PlanetJune Craft Blog

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2023: year in review

Writing my Year in Review post every year helps me to see what I’ve accomplished, think about what I’ve learnt, and decide what I’d like to do differently in the following year.

2023 has been a unique year for me. I usually start these reports with a summary of all the new crochet patterns, tutorials and craft projects I’ve completed over the year, but I had two major achievements this year, and these basically tell the entire story of my year, with little time remaining for anything else.

My biggest accomplishment was to write and publish my comprehensive amigurumi reference book, The Essential Guide to Amigurumi, without sacrificing any of the quality you’d expect from the best traditionally-published crochet books. (As a bonus achievement, the right-handed version became the top new release in the Stuffed Animal Crafts and Crafts and Hobbies Reference categories on Amazon – yay!)

The Essential Guide to Amigurumi book by June Gilbank

Secondly, I ran the hugely popular PlanetJune Temperature Snake crochet-along with over 800 participants, and collected all the CAL materials and tips together into a complete pattern and detailed accompanying workbook at the end of the year so everyone can make temperature snakes for 2024 and beyond.

Temperature Snake crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Aside from those major goals, I published the Seafoam & Edging Expansion Pack for my Turtle Beach blanket, I managed to find time for one tiny (literally) new pattern with my Baby Snake design which I then adapted to add a rainbow ombre colourway, and made a couple of snake-related tutorials to accompany the CAL.

2023 PlanetJune crochet patterns

Business Report

This year I’ve been working on making the PlanetJune community more platform-agnostic, so I can meet you wherever you are. The Temperature Snake CAL was a good example of this, with participants on Discord, Ravelry, Facebook, Instagram, and email.

I built and coded custom galleries for both the Temperature Snake CAL and the annual end-of-year Reindeer Games CAL, to streamline and automate the back-end processes and make the galleries available to everyone, no matter where they participate in the crochet-alongs.

I updated the My Patterns page in your PlanetJune account, so you can see all your past PJ pattern purchases at a glance, and review and re-download them directly without clicking back into the order.

And I made some progress on other behind-the-scenes tech updates to PlanetJune, but that’s always an ongoing process. One of the downsides of being my own web developer and tech support team is that there’s only so much time I can devote to the tech side of things, but I anticipate that will be easier in future now I have an AI assistant to speed up my coding. 😉

Personal Report

We’ve been dealing with an unexpected change in family circumstances this year. And my sweet pup Maggie had dental surgery and then a bigger surgery for removal of a tumour. She needed my constant supervision while she recuperated, to keep her from tearing her stitches – you can’t explain to a dog that all stairs are off-limits! – but it was worth it, as she’s bounced back and is now as happy and active as ever.

Good news for my own health too: I may have avoided another knee surgery! Ten months of physiotherapy has strengthened the muscles around my unstable knee to compensate for the damaged ligament, and my knee feels stronger than it has in many years.


I didn’t have any energy or brainspace left for much other crafting this year – definitely not a situation I’d like to repeat in future – but I did get to use my crafting superpower for good. Maggie’s massive surgical incision (from neck to knee, poor pup!) needed to be loosely covered while she healed, but her leg couldn’t be bent enough to get it into a normal T-shirt, so I made her a ‘hospital gown’: a custom t-shirt with ribbon ties down the back.

Maggie dog wearing her ribbon-tied 'hospital gown' while recuperating from surgery

And I surprised myself by discovering an unexpected creative outlet: vegetable gardening. I’ve never been successful with growing plants (there’s a reason all my houseplants are crocheted!) but I cultivated a new experimental attitude with low expectations and it paid off.

vegetable garden with runner beans, zucchini and tomato plants

homegrown tomatoes, runner beans, zucchini and peppers

We ate delicious garden-fresh vegetables every day for over 3 months, and, while not everything I tried was a resounding success, it was a joy to spend time in the garden every day enjoying the fresh air, watching the birds and butterflies, and observing how my plants were growing.

monarch butterfly on a cosmos flower

And the vegetables led to another new ‘craft’: canning! Now I have enough pickles, chutneys, preserves and relishes to last me until the next growing season.

jars of homemade chutneys and preserves

There’s nothing like eating a burger in a fresh-from-the-oven bun, topped with homemade relish and home-grown lettuce and tomato, with just-picked green beans on the side. It’s a different kind of crafting, but baking bread and growing food have now become part of the crafty life that I love.

