PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Archive for Crochet

Professional Design vs Hobby Design

If you’ve ever considered upgrading your craft/design hobby into a business, this post may offer an interesting insight, as I’m now both a professional designer in one field (crochet) and a hobby designer in another (knitwear), so I can speak to both sides of this.

12 knit sweaters project

My Hobby/Pro Designer Experiences

I’m really enjoying my journey as a knitwear designer – I get to design, make and wear my own clothes, and that feels like a pretty amazing process. Every now and then, I feel a little wistful that I’m not parlaying my designs into a new income stream by selling patterns for my sweaters. It may seem like an obvious next step, but there are many reasons why I don’t want to do this.

Knitting is my hobby. I enjoy doing it for relaxation in between my crochet designs. I like making clothes for myself, that fit me and in colours I’ll wear. I can take months or years to finish a design and it doesn’t matter. If something isn’t perfect I can fudge it to make it good enough to wear.

Crochet is my business. It’s how I earn my living. I enjoy the challenge of developing new designs – and I love the things I design! – but there’s always a voice at the back of my head thinking ‘How well will this translate into a pattern? How can I explain this technique? Can I simplify anything to make it more enjoyable to crochet?’ Every new design has to be as good as I can possibly make it, and, while I never hurry an individual design, there’s always pressure to have regular new pattern releases, to keep PlanetJune in people’s minds and keep my business going.

PlanetJune Accessories 2018 Shawl crochet pattern collection

Support. I’ve built an extensive website full of tutorials to help crocheters successfully follow my patterns. I don’t have the time or inclination to do that for knitting techniques. At best, I could provide links to other sites that offer tutorials, and that’s not the level of service people expect from me.

PlanetJune Crochet Video Tutorials on YouTube

Fitted garments. I intentionally don’t design fitted garments in crochet. When I design and knit clothes for myself, I make them to fit me (short and pear-shaped). There are so many different body types and shapes, and it’s important that your clothes fit your shape as well as your size, or they won’t look or feel good on you. And I love making knitwear for myself that makes me feel good when I wear it!

silver thermal pullover by June Gilbank

If I designed a (knit or crochet) garment in the style I like as a pattern for sale, I’d have to:

  1. design it for ‘standard’ body measurements
  2. make a standard-sized sample (that wouldn’t fit me well!)
  3. find a ‘standard’ shaped lady to model it for the pattern photos
  4. either accept that ‘non-standard’ bodies (i.e. most people!) won’t be 100% happy with the result of my pattern, or offer extensive customization advice for how to modify the sizes to fit your own shape

The other option would be to change my design style to create very simple, non-fitted, rectangle-based garments that will work for most people as-is, but that’s not a style I’d enjoy either making or wearing. (There are also plenty of designs like that already, so I probably wouldn’t even make any money from trying to sell something I didn’t want to make in the first place!)

My Decision

I’m sure there are many more potential difficulties I haven’t even thought of, but just these few are more than enough to keep me from starting down the path of publishing my knitwear designs.

I know I don’t have time to start a parallel second career, and certainly not to run a knitwear pattern business with the level of quality and support that (I hope) people have come to expect from PlanetJune.

So, at least for the foreseeable future, I’m keeping my knitting (and garment design) on a purely hobby level. But I do love sharing what I’ve made, and I hope my projects will inspire others to try knitting (or crocheting, or sewing) a garment. It’s a very empowering feeling to be able to make your own clothes, and so satisfying when you get it right and it actually fits!

12 knit sweaters project

Hobby or Business?

Finding a way to make a profitable business from your hobby may sound like a dream come true, but it has the potential to suck all the joy out of your hobby, and, at best, it permanently changes your relationship with your craft.

I’m endlessly grateful that I’ve been able to build a successful business from my crochet designs. I try to keep innovating and developing new techniques to keep my designs fresh and exciting – both for my customers, and for my own enjoyment and improvement in my craft!

PlanetJune pattern selection

But, even so, I do sometimes miss the freedom of being able to create more complex crocheted art pieces that wouldn’t make a good pattern. Keeping my knitting as a purely creative outlet, with no motive other than making things I want to make, has given me that freedom back. It’s a way to balance the pressure of creating for my business with the joy and relaxation that only comes with making for fun.

WIP cardigans - knit and crocheted - by planetjune

So, the moral of the story is: there’s no right answer as to whether you should try to turn your hobby into a money-making venture:

  • A hobby gives you complete artistic freedom, relaxation, enjoyment, and personal satisfaction.
  • A business reduces all those things in exchange for the possibility of success: happy customers, recognition, more financial freedom, etc.

