PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for My Craft Business

2021: 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.

Who’d have thought that this year would be, in many ways, harder than 2020?!

This year, I’ve only published 7 new patterns all year – only one more than I managed in 2020! But considering everything else that’s been going on, I’m not letting myself feel bad about that.

PlanetJune 2021 new crochet patterns

While I didn’t publish any specific crochet tutorials this year, I was doing crochet-related research instead that will benefit us all in future! I organized my stash with my worsted weight yarn bobbins, and I completed two massive crochet investigations (Scaling Amigurumi and the huge Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison), both of which have helpful tables of results to help you with amigurumi-making.

PlanetJune 2021 new crochet tutorials

My craft projects this year have helped me stay calm through the difficult times, as always. Diamond painting has definitely been a joyful discovery for me; it’s just mindless enough to be relaxing without being boring.

2021 crochet projects

I crocheted ami-Maui and ami-Maggie, and I finished the year with a few more fun crochet projects for myself (I haven’t had the chance to blog about those yet, but there’s a sneak peek in the pic below).

2021 crochet projects

And this reminds me that I haven’t done a stitch of knitting all year! I still haven’t had a chance to set up my knitting machine in my new studio, and I haven’t felt like picking up the needles either… I’m sure that’s about to change though – I always come back to my crafts eventually, and Maggie needs some new dog sweaters.😉

I’ve also spent a lot of my ‘making’ time this year customizing curtains for the new house: including sheers and curtains, I’ve hemmed 32 panels to each fit the windows they cover – I only finished the last ones this week! And I’ve been baking bread – I’m making good use of the breadmaker my Mum bought for me as a housewarming gift:

2021 bread
Yes, I like experimenting with bread recipes!

So there’s been lots of creativity going on in 2021 – and that’s just the way I like it. 🙂

Business Report

In 2021 I pushed myself out of my comfort zone:

  • KWKG PlanetJune Creative World of Crochet talk 2021

    I gave an hour-long live presentation for the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Guild. It was an honour to be invited – it was their first ever crochet presentation, so I felt like I had something to prove, to try to explain some of the benefits of crochet to knitters! The presentation was given over Zoom, and despite my getting a little flustered and overheated under my studio lights, I had dozens of my amigurumi and crocheted accessories at the ready to illustrate my points, and I had lots of interest and good feedback, so I think it went well.

  • PlanetJune 100k YouTube subscribers

    I also reached the astounding milestone of 100,000 subscribers to my YouTube channel (I’ll be writing a post about that when I receive my award!), and used this as an excuse to force myself to be brave enough to show my face on video for the first time ever – something I’ve been planning to do for years, but never got comfortable enough to make it happen until the presentation gave me some courage to film a special video to commemorate this occasion. (If you haven’t seen the video yet, take a look now!)

I made some big behind-the-scenes improvements:

  • When the latest Windows update broke something in my workflow I invested in a professional desktop publishing software package. I’m still grappling with the learning curve (one of the reasons why I haven’t been able to publish more patterns this year) but I can already see how much smoother and more flexible the process is going to be in future.
  • I managed to get my shop listed in the Google Shopping tab, and I’m a large fraction of the way to getting Google Seller Ratings enabled for PlanetJune. These will both increase my visibility in search results and hopefully lead to more sales on an ongoing basis.

And I had some more big projects on the go:

  • PlanetJune Reindeer Games 2021

    I set up a massive new annual crochet along – the PlanetJune Reindeer Games – for the holiday season, complete with special virtual medal graphics. Creating the games was a ton of work, but the first year has been a big success (blog post coming soon!) and it’ll be much easier to run the games in future years.

  • And I signed a contract for a secret project that I can’t tell you about yet! I’ll be able to reveal the details some time next year. 😉

Personal Report

This year I’ve moved house (into our beautiful new forever home that wasn’t completely finished when we took possession, and only had the final fixes – and the fridge! – arrive this month, so it’s basically taken the entire year to get everything organised).