Looking Back

When I made the decision to devote this year to writing and publishing my magnum opus on amigurumi, I knew it would be an epic challenge to produce a top-quality book from scratch with no assistance, but it proved to be an even larger task than I’d anticipated.

I’d originally planned so much more for the year – new seasonal PlanetJune patterns for fall and winter, and a crochet beginner’s video tutorial series and fun stop-motion video trailer to accompany the book release. But life had other ideas: between Maggie’s surgery and recovery, the physical limitations from my chronic fatigue condition, and personal challenges, by the end of summer I was three months behind the schedule I’d set myself for the book at the start of the year.

If I was going to bring my book into the world, I had to keep my eyes on the prize and drop all the non-essential side projects from this year, leaving me with just three projects:

  • Keeping PlanetJune running (customer support takes the majority of my time there)
  • Managing the unexpectedly large CAL for my Temperature Snake design (customer and community support, creating the monthly roundup collages, plus my own participation with two crocheted snakes to keep up to date)
  • Creating the book of my dreams (no small task: writing, editing, designing, photographing, layout, publishing, and more, with no compromises on quality anywhere in the entire process)

And, although I may have pushed myself beyond my limits to do this, I ended up making up two of the three lost months and publishing the book only a month later than I’d originally hoped, and within my overall goal of publishing in time for Christmas. I’m trying not to shame myself for having to drop all my other plans for the year – I couldn’t possibly have worked any harder than I did, my priority was to put everything I had into making this book the best it could be, and that’s exactly what I did. That’s a real and long-lasting achievement, and I’d say it was a year well spent.

Looking Forward

For 2023, one of my more nebulous goals for PlanetJune was to imagine “what would it look like if it was easy?” I’ve spent a lot of my time over the years pushing through and struggling with my energy limitations, and I don’t want to live my life like that any more.

I’ve been attempting to move in this direction for several years, but there’s always been just one more thing I need to get through before I can slow down… And then there’s the next one more thing, and the next… I’ve been determined that bringing my legacy book into the world would be the last of these, and now it’s time to find an actual balance where I can enjoy my life, and have PlanetJune be a part of that.

Writing this book has shown me a) what not-easy can look like, and b) that my business is at such a mature stage that it can survive for essentially a whole year without me doing anything except customer support. And if that’s true, imagine how well things could go in future if I add to that baseline by concentrating on following my curiosity and bringing the things I want to make into the world, and giving myself permission to minimise the things that drain me…

For 2024, I’m looking forward to striking out in this new direction. After a year with very little pattern designing, I’m itching to get back into it – I’ve been keeping lists of ideas that I didn’t have time to work on, so I have no shortage of inspiration. I love bringing nature to life in amigurumi, and I’m so excited to get back into it!

But first, rest. 2023 was too much for too long, but I really needed to complete The Essential Guide to Amigurumi and not have it be one of those passion projects that goes on for years and is never quite ready to go out into the world. And now, it’s published! I’ve done what I set out to do. I can finally hit pause after a year-long push, so I’m going to take a month off to reset and try to find a healthy rhythm and remember how to relax (I seem to have forgotten how, after pushing through for so long…)

I’ve been thinking of this point in time as a semi-retirement, where I’m retiring from the mentality of hustle and business growth, but not from creating new designs and allowing PlanetJune to support me financially. I think this could be my answer to “what would it look like if it was easy?”

I don’t have the energy or desire to reach for capitalist goals or to craft persuasive social media marketing campaigns, and I don’t want to waste my energy on those things. I need to trust that the people who enjoy my work will continue to find, enjoy and share it, genuinely and authentically, and that will be enough. I can imagine the simpler life I want, filled with creative projects, rest, nature, family, friends and online community, and peace.

(If that sounds good to you too, I warmly invite you to join the PlanetJune community on Discord. It’s a cozy online space where we chat about topics like pets, food, gardening and books as well as crochet and crafting!)

