PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Custom Enamel Pins

I’m so excited to have developed a new product line that I’ll be launching soon: PlanetJune Enamel Pins! They’ll be perfect to add to your jacket, your project bag, or to add to your pin collection. Looook what I made!

enamel pin: PlanetJune logo

I love how stylish the PlanetJune logo looks in pin form with the shiny silver.

And I designed another pin based on my Turtle Beach pattern collection (awww, who can resist a precious baby sea turtle?)

enamel pin: PlanetJune Turtle Beach

PlanetJune Pins – Coming Soon!

Would you like a PlanetJune pin or two? I’ll be offering these special PJ pins as part of my upcoming Crochet Tools flash sale, so you can save on shipping by placing a single order for everything you need – including the classic tools, the new pins and more brand new products.

The Crochet Tools shop will only be open for a few days, and supplies are limited, so click here if you’d like me to send you an email as soon as the shop opens!

How to Make Custom Enamel Pins

In case you’ve been wondering how to create your own custom pin designs, I’ll walk you through the process and my experience.

I ordered my pins from WizardPins, who made the whole process very straightforward. Although I had no idea what was involved in pin design before I started, the team were very responsive with answering my questions and helping me figure out what I needed.

Designing Your Pin

Enamel pins need a specific type of design – every area of colour needs to be separated by a thick line so the coloured enamel paints can be applied into the separate sections of the pin. The lines appear as metal outlines in the finished pin. A simple design is better, as fine details may be too small to be reproduced in the pin.

If you can draw your design as a vector (as I did) you can customize your design to look exactly the way you want it:

  • The strokes (outlines) – of any width you want – will all become your choice of silver, gold, copper or black-plated metal
  • The fills (areas) – in the colours you want – will become coloured enamel

But if all that sounds like gibberish to you, it’s no problem – the WizardPins artists can take any artwork you provide – a drawing, a photo, or even a written description – and create a pin design from it at no extra charge. The turnaround time is fast, and they’ll send you a digital mockup by email to approve. You can request changes as many times as you need until you’re completely happy.

Although I didn’t end up using their artists, I did try out the service – I sent over a photo to be converted to line art:

photo converted to line art

The artist was faithful to the photo I provided, but interpreted the crochet stitches with lots of wiggly lines (not at all what I had in mind!) and the turtle was far too wonky for my taste. I had originally asked for the turtle to be dark grey and for each colour to be a solid block, and I could have asked them to make those changes to the initial mockup – that’s part of the full service they offer – but you can probably guess that I’m too much of a control freak to let anyone else draw my design for me… 😅

Tip: Based on this experience, I’d suggest that if you’re submitting artwork for a pin, try sending a sketch instead of a photo, so the artist will have a better idea of what you’re looking for. They can easily turn a simple sketch into a colourful design for you.

I redrew my turtle beach design in Illustrator in my clean PlanetJune style, then submitted it and my logo to be converted to pins. Almost immediately, they sent me back PDF proofs to approve before we finalized the order.

mockup proofs for enamel pins from WizardPins

This time, the proofs looked perfect, so it was time to submit my order and wait for my pins to arrive!

Pin Manufacture and Delivery

Although WizardPins is a US-based company, the pins are printed in their factory in China, like almost all enamel pins. Their turnaround time is usually much faster than you’d imagine: only 2-3 weeks between placing an order and receiving your pins – that’s pretty amazing!

I had a different experience, but it was just due to bad luck: I unfortunately chose to order at the worst possible time: just as my pins were due to be printed, the factory was forced to close due to the recent COVID shutdown in China…

As a result, I had to wait for 2 months for my pins to arrive, but that was nobody’s fault, and WizardPins were great about it – they kept me informed whenever I asked about my order status, and sent me pics of my finished pins from the factory to tide me over while I waited for FedEx to resume international shipping from Shanghai.

