PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

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WIN a copy of Mandalas to Embroider!

Search Press, the publisher of Mandalas to Embroider: Kaleidoscope Stitching in a Hoop by Carina Envoldsen-Harris (the beautiful embroidery pattern book I reviewed last week) have kindly offered one PlanetJune reader the chance to win a free copy of this lovely book!

Mandalas to Embroider by Carina Envoldsen-Harris

If you’ve already picked up your copy, enter to win a copy to give to a friend – it’d make a lovely gift for anyone crafty 🙂

I’m delighted with the embroidery that I made using the Sakura Clusters pattern from the book (and it was my first time doing a proper embroidery, so you can definitely do this too):

sakura mandala emboidery

If you haven’t read my review yet, click here to see what I thought of this book – then come back here and enter to win your own copy!

How To Enter

  • Simply leave a comment on this blog post (below) this week, i.e. before end of day EST on March 25th, 2018. You can say anything in your comment: why you’d like to win this book, your past experience (if any) with embroidery, or even just ‘Yes please!’
  • Make sure you enter a valid email address in the email box, as I’ll need that to contact you if you’re the winner!
  • This is open to everyone, worldwide 🙂
  • I’ll randomly draw a winner and contact them by email after the closing date to get their address. (I’ll update this post with their name once they’ve replied.) If I get no reply after a week, I’ll draw a new name.

Good luck!

Mandalas to Embroider by Carina Envoldsen-Harris

UPDATE: I selected the winner by random draw (for simplicity, I numbered the comments 1-70, and I’d redraw if the winning number was one of my own comment replies) and the winner is Kate! Congratulations Kate, and thanks to everyone else who entered.

If my posts have whetted your appetite for embroidery, you can buy Mandalas to Embroider here on Amazon, or from your local bookshop 🙂

Comments (70)

back home in Canada!

I’ve been back in Canada for just over a week now and I’ve just about finished organising the most critical things, so now I can take a breath and start to enjoy myself!

Ontario landscape
Ahh, this is the beautiful Ontario that I’ve been missing 🙂

Although winter hasn’t set in properly yet here, this is already the coldest weather I’ve experienced for over 6 years, but I’m enjoying the crisp, cold air and the opportunity to wear warm coats and snuggly sweaters. And, more than anything, I’m enjoying feeling safe and welcome here.

When we arrived last Thursday, after 24 hours of flights, it took another 4 hours to get all the customs and immigration paperwork sorted out before we could finally collect Maui, and then he had to stay locked in his crate for another hour while I drove us from the airport to our temporary accommodation. But, just like our move in the other direction 6 years earlier, he bounced back very quickly from his ordeal and has settled nicely into our condo.

Maui relaxing in our condo
Maui loves dozing in this chair (with a green pillow that matches his eyes – he’s so stylish!)

We (unintentionally) arrived back here just in time for Black Friday, which was quite a culture shock after years of buying practically nothing in South Africa, where the things I’d want either weren’t available or were too expensive to justify buying. I enjoyed flipping through many dozens of sale flyers, and we picked up a few home electricals that were on sale – we’ll need to re-buy everything electrical because of the different voltage here.

I couldn’t convert my South African driving license back to an Ontario license, so I knew I’d have to take written and road tests before I could buy a car here again. Apparently the local driving test centre has a 4-5 hour wait just to be seen, so I drove out to Stratford instead (no queues!) and, after an extremely stressful day – there were no test appointments available until January, but I managed to snag a cancellation – I passed both my written and road tests, so I’m now an Ontario license holder again! I’m just waiting for my new car to arrive, and then we’ll be ready to get on the road and start to explore Canada’s vast natural beauty.

beaver toothmarks
I’ve set myself a challenge to photograph a wild beaver – these toothmarks are as close as I’ve got so far!

We’ve also found a house to rent from January. It’s a brand new house in a new development in Waterloo and it’s very clean and modern inside. It’s lovely, although I’m not quite sure why anyone would need more bathrooms (four) than bedrooms (three)…. But I can’t wait to move in and turn it into our home 🙂

I’m hoping to snag the massive master bedroom as my office/studio – PlanetJune needs a lot of room to house my photo studio, design and making space, computer/office suite, and supply storage! I hope that splitting one large room into separate spaces for each area of my business will help me to be more organised and stop everything from getting hopelessly muddled. I’ll let you know next year how that’s working out…


And now I’m going on a semi-sabbatical for the next few months. I’ll still be around to help with any PlanetJune problems, but I need to sort out the technicalities of moving my business to another country before the new year hits.

