PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Mini Mammals crochet pattern

Mini Mammals crochet pattern by PlanetJune - crochet an adorable Sengi, Jerboa and Mouse

Today I’m excited to present a new pattern collection featuring some of the world’s cutest little mouse-like animals: Mini Mammals! Although you may not have heard of all of them before, you won’t be able to resist their big-eyed cuteness…

Mini Mammals (Sengi, Jerboa, Mouse) crochet pattern by PlanetJune
L-R: a long-nosed Sengi, a jumping Jerboa, and an adorable pet Mouse

And when I say mini, I really do mean mini: they’re only about 4″ (10cm) long, excluding tails.

Mini Mammals crochet pattern by PlanetJune - Jerboa
I have small hands – they really are tiny…

Meet the Mini Mammals!

Sengi:

Mini Mammals crochet pattern by PlanetJune - Sengi

  • Sengi are also known as elephant shrews (but they aren’t shrews).
  • They look like long-nosed mice, but they aren’t even rodents – in fact, sengi are more closely related to aardvarks!
  • Sengi are the world’s fastest small mammals. They make a network of tiny trails throughout their territory so they can run fast and escape from predators.
  • They live throughout Africa, eat insects, and hibernate every night to conserve energy.

Jerboa:

Mini Mammals crochet pattern by PlanetJune - Jerboa

  • Jerboa live in the deserts of Asia and north Africa.
  • They are nocturnal rodents who mostly eat seeds and plants.
  • They move by hopping on their long back legs, using their long tails for balance, like a kangaroo!
  • There are over 30 species of jerboa. (I made the Long-Eared Jerboa for my pattern, because it’s extra cute, but you can easily make a different type of jerboa by substituting the Mouse or Sengi ears!)

Mouse:

Mini Mammals crochet pattern by PlanetJune - Mouse

  • Mice are small, primarily nocturnal rodents who eat mostly seeds and grains.
  • They are among the most common and numerous animals in the world, and are found in almost every country.
  • A female house mouse can give birth to up to 150 babies per year!
  • A group of mice is known as a mischief ๐Ÿ˜‰

Links to Buy & Launch Discount

This pattern collection includes all three Mini Mammals at a bargain price. Although I always offer discounts for shopping directly from PlanetJune, for this week only, you can take advantage of my additional 10% discount by entering code TINY at checkout by Monday, 20th February 2017.

Buy the Mini Mammals pattern here in my shop. Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it:

Mini Mammals (Sengi, Jerboa, Mouse) crochet pattern by PlanetJune

I hope you’ll agree that these are among my cutest designs to date! Although I love them all, I’m especially happy with the way the long-eared Jerboa sits up – he just has so much personality, don’t you think?

Comments (5)

canvas prints of my wildlife photos

2016 was a year of amazing travel experiences for me. Within two months, we had two completely different and equally wondrous wildlife experiences on literally opposite sides of the world, and I wanted to commemorate our adventures, so I chose one of my favourite photos from each trip, and had them professionally printed onto canvas.

photo canvases on the wall
A baby zebra travelling in a family herd at the Kruger Park, South Africa, and a green sea turtle emerging from the breakers on Oahu, Hawaii.

Asย it proved very difficult to capture good photos of the canvases, here are my source photos so you can imagine how great the canvases look in person, hanging on my walls. Click to enlarge:

Zebras photo by June Gilbank Green Sea Turtle photo by June Gilbank

I’ve never done anything like this before, and I had no idea how they’d turn out, but my canvases look like professional photo artwork!

canvas print of Zebras photo by June Gilbank

Every time I look around my living room, I’m reminded of the natural wonders we’ve seen, and it’s even more special knowing that it’s my own photography on display.

canvas print of Green Sea Turtle photo by June Gilbank

Having canvases printed with photos of your treasured memories creates unique, personalised home décor. It’s much more interesting than just hanging a framed photo, and you can get huge canvases that make a real impact on the wall.

If you’d like to get special photo memories printed onto canvas, many photographic shops now offer this service, so you can probably find a shop that’s local to you. The prices seem to be fairly reasonable, especially if you look out for special offers. (Make sure you get the protective UV-resistant coating – sometimes this may cost extra – so your canvases don’t fade.)

My canvases are A2 size (roughly 42cm x 60cm; 16inches x 23inches), which I thought would be huge, but my walls are large and empty and I sometimes wish I’d had them printed at twice the size. Big and bold is the way to go. I’ll know for next time – and I’m sure there will be a next time…

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Celebrating 10 Years of PlanetJune

10 years of PlanetJune

I can hardly believe it, but today marks the 10th anniversary of the day I self-published my first crochet pattern, Fuzzy Bear – and the day a new career path began to open up to me. After two years of running PlanetJune as a side-business, I quit my day job and struck out into the unknown, without knowing if it was even possible to support myself through crochet design alone.