And it was worth the wait! My designs have been brought to life in shiny metal and colourful enamel, and they look amazing!

enamel pins: PlanetJune Logo and Turtle Beach designs

Aren’t they wonderful? The quality is absolutely perfect – they are exactly what I’d hoped for.

enamel pins: PlanetJune Logo and Turtle Beach designs

Thank you to WizardPins for this collaboration – I love these pins so much, and after seeing how well these turned out, I already have ideas for more PlanetJune pin designs!

PS – Don’t forget to sign up to be first in line when the PlanetJune pins are available to purchase! 🙂

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update: worsted weight yarn comparison

I’ve had such great feedback about my worsted weight yarn comparison chart – being able to tell in advance which yarns are likely to work well together if you mix them within the same project is so helpful! It would have been worth making the chart just for myself, but I’m so glad to know you’re finding it useful too.

But there was something missing from my comparison – all of my samples so far have been from North American yarn lines. I often have questions from UK- and European-based customers who don’t have access to the same yarns, and I’d love to be able to offer some alternatives that are more readily available to them, so I asked my favourite UK- based online yarn store, Wool Warehouse, if they’d collaborate with me on this project. They generously provided samples of all the UK and European 100% acrylic worsted (aran) weight yarns they carry, so I could test them and add them to my chart for you – isn’t that great?

New Yarn Samples

worsted weight yarns from Wool WarehouseNew additions: Cygnet Aran, James C Brett Super Soft Baby Aran, King Cole Big Value Aran, Scheepjes Chunky Monkey, Sirdar Hayfield Bonus Aran, Sirdar Snuggly Supersoft Aran, Stylecraft Special Aran, Stylecraft Special for Babies Aran

You’ll see that all these yarns are called ‘aran’. This is where things get a bit unclear with the terminology differences between countries: technically, aran weight yarn should be equivalent to heavy worsted weight, so we’d expect that all these yarns would end up on the right-hand side of my chart. But in the UK, all medium weight #4 yarn is called ‘aran’ instead of ‘worsted weight’, so that may not be the case…

And that’s why I like to test and compare, not just go by the information on the ball band. In fact, it turns out that some of these aran yarns are equivalent to a light worsted weight yarn, proving once again that worsted (and aran!) weight yarns are not all the same.

worsted weight yarn comparison - yarn bobbins

Testing the Yarns

I wound yarn bobbins to add to my reference collection, and compared samples to figure out where each of these additional yarns belongs in the table.

This addition to the chart will be so valuable for crocheters (and all yarn crafters) based in the UK and Europe, who often don’t have access to the worsted weight yarns we have here in North America. Now if you buy a pattern that recommends a specific US yarn, and you want yours to look as close as possible, you’ll be able to see which yarns are the closest match!

And vice versa – if you, like me, have been curious about the yarns our UK/Euro friends use (and maybe want to order some that we can’t find in the craft stores here), here’s a way to find out which US yarns they most resemble!

worsted weight yarn comparison - yarn bobbins

I was most excited to find that I finally have the first entry in my ‘soft and thick’ category – usually, the softer worsted yarns tend to be thinner, and the sturdier yarns tend to be thicker. But Scheepjes Chunky Monkey yarn is a very heavy worsted weight and it’s also very soft and shiny – that’s a first for me!

Download the Comparison Chart

I’ve categorised all the other new (to me) yarns too, and you can find the results in my updated Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison.

Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison - a free 2 page PDF file by PlanetJune

Both the online and downloadable versions of the chart have now been updated, so, if you’ve already ‘bought’ the downloadable version (it’s a free product in my shop – no charge), there’s no need to order it again; as with all your PlanetJune orders, you can re-download the PDF from your PlanetJune account at any time to get the latest version.

