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PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge

Today’s PlanetJune Story shows how easily you can brighten someone’s day with crochet. When Nancy Smith, the chairman for the Crochet Guild of America’s Chapter Challenge, contacted me in February to ask for permission for the CGOA to use my Love Hearts pattern as a way for their members to give back to their communities, I never dreamt it would lead to such an amazing result!

Let’s hear from Nancy:


The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) is a national organization of local crochet guilds located in almost all 50 states of USA. CGOA also hosts a national conference called Chain Link held in different locations each summer that includes classes of various skills, stitches, and techniques, a Design Contest, a fashion show and banquet, and a ‘Meet and Greet’ to possibly sell your designs to publishers, yarn companies and/or magazines. There is also a Masters Program which tests your skills in all aspects of crochet from stitches to gauge to finishing techniques. Be brave! Check it out!

Each year, CGOA challenges the chapters to give back to their local communities by participating in the CGOA Chapter Challenge which selects a project for all interested chapters to make.

Each project is selected with a particular need in mind. Past years have included chemo hats, preemie blankets, squares for afghans, and scarves. This year was a bit different since a lot of places were not accepting physical items due to COVID-19 protocols. But June Gilbank of Planet June came to our rescue by allowing us to use her Love Hearts pattern for the Challenge.

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

The hearts could be distributed as a group project if there were places near each chapter that were accepting items, along with individual members passing them out to total strangers, family, friends, neighbors, hospitals workers, doctor offices, fire houses, etc.

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

At first, members were kind of skeptical about the project, but some that handed the hearts out individually reported the results/reactions back to their chapters, and the interest really took off. The smiles and reactions from the recipients were well worth the work!

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

There were 12,798 hearts made for this Challenge! Besides being individually handed out, hearts were disbursed to an entire elementary school, to Meals on Wheels, to assisted living centers, nursing homes, animal shelters, special education centers, teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day, church meetings, and being attached to future donation projects each chapter makes.

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

June’s pattern was fast and easy to make, and the chapters were told to use whatever yarns and hook sizes they wanted, which created a variety of sizes and colors besides the three sizes June has in the pattern.

CGOA and its’ chapters send a big THANK YOU to June for so generously allowing us to use her pattern!

For more information about CGOA, and possibly starting your own local chapter, here are the links:

Nancy Smith
CGOA Chapter Challenge Chairman


A few more photos, shared with permission from the participating chapters:

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNew York City Crochet Guild, Manhattan NY

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNorthern Illinois Crochet Guild, Rolling Meadows (a suburb of Chicago) IL

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsHappily Hooked on Crochet Guild, Danbury CT

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsThe Happy Hookers, Atlanta GA

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNorthern Kentucky Crochet Guild, Burlington KY

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsEbenezer Angelic Crocheters, Washington DC

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsCrocheters of the Lakes, Lake County IL

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNew Mexico Crochet Guild, Albuquerque NM

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsCrochet Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St Paul MN

And here’s the video of the Challenge results:


(Back to me, June, again!)

Well over twelve thousand crocheted hearts – isn’t that incredible! Congratulations to all the participating CGOA chapters – your generosity and kindness has touched so many deserving people. I’m honoured that my Love Hearts pattern continues to be used in such meaningful ways.

Thank you so much, Nancy, for sharing your report – and for choosing to use my pattern for such a successful Chapter Challenge 🙂
Please leave Nancy and the CGOA members a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!


PS – If you’re feeling inspired to bring some smiles to your community with crocheted hearts, you can find my Love Hearts crochet pattern here. 🙂

Comments (10)

PlanetJune Stories: Dorte’s Fishbowl

Today’s PlanetJune Story comes from Dorte Jensen in Denmark, who used a selection of my crochet patterns to create this gorgeous realistic fishbowl!

Dorte's crocheted fishbowl made from PlanetJune patterns

I’ll let Dorte explain how this project came to be:


My husband saw your tropical fish patterns and said that they were so cute and that he wanted these fish made for his birthday. I don’t remember when the idea came for me to use a real fishbowl for them.

Dorte's crocheted fishbowl made from PlanetJune patterns

My plan required some plants for the bottom of the bowl. I had seen your succulent collection 1 and 2 and I really wanted to crochet them but had never found the time for them. I realized that I could use those plants for the fishbowl. I also came up with my own idea for a plant that the red fish could hide in.

Dorte's improvised crocheted aquatic plant

I didn’t have “earth” to sew the plants onto so they would stand up straight. I made a white circle to sew them onto that I could hide beneath the stones in the bottom of the bowl.

