PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for My Craft Business

concussion & customer support

I think I was a bit optimistic in my last health update: post-concussion syndrome can take weeks or months to abate, and I definitely haven’t fully recovered yet. I still get incapacitating headaches on some days, and I sometimes struggle to find the right word when I’m talking. Plus fatigue, sleep problems and a severe lack of concentration and energy… I’m working when I can, but some days I’m just not up to it.

And I seem to be having some memory lapses too, which is quite unsettling. For example, I actually wrote last week’s blog post three weeks earlier, but not only did I forget to post it, I forgot I’d even written it

How does this affect you? Well, thanks to all of this, I’ve just discovered that a few customer support requests may have slipped through the cracks. I don’t have the energy to wade back through a month of email and messages from other channels and follow up with everyone to check whether I’ve completed your request, so I’m going to just start fresh from today.

  • If you’re waiting to hear from me, please email me again (june@planetjune.com).
  • If you’ve contacted me via social media or rav PM, please email me for help instead (june@planetjune.com).

Having all my customer support requests in one place will make it much easier to manage them as I continue my recovery.

Thanks for your continued patience, and I’m so sorry if your message is one that slipped past me – it’s incredibly frustrating to me too; this is not the level of customer service I’m known for, but I can’t just wish myself better! I highly recommend you try to avoid head injuries, if you have that option… ūüôā

Comments (8)

update: back from sick leave

Thank you all so much for your kind comments and well-wishes about my accident.

Because of the concussion, my head has been hurting too much until now to spend more than a few minutes at a time on my computer or phone, so I haven’t replied to anyone individually (either here or on social) to say thanks, but please know that it meant a lot to me to get your messages when I was feeling very sorry for myself!

A little health update

Most of my injuries are healing nicely. I have a dentist’s appointment this weekend for my broken tooth, and hopefully by then the concussion will have completely faded and it’ll be safe for me to drive myself there and back. I’m still feeling a little confused, but the killer headaches have faded and I’m coming back to myself.

It was a pretty scary experience, but reading some of the comments people have left me about their similar falls onto concrete that resulted in a broken arm or pelvis, or still having occasional head problems years later, I’m counting myself lucky that I have no lasting damage beyond a ruined pair of expensive glasses and a broken front tooth (and I’m hopeful that my dentist can restore my smile so you’d never know the difference – I know that’s just vanity, but please keep your fingers crossed for me on that front!)

And a little work update

As you’ll already know if you get my newsletter (and if you don’t, sign up now!), my next crochet pattern was due to be a Tortoise with a very detailed crocheted shell. Finishing the shell assembly instructions is still a little beyond my slightly-concussed brain, so I’m putting the pattern on hold for a couple more weeks, or until I’m completely recovered.

But I do have a different design I’ve been working on that needs none of that pesky careful thinking to find exactly the right phrase that most clearly describes an innovative process, so I should have a new pattern for you soon – it just won’t be the one I’d planned to release this month!

I’m still taking things slowly and needing plenty of naps and rest sessions, so please be patient with me as I try to catch up with everything I let slide last week without overdoing things and making my head hurt again…

Comments (7)

I’m on sick leave

I had a bad fall the other day and smashed my head into a concrete sidewalk. I’ve fractured a front tooth and broken my glasses, and I have a concussion as well as cuts and bruises, a fat lip and a big lump on my head.

It hurts my head to use the computer or my phone and I think I need to go on ‘sick leave’ for a few days to recover.

Please be patient if you need anything from me – I will get back to you, but it may take some time!

Comments (31)

2019: year in review

My long-established ritual in the last weeks of each year is to pull back from the day-to-day and look back over the entire year so I can put together my Year in Review post.

Writing these posts 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.

2019 Achievements

In 2019 I published 14 new crochet patterns plus 2 re-releases (I added an extra cactus design to the Heart Cactus Collection and the Canadian flag pattern to the Maple Leaf Collection):

2019 PlanetJune crochet patterns

(Can you guess what the surprise pattern hit of the year was? My Bearded Dragon! It must have taken a little while for word to spread, because, after a slow start, it’s become one of my top sellers!)

I self-published my first crochet ebook, The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi, in right- and left-handed versions:

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

I’ve added to my tutorial library with nine new tutorials:

2019 PlanetJune tutorials

And I’ve knitted, crocheted, sewn, woven and needlefelted projects in my downtime, plus a few more fun projects that I haven’t had a chance to blog about yet (time spent writing is time spent not crafting!)