Having a hobby can give you a release from the stresses of everyday life. Turning it into a business adds to those stresses, but if you’re willing to put in time, hard work, and the determination to keep going even when you don’t feel like it, turning your hobby into a business can be very rewarding.

Or you could keep it more casual – instead of aiming to start a serious business enterprise, you could have a ‘hobby business’, where you sell a few things you’ve made to pay for your craft supplies etc, but don’t try to scale it up into a full-time business.

On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for the pure joy of making just for fun! Maybe you should keep your craft as a hobby, like my knitting- it’s important to protect the things that make you happy. 🙂


So, what’s your experience? Have you ever considered turning your hobby into a business? Have my words made you think about doing (or not doing!) it? Or have you already tried, and how did that change your relationship with your hobby?

I’d love to know! Please leave your thoughts in the comments below…

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Mini Giant Amigurumi

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

Are you unsure about taking the plunge into full-scale Giant Amigurumi? Then Mini Giant Amigurumi might be just what you’re looking for!

Allow me to demonstrate with my cute purple whale:

standard, mini giant and giant amigurumi whales, using the Tiny Whale crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Front: Standard (worsted weight) whale (silver)
Middle: Mini Giant whale (purple)
Back: Giant Whale (blue)

As you can see, the Mini Giant whale bridges the gap between a standard amigurumi and a giant – it isn’t close to the size of a full giant ami, but is still over twice the size of a standard amigurumi.

Why Mini Giant Amigurumi?

There are lots of reasons why Mini Giant Amigurumi might appeal to you vs Giant Amigurumi:

  • You don’t have a 15mm hook
  • You want to ease yourself gradually into sizing up
  • You don’t have the strength or mobility for the larger hand/arm motions
  • You’re short on funds for all that yarn and stuffing
  • You don’t have the space for giant ami!

Don’t let that be a reason to stop you trying to size up some amigurumi – you can still join in the supersizing fun and use all the techniques from The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi to great effect by making mini giant amis.

How to Make Mini Giant Amigurumi

To make a Mini Giant Amigurumi, instead of worsted weight yarn and an E US/3.5mm hook, you’ll need:

  • 1 strand of a super bulky (#6) yarn – I recommend a chenille-type yarn such as Bernat Blanket
  • an L US/8mm crochet hook

standard sized whale and mini giant whale, using the Tiny Whale crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Then use the techniques from The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi (especially my Secure Magic Ring, which works beautifully on this chenille-type yarn) to make and stuff your Mini Giant Amigurumi!

To finish, you can either use one of my crocheted ‘glinting’ eye patterns from the ebook, or you may find that you have plastic animal eyes large enough. For my whale, 15mm plastic eyes were just about large enough; for a larger amigurumi, the Small Eye pattern from the book would work perfectly.

Your Guidebook to Giant Amigurumi

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

Now, between standard amigurumi, mini giant amigurumi, and full giant amigurumi, you have the choice of sizing up your amigurumi as much as you like!

And if you haven’t bought my new ebook, The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi yet, check out the reviews (here) to see what people are saying about it – I think you’ll love it too 🙂

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The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi [ebook]

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

After my fun but challenging experiments with extreme amigurumi last year, I set out to see if there was a way to make super-sized amigurumi that was easy and fun to do, and develop instructions I could pass on to you. After lots of experimentation, I developed the technique of Giant Amigurumi. Look!

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - examples of amis made from the book techniques

About Giant Amigurumi

Giant Amigurumi retains the joyous side of being able to scale up a small amigurumi pattern to an impressive and extra-cuddly scale, but it’s much, much simpler to crochet, and the materials you’ll need are far easier and less expensive to acquire.

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - examples of amis made from the book techniques

Giant Amigurumi are big, squishy, and cuddly. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can crochet such a large toy! Giant amis are perfect as nursery decorations, super-snuggly toys, or decorations everyone will be talking about. Add a spark of life to your amigurumi animals with my giant dimensional crocheted eye patterns, or whip up a super-sized plant.

About The eBook

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!

As examples, I’ve crocheted up several PlanetJune classic patterns using the techniques from this book, so you can see how they compare with the standard-sized amis. 

Much bigger! Just as cute! And (you’ll have to take my word for this until you make your own…) exceptionally huggable.