I’d also like to have a good break after that – the past year has been full of upheaval, and, once I’ve got everything set up here, I could really do with some time off to relax before jumping into any more big projects.

Don’t worry, my blog won’t be going silent while I’m getting settled into my new life! I’ve been stockpiling new patterns and blog posts for months now, so I have lots ready to share with you while I’m on sabbatical.

Ahhh, I’m so happy to be home! 🙂

Comments (17)

December update

I’ve started a new hobby: setting up themed photos that cram in lots of my crochet designs for my Instagram account. It takes a while to set them up, but I’m really enjoying the results! Here’s my latest one, featuring over a dozen of my Christmas designs:

a selection of Christmas-themed PlanetJune crochet patterns
A plethora of seasonal PlanetJune designs – find all the patterns here

I’m planning to make more of these crochet scenes next year – follow me on Instagram (@PlanetJune) if you’d like to see them 🙂

And, if you’re crocheting Christmas decorations or presents, please join the Christmas CAL in the PlanetJune Ravelry group and share what you’re making from my seasonal patterns (or any other PJ patterns as Christmas gifts).

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

koala crochet pattern by planetjune
October’s winning review is Holly M‘s review of my Koala pattern:

I chose this pattern for a group project in which my office-mates and I all made a bunch of koalas and attached them to the trees at our workplace. I wanted it to be closer to koala size, so I used this exact pattern, but used a heavier yarn and bigger crochet needle, and it still turned out perfect and adorable! Everyone loved that the arms were poseable. A great, easy pattern to follow, and a true joy to make!

Guinea Fowl crochet pattern by PlanetJune
And November’s winning review is Heidi W‘s review of my Guinea Fowl pattern:

Although this looked difficult to make it was very well explained by June’s pattern instructions. I absolutely loved the body and neck technique and the finished product looks exactly like her photos! I will definitely be purchasing more patterns from June.

Congratulations, Holly and Heidi – I’ve emailed you both to find out which pattern you’d each like as your prize!

What’s next?

In preparation for my 11th year in business(!) I’m planning some changes for next year. I’m trying to cut out any tasks that are neither important nor enjoyable, to leave me with more time to concentrate on the important and fun parts of my business, and to have more time away from work.

As part of that plan, this will be the last of these ‘monthly update’ posts (I don’t think many people read them, and I can probably spend the time more usefully):

I’ll be sharing more about my future plans in my Year in Review post – I think they’ll make a positive difference in my life and in the operations of PlanetJune 🙂

Comments (2)

October update

Autumn is my favourite season, and, even though it’s spring here in the southern hemisphere, I still think wistfully of beautiful fall colours and the first chill in the air whenever October rolls around. So I decided to spend some time putting together a little PlanetJune Fall photoshoot that perfectly captures the essence of autumn for me:

a selection of Fall-themed PlanetJune crochet patterns
Amigurumi Acorn, Apples, Pears, Pumpkin (all donationware patterns!); Pine Cone and Mushroom Collections – find all the patterns here

If you’re feeling the joy of autumn too, please join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group and share what you’re making from my seasonal patterns.

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

PlanetJune shop: My Patterns (Full) feature

To highlight how easy it is now to review your PlanetJune patterns from the new My Patterns page in your PlanetJune account (see screenshot, above), I tripled the review prizes in September, and there were an unprecedented 86 new reviews written as a result – wow! Thank you to everyone who wrote a review last month; I’m sure all your reviews will be really helpful to other crochet fans. And here are the 3 contest winners:

horse

Jackie M‘s review of my Horse pattern:

I have been looking for a good (small) horse pattern for forever, and this is it!!! Very clear and detailed, and the instructions for the mane and tail are SO unique and easy to implement!

