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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
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.
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 🙂
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…
What do you think? Does it give you a warm and cozy feeling?
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.
I set up the empty PlanetJune forest scene with a fleece fabric floor and my painted green backdrop.
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!
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:
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!)
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!
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!
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!
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:
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!
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.
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…
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
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!
Little did I know that this blog would change my life and my career path, allow me to build a successful business, and help me to meet some of my best friends and inspiring crafters all over the world. PlanetJune (the business, and my career) has all come about as a direct result of starting a little blog as a way to document the things I make, way back in 2006.
That is so true! Thanks in large part to this blog, I stumbled into becoming first a crochet designer, then a full-time self-employed business owner, then a published author, and paid teacher, speaker, YouTuber… Would PlanetJune even exist today if I hadn’t started this blog?! Probably not.
A Thousand Posts in 16 Years
This, today, is my 1000th post. That seems like an impossibly large number, but it’s only an average of 5.2 posts per month (for 192 months)! Right from the start, I vowed to only ever post when I have something to say, so I never followed the typical advice to post on a regular schedule. In my early fast-paced youthful days I’d sometimes post 2 or 3 times a week; these days, it’s more like 2 or 3 times a month, but I’m still here, and still going.
I’ve just looked back to some of those early posts, and my writing style has definitely evolved over the past 600,000 words. (That’s enough words to fill eight 300-page novels – it’s no wonder I’ve developed as a writer…)
My blog has been there through everything with me, slow and steady, chronicling my progress and sharing my creative ideas with you. I’ve made friends from all over the world and bonded over our shared love of crochet, crafting, animals and nature.
Life can be hard, but when you can make lovely things and appreciate the wonders of nature, it always makes life feel that little bit better, don’t you think?
In today’s fast-paced world of stress and social media, I hope I can provide a little oasis of calm from the overwhelm every now and then, and I’m honoured that you choose to spend a little time with me here.
The Rise and Fall of Craft Blogging
Blogging has changed a lot since I first started in 2006. There was no social media at all back then, and the craft blogosphere and forums were the main ways that crafty types met online, made friends, and shared ideas and projects. People would flock to new blog posts, nobody expected your photos to be professional quality, and you’d get lots of affirming comments whenever you posted. It was, simply, fun!
In 2013, Google Reader (the main way people kept track of blogs they followed) closed down, and blogs were ‘replaced’ by social media. Was this the end for blogs? Who would bother to visit my blog when they could see so much more stuff in one place on Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest..?
Never one to follow the trends, I stuck with blogging anyway, and I’m so glad I did. I have all the usual social accounts (I’m @planetjune everywhere if you want to follow me) but I really like writing: crafting a post slowly, and editing it multiple times before I hit ‘publish’.
Blogging just fits me. It’s slower, more thoughtful, and longer-lasting. Social media is fleeting – if you miss something when I first post it on a social account, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see it – but you can browse through my 16 years of blog posts (or choose a category to browse through, or search for something specific) at any time. Or when you google for something, a post I wrote over a decade ago may still be relevant and pop up for you:
These days, most of the remaining crochet and craft blogs are jam-packed full of ads. Those ad boxes are the primary source of income for many designers, but isn’t it frustrating when a pattern, tutorial or recipe is constantly interrupted by ads?
I find it so jarring, so I’ve stubbornly stood my ground about keeping PlanetJune ad-free, even though I’m leaving hundreds – maybe thousands – of dollars per month on the table. My goal in life (and business) isn’t to make the most money by any means possible, and it just seems wrong for me to make money at the expense of your comfort… so, I don’t!
I hope you appreciate the refreshing ad-free experience here. 🙂
Although very few people leave comments on blogs any more, that just makes it more of a delight every time someone does leave me a comment. And every now and then I get an email from a reader who’s still out there, reading and appreciating, and sending me their own news in return – that always makes my day.
So, friend, whether you’ve been with me since the early blogosphere days or you just found PlanetJune this year, I’m so happy you’re here, and I hope you’ll stick around to see what comes next!
I’m so excited to have developed a new product line that I’ll be launching soon: PlanetJune Enamel Pins! They’ll be perfect to add to your jacket, your project bag, or to add to your pin collection. Looook what I made!
I love how stylish the PlanetJune logo looks in pin form with the shiny silver.
Would you like a PlanetJune pin or two? I’ll be offering these special PJ pins as part of my upcoming Crochet Tools flash sale, so you can save on shipping by placing a single order for everything you need – including the classic tools, the new pins and more brand new products.
The Crochet Tools shop will only be open for a few days, and supplies are limited, so click here if you’d like me to send you an email as soon as the shop opens!
How to Make Custom Enamel Pins
In case you’ve been wondering how to create your own custom pin designs, I’ll walk you through the process and my experience.
I ordered my pins from WizardPins, who made the whole process very straightforward. Although I had no idea what was involved in pin design before I started, the team were very responsive with answering my questions and helping me figure out what I needed.