About Wool Warehouse

This addition to the comparison chart wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Wool Warehouse! I’ve been a customer of Wool Warehouse for years (every time I visited my family in the UK, I’d place an order for some interesting-looking yarns that I don’t have access to where I live). It feels like a real treat to receive my orders, as they always come beautifully packaged in organza drawstring bags, which I reuse as project bags or to help organise my stash.

worsted weight yarns from Wool Warehouse
It feels like my birthday when I open a Wool Warehouse package!

Wool Warehouse is based in the UK but ships worldwide, and I see that they also stock a selection of common US yarns, so if you’re outside North America and want to try some of the amigurumi standards (Bernat Satin, Caron Simply Soft, Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, Red Heart Soft, etc), this is a convenient way for you to do that too.

Thanks so much, Wool Warehouse, for helping me (and all of us!) with this project 🙂

Adding to this List

I want this resource to be as useful and complete as possible, so I’m always happy to compare and add more samples of 100% acrylic worsted weight yarns. If your favourite amigurumi yarns don’t appear in the list, there are instructions for how you can send me a sample on the ww yarn comparison page.

(And, if you’re a yarn manufacturer or distributor and would like me to include your yarns, please get in touch. I’m always happy to receive new yarns to try, and they may even end up being used in a future PlanetJune design as well as being added to the chart!)

I hope you’ll find this update useful, and if you haven’t grabbed the downloadable Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison chart yet, please do – it’s completely free, no strings attached!

I’d never force you to sign up for my newsletter, for example – although if you want to do that too, I’d be delighted 😉


designing the PJ logo

I just realised that my PlanetJune logo is 10 years old! To celebrate that anniversary I thought I’d give you a peek behind the scenes and show you how I designed my logo.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo

I’m a complete amateur when it comes to graphic design, so it took many attempts to come up with a good logo. I’ll show you my complete design process from start to finish – even the embarrassing parts.

This is not a professional “how to design a logo” post, but I think it’s fascinating to see how the PJ logo developed, and I hope you will too!

What makes a good logo?

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo - yarn planet only

I love my sweet and simple yarn planet – it clearly says ‘PlanetJune’ even without the text, don’t you think? And that’s exactly what a good logo should do.

Think of the Nike swoosh or the McDonald’s golden arches – when you see one of those simple symbols you instantly know exactly what to expect. (That’s a combination of a good logo and a consistent brand identity.)

But the simplest end results can be the hardest to design – if you’re working with clean, simple lines, each line needs to be just right to make the design work. (Hmm, that applies to crochet pattern design too!)

Developing an Idea

I don’t think you can fully appreciate what’s right until you have a wrong to compare it with, so let’s take a look through from my initial design concept for a ‘yarn planet’ to the terrible first prototypes, and then you can see how I gradually edged closer and closer to the logo that has represented me for an entire decade and is still going strong.

But first, here’s 2012-June to tell the story (taken from my blog post where I first launched the logo!)

I started the process in 2009. I read books and articles on good logo design and I knew exactly what I wanted, but I had problems drawing it without adding too much detail.

I’m too stubborn/controlling to ask for outside help: PlanetJune is my baby and it just wouldn’t feel right for the symbol that represents me to be created by somebody else.

Long story short: I drew 2 pages of sketches, made 15 digital prototypes, and now, 3 years later, it’s finally ready.

My Design Iterations

After 10 years, I’m finally brave enough to show you those previously-secret sketches and digital prototypes! Graphic design and digital art are really not my forte, so my first attempts were very… well, let’s just say ‘not good’ 😀

But – and this is important – if you follow through all the steps below you can actually see how each iteration got me closer to ‘good’. Determination and perseverance – that’s the PlanetJune way!