African Violets crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Guinevere M‘s review of my African Violets pattern:

June’s patterns are by far the best I have ever seen for plants, and this pattern is no exception. This is your opportunity to create beautiful African Violets that never have to be watered, and that won’t be turned into salad by your overly adventurous feline. The pattern is clearly written providing different options to allows you to customize your very own pot of African Violets. It also includes lots of photographs and tips to assist you, and the end results are beautiful.

Rippled Lace Rectangular Shawl crochet pattern by June Gilbank
Nuria A‘s review of my Rippled Lace Rectangular Shawl pattern:

This was my first try on such a large crochet project, and on using lace yarn! The pattern is really well written and explained, just as I was able to do foundation single crochet for the first time and with no problem just by reading the instructions. Crochetting this shawl is easy, so you soon can do it without reading the pattern (I used to do it while watching TV). Since the color of the yarn goes changing each two turns, it encourages you to go on a little bit more, and the shawl is complete quite fast.

In conclusion, a really good pattern if you want to crochet a nice shawl and you don’t have so much time to spend on it.

Congratulations, Jackie, Guinevere and Nuria – I’ve emailed you all to find out which pattern you’d each like as your prize!

What’s next?

Continuing my half-a-world-away celebration of Fall, I’ll have a new donationware pattern for you very soon, and then I’ll be turning my attention towards Christmas..!

Comments

September update

This September update feels very much like a re-run of 2 years ago: I’m back from travels (this time, an amazing safari experience – pics soon! – and a far-too-brief trip home to Canada); I caught a cold on the way home which has turned into bronchitis; and I’ve been working on some big technical improvements for the shop.

But I learnt a valuable lesson in 2014 when all that left me completely burnt out, so I was prepared this time: my autumn and Christmas designs are well underway already 🙂

Shop Updates!

There’ll be a little downtime in my shop tomorrow while I install the updates I’ve been working on for the past month. I’ve planned it for my morning, so it’ll be the middle of the night tonight for most of you in North America. I anticipate it’ll take no more than a couple of hours, but if you go to my shop and see the Maintenance Lemming is still working on it, that means the updates are still in progress!

PlanetJune Maintenance Lemming :)

I’ll explain all the improvements to the shop in a separate post once my updates are complete – I’m very excited for the new features I’ve been developing, and I think they’ll add a lot to your PlanetJune experience. More on that tomorrow, once I’ve finished the upgrades…

Fall CAL

September brings the start of a new season, and the start of a new crochet-along in the PlanetJune Ravelry group! Join us for this relaxed crochet-along that runs from now until Halloween. You can make any PlanetJune patterns (or patterns from either of my books) that fit the Fall theme. Here’s a selection of pattern ideas:

a selection of Fall-themed PlanetJune patterns

And I’m working on a brand new pattern that’ll fit nicely with this theme too, so look out for that in the coming weeks…

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

I have 2 months’ winners to announce today:

Dinosaurs Set 3 crochet patterns by PlanetJuneDinosaurs Set 3X crochet patterns by PlanetJune
July’s winner is Peggy G‘s review of my Dinosaurs Sets 3 & 3X patterns:

Both of these sets are fantastic!! I have made all 6 dinosaurs now. The Panoplosaurus and the Ankylosaurus take the most time and are the most advanced, but I wouldn’t call them “difficult.” Just take more time and patience. However, they turn out so awesome that it’s worth it. My favorite ended up being the Protoceratops. I love the way his head fin is constructed. He’s very simple, but looks fantastic. Highly recommend all of June’s dino patterns.

Sea Otter crochet pattern by PlanetJune
And August’s winner is Verna H‘s review of my Sea Otter pattern:

I made this Sea Otter for my sister. June’s pattern is the most natural looking otter pattern by far. Her instructions are very easy to understand. My sister just loves it!

Congratulations, Peggy and Verna – I’ve emailed you both to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

Comments (2)

July update

I was hoping to be able to show you my wildlife photos from Hawaii by now, but with several thousand to go through, I’ve only been able to narrow them down to about 100 so far. I’ll try to edit that down to a more manageable number soon, so I can get the best photos posted (sea turtles!!!) for you to enjoy 🙂

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

I was in Hawaii last month, so I have 2 winners to announce today:

Pansies crochet pattern by PlanetJune
May’s winner is Judy C‘s review of my Pansies pattern:

Another wonderful and fun plant pattern from Planet June! I’ve made both basket sizes and almost a dozen pins. All instructions are clear and well illustrated. The pansy flower is a bit tricky at first, but once you have done one or two, it is easy. Clever design minimizes having to sew on a bunch of different leaves. Highly recommend.