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank  - step by step photos and instructions

With The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi, 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.

I’ve discovered lots of tips and tricks that will make your giant amigurumi easy to make and assemble, and many of them will also be useful for non-giant amigurumi, such as:

  • A better way to make a secure magic ring for bulky, textured or weak yarns
  • How to add more stiffness to floppy/curling pieces

…Having these tools in your back pocket will improve your everyday amigurumi projects too!

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank  - complete reference guide

You might think there’s nothing more to giant amigurumi crochet than choosing a large enough hook to go with your extra thick yarn, but every stage of making a giant amigurumi is slightly different from what you might expect, and I’ve designed this book as a comprehensive reference guide that covers everything from the absolute basics to tips for fixing problems and making complex amigurumi.

I encourage you to use the book as a reference – whenever you get stuck, or move onto a new stage of your pattern, check back with the book and see what I advise! (Check the full contents here.)

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - shiny eyes patterns included

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi also includes patterns and assembly instructions to make my realistic ‘shiny’ crocheted eyes in all sizes – the perfect finishing touch to your giant amigurumi. They look just as round, shiny and appealing as plastic eyes, but are child-friendly and easy to stitch into place.

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - whale pattern included

And the ebook also includes my Tiny Whale pattern as a bonus, so you can get started right away with a simple introduction to giant amigurumi crochet. 

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

To keep it relevant to you, this ebook is available in two versions, for right-handers and left-handers. Choose your version knowing that all the photos will show you exactly what you need to do from your perspective for every technique! 

And, as with all PlanetJune patterns and ebooks, your licence includes access to any future updates if there’s a new edition of this book in the future. 

Links and Launch Discount

You can buy The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi right now from my shop, and download the ebook immediately as a PDF file. (It’s 50 pages long and about 9MB.)

Click here to buy The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi now >>

And, for this week only, use code GIANTAMI at checkout to save $2 on the purchase price. (Valid until next Tuesday: Feb 5th, 2019)

Ready to Get Started?

I’m sure you’ll find giant amigurumi-making just as fun and appealing as I do – I just love these big squishy amis 🙂

Don’t forget to share photos of your giant amigurumi projects using the #giantamigurumi hashtag, and please also tag me @planetjune so I can see what you’re making!

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Amigurumi Clean Edge Join tutorial

Usually in amigurumi, the goal is to join pieces with an invisible, seamless join, so you can barely tell where one part ends and the next begins. But sometimes, especially with a piece of a different colour, you can get a neater finish by not smoothing the join, and instead making invisible stitches so it looks like the pieces are magically holding themselves together without any stitching at all:

Amigurumi Clean Edge Join crochet tutorial by PlanetJune

You can use this technique to attach something where you want there to be a clear defined edge between pieces, for example, attaching a beak to a face, or (as I’ll show in this demo) attaching a cactus to the soil of its pot.

Continue to the Amigurumi Clean Edge Join tutorial:

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Heart Cactus Collection crochet pattern update

I’ve just updated my sweet Heart Cactus Collection pattern to add a new cactus option, so now the collection includes three different heart-shaped cacti (plus matching large and small 3-dimensional hearts).

Heart Cactus Collection crochet patterns by PlanetJune

These cacti make a quick little crochet project, with their perfect heart shapes, rounded pots, pretty flowers, and minimal sewing required. If you haven’t picked up the pattern yet, now’s a great time – Valentine’s Day is only a month away, so now’s the time to start making your heart-themed gifts. And the best part is that a potted heart cactus looks cute all year round 🙂

(If you’ve already bought the Heart Cactus Collection pattern, your PlanetJune pattern licences always include all future pattern updates. I’ve updated the pattern now with the additional cactus pattern and new photos, so please feel free to download it again from your PlanetJune account!)

Heart Cactus Collection crochet patterns by PlanetJune
The cuddly hearts are also included in the pattern!

And here’s an extra bonus: did you know the heart cacti are sized to be part of my mix-and-match Cactus and Succulent collections? You can add a heart cactus to your next succulent garden, or mix and match the pots between any of the patterns!

Cactus and Succulent crochet patterns by PlanetJune
Can you spot the 3 heart cacti?

Buy the Heart Cactus Collection pattern here in my shop. Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it:

I hope you’ll enjoy the updated Heart Cactus Collection! When you make one, please remember to tag me @planetjune if you share it on social media, so I can enjoy seeing your creation too 🙂

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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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