PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Starfish Collection crochet pattern

Starfish Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune - mix-and-match 4 sizes, 3 patterns, flat or 3D, or add a happy amigurumi face

Don’t miss the launch discount, at the end of this post!

Today I have a colourful new addition to add to my AquaAmi crochet pattern range: the Starfish Collection! These puffy starfish are a fast and easy no-sew pattern and look equally good as toys or home decor.

Starfish Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Starfish Collection is a mix-and-match no-sew pattern that includes 4 sizes of sea stars, ranging from 3 to 7 inches (7.5 to 18cm) across:

Starfish Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune
L-R: Tiny, Small, Medium and Large Starfish

You can make each size in any of three colour patterns (plain, striped top, and pale underside):

Starfish Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Clockwise from top left: striped top, pale underside, plain underside, plain top

The pattern also includes options (for any size and style) for making a flat appliqué starfish, and amigurumi-style starfish with a cute happy face:

Starfish Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Left: flat starfish appliqué; right: happy amigurumi starfish

About the Designs

These Starfish are fun to crochet – with no sewing needed (yay!), and the same basic technique for all the different sizes and options, once you’ve made one, you’ll find them very fast to work up.

Choose size, pattern, colour(s), flat or 3D, and whether it has a face – you can mix-and-match endlessly to make new combinations. Choose whites and pale neutrals to decorate your home with an elegant seaside vibe, or make colourful smiley toys (as they are made in one piece, they’re perfect baby-safe toys too, with embroidered or no features).

And that’s not all! Why not make a starfish Amigurumi Wall Hanging, or add a couple to a Turtle Beach blanket..?

Starfish Collection & Turtle Beach blanket crochet patterns by PlanetJune
Starfish on a Turtle Beach square

About the Pattern

Starfish Collection is a detailed pattern including written patterns, step-by-step photo tutorials, and right- and left-handed stitch diagrams for each size of starfish.

This is a modular pattern, so you can save paper and ink by reading all the background tutorial information on-screen and just printing the pages you need for the written instructions (p6-8) and stitch diagrams (right-handed p10-12; left-handed p14-16).

Buy Now & Launch Discount

Ready to start crocheting? You can pick up the entire Starfish Collection from my shop right now for only $5.50!

If you’re not ready to buy just yet (or even if you are!), please remember to heart and queue it on Ravelry:

But let’s make that deal even better: for one week only, I’ll give you an extra 10% off the price! To take advantage of this deal, add the Starfish Collection to your shopping cart, and enter the discount code SEASTAR at checkout! (Offer ends Wednesday 30 August, 2017.)

Starfish Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I hope you’ll enjoy my new mix-and-match pattern – I can’t wait to see which size, colours and options you choose for your first starfish. (And if you don’t feel like mixing it up, please feel free to copy my sea stars exactly – that can be just as much fun!)

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The 5 Essential Techniques for Amigurumi

5 Essential Techniques for Amigurumi - crochet video tutorials for left- and right-handers by PlanetJune

Amigurumi is a special subset of crochet that requires its own skills. Even the most experienced crocheters can be startled when they pick up their first amigurumi pattern and discover it’s full of new terms and techniques!

In this post, I’ll cover all the essentials you’ll need to be able to tackle an amigurumi pattern with confidence and end up with great-looking crocheted stuffed toys.

Note: All the posts linked below include both right- and left-handed video tutorials!


1. Magic Ring

The magic ring gives the perfect start to any piece of amigurumi: you can start crocheting in the round without any trace of a hole in the middle.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: magic ring
L: magic ring; R: standard ‘chain 2’ start


2. Invisible Decrease

Decreasing without leaving any bumps or gaps sounds too good to be true, but the invisible decrease (abbreviated invdec) really does live up to its name!

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: invisible decrease (invdec)


3. Changing Colour

Changing colour correctly lets you make clean colour changes without dots of the wrong colour peeking through.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: changing colour
Note: To manage your colour changes perfectly, you’ll also need to deal with the yarn you’re not currently using. My Managing the Yarns tutorial explains how!


4. Seamless Join

My Seamless Join technique creates a smooth, almost invisible join whenever you’re stitching an open-ended piece to a closed piece.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: seamless join


5. Ultimate Finish

The Ultimate Finish is the equivalent of another magic ring at the end of your piece! Close up the remaining hole with a smooth, gap-free finish.

5 essential techniques for amigurumi: ultimate finish


Practice Makes Perfect!

Master these 5 techniques and you’ll be all set to conquer any amigurumi pattern and get a beautiful result!

PlanetJune pattern examples

Why not pick a favourite from my extensive nature-inspired PlanetJune pattern range and practice your skills?

PlanetJune pattern selection


Further reading:

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Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket is the latest addition to my PlanetJune Accessories pattern range.