Happily, 10 years, 2 books, and over 150 self-published patterns later, I’ve proven that it is possible to make a real living doing what I love, thanks to a measure of luck and a lot of hard work. And, best yet, I’m still excited by the idea of coming up with new designs and new techniques and sharing my love of crochet and nature with the world.

Maui and Fuzzy Bear on their birthday
It’s also my sweet Maui’s 13th birthday today! Here are the birthday boys one year ago today, on their 12th and 9th birthdays.

I asked my customers to join the celebration by sending me a photo of their favourite things they’ve made from a PlanetJune pattern, and most responses said it was too hard to pick just one (thank you!), but here’s a small selection from those who managed to make a choice…

From the PJ ravelry group (clockwise from top left):

10 years of PlanetJune - customer photos

  • jukatca: [Aardvark, Armadillo and Camel are] my all-time favorites. They all have really cute faces, great shaping, and no color changes!
  • Pyroteca: I think my favorite will always be the fuzzy patterns – they are just so cute and innovative as there was (and still is) nothing out there like them. Let alone the fact that the patterns are so well written and can let someone on their first or second try at amigurumi produce something that looks amazing.
  • petrOlly: I think my favourite pattern is the plumeria flower. I love the magic in this pattern – the last few stitches give you the perfect plumeria, and the pattern always works.
  • Fatals-Attraction: I will chose a favourite project, my Discworld, which I gave to my mother-in-law (it is now her favourite!)

And from Facebook and my newsletter subscribers (clockwise from left):

10 years of PlanetJune - customer photos

  • Peggy A:Your baby sea turtles on my blanket. The turtles have abalone buttons sewed to their undersides so you can change the placement and remove them for washing the blanket.
  • Anna B: My favourite patterns by far are the AmiCats.
  • Erica A: Very hard to pick a favourite, but frogs are my favourite animal, so frog it is. Just like the cats, I loved the clever shaping on this pattern.
  • Belinda Y: I love my low maintenance succulent garden! I collect real succulents and cacti too, so your patterns really caught my eye.

Thank you to everyone who sent me their photos – I’ve really enjoyed seeing them all over the past couple of weeks, and hearing which PlanetJune patterns mean the most to you! It was especially heartening to hear from those who learnt to crochet (through my books and tutorials) just so they could make one of my designs.


It’s a real privilege to have the opportunity, through PlanetJune, to add a little more joy to the world through my creations, to help you to crochet your own special pieces from my patterns, and to raise a little more awareness and appreciation of our precious natural world.

Thank you for being here with me! I hope PlanetJune has made a positive difference in your life, however small, and will continue to do so as I head into my second decade of crochet design. ❤

Comments (8)

Heart Cactus Collection crochet pattern

My first design for the year is the Heart Cactus Collection, a sweet addition to my popular Cactus and Succulent Collections, with two new types of heart-shaped cacti in a lovely rounded pot, together with matching 3-dimensional hearts in two sizes. Perfect for your Valentine, or to show someone you care at any time of year.

Heart Cactus Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

The heart cacti are scaled so you can mix-and-match them with all the previous Cactus and Succulent Collection patterns:

10 cactus crochet patterns by PlanetJune (Cactus Collections 1 & 2, Heart Cactus Collection)
Spot the new additions? (Hint: look for the purple pots…)

  • As well as making individual heart cacti, you can include a heart cactus in your next cactus or succulent garden!
  • You can also use this new pot with any of the other cacti and succulent plants, or the pots from the other patterns with the heart cacti.

About the Pattern

This pattern includes two styles of heart-shaped cactus: one short and wide with flowers, and one tall and multi-segmented.

Feel free to use the included cactus flower and bud instructions to make your own original cacti by choosing the number and position of flowers and buds; adding flowers and/or buds to the tall cactus, or omitting them from the short cactus.

Heart Cactus Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Did You Know? The idea of heart-shaped cacti isn’t just a fancy – several types of Opuntia (prickly pear) cactus sometimes develop heart-shaped pads ๐Ÿ™‚

As well as the truncated hearts that form the heart cacti, this pattern also includes free bonus instructions to complete the tip of the heart shapes, so you can make sweet 3-D hearts in two sizes.

Heart Cactus Collection crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Links to Buy & Launch Discount

Although I always offer discounts for shopping directly from PlanetJune, to spread the love even further, I’m offering an additional 10% discount for this week only. Just enter code LOVE at checkout by Sunday, 22nd January 2017, and the extra discount will be applied.

Buy the Heart Cactus Collection pattern here in my shop. Or, if you’re not ready to buy just yet, please heart or queue it on Ravelry so you don’t forget about it:

If you’re making hearts and/or heart-shaped cacti from these patterns, please join us for the Hearts & Flowers crochet-along in the PlanetJune Ravelry group, between now and Valentine’s Day, and share photos of what you’re making – I’d love to see!