Dorte's crocheted fishbowl made from PlanetJune patterns

I suspended the fish using fishing line – I thought that would be most invisible. Then some dots of glue on the edge of the fishbowl to keep the line and the fish in place. I used a line across the fishbowl so the clownfish could hang in the middle of the bowl.

Dorte's crocheted fishbowl made from PlanetJune patterns

Finally I just want to say that both the fish and the plants were so much fun to crochet, and your crochet tutorials have taught me a lot. It is always a great pleasure to follow your great, well-explained and well constructed patterns.


(Back to me, June, again!)

Thank you so much, Dorte! Isn’t this a fabulous project? Beautifully crocheted, and using the large glass fishbowl with real stones in the bottom was an effective way to add to the realism of this display.

I think the succulents and her clever plant design look perfect in there too. I was surprised to see how well my succulent patterns stand in for corals and aquatic plants (and yes, in case you’re wondering, I do have some real coral patterns planned for some point in the future too…)

I hope these beautiful colourful fish have brightened your day (and maybe even inspired you to make a crocheted aquarium of your own?) Please leave Dorte a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!


PS – If you’re looking for the PlanetJune patterns featured above, you can find all my Tropical Fish and Succulent crochet patterns in my shop 🙂

Tropical Fish crochet patterns by PlanetJune

Cactus and Succulent crochet patterns by PlanetJune

Comments (10)

PlanetJune Stories: crochet with kids

Today’s PlanetJune Story is a follow-up from last month’s story of 10-year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs. Seth’s mom Amy and brother Benjamin have contributed this month, to tell us about their family’s crochet time, and Amy shares her tips for teaching kids to crochet.

I think she knows what she’s talking about – the crochet force is strong in this family 😉

PlanetJune Stories: crochet with kids
Benjamin, Seth and Amy crocheting together!

And now over to Amy and Benjamin:


Amy’s Story

I learned to crochet twenty years ago, but after making one baby blanket, I quit. I didn’t like the tedium of doing the same stitch endlessly back and forth.

When we gave my son Seth a crochet kit for Christmas last year, I knew I would have to learn in order to help him. We spent two days straight of crocheting, unpicking, recrocheting, counting, and celebrating anytime we miraculously had the correct number of stitches at the end of a round. We laugh at Seth’s lion now, crocheted wrong-side out with messy seams, but we love him for the victory he represents.

Before too long, I was in love with crocheting as much as Seth was. I started making critters in random colors to use up whatever yarn I had. Making amigurumi was much more enjoyable than the boring baby blanket of my youth.

PlanetJune Stories: crochet with kids
Amy’s horses

By April, my oldest son wanted to learn to crochet as well, and my youngest two sons wanted me to teach them how to chain.

Now, a neighbor comes over weekly for a crochet party, and several neighborhood kids have asked us to teach them. For me, crocheting began as an attempt to help my son and use up a few random balls of yarn. Crochet has become a full-blown hobby, not just for myself, but for my children and our friends too.

Benjamin’s Story

Hi, I’m Benjamin, age twelve, and I love to crochet!

When my brother started crocheting, I saw the cute little animals he made and wanted to make some too! He and my mom taught me how. Then one day, my mom bought the horse pattern from PlanetJune, and made two cute little horses for my grandma. When I saw the finished result, I wanted to make my own horse, modeled after Black Beauty from the book.

PlanetJune Stories: crochet with kids
Benjamin with his Black Beauty – good work, Benjamin!

Recently, I showed some of my critters to a neighbor and she wanted to buy one from me. She said she wanted a sloth, but it was tricky to find a good pattern until I looked at PlanetJune’s sloth. I loved the cute face markings, and the ability to hang! It was so cute I almost didn’t want to part with it!

I think my favorite part of PlanetJune is the tutorials. The tutorial about sewing pieces of animals together really helped my critters go from good to excellent! I have also helped some people learn how to crochet, and the magic ring tutorial helps them remember how to do it when they get home!

PlanetJune Stories: crochet with kids
Benjamin with his Black Beauty and Sloth, and Seth with some of his AmiCats

Amy’s tips for teaching kids how to crochet

  1. Watch the tutorials on PlanetJune. There are tons of tutorials out there, but you may as well start with the best.
  2. Choose a pattern your child really wants to make… the motivation is crucial. My boys especially like PlanetJune patterns because they are realistic, and I like them because they have pictures and very clear instructions so that the kids can easily follow them. If you are going to spend the time making a critter, you want to be very sure that the pattern is a good one. June has also been super helpful and responded quickly whenever we have had a question. [June: I’m so happy to hear that, Amy!]
  3. Don’t be afraid to do the hard parts for your children when they are starting out. You won’t cripple them. When Seth started, I usually did the magic ring and the first few rounds for him. When he would get too overwhelmed or if we had to undo stitches, I would fix what was broken. This kept his enthusiasm high, and before I knew it, he surprised me by making his first magic ring. I don’t think I have crocheted anything for him since, even bobble stitches, picots and back post single crochet.