I’ve dealt with the decline of my beloved cat Maui, and now I’m adjusting to managing his kidney disease and diabetes. And I’m still struggling with my own ongoing fatigue issues.

Then there’s the ongoing stress of the times that we’re all going through. Things are different these days, and I often don’t have the energy to show up online for social media and all that stuff, even though I miss my online friends there and I know it would be ‘good for business’ to show up regularly. But I find social media overwhelming and exhausting, and I need to stay away from it most of the time to protect my mental health.

Speaking of mental health, I’m doing much better there – I’ve stopped needing therapy for the PTSD and anxiety disorder, and I feel so much better that I’ve been tapering off my anxiety meds for the past few months. It’s a very slow process – it takes weeks for the brain to adjust to each reduction – but I’m down to 1/8 of the minimum effective dose now, so I’ll be completely drug free soon!

Musings on Long-Term Self-Employment

Being self-employed means there’s no ladder to climb; no promotions or bonuses I can aim for, and yet, there is a reward for putting in 14 years of service (so far) at PlanetJune: having several hundred patterns in my catalogue thankfully means I don’t need to stick to a strict publishing schedule in order to stay afloat. So when external circumstances mean I can’t be very productive, that’s okay – I can still get by on sales from my past 14 years of design work.

I’m still just as passionate as ever about my work and my craft, and I’m not going anywhere, it’s just that it takes longer for me to produce anything new these days! Maybe that’ll change in future, and maybe not – it’s okay either way. Quality over quantity, always.

Looking Back

The common theme that runs through my 2021, and one I hadn’t noticed until looking at it all together like this, is that everything I’ve done (crochet research, tech improvements, trying new and scary things) has been like planting seeds that will continue to bear fruit in the future. So, looking at it that way, perhaps 2021 has been more productive than I’d realised…

Looking Forward

My overall goal for PlanetJune is to create work I can be proud of while making enough money to support the life I want to live. I’m not going to set specific goals for 2022 – I have a few big projects planned, and other than that we’ll see where inspiration strikes.

Last year, my wishes were for acceptance (of the things I can’t control), appreciation (of all the good things in my life), and inspiration (to keep moving forwards and trying new things). Those are still excellent guiding principles that I aim to live by, but as we head into the third year of the pandemic, I want to change the focus a bit.

So, my wishes for 2022 are for:

  • resilience to keep going through the tough times
  • grace to not beat myself up when reality falls short of expectation
  • hope to look forward to the better things to come

I wish the same for you – and that you’ll be happy, healthy and safe in 2022. Happy New Year!

Comments (4)

getting back to the studio

Greetings from the new PlanetJune studio!

new PlanetJune studio
As you can see, I have a brand new home for all my giant amigurumi – yay!

My new studio is still very much a work in progress. My vision is to set up different stations for all the aspects of PlanetJune – business and crafting – as I have a large space here, and I want to be able to get down to work on whatever I need to do without too much setup.

So far, my sewing station is set up (that was the first priority – sooo many curtains to hem for a brand new house!) and the photography station is just about ready to go:

new PlanetJune studio

My computer station is ready to process new patterns into pretty PDFs:

new PlanetJune studio

(Of course nothing goes as smoothly as planned; I was just about to get back to work when I discovered that the latest Windows update had broken something in my workflow and I can no longer lay out patterns any more using my old software.

This is a good thing really – I’ve been meaning to upgrade to better desktop publishing software for a long time, and this has given me the push to make it happen, so I’m working on developing a new template for PlanetJune patterns. Once it’s ready and I get up to speed with my new software, laying out new patterns and making edits and improvements should be much smoother in future.)

Now, back to today: I’ll give you a proper studio tour at a later date, once all the remaining boxes and piles of stuff have homes and I’ve decorated a bit, but these pics are a little preview of my beautiful space.

new PlanetJune studio

As you can see, I have lots of natural light in my studio (there are 6 windows!) which is going to come in very handy.

Hang on, is that a PlanetJune hoodie you’re wearing there, June? Why yes, it is! Isn’t it cool?