2024 Wishes

Last year, as I worked towards my ambitious publishing goal, I wished to be grounded, steady, and focused: to move forwards, one step at a time, without getting overwhelmed, sidetracked or discouraged. I really needed all those things in 2023 to keep me going all year long, but now that era has ended and it’s time to begin a new one. I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

For 2024, I wish for a simpler, more serene life: for making time for what really matters, and for leaving behind the things that don’t.

I wish the same for you, and for a happy, healthy and harmonious 2024. Happy New Year!

Comments (5)

oops – I’m so sorry!

Dear Blog Subscribers,

I’m so sorry that you just received 50+ emails from me!

Last week, I decided to do a spring clean of my website and get rid of some of the older posts that didn’t have any ongoing value. And then today, I changed my mind and decided to reinstate them – they’re a log of the progress of my business over the years, and sometimes people like going back and seeing the evolution of PlanetJune.

What I didn’t realise was that, in reinstating them, WordPress would publish them as ‘new’ posts and send notification emails to all my subscribers – one for each post. And what’s even worse is that they are all the least-interesting posts I’ve ever written, dating from many years ago – if I was going to send you a bunch of blog posts, those wouldn’t be the ones I’d choose!

So, please delete all the emails from PlanetJune by June Gilbank: Blog <> that you received today, and please don’t unsubscribe – I promise this won’t happen again!

What a disaster – I’m incredibly sorry.

Please forgive me…

Comments (27)

Spectrum and Kelvin: my 2022 Temperature Snakes

Just a heads-up: I need to take a few days away from PlanetJune due to health issues. I’ll be mostly offline for the next week, but don’t worry – if you have any questions that other members may be able to help you with, you can post them in one of our community groups. As for customer support, I’ll do my best to keep up, but please bear with me if it takes a little longer than usual for me to get back to you. Thanks for your understanding 🙂

I’ve just realised that with the flurry of excitement surrounding the start of the year-long Temperature Snake 2023 CAL, I never showed you the photos of my finished 2022 sample snakes. All my pre-release photos strategically omitted the tail-ends of my snakes, as, well, they didn’t have tails until I knew the final temperature for the year on December 31st and could crochet their last stripes!

So, please allow me to introduce my two beautiful crocheted Temperature Snakes that depict the daily high temperatures in Waterloo, ON throughout 2022…

Spectrum is a Large Daily Snake using the Rainbow colour scheme from the pattern:

Temperature Snake crochet pattern by PlanetJuneSpectrum is named for her colour scheme – the colours of the rainbow.

Kelvin is a Small Every-Other-Day Snake using the Red-to-Blue colour scheme from the pattern:

Temperature Snake crochet pattern by PlanetJuneKelvin is named for the temperature scale used to measure the colour temperature of light, from warm red to cool blue.

All three of those options (size, length and color scheme) are mix-and-matchable within the pattern – I crocheted Spectrum and Kelvin throughout 2022 so you could see an example for each of the options.

Temperature Snake crochet pattern (large and small snake options) by PlanetJune

Temperature Snake crochet pattern by PlanetJuneTemperature Snake crochet pattern by PlanetJune

If you’re making a Daily snake for the CAL, this is the approximate snake length you can look forward to by the end of the year:

Temperature Snake crochet pattern by PlanetJuneSpectrum is by far the longest amigurumi I’ve ever made!

Temperature-wise, 2023 is shaping up to be quite different from 2022, so nobody else will ever have a snake that looks quite like these two… but then that’s part of the fun of the Temperature Snake pattern (or any temperature project): you don’t know in advance which colour you’ll be using for each day, and your final snake will truly be one-of-a-kind.

If you’d like to join the 2023 Temperature Snake CAL, there are well over 700 of us participating now, we’re sharing our progress and chatting in the PJ community online groups, and you’re very welcome to jump in now and catch up on all the daily temperature readings from the start of the year using the online resource included in the pattern. Plus, there are plenty of others who are just starting out or playing catch-up, so you won’t be alone!

I’m aiming to get back online and feeling better in a week or so. I look forward to seeing all your snake update pics and catching up on what I’ve missed!