African Violets crochet pattern by PlanetJune
And June’s winner is Melissa J‘s review of my African Violets pattern:

I made one of the large versions for my mother in law after she killed the real violet I gave her years ago. She absolutely loved it! I am an advanced beginner with crochet, and I found the pattern very easy to follow. All the stitches are very basic, but it comes out looking so amazing and impressive in the end!

Congratulations, Judy and Melissa – I’ve emailed you both to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

What’s Next?

I’ll have a summery-themed PlanetJune Accessories pattern to launch shortly, and then I’ll be taking a break from pattern releases for a while, while I work on some big projects to launch in the fall.

And Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! I’m with you in spirit, if not in body 🙂

Comments

10th blogiversary!

Hello! I’ve just got back from travelling to the other side of the world to realise one of my life’s ambitions of watching sea turtles in the wild (and I’ll share more about that once I’ve sorted through my thousands of vacation photos…)

This blog has also been quiet for a while because I’ve been working on big PlanetJune projects – including a huge new pattern collection – so I’ll have lots to share with you very soon, but first it’s time to celebrate a big milestone: my 10th anniversary as a blogger!

10 years ago today, I started my blog with a small goal:

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

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.

10 Years of Crafting

Here’s a sampling of my last decade of making:

10 years of PlanetJune - craft projects made by June Gilbank

During my 10 years of blogging, I’ve made and shared several hundred projects, written over 800 blog posts, and received close to 12,000 comments… It’s amazing how it all adds up!

The Changing Face of Blogging

In the past decade, the blogging landscape has changed dramatically. Social media has made blogging unnecessary or irrelevant for many people, and I’ve seen a lot of my craft-blogging compatriots from the early days either abandon their blogs, shift their focus, and/or delete their old content (which always makes me irrationally sad to see).

For me, the situation is complicated: my blog is now a place where I share information about my business (new patterns and tutorials, details about my books and crochet-alongs, and general PlanetJune news) but it’s still also a record of my personal creative pastimes. That includes both the things I make, and the things that inspire me to make, and sharing some of my wildlife and nature photos has also become an important part of my blogging.

This blog isn’t – and never will be – a cynical tool to try to drive sales. My policy has always been to only post when I have something worth posting about, so I’ve never developed a blogging schedule or strategy, or felt guilty during quiet times. I think that freedom is what makes it easy to keep my blog going, because it never becomes a burden or a chore.

Creativity & Inspiration

When I moved to South Africa five years ago, I started sharing some of my wildlife photos. Amateur wildlife photography has been a big part of my life for many years, but I’d never thought anyone else would want to see my photos until I moved somewhere ‘interesting’. Of course, now I realise that everywhere is interesting, and I take and share wildlife photos wherever I travel – 4 continents so far!

10 years of PlanetJune - wildlife photos by June Gilbank

The photography itself is just a hobby for me, but learning more about the natural world is a big part of my creative inspiration for new patterns. I’m so happy that many of the people who enjoy my work also enjoy my wildlife posts – I love being able to share a few of my photos with you, and I hope to find time to put together wildlife posts more regularly in future.

Through Thick and Thin…

I didn’t have a chance to mark my last two blogiversaries (due to my traumatic home invasion experience in 2014 and my knee surgery in 2015). I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years battling ill health and stress. Crafting is a way to regain some sense of control at times when life deals you a hand that’s hard to deal with – all you need to think about is making the next stitch.

Business-wise, it’s been a massive comfort to know that PlanetJune keeps ticking along, whatever happens, and I can keep making ends meet, no matter what I’m going through behind the scenes. But I feel that I’ve reached a turning point with my personal situation now, and things will continue to improve from this point on, so I’ll be able to get back to making things in all sorts of crafts, just for the fun of it – yay!