2019 PlanetJune craft projects

Last summer, I decided to stop logging customer support requests for my business. I’d been tracking them every day for over 5 years, and, at this point, the value of the time I’m saving is much higher than the value of the data I’m losing. I’ve used the data to assemble an arsenal of template responses to the questions I most commonly receive, so it’s served its purpose.

And, in the autumn, I opened my pop-up crochet tool shop for the first time, and it worked well. Opening the online pop-up shop occasionally to offer a limited run of my stuffing tools is a way to let me balance my time and commitments without having to let people down by discontinuing my tools completely. I also successfully introduced some new tools to the pop-up shop, so I think this will be a good model going forward.

To further my own learning this year, I attended an inspiring photography workshop and completed a very useful voice artist course.

I also collaborated with my Mum to publish her book of original Scottish music and, now I’m an Amazon publisher, I’ll be able to use what I’ve learnt to produce and publish more books in future.

Musings on Blogging

I’ve been battling with the ‘shoulds’ when it comes to my blog for the past few years: as my blog supports my business, I should mostly publish things that relate to my business; I should publish posts on a regular schedule; I should use my blog to make more money by adding annoying adverts all over the place, etc…

But, it’s my blog! Sharing what I’ve been making and hopefully inspiring you to add more creativity to your life in the process is one of the reasons why I started blogging in the first place, and I want to make more time to document and share all my creative pursuits here, not just my crochet designs and tutorials.

It makes good business sense to only share product-related posts: blogging about my hobby projects takes time and doesn’t make me any money (the only downside of sticking to my guns and not allowing ads to interrupt my website…) – craft blogging without ads is not paid work, and it’s not exactly play either.

Even so, this year I’ve tried several new hobbies that I haven’t found the time to blog about yet, and I want that to change next year. It’s strange to get to the end of the year and look back for the photos of my craft projects and discover that many of the things I’ve made aren’t posted here, but I’ve still been making the time for creative play – it’s one of the things I enjoy best in the world – and I want to share all of that with you again!

I hope you’ll enjoy it too when I do. I find social media to be mentally exhausting, so I love the thought of being more present in my own quiet little corner of the internet, and hopefully re-engaging with you all about the joy of making via chat in the comments below each of my posts.

Managing my Energy

I’ve been working to improve my sleep quality and reduce my anxiety levels this year. My mental and physical health are both much better than they have been for a long time (yay!) but I still have an ongoing unexplained fatigue problem that makes my daily life much more challenging than it used to be.

It’s very frustrating to have so many ideas for things I want to do, but not enough energy to make them all happen, especially if I need to reserve enough energy for making dinner and other daily commitments. These days, I can’t manage more than an hour or two of anything – work or play – without getting completely worn out.

But I’ve recently started experimenting with a new way to manage my energy: if I have two or three sessions per day, separated by long rests or naps, I’m more productive overall than trying to push through when I get exhausted.

It feels like I’m being lazy and wasting time, but when I do rest for an hour or two it often gives me the energy for another creative burst (or to go grocery shopping, exercise, or do whatever else needs to be done). It’s not ideal, but I think this will be better than a constant struggle to keep going, and hopefully this fatigue won’t last forever.

Looking Forward

This year my priorities are to continue to develop innovative new crochet patterns, to do enough tech upgrades to keep my website running smoothly, and to share more of my crafting here on the blog.

And, above all that, to keep self-care at the top of the list – my design breakthroughs don’t happen unless I have enough time and rest to get my brain working at full capacity.

Last year, I wished for focus, determination and acceptance. My focus has been compromised by my lack of energy these days, and my determination to push through that has only led to more exhaustion, so acceptance – trying to make peace with my situation – has become even more important in making the most of my life.

My wishes for 2020 are for:

  • acceptance of the things I can’t control, like my fatigue problem, and the bigger problems in the world
  • appreciation for all the good stuff in my life – I’m so fortunate in many ways
  • inspiration – a new decade is a perfect time to try new things, and I have a feeling I have some great ideas coming!

I hope you’ll continue to accompany me on my creative journey into this next decade, and I hope 2020 brings you fresh creative energy too! Happy New Year ūüôā

Comments (24)

New PlanetJune Crochet Tools: Limited Edition

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

Detail Stuffing Tools

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

Detail Stuffing Tools for Amigurumi and Plush by PlanetJune

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

Go to Detail Stuffing Tool >>

More Crochet Tools

Feast your eyes on these beauties:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy More, Save More!

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

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

Choose your Crochet Tools now! >>


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

Happy tool shopping ūüôā

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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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