Designing Your Pin
Enamel pins need a specific type of design – every area of colour needs to be separated by a thick line so the coloured enamel paints can be applied into the separate sections of the pin. The lines appear as metal outlines in the finished pin. A simple design is better, as fine details may be too small to be reproduced in the pin.
If you can draw your design as a vector (as I did) you can customize your design to look exactly the way you want it:
The strokes (outlines) – of any width you want – will all become your choice of silver, gold, copper or black-plated metal
The fills (areas) – in the colours you want – will become coloured enamel
But if all that sounds like gibberish to you, it’s no problem – the WizardPins artists can take any artwork you provide – a drawing, a photo, or even a written description – and create a pin design from it at no extra charge. The turnaround time is fast, and they’ll send you a digital mockup by email to approve. You can request changes as many times as you need until you’re completely happy.
Although I didn’t end up using their artists, I did try out the service – I sent over a photo to be converted to line art:
The artist was faithful to the photo I provided, but interpreted the crochet stitches with lots of wiggly lines (not at all what I had in mind!) and the turtle was far too wonky for my taste. I had originally asked for the turtle to be dark grey and for each colour to be a solid block, and I could have asked them to make those changes to the initial mockup – that’s part of the full service they offer – but you can probably guess that I’m too much of a control freak to let anyone else draw my design for me… 😅
Tip: Based on this experience, I’d suggest that if you’re submitting artwork for a pin, try sending a sketch instead of a photo, so the artist will have a better idea of what you’re looking for. They can easily turn a simple sketch into a colourful design for you.
I redrew my turtle beach design in Illustrator in my clean PlanetJune style, then submitted it and my logo to be converted to pins. Almost immediately, they sent me back PDF proofs to approve before we finalized the order.
This time, the proofs looked perfect, so it was time to submit my order and wait for my pins to arrive!
Pin Manufacture and Delivery
Although WizardPins is a US-based company, the pins are printed in their factory in China, like almost all enamel pins. Their turnaround time is usually much faster than you’d imagine: only 2-3 weeks between placing an order and receiving your pins – that’s pretty amazing!
I had a different experience, but it was just due to bad luck: I unfortunately chose to order at the worst possible time: just as my pins were due to be printed, the factory was forced to close due to the recent COVID shutdown in China…
As a result, I had to wait for 2 months for my pins to arrive, but that was nobody’s fault, and WizardPins were great about it – they kept me informed whenever I asked about my order status, and sent me pics of my finished pins from the factory to tide me over while I waited for FedEx to resume international shipping from Shanghai.
And it was worth the wait! My designs have been brought to life in shiny metal and colourful enamel, and they look amazing!
Aren’t they wonderful? The quality is absolutely perfect – they are exactly what I’d hoped for.
Thank you to WizardPins for this collaboration – I love these pins so much, and after seeing how well these turned out, I already have ideas for more PlanetJune pin designs!
PS – Don’t forget to sign up to be first in line when the PlanetJune pins are available to purchase! 🙂
I just realised that my PlanetJune logo is 10 years old! To celebrate that anniversary I thought I’d give you a peek behind the scenes and show you how I designed my logo.
I’m a complete amateur when it comes to graphic design, so it took many attempts to come up with a good logo. I’ll show you my complete design process from start to finish – even the embarrassing parts.
This is not a professional “how to design a logo” post, but I think it’s fascinating to see how the PJ logo developed, and I hope you will too!
What makes a good logo?
I love my sweet and simple yarn planet – it clearly says ‘PlanetJune’ even without the text, don’t you think? And that’s exactly what a good logo should do.
Think of the Nike swoosh or the McDonald’s golden arches – when you see one of those simple symbols you instantly know exactly what to expect. (That’s a combination of a good logo and a consistent brand identity.)
But the simplest end results can be the hardest to design – if you’re working with clean, simple lines, each line needs to be just right to make the design work. (Hmm, that applies to crochet pattern design too!)
Developing an Idea
I don’t think you can fully appreciate what’s right until you have a wrong to compare it with, so let’s take a look through from my initial design concept for a ‘yarn planet’ to the terrible first prototypes, and then you can see how I gradually edged closer and closer to the logo that has represented me for an entire decade and is still going strong.
I started the process in 2009. I read books and articles on good logo design and I knew exactly what I wanted, but I had problems drawing it without adding too much detail.
I’m too stubborn/controlling to ask for outside help: PlanetJune is my baby and it just wouldn’t feel right for the symbol that represents me to be created by somebody else.
Long story short: I drew 2 pages of sketches, made 15 digital prototypes, and now, 3 years later, it’s finally ready.
My Design Iterations
After 10 years, I’m finally brave enough to show you those previously-secret sketches and digital prototypes! Graphic design and digital art are really not my forte, so my first attempts were very… well, let’s just say ‘not good’ 😀
But – and this is important – if you follow through all the steps below you can actually see how each iteration got me closer to ‘good’. Determination and perseverance – that’s the PlanetJune way!