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announcing my next book: The Complete Guide to Amigurumi

✨ The Complete Essential Guide to Amigurumi: COMING LATE 2023 ✨

UPDATE: Since writing this post, the title of my book has now changed to The Essential Guide to Amigurumi. I’m keeping the old title in the remainder of this post, but ‘The Complete Guide to Amigurumi’ is now ‘The Essential Guide to Amigurumi’ 🙂

Sign up here to be the first to know when it’s available for pre-order!


In 2010, I wrote a best-selling amigurumi reference book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi, filled with tips and techniques for making and customizing amazing crocheted toys. Although now out of print, it was the definitive reference guide to amigurumi techniques. To this day, it’s the only book of its kind, but it’s now very dated:

  • It was printed in black and white on lower quality paper (that’s what how-to books were like, back in the day!)
  • It’s missing a dozen years of amigurumi innovations and recommendations that I’ve come up with since then.
  • It was saddled with an unfortunate name (Idiot’s Guide) that made it sound like I believe you to be an idiot, when nothing could be further from the truth.
  • It’s been out of print for a couple of years now, and as a result the price for the remaining copies, even used copies, is ridiculously high.

I’ve gone through the long process of getting the rights back for my content, and now that’s sorted, I can finally create the amigurumi reference book of my dreams!

ANNOUNCING: The Complete Guide to Amigurumi

The Complete Guide to Amigurumi will be crammed full of all my techniques and recommendations for making fantastic amigurumi, with close-up step-by-step photos, clear, concise instructions, and a variety of adorable and original amigurumi patterns to experiment with.

Here’s a mockup of a few pages – if you’re familiar with CIG to Amigurumi, you can see how completely different (and 100% better) this book will be, even before I add all the new and updated content:

sample spreads from the upcoming book The Complete Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank

I’m uniquely qualified to write this book:

  • I’ve been a pioneer of amigurumi since the days it first emerged from the shores of Japan.
  • I’m a prolific amigurumi designer at PlanetJune, with over 200 unique nature-inspired patterns to date.
  • My background as a technical writer allows me to create exceptionally clear and accurate crochet patterns and tutorials.
  • I’ve been developing and refining amigurumi techniques since 2007, and I continually come up with new tips and techniques to improve your amigurumi.
  • I’m an expert in amigurumi instruction, with over 100k YouTube subscribers to my @PlanetJune amigurumi tutorial channel.
  • I’m an experienced instructional craft book author with 4 previous titles published with Quirk Books, Alpha Books and DK.

So I know I have what it takes to make this book a reality. Even so, I have a lot of work ahead of me over the course of this year, to bring my concept to life. I’m one month in at this point, and things are progressing well, as I hope you can tell from the sample spreads above!

The Complete Guide to Amigurumi will be an essential companion for your amigurumi journey, whether you’re looking for a beginner’s guide, searching for tips to improve your results, or even considering getting into amigurumi design yourself! I’ll be compiling my expertise on all these topics into a high-quality reference book that you’ll refer back to again and again.

I can’t wait to bring this book to you, and I hope you’re as excited as I am to see it brought into the world!

Please sign up for updates now and I’ll send you quarterly(ish) updates on how the book is progressing, with sneak peeks and info on how you can be the first to pre-order The Complete Guide to Amigurumi – and maybe even join the book launch team this fall!

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2022: year in review

Writing my Year in Review post every year helps me to see what I’ve accomplished, think about what I’ve learnt, and decide what I’d like to do differently in the following year.

This year has been bookended by accomplishments: I started 2022 by receiving my Silver Award from YouTube for passing 100,000 subscribers, and ended it with the publication of the crochet reference book I always wanted to create: Everyday Crochet.

June with a Silver YouTube award and Everyday Crochet book

As most of my work is in digital patterns, having these two physical, tangible items I can hold in my hands feels significant.

Also in 2022, I published half a dozen new patterns and added additional content to several older ones:

2022 PlanetJune crochet patterns

And I’ve just launched my ambitious year-long Temperature Snake CAL for 2023, which kept me busy throughout the year as I simultaneously worked on two samples – in secret!