Sketches, round 1: the one with the arrow is the idea I chose as the starting point for my digital design (and the curve of the loose yarn strand at the bottom right was the spark that led to the angled ring around my planet)

preliminary sketches for PlanetJune logo

Version 1: my first digital attempt at my ‘yarn planet’
prototype logo for PlanetJune 1/15

Version 2: angled the rings around the planet
prototype logo for PlanetJune 2/15

Version 3: added bumpy edges to the yarn wraps
prototype logo for PlanetJune 3/15

Version 4: added a darker shade of yarn, changed text to 2 lines

prototype logo for PlanetJune 4/15

Version 5: dark rings, light yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 5/15

Version 6: outlined yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 6/15

Version 7: lighter yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 7/15

Sketches, round 2: back to the drawing board (literally) to figure out how to simplify the yarn – you can see I came up with the basic concept for my final logo in the one with the arrow!
preliminary sketches for PlanetJune logo

Version 8: simplified yarn wraps and added yarn strand below text

prototype logo for PlanetJune 8/15

Version 9: fixed bumpy cutout on ring behind planet

prototype logo for PlanetJune 9/15

Version 10: simplified ring by removing white band

prototype logo for PlanetJune 10/15

Version 11: dark yarn

prototype logo for PlanetJune 11/15

Version 12: pale ring

prototype logo for PlanetJune 12/15

Version 13: pale yarn strand

prototype logo for PlanetJune 13/15

Version 14: changed yarn ball to look less like a fist (can you see the 4 fingers in the above versions, or is that just me?)

prototype logo for PlanetJune 14/15

Final logo: completely redrawn yarn strands to make them more rounded and even.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo

So there you go! You can see from the early attempts how having a good idea doesn’t necessarily translate into having a good design, but each stage brought me closer and closer to the adorable and completely unique yarn planet that is the representation of PlanetJune.

PlanetJune by June Gilbank logo - yarn planet only

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into the long process of creating the PlanetJune logo. I’m so grateful to 2009-2012 June for putting all that effort in to create a logo I can still be proud of today, 10 years later!

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Squirrel crochet pattern

Today I have a brand new PlanetJune crochet pattern to share with you. I’ve been wanting to make a realistic Squirrel crochet pattern for a long time, and it’s turned out just as cute as I’d hoped!

Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJuneWhich is your favourite? It doesn’t matter – you can make both!

I started this design during the Ravellenic Games, but I had to set it aside for a while – it took 6 prototypes to get that perfect squirrel tail, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. All those curves are built right in, and I love the result 🙂

Squirrel Fun Facts

Note: If you hear an animal called just a ‘squirrel’ that means it’s a tree squirrel, but there are also other types of squirrel (ground squirrels and flying squirrels). My pattern, and these fun facts, specifically relate to tree squirrels!

  • Squirrels are rodents that are found all over the world.
  • They live in trees and eat nuts, seeds and berries.
  • Squirrels have long bushy tails that help them to balance as they run and jump through the trees.
  • Their tails are also used to keep them warm in winter, and for communication. For example, they flick their tails rapidly when they sense danger!
  • Squirrels hoard their food, and hide caches of nuts and seeds in trees or buried in the ground.

About the Design

With this design, my goal was to capture the smooth curves of the essential squirrel pose: perfectly balanced while standing up on its back legs with its beautiful bushy tail curving up behind it.

Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

The front legs are crocheted right into the body, so there are very few parts to assemble at the end, and you can choose to attach the head at any angle, to give your squirrel its own personality – will your squirrel be cute and bashful, or bold and inquisitive?

I’ve included two versions in this pattern: a standard Grey Squirrel (aka Eastern Gray Squirrel):

Grey Squirrel from Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

…and an adorable European Red Squirrel with long tufted ears:

Red Squirrel from Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Ideas for variations:

  • Despite their names, ‘grey’ squirrels can be brownish, black, orange or white as well as grey, and ‘red’ squirrels vary from orange through deep red to black, so you have lots of colour choices, even if you want to make a realistically-coloured squirrel.
  • Although I designed both my squirrels to use regular yarn, you can brush your squirrel’s tail before assembly to give it a fluffy, furry look (and you can brush the tips of the red squirrel’s ear tufts too!) See my brushed crochet tutorial for instructions.

