PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for PlanetJune Stories

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 (8)

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 (32)

PlanetJune Stories: Domino Joyce

Today’s PlanetJune Story comes from Dr Domino Joyce, an evolutionary biologist by day and crocheter by night, who found a novel way to use amigurumi to educate children (and adults) about evolution!

I’ll let Domino explain:


history of life interactive crocheted exhibit

I’m an evolutionary biologist at the University of Hull, UK and I’ve wanted to learn to crochet for ages. Last year, when I was on maternity leave, I taught myself with YouTube videos, and I started making toys while my baby son slept on me. I became a little addicted to it and found some amazing patterns representing the diversity of life, but the PlanetJune site quickly became my favourite place because the animals are so much more realistic than many designs, and the patterns are amazingly clear and well designed.

Every year at Hull University, we have a Science Festival, and I began to formulate a way to combine science communication with my new crochet addiction. I thought I would make a poster containing a timeline of the history of earth, and use the toys to illustrate when particular things evolved. The PlanetJune dinosaur sets proved particularly inspiring for this!

history of life interactive crocheted exhibit

I made a tabletop timeline poster, as well as backdrop posters with links to the patterns, and have made these available (here) for anyone who wants to download and print their own.

The key message I wanted to get across is that evolution has taken place over a timescale so long, it is hard to visualise. The earth is 4.5 billion years old, but most of the life we know about and see today evolved ‘only’ in the last 540 million years or so. There was a very long period of time when not much happened at all!

history of life interactive crocheted exhibit

This weekend (after a lot of crocheting) the festival took place. It was a big success – we were expecting about 1500-2000 visitors, but received almost 5000. I asked the children who visited my stand to place the crochet dinosaurs on the timeline where they thought they should go, and nearly all of them put them right at the beginning of the line, and were amazed when I told them the correct place was much closer to “NOW” than they thought.

history of life interactive crocheted exhibit

I was able to talk them through the history of (some!) life using the various organisms I had made, including a crochet Mary Anning and Charles Darwin representing Homo sapiens. My favourite part used the Emperor Penguin to convey the idea that birds are simply dinosaurs that survived and carried on evolving.

history of life interactive crocheted exhibit

The toys worked really well to draw children and adults in to the stand to find out what it was about, and I think I convinced a few of the adults they should try crocheting, as well as inspiring a few who already crochet to try some of these patterns!

But most of all, I hope I helped both children and adults to understand the history of life on earth a little more clearly.


(Back to me, June, again!)

Based on your account and photos, I’m sure you accomplished that mission, Domino! Congratulations on such a successful event, and for coming up with such a great idea for a fun, interactive learning experience.

One of the things that makes me really proud as a designer of realistic animal and plant patterns is when professional scientists who study the organisms I reproduce in crochet are fans of my work – it’s high praise indeed whenever I hear from botanists, paleontologists, marine biologists (and now evolutionary biologists!) etc who appreciate my designs. And I’m so happy that my patterns could play a part in Domino’s Science Festival exhibit – it’s lovely to think that, even though I’m no longer working in the field of science, I’m still helping in some small way to educate the scientists of the future.

Thank you so much, Domino, for sharing your story with us today 🙂
Please leave Domino 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 some PlanetJune dinosaurs and penguins too, you can find all the patterns in my shop:

Comments (10)

teaching with PlanetJune patterns

Did you know that you can teach classes using my paid or donationware/free patterns? Well, today I have a PlanetJune Story for you on just that topic, from Beth Graham, a designer and teacher who works and teaches crochet at Shall We Knit? in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. (You can connect with Beth on Ravelry or Facebook.)

Shall We Knit? is a crochet friendly shop featuring rooms of yarns, fiber, books, and inspiration for knitters, crocheters, and spinners. You can contact the store for info on their crochet classes and one-on-one instruction. Sadly, I just missed out on the chance to count them as my own local yarn store, as they relocated to my old home town of Waterloo shortly after I left for South Africa! I’m still a bit sad about that even now; just look at all that pretty yarn…

Shall We Knit?, Waterloo, Ontario
Shall We Knit? photo, borrowed from www.shallweknit.com

Beth taught an Amigurumi Apples class last Saturday, and has kindly offered to share her experience with us. Over to you, Beth:

I offered a successful class at Shall We Knit? featuring June’s Amigurumi Apples pattern. The two-hour project class on beginner amigurumi introduced crocheters to the adjustable loop technique, the formula for creating flat circles using increases and decreases to create 3-D shapes, and June’s ingenious invisible decrease.

amigurumi apples class

Because of the apple’s simple, yet elegant, design, students left the course feeling quite clever, and – even better! – having finished their projects!

amigurumi apples class

Amigurumi Apples is a perfect teaching tool for introducing all these techniques and more, and I highly recommend it to other instructors considering a beginner amigurumi class. (I got permission from June to use the pattern prior to the class and purchased a copy for each student.)

amigurumi apples class

Well done, Beth – it sounds like your class was a great success! I’ve taught classes using a few of my patterns and I know how good it feels to guide new crocheters – or new amigurumists – to complete their first amigurumi. Once they’ve mastered the basic skills, they’ll have the confidence to attempt any amigurumi pattern.

