PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

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 🙂

Comments (6)

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!

Comments (6)

Owl Collection crochet pattern

Owl Collection amigurumi crochet pattern by PlanetJune - a clever low-sew pattern with endless customisation options

Are you ready for a pattern that’ll give you a spectacular result thanks to some clever new techniques and tricks? In that case, I think you’ll love my new design: the Owl Collection:

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune
Owl Collection is a clever low-sew design: the head, body, legs and wings are all crocheted as one piece, giving you an elegant bird silhouette with the perfect owl posture and an effortlessly smooth result! This concept has been over a year in the making, and I hope you’ll agree it was worth the wait…

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

About the Designs

Fun Fact: Owls’ eyes are fixed in their sockets, so they have to turn their entire head to look in a different direction!

I’ve used that fact in my design to let you choose any direction for your owl’s head to be facing: to the left, right, or straight ahead. Don’t you think a pair of matching owls, facing in opposite directions, would make a lovely bookcase or mantelpiece ornament?

I’ve designed the pattern to give you endless options: by varying the colours, the direction the head is looking, and the facial embellishments, you can make your own customised owls! Although I used black eyes for my sample owls – it fits better with the PlanetJune style – you can use coloured eyes (try any shade of orange or yellow) to give yours an unblinking owlish stare.

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Make them to match a real breed of owl, or more cartoony with brighter colours and oversized eyes – it’s up to you. My samples are loosely based on real types of owls, and you can switch out the colours or add more detail if you want to represent a specific species more closely. A flecked yarn (for example I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Grey Marble for my grey owl) is an easy way to give a realistic mottled result.

Fun Fact: Owls are divided into two families: Strigidae (typical owls) and Tytonidae (barn owls). With this pattern, you can choose appropriate colours to make any of the typical (true) owls.

Note: I’d love to design a barn owl too, but to make it look right it’d need lots of colour changes and special shaping to make the distinctive heart-shaped face, so that’s a challenge I’ll have to save for some future point in time!

Here are a few examples to get you started, if you want to base your owls on real species:

  • Round head (my white owl): e.g. Snowy Owl, Fishing Owl, Hawk Owl
  • Facial disks or ‘eyebrows’ (my brown owl): e.g. Tawny Owl, Wood Owl, Little Owl
  • Ear tufts or ‘horns’ (my grey owl): e.g. Horned Owl, Eagle Owl, Scops Owl

About the Pattern

This pattern includes several new techniques and tricks, but you can rest assured that I’ll walk you through each stage with clear explanations and a massive 45 step-by-step photos. But please don’t be intimidated – once you’ve made one owl, you’ll understand how the construction works and it’ll be fast and easy to make more owls!

As all these photos make for a long, photo-heavy pattern, with several photos on every page, I’ve also reformatted just the written crochet instructions (without the photos, notes or assembly instructions) as an Appendix to the patten. If you like to work from a printout while you crochet, you can save paper and ink by printing just the 4 text-only pages of the Appendix, and referring to the full pattern onscreen if/when you need to look at the photos.

Buy Now & Launch Discount

Ready to get owling? You can pick up the entire Owl Collection from my shop right now for only $7.50!

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, you can buy the Owl Collection for the extra-special low price of $7. To take advantage of this deal, add the Owl Collection to your shopping cart, and enter the discount code HEDWIG at checkout! (Offer ends Thursday 29 June, 2017.)

Owl Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Wings & Things Crochet-Along

And, from today until the end of August, join us in the PlanetJune Ravelry group for the summer CAL, where you can make and share any PlanetJune designs with wings (all kinds of birds, winged dinosaurs, fruit bat, dragonfly, pegasus…) – including the new Owls, of course!

PlanetJune Wings & Things CAL crochet pattern options

I hope you’ll share your projects with us there – I’d love to see them…

Comments (3)

tutorial: amigurumi wall hanging

make an amigurumi wall hanging with this PlanetJune tutorial

The recent popularity of art weavings, macrame and other yarny wall hangings got me thinking, and I came up with the novel idea to display amigurumi creatively as a wall hanging…

amigurumi wall hanging tutorial by PlanetJune

It’s easier to hang than a mobile, and more versatile as a decorative piece for all ages. And it looks even better in person than in the photo – it’s so bright and cheerful!

For my wall hanging, I decided my Tropical Fish patterns would make a perfect grouping, and I added some tiny crocheted balls to represent bubbles in the water. But you could combine any small amigurumi and crocheted pieces into a decorative wall hanging in this way.

amigurumi wall hanging tutorial by PlanetJune

Want to make your own wall hanging? The tutorial is free to view online, and I’ve also compiled it all together into a handy PDF – yours in return for any-sized donation – that includes lots of bonus content: the exclusive Tiny Ball crochet pattern; step-by-step tutorials for my preferred knots (particularly useful with slippery fishing line!), and more bonus tips, photos and advice 🙂

Go to the Amigurumi Wall Hanging Tutorial >>

Comments

Capybara crochet pattern

As part of the new-and-improved Commissions process, I’ve added a 2-week exclusivity period for all new commissions, so, if you didn’t pledge towards the capy, you may have been waiting (im)patiently for this announcement: the Capybara crochet pattern is finally available to purchase!

I’ll definitely be giving early access to all commissioned patterns in future – it’s a nice extra reward to those who choose to pledge towards my pattern commissions, and it’s fun seeing projects pop up on Ravelry before the pattern is even officially available 🙂

Capybara crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Capybara Fun Facts

  • The Capybara is the largest rodent in the world, and can reach up to 150lbs in weight.
  • Its closest relative is the guinea pig.
  • Capybara come from South America and their Latin name Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris means ‘Water Pig’.
  • They are semiaquatic herbivores and live in environments that include both forest and rivers, lakes or swamps.
  • They have slightly webbed feet, and eat, swim and even sleep partially submerged in water!

Capybara crochet pattern by PlanetJune

About the Pattern

The Capyabara pattern is nice and chunky, at about 8″ (20cm) long. Despite the size, he’s pretty quick to crochet: he’s made in a single colour; his head and body are crocheted as one piece, and capys don’t have tails! He has magical shaping built in, and the perfect snooty Capybara nose.

As always, the pattern includes full instructions and plenty of step-by-step assembly photos so you can make a perfect Capybara of your own!

Capybara crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Ready to Crochet?

If you were one of the Capybara commissioners, I hope you’ve been enjoying your early access to the pattern over the past few weeks!

If you’ve been waiting for the capy pattern, you can pick it up from my shop right now – and then join our Sight-C-ing CrochetAlong (making anything that starts with the letter ‘C’!) in the PlanetJune Ravelry group 🙂

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

I hope you’ll enjoy my Capy pattern! It was a fun one to design, especially with that very distinctive body shape 🙂

Comments

Next entries » · « Previous entries
  • 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.
  • Follow me

    RSS FeedSubscribe to my blog by EmailFollow me on TwitterFollow me on Facebook
    Friend me on RavelryWatch me on YouTubeFollow me on PinterestFollow me on Instagram
  • Life Behind the Scenes

  • Browse Blog Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Support PlanetJune!

    Want to say thanks? You can send me money in seconds at paypal.me/planetjune.

    Or simply click one of these links before you shop at Amazon:
    Thank you for your support!
Back to top