PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for My Craft Business

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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16 years, 1000 blog posts

16 years ago today, I hit ‘publish’ on my first post to this blog. Short and sweet, I said:

I hope I’ll be inspired to be more creative by keeping track of my crafts here.

I think I succeeded in that hope! Here are just a few of my favourite projects from the past 16 years:

a variety of craft projects by June Gilbank: crochet, punchneedle, papercraft, polymer clay, knittingClockwise from top left: crocheted orangutan and punchneedle embroidery globe, papercraft flowers, polymer clay R2-D2 and BB-8, knitted sweaters

And, 6 years ago, on my 10th blogiversary, I said:

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.

wildlife photos by June Gilbank: lion, peacock butterfly

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:

Shrinkydinks Rings by PlanetJunee.g. google “shrinkydinks rings” and my tutorial from 2008 is still the first result!

An Oasis of Calm

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. 🙂

Thank You!

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!

Cheers! 🥂

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Custom Enamel Pins

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!

enamel pin: PlanetJune logo

I love how stylish the PlanetJune logo looks in pin form with the shiny silver.

And I designed another pin based on my Turtle Beach pattern collection (awww, who can resist a precious baby sea turtle?)

enamel pin: PlanetJune Turtle Beach

PlanetJune Pins – Coming Soon!

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:

photo 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.

mockup proofs for enamel pins from WizardPins

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!

enamel pins: PlanetJune Logo and Turtle Beach designs

Aren’t they wonderful? The quality is absolutely perfect – they are exactly what I’d hoped for.

enamel pins: PlanetJune Logo and Turtle Beach designs

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! 🙂

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designing the PJ logo

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.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank 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?

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo - yarn planet only

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.

But first, here’s 2012-June to tell the story (taken from my blog post where I first launched the logo!)

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)

preliminary sketches for PlanetJune logo

Version 1: my first digital attempt at my ‘yarn planet’
prototype logo for PlanetJune 1/15

Version 2: angled the rings around the planet
prototype logo for PlanetJune 2/15

Version 3: added bumpy edges to the yarn wraps
prototype logo for PlanetJune 3/15

Version 4: added a darker shade of yarn, changed text to 2 lines

prototype logo for PlanetJune 4/15

Version 5: dark rings, light yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 5/15

Version 6: outlined yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 6/15

Version 7: lighter yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 7/15

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!
preliminary sketches for PlanetJune logo

Version 8: simplified yarn wraps and added yarn strand below text

prototype logo for PlanetJune 8/15

Version 9: fixed bumpy cutout on ring behind planet

prototype logo for PlanetJune 9/15

Version 10: simplified ring by removing white band

prototype logo for PlanetJune 10/15

Version 11: dark yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 11/15

Version 12: pale ring

prototype logo for PlanetJune 12/15

Version 13: pale yarn strand

prototype logo for PlanetJune 13/15

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?)

prototype logo for PlanetJune 14/15

Final logo: completely redrawn yarn strands to make them more rounded and even.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo

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.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo - yarn planet only


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!

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update: Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi

This is a quick announcement to let you know that I’ve just updated my ebook, The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi.

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

What’s New?

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.

giant and regular sized amigurumi geckos made from the crochet pattern by planetjune
Newly added: my technique for replacing the wire in an amigurumi that’s intended to have wired legs, like my gecko!

Free Update!

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.

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - scale up any ami by over 3 times!

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 Amigurumi Apple, Pumpkin and Pear (crochet patterns by PlanetJune)

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. 🙂

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100k YouTube Subscribers!

Look what’s arrived!

PlanetJune YouTube Silver Creator Award

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 🙂

(And if you haven’t subscribed to the PlanetJune YouTube channel yet, now would be a great time! I’m gearing up to publish more crochet tutorial videos this year…)

Here’s my crocheted play button:

crocheted silver play button by planetjune

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…

PlanetJune YouTube Silver Creator Award plus crocheted play button
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!

PlanetJune YouTube Silver Creator Award
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?

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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)

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    June Gilbank

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