As Beth said, it’s easy to teach with any PlanetJune pattern (paid or donationware) – all you need to do is purchase a copy of the pattern for yourself and one for each of your students. So, if you work in a yarn store or teach crochet classes independently, why not use a PlanetJune pattern for your next class?

Please see my Teaching FAQ for further details, and don’t forget to take a couple of photos of your class – I’d love to share them here!

Comments

PlanetJune Stories: Monica’s amigurumi dolls

Today’s PlanetJune Story comes from Monica from Magical Amigurumi – you may remember her previous appearances on my blog from her first PJ Story and when she was commissioned to crochet my Fruit Bats for the Ralph Lauren store window last year!

I love it when people use my techniques and the Boy and Girl patterns from my Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi to create custom toys, and I don’t think anyone has taken that concept to heart as much as Monica has – I’m sure you’ll be as delighted and impressed as I am with her amigurumi doll collection. Over to you, Monica…


I love collecting dolls! Porcelain dolls, baby dolls, stuffed dolls, hand sewn dolls from all over the world. Each doll is unique and special to me. At the moment, most of my dolls are in two 30 gallon totes for safe keeping; small apartment means small space.

Monica's amigurumi dolls

When I first received June’s book Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi I really liked the look of her crocheted dolls. Some of the other crocheted patterns out there make the dolls look a little creepy for my liking, and June’s were really life-like (and super simple to create!) and they are the perfect size to hug, hold and carry around! I was not brave enough to try them out for several months and then took my first try on the boy pattern, turning him into this Scarecrow. After a cute success I was not able to make another doll for a year, but I had many ideas floating around in my head.

Monica's amigurumi dolls

I made this standard Girl Doll in a pink mist color and really liked how she turned out. Cute but simple. After which, I started making a list of doll ideas, yarn colors, and other items I would need to make these dolls the best I could. Searching for the best yarn colors took the longest, but after looking at my finished dolls, I’d say the search was worth it! I even ordered special eyes from some of my dolls from Michelle at Suncatcher Craft Eyes to make them perfect (for me anyways).

I made these two special dolls for my children first before my long list of wants for myself 😉 and I love how they turned out: The Flash (from the Justice League) and Ariel the Mermaid. They love them and play with them constantly, and sleep with them, and best of all, the dolls may be a few months old, but they hold up really well.

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Then in one afternoon I made myself my first crocheted doll! His name is Dastan from the Prince of Persia movie, and I enjoyed customizing him to make him as realistic as I could! I am a bit of a perfectionist, so making him as close to the character as I could was a big must for me, a reason I had held off on making myself the crocheted dolls because I was afraid I could not do it…but…after seeing that I could, and that he was super cute, I started (slowly) on the rest of the dolls I wanted to make!

(Top row, below) I started with my Disney-inspired Princesses for myself really but I like to share. My children helped me pick out the correct colors for their gowns, and I went back to June’s book a lot for help with the unique hairstyles. I am very pleased with how they turned out!

Monica's amigurumi dolls

With the recent CAL in August, I felt compelled to accomplish my set of dolls that were adapted from my favorite fantasy book! And I knew that if I made my two favorite characters, I would have to make their companions; a giant blue-feathered iguana (Iguana) and a giant cream colored hound (AmiDogs Great Dane), and I was not able to make the white Star Stallion as I do not have a horse pattern yet. I was (still am) very excited about this set of four! While I was making them I had to re-read my six books (not only for fun, but to make sure I got their descriptions just right).

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Monica's amigurumi dolls

My next two special ones are from characters of my own fantasy book that I started writing in high school and have finally typed it out, so I thought it fitting to make my main characters into dolls as a self gift of accomplishment! 🙂

Monica's amigurumi dolls

Captain Jack Sparrow! I have always loved that character, and thought it would be fun and challenging to crochet him into a doll. I loved how he turned out! He is my most detailed doll I have done yet, and he inspires me to make more dolls even more detailed than before!

Monica's amigurumi dolls

In between all of my special dolls, I have made some regular dolls in different colors of yarn. I really like how simple and cute they are just as dolls (my favorite of them being this girl in the green mist dress).

(Below) The Cranberry China Doll, as I’ve been calling her, was fun to customize. I was not sure how she would turn out in the standard Chinese style dress, but I am very pleased. I was not sure if I could make a Xena Warrior Princess, but my son loves how she came out, and even asked when I was going to make a Gabrielle. I told him I had not planned on it, so she may be a Christmas gift for him this year. 😉

Monica's amigurumi dolls


(Back to me, June, again!)

Aren’t they all wonderful? Thank you, Monica, for sharing your beautiful customization work! Please leave Monica 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!

And if you’d like to try your hand at making some custom (or standard) amigurumi people, you can find the Boy and Girl patterns in my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi 🙂

Comments (16)

« Previous entries
  • Quick Links: Crochet

    navigation: arrow

    buy crochet patterns and accessories from my online store

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

    Crochet video tutorials and step-by-step photo tutorials

    Free PlanetJune crochet patterns

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Quick Links: Crafts

    navigation: arrow

    Punchneedle Embroidery information, ebook & patterns

    Papercraft ebook & tutorials

    Free PlanetJune craft projects & tutorials

  • Blog Post Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    June Gilbank

    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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

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

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