G‘s review of my Gecko pattern:

I’ve been crocheting for just over a year now, but this was my first amigurumi project! I’ve been wanting to try my hand at it for ages, and when my fiance saw that I’d pinned this pattern from Ravelry to my Pinterest board, he fell in love and asked me to make him one! June’s pattern was so straightforward and easy to follow, making it perfect for someone having a go at amigurumi for the first time. It was amazed to see it taking shape so fast – I had this little guy finished in just a few hours, and my fiance loved him! I can’t wait to try more of June’s patterns – they are detailed, easy to follow and full of photos that are a great reference. Thank you, June! 🙂

Congratulations to all the winners – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize! And thanks to everyone who takes a minute to leave a review in my shop for a pattern they’ve enjoyed – please do keep those reviews coming…

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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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