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern by PlanetJune

An easy-to-memorise 2-row repeating pattern with a subtle texture and no large holes make this blanket fast to work up as a baby blanket (or use the provided tips to enlarge it to any size). Choose two contrasting colours to crochet the eye-catching twisted edging (or omit the final row of the border for a faster finish).

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket will become your go-to pattern for baby shower gifts. It’s so easy to personalise by choosing different pairs of colours for the edging:

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern by PlanetJune

And of course you don’t only have to make a baby blanket with this pattern – it includes instructions so you can easily make an afghan of any size.

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Here’s an update photo: Baby T – no longer a newborn! – can confirm that his blanket still looks as good as new after a few months of use and many washes 🙂

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Smiley baby not included with this pattern!

About the Pattern

This detailed pattern includes full written instructions, clear charted stitch diagrams, a two-page step-by-step appendix for the special twisted edging (included separately both for right- and left-handers), and bonus instructions for fixing the edging if you made a mistake anywhere earlier, so the edging colours will always match up seamlessly.

To save on paper and ink, you can print just the written pattern (2 pages) and/or the charts (2 pages) and view the photos, tutorials and other supporting content on-screen.

About PlanetJune Accessories

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket is the latest addition to my PlanetJune Accessories pattern range, which helps you to crochet elegant and useful accessories for yourself (scarves, shawls, hats, etc) and for your home (blankets, rugs, containers, etc).

PlanetJune Accessories crochet patterns: 2010-2016 designs

Don’t be afraid to try something new in crochet – PlanetJune Accessories patterns include detailed instructions for all the techniques you’ll need in order to complete them!

Links & Launch Discount

If you’re ready to try crocheting your own Twist-Trim Baby Blanket, you can buy it individually from my shop, or as part of a Custom Set of any 3 PlanetJune Accessories patterns of your choice.

And, for this week only, save 50c on the baby blanket pattern by using discount code SNUGGLY at checkout. (Valid until Sunday 23rd July 2017.)

Tip: The discount is valid on the blanket pattern alone and the Custom Set including the blanket – so you can save even more by buying the multipack deal with this discount!

Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it:

Twist-Trim Baby Blanket crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I hope you’ll enjoy making this afghan for all the little ones in your life – and maybe sizing it up to make a lovely throw for yourself too?!

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retiring PlanetJune Commissions

This is a really hard decision to make, but I think it’s time to retire my PlanetJune Commissions – at least in its current incarnation…

I first created my own Kickstarter-with-a-twist commissions system over 5 years ago. My crowd-funded system helped me to see which of my potential animal designs may be most popular by letting people ‘vote’ with their pledges, and helped me create some lovely animal patterns I may never have got around to designing otherwise.

PlanetJune commissioned crochet patterns: 18 designs in 5 years
(And there’s still one more commissioned design – the Goat – coming soon!)

Why Close Commissions?

It was a great idea, but a combination of my reluctance to raise the prices ‘too high’ and the reality of life circumstances beyond my control meant that I was always in danger of drowning under a wave of far too many commissions, and never-ending deadlines don’t make the best environment to foster creativity.

I’ve finally got the pricing right, so the rate of new commissions has stabilised to a manageable level, but now I have a different problem: disappearing pledgers. I was left $54 short on the (currently in-progress) Goat commission, due to people who never responded to invoice reminders or personal emails!

I hope nothing bad has happened to those people who I can’t seem to reach – maybe they just changed their email address and forgot to notify me – but the upshot is that I can’t contact them to ask for payment when the time comes, so their non-paying pledges are fogging up the system.

I’ve checked up on all the other current pledgers and I can see that 45 pledges were made by people who haven’t signed into their PlanetJune account in 2017. That means they didn’t check their pledges (as I asked them to do in January) so it’s a good indication that they aren’t receiving my emails and are unlikely to make good on those pledges. And there could be more pledgers who’ve changed their email address since then.

PlanetJune Commissions Leaderboard
What fraction of these pledged dollar amounts is real..?

My main concern is protecting the commissions system against this happening again in future. It’s not fair to the people making pledges if the design that has more real pledges is not the one that gets made.

I could see only one way to safeguard the current system: by adding an extra layer of rules and confirmations…

  1. To check that everyone is still happy to pay before I send out any invoices
  2. To suspend pledging privileges for anyone who’s failed to pay up in the past
  3. To regularly ask everyone to reconfirm their pledges (and then I’d delete any pledges that weren’t reconfirmed)
  4. To regularly remind people to update their email address if/when it changes

All that sounds like a lot of extra inconvenience for my pledgers! Being part of commissioning new designs is supposed to be fun, and all those new rules and checks would be anything but, so this isn’t a solution I’d be happy with.