About the Pattern

The Squirrel pattern includes 4 pages of step-by-step bonus info in 2 two-page appendices (for both right- and left-handers) that clearly explain my innovative method for joining the front legs and body while you crochet so they sit at exactly the right angle in the finished squirrel.

If you’ve made any of my AmiCats, you’ll already be familiar with the concept of this technique and how well it works – the assembly method is the same here, although of course the squirrel shape is very different!

Buy Now

Ready to get started? Pick up my Squirrel crochet pattern  from my shop right now. Or, if you’re not ready to make it just yet, add it to your Ravelry queue or favourites so you don’t forget about it:

Squirrel crochet pattern by PlanetJune

By the way, I’m sure you know that squirrels love to gather and hoard their pine cones – and mine are no exception! My Pine Cone Collection pattern is now officially squirrel-approved 😉

I hope you’ll love my Squirrel pattern and will start making your own adorable squirrels right away. And please do let me know what you think of them!

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adventures in 3d printing

My husband is a maker like me, but he prefers wood, metal and plastic to yarn and fibre, so our hobbies rarely intersect. But he has his own 3D printers, which means he can make custom plastic stuff for me if I ask. While I love that idea in theory, I’ve struggled in the past to think of anything that would be useful – there’s no point adding more plastic rubbish into the world just because it’s possible to make it.

Lately, though, I’ve been full of ideas for useful items, and Dave has brought them to life for me – I thought you might like to see what we’ve come up with…

USB Cable Holder

I use a long USB cable to plug my camera into my computer so I can transfer my photos without having to remove the memory card every time I want to check if I’ve captured the shot I needed.

I’ve been using a sticky-backed cable clip, but I’ve gone though two of them now – after a while, the adhesive fails and they fall off the edge of my desk. I thought that something that clipped onto the edge of the desk would be sturdier and less likely to fall off.

3d printed USB cable holder

I found this design on Thingiverse – a database of free printable designs – and Dave customized it to fit the height of my desk perfectly. It has a clever swivel barrel so I can remove the cable if necessary, but it’s firmly locked in place the rest of the time. It’s perfect!

3d printed USB cable holder
In case you’re wondering, the matching flower stickers mean I always know which way to insert the USB plug into the socket 😉

Sprouting Jar Tray

You may remember that I grow my own sprouts on my kitchen windowsill. The jars leave watermarks on the windowsill, and, while the marks have wiped off easily so far, I don’t want to risk damaging the wood.

3d printed tray for a sprouting jar

I requested a very shallow tray, just long enough to fit the sprouting jar and no wider than the windowsill. We measured up, Dave designed and printed it, and look what I have now!

3d printed tray for a sprouting jar

It’s just what I needed, and nicely unobtrusive in white to match the windowsill.

Tea Dividers

This is my best idea yet! I designed my kitchen to include a narrow spice cupboard, with the intention of using it for teas instead of spices. It’s great in theory, but boxes of individually-wrapped tea bags took up too much space horizontally and were too tall to fit vertically.

3d printed tea bag dividers

I figured out that by taking the tea bags out of the boxes, we could effectively double the space! We came up with this design between us using a few cardboard prototypes until we figured out that this I-beam shape would work well as a divider that always stays upright.

3d printed tea bag dividers

With these dividers, I can fit 4 different types of tea where 2 boxes used to sit, I can move the dividers to fit the current stock of tea bags, and, as a bonus, the tea bags are more accessible too.

I’m finally seeing the benefit of having a 3D printer (and an experienced operator) in the house! Isn’t technology great? It’s amazing, coming up with an idea and having the physical product in my hands just a few hours later.

I’m sure there must be more handy items that we could design and print to make our lives easier. I wonder what we’ll think up next…

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update: Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi

This is a quick announcement to let you know that I’ve just updated my ebook, The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi.

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - available in right-handed and left-handed versions

What’s New?