Sketches, round 1: the one with the arrow is the idea I chose as the starting point for my digital design (and the curve of the loose yarn strand at the bottom right was the spark that led to the angled ring around my planet)
Version 1: my first digital attempt at my ‘yarn planet’
Version 2: angled the rings around the planet
Version 3: added bumpy edges to the yarn wraps
Version 4: added a darker shade of yarn, changed text to 2 lines
Version 5: dark rings, light yarn
Version 6: outlined yarn
Version 7: lighter yarn
Sketches, round 2: back to the drawing board (literally) to figure out how to simplify the yarn – you can see I came up with the basic concept for my final logo in the one with the arrow!
Version 8: simplified yarn wraps and added yarn strand below text
Version 9: fixed bumpy cutout on ring behind planet
Version 10: simplified ring by removing white band
Version 11: dark yarn
Version 12: pale ring
Version 13: pale yarn strand
Version 14: changed yarn ball to look less like a fist (can you see the 4 fingers in the above versions, or is that just me?)
Final logo: completely redrawn yarn strands to make them more rounded and even.
So there you go! You can see from the early attempts how having a good idea doesn’t necessarily translate into having a good design, but each stage brought me closer and closer to the adorable and completely unique yarn planet that is the representation of PlanetJune.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into the long process of creating the PlanetJune logo. I’m so grateful to 2009-2012 June for putting all that effort in to create a logo I can still be proud of today, 10 years later!
I’ve added 2 new pages of instructional techniques (what to do if your original amigurumi pattern has wired limbs, and how to add an optional lining to contain the stuffing), and an inspiration gallery page with all the giant ami I’ve made since I first published the book (7 new additions!) with any special tips I have for each one.
Newly added: my technique for replacing the wire in an amigurumi that’s intended to have wired legs, like my gecko!
If you’ve previously purchased The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi, your licence entitles you to a lifetime of free updates! Your download link in your original order has been updated, so please log back into your PlanetJune account and re-download the PDF file to get the latest version. 🙂
Tip: The copyright date in the footer of every page of the book has been updated from “2019” to “2019, 2022” so you can easily see which version you have!
Get Started with Giant Amigurumi
If you’re just beginning your Giant Amigurumi journey, this is the perfect time to grab your guidebook for this adventure!
You can upsize almost any amigurumi pattern with the techniques in The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi and get an irresistibly cuddly, adorable result. You’ll learn how to take a normal amigurumi pattern and enlarge it by 3 to 4 times to make a giant huggable amigurumi! All you need is your favourite pattern, a 15mm hook, and a super-bulky yarn, and you’ll be ready to start.
I’ll guide you through every step along the way, from choosing your materials and learning how to work giant stitches, to stuffing, assembly and embellishment, and more. Everything is explained in my usual detail, with clear, close-up photos and instructions.
Giant amis are so fun and satisfying to make (and you can also apply all the techniques to Mini Giant amigurumi if you don’t want to scale up as far as full giant size).
I doubt this is the end of my giant amigurumi explorations, so there may well be another updated version of my ebook in a few more years, if I develop any more new techniques and tips to share with you – I love that there’s always more to discover on my crochet journey!
In the meantime, I hope you’ll find this update useful, and I wish you happy giant amigurumi making. 🙂
That’s right, I can’t quite believe this, but I now have over 100,000 YouTube subscribers! And YouTube have sent me a shiny silver Creator’s Award to commemorate the achievement – how cool is that?
I actually hit 100k in December (I have over 101k now!) and I wanted to do something to celebrate right away, so I decided to be brave and show my face on video for the first time ever, as well as giving you a glimpse into my design process as I celebrated by crocheting a silver play button.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my video:
Note: The video may look a little small embedded in the blog: if so, you can fullscreen it or click through to YouTube to watch it full-sized 🙂
When my real award arrived, I was surprised by how close my crocheted version turned out to be! The shape of the button is pretty close, and the size of the button and the ‘play’ triangle are almost perfect…
Let’s pretend I intentionally designed it to be exactly the right size, okay?
I can’t describe how strange and cool it feels to be a part of a top tier of YouTube, especially because I don’t play the game the way you’re ‘supposed’ to – I don’t publish content regularly, I don’t fish for subscribers, I don’t have clickbait-y titles…
My strategy has always just been to make clear, concise and helpful crochet tutorial videos, and it’s so validating to have this recognition that PlanetJune is a valuable YouTube resource, even if I’m not a typical YouTuber!
(I don’t suggest you try to follow in my footsteps if you want to grow your own YouTube channel – it’s taken me over 10 years to reach this point using my lack-of-strategy, so there’s a distinct lack of instant gratification with my method! But this is the way it works for me; I don’t plan to go anywhere, and I’ve always been playing the long game of quality and commitment.)
By the way, it turned out to be quite tricky taking a photo of my award – especially as a selfie – because the play button itself is mirrored!
See? The truth behind my selfie magic is revealed… 😀
Woohoo! 100 thousand subscribers… isn’t that mind-blowing?! I’ll definitely have more videos coming soon – I can’t let a tenth of a million people down, can I?