PlanetJune logo hoodie

Rush Order Tees offered to send me a custom hoodie of my own design. I chose a dark grey men’s size small hoodie so I can wear it as a jacket, and I thought that printing my logo in white would look good against the dark grey.

The process was seamless: they have their own designers who optimize your logo or artwork for printing and check that the colours, alignment, etc are perfect. I approved the proof they sent me and they printed and shipped my hoodie within a couple of days.

PlanetJune logo hoodie

Can you see, their designers actually optimized my logo so the ring around my yarn planet is actually a very pale grey instead of the white I originally asked for? It’s a nice touch (and of course I could have requested they change it back to white if I hadn’t liked it).

If you’d like to order some custom apparel too, Rush Order Tees offer t-shirts, hoodies, hats and more. I’m very happy with my hoodie – the quality of the Hanes Ultimate Cotton zip up hoodie is good, and the printing of my logo is clear and crisp. Plus it’s fun to walk around the neighbourhood (the only place I ever go these days…) wearing my own merch 😀

Now, back to setting up my new pattern template, and then I’ll finally be ready to publish a new pattern – it feels like it’s been forever since I was able to do that!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my new studio… More to come 🙂

Comments (10)

I’m moving house!

Summary: I’m moving house next week, and I’ll be mostly offline for the rest of the month (apart from answering customer support emails).


We closed on our new house in January, but haven’t been able to move in yet due to covid-related manufacture/supply delays in our new appliances (something we weren’t informed of until we’d already paid for them in full… )

I was told we’d have our appliances by the start of April, so I gave notice to our landlord and planned for an April move.

The Appliance Saga

This situation has been a comedy of errors. I was notified in March that the fridge we ordered in January was now discontinued, so they offered us the upgraded model instead. It was only two weeks later that they bothered to mention that our new fridge wouldn’t be in stock until… wait for it… August!

What to do?! We couldn’t keep paying for two houses for another four months (assuming the promised August delivery date even happens…), so I decided to proceed with the move and persuaded the appliance company to deliver and install everything else in the meantime.

shiny new stainless steel appliances
Ooh, shiny! Don’t they look fancy?

And, as for the fridge, I’ve bought a mini fridge in the meantime to tide us over:

mini fridge in the space for a full-size fridge
Don’t laugh – my poor little fridge already has an inferiority complex from being in such a large space!

Living like this is going to be a ‘fun’ challenge for the next few months… We’re trying to eat as much fridge and freezer food as we can before we move, to minimise waste. And I’m looking forward to how luxurious it’ll feel when the new full size fridge/freezer finally arrives 😀

COVID Scare Update

Things were moving forwards, until I got an email warning me that I may have been exposed to COVID by one of the appliance installers..! We were all wearing masks, of course, and I tried to stay as far from them as possible in the house while they worked, but it was still a scary prospect. I had to get tested and faced the possibility of having to isolate and postpone the move if I tested positive.

Thank goodness, I dodged the bullet and my test came back negative, so we were back on track…

Move Update

Moving house is exhausting. I thought that a local move would be simple, but I still have to organise and pack, load and unload my little car hundreds of times, and unpack it all at the other end.

My bad knee means that carrying heavy things is not an option, and carrying even light things up and down stairs is a problem for me. (We’re hiring movers for the big things, but we want to get all our personal stuff moved over and organised before move day so we can enjoy living in our new house instead of being surrounded by boxes for weeks…)

It’s coming along, slowly but surely…

PlanetJune office being packed up
Half of the contents of the PlanetJune office/studio – including my full yarn stash – has already left here for the new house 🙂

PlanetJune Update

I have four (or more?) patterns in various stages of completion, but I don’t have the brainspace to finish any of them to my standards right now. So I’m officially taking the rest of April away from PlanetJune to concentrate on getting our forever home set up, and getting our rental home ready to return to the landlord.

(I’ll still be doing my daily tech and admin tasks and responding to customer support emails, of course – running a one-person business means there’s no such thing as true “time off”. So if you need me for anything, don’t worry – I’ll still be here for you, within a day or two.)