These days, I may not post here as often as I used to – or as often as I’d like to – but I make fewer, larger projects than in the early days of my blog when I had more time and energy to tinker and experiment with various crafts. The act of making, and my love of wildlife, are more important to me than ever, and my blog will continue to reflect those themes 🙂

Thank You!

I’d like to thank you for visiting my blog and sharing in my enjoyment of making, creativity, and nature, whether this is your first visit or you’ve been travelling with me for the entire 10 years! I have a huge list of ideas for projects waiting to be made – both new crochet patterns, and new fun craft projects to try – and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you as my blog continues into its second decade.

I could never have imagined, 10 years ago, that PlanetJune would change my life so completely, and I’m so grateful to this blog, and to everyone who has ever read my posts or left me a comment, for playing a role in that process.

Now, I wonder what changes the next 10 years will bring…

Comments (5)

May update

We could all use a little less pressure in our lives, so I’m changing the PlanetJune crochet-along model to give you a bit more choice and flexibility. We’ll still launch a new CAL roughly every month, but I’m extending the runtime of each so there’s plenty of time to make whatever you want, even if a month turnaround time is too fast for you. So, in future, you’ll see 2-3 CALs running simultaneously, and you can join in with as few, or as many, as you want to.

I’ll keep this model going for the rest of the year as a trial run, but so far it seems to be working well, with Turtle Beach still going strong, while the new Hoofing It CAL is just starting…

Hoofing It CAL

I’m really enjoying seeing the first projects posted for my new Horse, Unicorn and Pegasus patterns, for example:

PlanetJune Hoofing It CAL samples
Photo credit: these lovely projects were crocheted by Ravellers CrochetChrisie, Stormwhisper and craftywhizzbang

Don’t the Unicorn and Pegasus look good in all the different mane and tail colours? Oh, and when I launched these patterns last week, there was so much to say that I actually forgot to mention that my Unicorn & Pegasus pattern includes bonus instructions for the rainbow mane and tail option (pictured middle bottom) – so if you want to make a Rainbow Unicorn, I’ve got you covered 🙂

If you’d like to share your project(s) too, please join the crochet-along in the PlanetJune Ravelry group – I love to see what you’re making from my patterns!

Commissions Update

I’ll be relaunching my crochet pattern commissions system later this year, to make it easier, faster, and more fun. With the completion of my new Horse pattern, I’ve finally cleared the queue of commissioned designs, so I’m temporarily closing PlanetJune Commissions to new pledges while I complete the upgrades.

(If you sign up for my new Commissions newsletter, I’ll let you know when the new system is ready to go, and give you a tour of the new features and a sneak peek at the new design options on the list!)

With the relaunch, I’ll be adding new options to the commissions list, and I’d love to know if you have any requests for new animal or plant designs. Are any of your favourites missing from my pattern range, or is there something special you’d love to see me tackle? Let me know in the comments below!

Review and Win contest

You’re automatically entered in the next monthly draw every time you write a review for a PlanetJune pattern you’ve enjoyed – and you’ll also be helping future customers make an informed decision about patterns they are considering buying.

Primroses crochet pattern by PlanetJune

April’s winner is Annette H‘s review of my Primroses pattern:

Everything is very clear described with pictures where necessary. Even the assembling – where most other patterns just say nothing about – is described and very easy to follow. 100% recommendation.

Congratulations, Annette – I’ve emailed you to find out which pattern you’d like as your prize!

What’s Next?

I’ve been planning a very cute and colourful amigurumi collection for a couple years, and I’m finally making it happen. It’s coming together nicely, but I’m putting it on hold for a couple of weeks while I visit my parents in the UK. (So, if you email me, please understand that it may take me a little longer to respond than usual! See my FAQ for the best and fastest ways to get PlanetJune help.)

I’m so driven to make my ideas into reality that I end up working really hard all the time. When it’s just you making it all happen, it’s hard to ever stop thinking about the business and new designs and planning for the future, and that’s a situation I need to improve. Although I truly love what I do, I’m looking forward to getting a little distance from PlanetJune for a short while, and some rest, fresh air, and walks on the beach with my family.

See you when I get back!

Comments (1)

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    June Gilbank

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