Temperature Snake CAL crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I had no idea how the launch would go, but it’s been a huge success: we have hundreds of people signed up and preparing to start their snakes today (and there’s still time to join us, if you haven’t already!)

Also in 2022, I designed and launched new physical products (enamel pins and stuffing tool handles – sign up for the Crochet Tools list to be notified of the next flash sale!) and created always-available bookplates so I can ‘sign’ copies of my books for you.

new PlanetJune products 2022: enamel pins, stuffing tool handles, bookplates

I published some new crochet video tutorials, reviewed some new crochet hooks, and updated the worsted weight yarn comparison with additional samples.

2022 PlanetJune tutorials

In other crafting, I’ve enjoyed collaborating with my husband to make useful 3D printed objects, and I’m still enjoying diamond painting. I made a blanket by finger knitting with loop yarn – and I’m shocked to realise that was the only knitting I did all year! I have more hobbies than I have time and energy…

2022 crafts: 3d printing, diamond painting, loop knitting

I crocheted and assembled my giant Christmas tree, and I spent many hours tweaking and editing a photo of Maui to make a portrait on canvas that would be a fitting tribute to him:

giant crocheted Christmas tree and canvas portrait of Maui

And I’ve reluctantly taken up gardening this year too – as our forever home is a new build, the garden was 100% plain lawn, so if I want to encourage wild visitors (which I definitely do!) I need to develop a nature garden. With that in mind I’ve started planting native shrubs and pollinator-friendly wildflowers that will hopefully take care of themselves once they’re established.

My little wild corner doesn’t look like much yet, but fingers crossed it’ll be beautiful in a few years’ time:

my garden

Gardening is not one of my natural talents (hence my huge collection of crocheted plant designs that I can’t kill…) and I’ve made some mistakes with my plants this year, but I’ve learnt a lot so I can do better next year. And 15 bird species visited my garden before they all disappeared for the winter, so something has been working!

Business Report

Behind the scenes, I’ve been making progress on a long-term project, making lots of little tweaks to improve and speed up the website and to improve PlanetJune’s visibility in search engines. I don’t have anything flashy to report here, but the incremental improvements all help.

I discovered that Google Analytics has some issues with privacy law compliance (unless you really know what you’re doing), so I’ve switched to a much simpler GDPR-compliant analytics package running on my own server so I can still track useful things like how people find me without accidentally storing any personal data.

On a whim, I ran a quick customer feedback survey through my newsletter, which proved to be very helpful. I’ve implemented some of the suggestions already (like increasing the font size of the newsletter itself), and I have a whole list of other things I can continue to improve in future.

And I’ve been taking courses and researching book design and self-publishing (more on that later…)

Personal Report

Saying goodbye to our precious cat Maui in early January was an awful start to 2022, and although I’ve tried to stay positive, his absence still hits me like a punch in the chest at unexpected moments, almost a year later. But this little bundle of love has really helped with that – Maggie is my constant companion, and keeps me on track.

my pup Maggie

Healthwise, I had a long-lasting respiratory infection this autumn, my bad knee has declined again (and I’ve been going to physio for that), and I’m still plagued by fatigue that’s crippling at times.

I’m trying to come to terms with the limitations my health puts on my work – there’s so much I want to create, but I’ve found that there’s a hard limit to the energy I can expend, and pushing myself too hard one day just makes me a zombie in the evening or ‘borrows energy’ from the next day so I’ll be too exhausted to do anything all day.

It feels like laziness if I don’t always work full time hours, but I need to remind myself that it isn’t: if I don’t push too hard or expect too much from myself, I can still accomplish the same amount while also enjoying every day instead of feeling shattered – and in the end, isn’t that what life is about?

I know I’m not alone in this, and if you also have a chronic health condition that limits your energy, I recommend reading up about Spoon Theory (google it!), and the book How to Keep House While Drowning is also very helpful if the daily tasks of life are overwhelming.

Looking Back

As of 2022, I’ve been blogging for 16 years (with over 1000 blog posts), I’ve been a published crochet designer for 15 years and self-employed full-time for 13. I’ve published 4 traditionally-published books and well over 250 self-published patterns and ebooks. I’ve worked for a long time to get to where I am today!