And now, I’d better get back to prepping for the move – wish me luck!

I’ll see you on the other side…

Comments (7)

Designer Toolkit: Yarn Colour Swatch Box

Over the holidays, I decided to give myself a fun organisation project: creating a box of yarn swatches for all my amigurumi yarns, so it’ll be easy to see all my options and make choices.

Being able to see at a glance all the yarns I have available for my designs is so handy – this could be a really useful project for you too, if you make a lot of amigurumi and have a large yarn stash!

Here is the glorious result:

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

Isn’t it wonderful?! It’s like looking at a selection box of chocolates, but calorie-free and without the one that nobody likes.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

There’s so much pretty colour here, and so much potential for what those colours could become… I feel like I’m an artist and this is my paint box.

Why Make a Swatch Box?

As a professional amigurumi designer, I have a lot of yarn in my stash. More specifically, a lot of worsted weight acrylic from several brands. Some are close enough in weight and appearance to be mixed within a project, and others aren’t (just look at my worsted weight yarn comparison to see how broad a category ‘worsted weight acrylic yarn’ really is!)

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

All my ami yarns are filed in plastic drawers, and every time I need to pull yarn options for a new project, I have to open several drawers, grab multiple balls of yarn, and then select the best combination of shades that could work for what I have in mind and also match in weight, sheen and texture.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

This often leaves me with 10 or more balls of yarn scattered around and the hassle of cramming all the rejected yarns back into their appropriate (and usually overstuffed) drawers. Not ideal.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

Making the Swatch Box

I bought lots of the plastic bobbins that are usually used for storing embroidery floss, and wrapped each one with a single layer of yarn, leaving a small space at the top to write the colour name. I used the slits at the bottom of the bobbin to hold the yarn ends in place. To finish each bobbin, I used a yarn needle to pass the yarn ends beneath the wrapped yarn on the back of each bobbin, then trimmed the excess.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

I labelled each bobbin with a simple code (due to lack of space):

  • top left corner : brand (e.g. B = Bernat)
  • top right corner: yarn line (e.g. S = Satin)

And then wrote out the full colour name below that.

I found a plastic divided box that had sections large enough to hold several bobbins, and organised the swatches first by brand and yarn line, then by colour family.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

Do you think I have enough yarn options? (Trick question: of course I don’t! That’s what the extra space and spare bobbins are for…)

After the Swatch Box

This box has changed everything for me. Today I pulled shades for a potential upcoming design, and I just opened the box and could see all my options at once. Within a couple of minutes, I had a selection ready to go, and now I can just go to the appropriate yarn drawer (as indicated from the bobbin) and grab only the shades I need to use.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

I can use the holes at the top of each bobbin to clip the collection together while I use them so none go astray.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

And, when I’m finished, I can easily refile the swatch bobbins in the box.

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

Yes, I ‘wasted’ about 2ft of each yarn in making these bobbins, but it was definitely worth it to me – just opening the box and looking at my yarn palette is so inspiring!

worsted weight yarn colour swatches

Now I can’t wait to grab my hook and get ‘painting’ (well, ‘sculpting’ would be more accurate) with some of these pretties…

Comments (8)

« Previous entries
  • Quick Links: Crochet

    navigation: arrow

    buy crochet patterns and accessories from my online store

    Idiot's Guides: Crochet and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank

    Crochet video tutorials and step-by-step photo tutorials

    Free PlanetJune crochet patterns

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Quick Links: Crafts

    navigation: arrow

    Punchneedle Embroidery information, ebook & patterns

    Papercraft ebook & tutorials

    Free PlanetJune craft projects & tutorials

  • Blog Post Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • 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!

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can contact me here.
    crocheted Canadian flag by PlanetJune
  • Support PlanetJune!

    Want to say thanks? You can send me money in seconds at paypal.me/planetjune or send me a donation through my shop.

    Or simply click one of these links before you shop at Amazon or Etsy, and I'll make a small commission on your purchase, at no cost to you: Thank you for your support!
Back to top