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new and improved PlanetJune Commissions

PlanetJune Commissions has been revamped to be easier, faster and more fun. The basic premise hasn’t changed – you can help to choose and crowdfund new PlanetJune crochet pattern designs by ‘voting’ with your commission pledge!

But I’ve reworked the mechanisms to make it more fun for you from now on, and so you won’t be stuck with pledges you made forever ago.

A Little Background…

It’s coming up for 5 years since I first launched my crowdfunded commissions system as a barometer of public opinion on which potential animal designs may be most popular. Every animal on the commissions list is one I feel confident I’d be able to design, and happy to do so if enough people show an interest. I don’t have time to design them all, and using the commissions system as a gauge to which may be popular is a useful method to decide between multiple designs I’d be equally happy to create.

After a few hurdles (I set the prices far too low, so too many designs were being pledged for me to keep up with!), I temporarily withdrew the commissions system while I completed all the fully-pledged designs and worked on upgrading the system to make it more sustainable.

PlanetJune Commissions - 17 crowdfunded crochet pattern designs so far

Thanks to my supporters, I’ve now completed 17 crowdsourced commissioned designs – and I’m ready to start on the 18th! Which animal will it be..?

How It Works

Commissions are now linked to your PlanetJune account. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll find the new commissions options in ‘My Account’, and from there you can make pledges, view your existing pledges, and upgrade, downgrade or delete your pledges.

Now you can pledge any full dollar amount (although there’s still a $6 minimum) so you can pledge $7, or $10, or $25 – or whatever you want!

PlanetJune Commissions - 5 step cycle

Your pledge indicates your intention to pay that amount towards the commission of the design in question, should that design become fully-funded. But, your pledge will only become locked-in at such time as the design is a) fully pledged and b) at the top of the queue.

This means you won’t be stuck with a pledge you made months or years ago – you can log into your PlanetJune account and change or delete any unlocked pledges at any time until the next commission is ready to begin (at which time all pledges towards the next fully-pledged design will be locked).

This gives you the freedom to pledge as much as you like towards as many designs as you like. At most, you’ll be committing to one of your pledges, as only the first fully-funded design will get locked and made. Even if there are other fully-funded commissions, no further pledges will be locked-in until I’ve completed the previous design, published the pattern, and announced the date of the next commissions slot – you can still delete those pledges if you change your mind.

So you’re only ever committed to your pledge for the current commission. Let’s say you want to pay $30 for any one of 3 designs (but not for all of them!), you can pledge $30 towards each of them in the hope that one will grab the next commission slot. Once that happens, you’re free to delete your remaining pledges if you want, so you won’t get a surprise $30 invoice several months (or even years) later.

In this way, we can have a ‘bidding war’ every time I have a commission slot available. I’ll announce the slot via the Commissions newsletter, you make your best pledge for all the designs you’d like to commission, and whichever hits the jackpot first will become my next commissioned pattern!

Then, after the bidding war is over, you’ll have at least a month to decide if you’re still happy to honour all your other pledges, as no other design will be locked-in until I’ve completed the current pattern and announced the date of the next commission slot. Edit or delete your pledges from your PlanetJune account as often as you want – it’s all automatic.

Design Options

To give you a better idea of what I plan to design with each option, I’ve added a representative photo of each of the animals, either from my own photos, or licenced through Creative Commons.

PlanetJune Commissions - some of the animals I could recreate in crochet...

The photos above are just a sample – you can see them all on the Design Options page on the new Commissions microsite.

Note: I had planned to add some new options to the commissions list at this relaunch time, but the list is plenty long enough already, so I’m keeping the options as-is for the time being. Once we’re well into the first cycle, I’ll get rid of some of the least popular choices and replace them with new requests. So please:

  • Pledge now (see below) for any poorly-pledged designs you don’t want to see removed from the list – even if it won’t get made now, your pledge will keep it in the running to be made in future
  • Leave a comment if you have any design requests – I may add them to the list very soon!

Stay Updated

I highly recommend you sign up for my Commissions News mailing list to be notified whenever new design options are added. I’ll also be emailing the list with a reminder a couple of weeks before I open each new commissions slot, so you’ll have an extra chance to check all your pledges and delete any you’re unhappy with – or add some new ones – before the next commission gets locked in.

Pledge Now for the February Timeslot!

Make your best pledges right now for the animals you’d most like me to design. At the time I write this, Goat is in the lead, with Raccoon and Capybara coming up fast and a whole host of others closing in – but that could all change in an instant… Make your best pledges now for your favourites, and maybe your design will be the one I start in the next month!

Ready to pledge? Login to your PlanetJune account – you’ll see the Commissions options (to make/edit your pledges) in ‘My Account’.

Or check out the design options and FAQ on the Commissions microsite.


I hope the new and improved PlanetJune Commissions will lead to lots more lovely animal designs to add to my portfolio – I’m looking forward to seeing which I’ll get to make first!

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  • 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!

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