Although it may not seem like I’m super-productive these days, I’m juggling a lot of plates behind the scenes, managing life challenges as well as business ones, and I’ve set a high bar to keep making high quality innovative work and offer dependable support to all my customers.

And I’m still doing too much: I thought I’d allowed plenty of time to prepare the Temperature Snake CAL without a last-minute time crunch, but being sick for so long in the fall knocked all my plans off track and I’ve had to work far too hard – even over Christmas! – to get all the CAL pieces in place, two weeks later than I’d planned.

I can’t keep doing this to myself – it takes a huge toll on me, but there always seems to be just one more thing I have to do before I can rest. Speaking of which…

Looking Forward

I had a plan. A grand plan. A hope to leave a legacy in the form of two crochet reference books that I can really be proud of.

Revamping IG:Crochet into Everyday Crochet in 2022 was the first part of the plan, and the second part – replacing my old CIG to Amigurumi with an all-encompassing amigurumi reference book that includes all my tips, tricks and tutorials from my 15+ years as a trail-blazing amigurumi designer and looks and feels as gorgeous as Everyday Crochet does – will be my mountain to climb this year.

I’m not going into this unprepared: I’ve been in the craft book industry since 2009, I have the technical writing and editing qualifications, I’ve done a ton of research on book design, and I’m equipped with endless years of experience in producing patterns and and tutorials. But this will be my first solo climb – my first book where I’m wearing all the hats and aiming to produce a book that’s at least equal in quality to any other crochet book you own, as well as being full of the content you’d only get in a PlanetJune amigurumi book.

I’m ready for this challenge, but I anticipate it’s going to take most of the year to produce the amigurumi reference book of my dreams. I’ll probably have to postpone all my other patterns and tutorial ideas so I can bring this book to life – it needs all my energy and attention, and it’ll be worth the sacrifice.

If I’ve learnt anything this year, it’s that I need to allow even more buffer time than I think I could possibly need, to take account of my health, so I need to be strong and say no to everything else – even the most exciting new ideas and opportunities – if I’m going to bring this book to life.

So, a heads-up: I never post filler content just to keep to a fixed publishing schedule. Although I’m sure I’ll still have some crafty things to post about, it does mean my blog and social media may look a little quiet for much of 2023 – please know there’s a good reason for that!

Creating and publishing my amigurumi reference book will be my Everest, and once I’ve conquered it I’m hoping to settle into a more comfortable, less thrilling, sustainable lifestyle, and enjoy developing my future designs at my own pace. But first, I have an epic challenge ahead in 2023!

2023 Wishes

Last year, I wished for resilience (to keep going through the tough times), grace (to not beat myself up when reality falls short of expectation), and hope (to look forward to the better things to come). When I made those wishes, I didn’t know how much I’d need all those things in 2022.

For once, this coming year, I actually have a concrete tangible goal (and it’s dauntingly ambitious: to write, photograph, edit, design, publish and market a professional-quality book all by myself). So, in 2023, I wish to be grounded, steady, and focused: to move forwards, one step at a time, without getting overwhelmed, sidetracked or discouraged.

I wish those things for you too, no matter what your goals for the coming year may be, and I hope 2023 will bring you health, happiness and fun. Happy New Year!

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Author-Signed Bookplates (& Flash Crochet Tool Sale)

Only 4 days to go until my new book, Everyday Crochet, launches! There’s no way I can sell signed copies of this book (the shipping costs would be far too high – it’s almost 300 pages and weighs 2lb/900g!), so please order it directly from amazon or your local bookstore.

Author-Signed Bookplate: June Gilbank

But, if you’d like me to sign your book for you, I’ve commissioned a professionally printed high quality bookplate sticker with easy-peel backing, perfectly sized at 2×4″ (~5x10cm) to fit in the empty space on the first page of any of my books.

Author-Signed Bookplate: June Gilbank

Each bookplate sticker will be signed personally to you by me, June Gilbank, so you can get a ‘signed’ copy of any (or all!) of my books by sticking a bookplate directly into your copy.

Or, if you’re giving my book as a gift, why not give a ‘signed’ copy by sticking a bookplate – signed personally to your recipient – into the book before you gift it?