My Decision & Reflections

I’ve reached a point where big life changes are approaching (I’ll share more on that at a later date), and I need to simplify as much as I can. With my choices to either start coding all those new unwanted rules into the commissions system, or call time on this aspect of my business, I’ve chosen the latter.

It’s sad to have to withdraw a popular service from PlanetJune. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into building and coding this system from scratch. I’m proud of how well it worked, technically, and how it allowed my customers to help select my future designs.

(And this decision may not last forever: I could resurrect the commissions system at some point in the future, if and when I can figure out how to combat the problem of non-payers without inconveniencing everyone else.)

Moving Forwards: What’s Happening

The in-progress Goat design will be the last commissioned pattern in this system, and the usual commissioners-only exclusivity period will apply before it goes on general release. I’ve cancelled all other outstanding pledges (so don’t worry – you aren’t liable for any other designs you’ve previously pledged towards!)

I still have the chart showing which designs are clearly more popular than others, and that will definitely help me choose which animals to design in future. (If you’re interested in patterns for one of these animals, keep checking in with my monthly newsletter to see if I’ve designed your favourites yet!)

PlanetJune Commissions chart of most popular designs

I also have lots of great ideas for other designs that didn’t fit under the Commissions umbrella, and I’m not scaling back on those, so please don’t worry that I’m moving away from designing crochet patterns – that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Private Commissions

I am still available for private crochet pattern commission, with the usual base rate of $300 for a design that I feel confident I can create with the skills and techniques at my fingertips, and will be able to sell in my shop. The price would be higher for anything else (e.g. a design that requires more development and prototyping or has a larger size or complexity; if you want exclusivity; if I don’t see a further market for it).

(I don’t expect to be commissioned very often at these rates, but please understand that I can’t work for any less – my designs are extremely time-consuming to create – see my Meerkat Design Report series for an example of the work that goes into a commissioned crochet pattern.)

For a much more reasonable rate, please feel free to suggest your pattern ideas to me – if I feel inspired, I’ll create the design anyway (no commission necessary) and you can buy the pattern from my shop for the regular price when it’s ready!


It’s Been a Great Ride…

I’d like to thank everyone who’s taken the time to pledge for new PlanetJune designs – I’ve enjoyed making them for you over the past 5 years, and I hope you’ve enjoyed being part of my design process!

And I’ll be keeping the list of popular animals that didn’t quite get commissioned, so I hope I’ll still be able to make at least a few of your favourites, in time 🙂

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circle-front alpaca cardigan

This post is long overdue, but I haven’t been able to face the thought of wearing alpaca in summer in Africa, so all my knitting posts have sat waiting for photos! But better late than never, it’s very cold here now, so it’s the perfect time to start photographing (and wearing!) my knits. There’ll be a few more of these posts coming soon – I have lots to catch you up on…

This is sweater #9 of my ‘learn to knit by making a dozen self-designed sweaters’ project. (Here are links to #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 and #8, if you’d like to see my progress.)

circle-front cardigan

With a basic pullover out of the way, I felt ready to try a slightly more ambitious design. I envisaged a circle-front cardigan with a cosy shawl collar, made in the same dreamy KnitPicks alpaca yarn I used for sweater #3, but with the benefit of both more knitting knowledge and more knowledge of how the yarn behaves.

I considered a patterned stitch, but the fluffiness of the alpaca would mask the stitch pattern, and I didn’t want to distract from the dramatic shape, or make life too difficult for myself. So I kept the body of the cardigan in plain stockinette, but with interior shaping to keep the silhouette from being too bulky.

circle-front cardigan

Keeping track of the curved front edges, the interior shaping, the armholes and the V neck would have been tricky, so I tried working both fronts at once, in the same way as I’ve seen people knitting two-at-a-time socks: you have both on one circular needle, and knit the same row of each before moving onto the next row, so they always turn out exactly the same. (Definitely worth remembering that technique – it works well.)

circle-front cardigan

I seamed the fronts and back together and then added a 3″ deep ribbed border all the way around the cardigan. I guesstimated pickup rates for the different areas and kept my fingers crossed that I’d crammed in enough extra stitches around the bottoms of the curved front to allow the finished border to lie flat – I didn’t relish the thought of frogging 3″ of fluffy alpaca!

circle-front cardigan

But it all worked out first time, and I remembered to also add three buttonholes at appropriate points (to fit these beautiful large pearlescent buttons I’d been waiting for the right project to use), and an extra 3″ of short rows to form the shawl collar.

circle-front cardigan

This design felt like an ambitious gamble for me, but the end result is cosy and fitted and almost exactly as I’d imagined it. Mission accomplished – I’m so excited with how this all came together!

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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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