PlanetJune Stories: crochet with kids
Even Amy’s youngest sons are learning how to chain

Amy and sons’ life lessons learned from crochet

  1. Everyone has a different way of doing things. It’s okay to do what you like, and let others do what they like.
  2. Mixing our own creativity with what we learn from others is fun!
  3. Patience and work are necessary to create something you like. Innovation and flexibility are too, because mom won’t buy a whole skein of yarn for just a few stitches. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have.
  4. Self-compassion is important, especially when your item doesn’t look like the picture in the pattern.
  5. Most things don’t look exactly like the picture, but they can still look fantastic in their own way.
  6. Taking the time to fix a mistake, even very painful ones, is worth the effort.
  7. Mom can help fix a lot of mistakes, and it is okay to ask for help.
  8. Step away and take a deep breath (or many) before trying to fix any mistakes. A calm brain is much more effective at problem solving.
  9. Everyone makes mistakes and has to try again sometimes… even mom.
  10. Everyone has something to offer the world… even kids.

PlanetJune Stories: crochet with kids
It’s a happy family that crochets together…


(Back to me, June, again!)

Amy has shared such good advice here – and those life lessons also apply to much more than just crocheting with kids! I hope this may motivate some of you to see if your kids (or other children you know) might like to have a go at our favourite hobby..? Even crocheting a simple chain from a colourful yarn can provide hours of fun, plus it builds hand-eye coordination and dexterity, and encourages creativity.

Thank you so much, Amy, Benjamin (and Seth), for sharing your story with us today. Aren’t they an inspiring and talented family?
Please leave them a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!


PS – If you’re looking for the PlanetJune patterns featured above, here are the links to the patterns in my shop: Horse, Sloth, AmiCats 🙂

Comments (9)

PlanetJune Stories: Seth’s Dinosaurs

Today’s PlanetJune Story is very special – it’s from Seth, one of my youngest customers at only 10 years old! Seth, with a little assistance from mom Amy, has become quite the amigurumi prodigy, and I think you’ll be impressed by his story, and his beautifully crocheted dinosaurs.

And now over to Seth:


Hi, I’m Seth from Utah! I am ten years old and love to crochet.

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs

Two years ago my cousin crocheted a pink jellyfish for me. I loved the animals she made and I wanted to make some for myself. I learned how to chain and single crochet, so that I could make a snake.

Last year for Christmas, I got a kit to crochet safari animals. My first lion took me two days straight to finish, but now I can crochet a dinosaur in only five or six hours. I have almost 100 crocheted critters plus three crocheted pet nets to hang them from my bunk bed.

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs

Crocheted animals are fun to make and are super cute and squishy. I love showing my animals to people and they sometimes want to start crocheting too. (The “crochet bug” is very contagious!)

I also love dinosaurs! I love the dinosaur patterns from PlanetJune because they are so fun to crochet and so realistic. I got my first dinosaur pattern for my birthday in July and loved it. The sewing tutorials on PlanetJune helped my dinosaurs to look really good. After I made dinosaurs for myself, I crocheted a few more to sell so I could buy even more dinosaur patterns.

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs

I have had a lot of fun and learned lots while building my dinosaur collection. So far I have crocheted all 18 PlanetJune dinosaurs and created two of my own – Barosaurus and Deinosuchus – using my own ideas and pieces of June’s patterns!

PlanetJune Stories: 10 year old Seth and his crocheted dinosaurs


(Back to me, June, again!)

Seth, I’m so impressed with your skill and passion for making amigurumi animals – and that you’re starting on designing your own creations too! You clearly have a talent for this, and I’m so happy to see how much you enjoy my patterns!

(I’ve asked Seth’s mom, Amy, to share her perspective and tips on teaching kids to crochet in the next PlanetJune Story, so look out for that soon, especially if you’d like to encourage and support your own children on their own crochet journey!)

Thank you so much, Seth, for sharing your story with us today 🙂
Please leave Seth a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!


PS – If you’re feeling inspired to crochet dinosaurs too, you can find all the PlanetJune Dinosaur crochet patterns here in my shop. 🙂

Comments (33)

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