Author-Signed Bookplate: back side with easy-peel backing

The easy-peel sticker backing is split on the back, so you can gently bend the bookplate to peel off each section of the backing from the middle – there’s no struggling to peel the sticker from a corner and potentially ruining the corner!

Get your author-signed bookplates now >>

Crochet Tools – Flash Sale!

For this weekend only, I’m also re-opening the Crochet Tools shop, so you can combine shipping if there’s anything else you need. I have very limited quantities this time around, and the shop won’t be open again for the best part of a year, so if you need a Detail Stuffing Tool, an exclusive PJ enamel pin, or anything else, now’s your chance!

PlanetJune Crochet Tools: detail stuffing tools & handles, stitch markers, needles, enamel pins, stickers

Browse my collection of essential crochet tools & pins now >>

Note: If you’re reading this after Oct 30th and missed the flash sale, sign up here and I’ll notify you when the Crochet Tools shop next opens.

Bookplate Availability

The logistics of having to batch-ship via my cross-border shipping company means I can only open the Crochet Tools shop once or twice a year – as my items are so inexpensive, it’s the only way to keep international shipping costs reasonable for you.

But, as the bookplates (and vinyl stickers, while stocks last) can ship as lettermail, I can just drop them at the post office once a week, so I intend for the bookplates to always be available in the shop, so you can get a ‘signed’ copy of Everyday Crochet at any time 🙂


Fall woodland crochet photoshoot

I spent most of the day yesterday setting up this scene in the PlanetJune forest (no regrets!) and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! This photo captures the essence of what I love about fall – the gorgeous colours and the cozy warm feeling of the season. I hope you love it too…

fall woodland crochet patterns by planetjune

What do you think? Does it give you a warm and cozy feeling?

To set up this woodland scene, I used 5 different PlanetJune designs (find them all at!):

Can you spot them all (except the Canadian flag – that didn’t quite fit this theme!) in the scene?

Behind The Scenes

Why did it take me so long to capture one photo? I thought you might enjoy a glimpse into my process here…

First I collected the elements I thought I might include in this photo – a big pile of leaves, mushrooms, acorns, pine cones and squirrels.

amigurumi and applique crochet elements for the woodland photo scene

I set up the empty PlanetJune forest scene with a fleece fabric floor and my painted green backdrop.

painted green backdrop and brown fabric ground for the woodland photo scene

Fun fact: I’ve been using the PlanetJune forest since 2008, when I launched my AfricAmi patterns and realised my white rhino wouldn’t show up well against a white background! The ‘ground’ is a piece of fleece fabric, and the mottled green backdrop is a sheet of white poster board that I painted to look generically leafy. I’m amazed that my painted backdrops have survived my round-the-world travels and I’m still using them 14 years later!

Then it was time to arrange all the elements, light the scene so everything shows up clearly, and start photographing!

two softboxes light the woodland photo scene

I currently use two softboxes to light my photos. They make it possible for me to shoot at any time of day or night and have my pictures always look consistent. Look at the difference they make to the scene: in the above photo the lights are off and in the one below they’re turned on:

two softboxes light the woodland photo scene

After snapping the first photo, I copied it to the computer and checked it on my big monitor. Then came many rounds of tweaking. I’d change the exposure or depth of field on the camera, or moving elements around while hoping I didn’t knock any pieces over or jog the camera tripod (it’s tricky maneuvering around the tripod and light stands to reach into the scene, and my poor mushrooms fell over multiple times!)

two softboxes light the woodland photo scene

After each change, I’d snap another photo and check it again, and repeat over and over. In the end, to create the square photo I was looking for, I had to raise the height of the ground at the back by slipping a roll of extra fabric under my base fleece. And, of course, doing that made allll the mushrooms fall over and I had to start positioning them all again…

But finally, I had the raw photo I wanted, and all that was left to do was to crop and process it into the final image!

fall woodland crochet patterns by planetjune

It’s a long process, but to me it’s like a little art project, and it’s very satisfying when it all comes together into a finished piece I can be proud of. I hope you’ll love my adorable little woodland scene!

a selection of Fall-themed PlanetJune crochet patterns

If you’d like to crochet any of these patterns, or any of my other autumn-themed designs (including some freebies, if crochet patterns aren’t in your budget right now) I’d love it if you’d join the PlanetJune ‘Fall into Autumn’ CAL (crochetalong).

You can find the CAL in the PlanetJune groups on Ravelry and Discord, and you can also join in by posting what you’re making to any of your social media accounts and tagging me (@PlanetJune) so I can see them and leave you a comment.

I don’t usually announce CALs here on the blog unless I’m already writing a related post like this one, so if you’d like to be notified about new crochetalongs, please join one or both of the PlanetJune community groups where our CALs take place, or sign up for my monthly newsletter – I’ll always keep you in the loop!

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Crochet Tools – last chance!

This is your last call to order from my Crochet Tools shop before it closes tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

If you’re reading this after June 15th, click here to sign up to be notified next time the shop opens!

Below, I’ll give you a quick rundown of what I have on offer this time – the classic PlanetJune tools plus exclusive new products! I only open the tool shop once or twice a year*, so if anything catches your eye, please don’t wait – get your order in now before the shop closes…

(And if you’ve already placed an order but want to grab something else while you have the chance, I’d be happy to combine your orders and refund you for the second shipping charge – just let me know!)

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!

Detail Stuffing Tool Handles

If you’ve ever wished your stuffing tool was just that little bit longer or stronger, the Detail Stuffing Tool Handle is just what you need! Made from high quality aluminium, the handle is strong, lightweight, rustproof, and will last a lifetime. Note: At their low introductory price, these have been selling like hotcakes!

Crochet Tools by PlanetJune: an aluminium Handle for the Detail Stuffing Tool

The Detail Stuffing Tool Handle is available as a Standard 4″/10cm length (pictured above), an Extra-Long 6″/15cm version, or a value pack of both lengths. They give your tool added strength and longevity, plus over an inch (Standard) or three inches (Extra-Long) of extra length, so you can place your stuffing further into your amigurumi with ease.

PlanetJune Enamel Pins

I’m thrilled to be able to bring my first pin designs to you! PlanetJune Enamel Pins are high quality, wearable and collectable. Pin them to your jacket, your backpack or your project bag, decorate your cork board, or add them to your pin collection.

enamel pins: PlanetJune Logo and Turtle Beach designs

Choose between the stylish PlanetJune Logo pin, a precious baby sea turtle on the Turtle Beach pin, or a value pack including one of each pin!

Vinyl Stickers & FREE Signed Bookmarks

Show your PlanetJune love with a premium vinyl sticker that will stick on any flat surface! Stick it on your notebook, your laptop, your coffee mug, even your car’s bumper…

Crochet Tools by PlanetJune: vinyl stickers and free signed bookmarks

And, by request, here’s another chance to pick up a free signed Collector’s Edition bookmark to go with your collectible copy of my out-of-print first book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi. (And if you don’t own the book but still want a signed bookmark, that’s fine too – I have plenty left, and I’d be happy to sign one for you!) This bookmark is totally free with the purchase of anything else from my Crochet Tools shop, or, if you don’t need anything else, you’ll just pay the cost of a stamped envelope.

More Crochet Tools

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

PlanetJune Stitch Markers are back in 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.

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. Available in three varieties:

  • The Knitters Pebble (jade) includes 3 large assorted yarn needles for weaving in the yarn ends on your crochet or knitting projects.
  • The Tapestry Pebble (lavender) includes 6 assorted tapestry needles for embroidery (including embroidering faces on your amigurumi!)
  • The Household Pebble (pink) includes 12 assorted general hand sewing needles for emergency repairs or any other sewing projects.

That’s everything! You can find them all on one convenient page in the Crochet Tools shop, so do head over and have a browse – but please be quick, the shop closes tomorrow night. ⏰

* In case you’re wondering why I don’t keep the shop open all the time, this isn’t a marketing ploy – it’s just not logistically possible for me. Canada Post’s only international shipping option is slow, expensive and untracked, so I use a cross-border shipping service instead. It’s faster, cheaper, and includes tracking as standard, but to use that I have to ship all my orders at once, in a single batch. So now you know: there is a good reason!

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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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