I’ve added 2 new pages of instructional techniques (what to do if your original amigurumi pattern has wired limbs, and how to add an optional lining to contain the stuffing), and an inspiration gallery page with all the giant ami I’ve made since I first published the book (7 new additions!) with any special tips I have for each one.

giant and regular sized amigurumi geckos made from the crochet pattern by planetjune
Newly added: my technique for replacing the wire in an amigurumi that’s intended to have wired legs, like my gecko!

Free Update!

If you’ve previously purchased The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi, your licence entitles you to a lifetime of free updates! Your download link in your original order has been updated, so please log back into your PlanetJune account and re-download the PDF file to get the latest version. 🙂

Tip: The copyright date in the footer of every page of the book has been updated from “2019” to “2019, 2022” so you can easily see which version you have!

Get Started with Giant Amigurumi

If you’re just beginning your Giant Amigurumi journey, this is the perfect time to grab your guidebook for this adventure!

You can upsize almost any amigurumi pattern with the techniques in The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi and get an irresistibly cuddly, adorable result. You’ll learn how to take a normal amigurumi pattern and enlarge it by 3 to 4 times to make a giant huggable amigurumi! All you need is your favourite pattern, a 15mm hook, and a super-bulky yarn, and you’ll be ready to start.

The Complete Guide to Giant Amigurumi ebook by June Gilbank - scale up any ami by over 3 times!

I’ll guide you through every step along the way, from choosing your materials and learning how to work giant stitches, to stuffing, assembly and embellishment, and more. Everything is explained in my usual detail, with clear, close-up photos and instructions.

giant Amigurumi Apple, Pumpkin and Pear (crochet patterns by PlanetJune)

Giant amis are so fun and satisfying to make (and you can also apply all the techniques to Mini Giant amigurumi if you don’t want to scale up as far as full giant size).

I doubt this is the end of my giant amigurumi explorations, so there may well be another updated version of my ebook in a few more years, if I develop any more new techniques and tips to share with you – I love that there’s always more to discover on my crochet journey!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll find this update useful, and I wish you happy giant amigurumi making. 🙂

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PlanetJune Stories: Maureen’s Armadillo

Today’s PlanetJune Story comes from Maureen Carter, a crochet enthusiast from Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. Last year, Maureen tagged me on Facebook with this picture of an incredibly colourful armadillo she had crocheted using my pattern and based on a child’s drawing:

Maureen's crocheted armadillo with Isabella's armadillo drawing

…and I just had to reach out to her to find out more about the story behind this incredible project!

Over to Maureen:

I learned how to crochet when I was 12 years old but have only been doing amigurumi in the last 4 years. I used to make mostly slippers, hats, mittens, blankets, scarves, sweaters, ponchos. Now I do a lot of amigurumi as well. It is a lot of fun seeing all the little parts come to life as a stuffed animal. My crochet teacher always said, “Make joy with your crochet.” Amigurumi always brings joy to those that receive the finished projects.

I have relatives in California who were involved with helping support and promote an online fundraiser by the Dominican Sisters Vision of Hope, a non-profit organization that raises funds to support several Catholic schools in the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco-Oakland California area. One of my sisters invited me to participate in the online auction.

One of the features of the auction was artwork made and donated by students in the schools supported by the auction. I was very taken with a colorful drawing called “Oaxacan Armadillo” by a first grade student, Isabella. I placed a bid for her drawing in the auction and was so happy to be the successful bidder.

“Oaxacan Armadillo” by Isabella

When the framed artwork arrived at my home I came up with the idea that this artwork could be transformed into an amigurumi replica that I could send as a surprise to Isabella. I looked for armadillo crochet patterns and decided that I could work with June’s pattern as the base, but incorporate the colors and designs from Isabella’s drawing.

I have followed June’s work and often watched her tutorials and lessons on how to do certain stitches and techniques. I was happy to find her pattern which was a great help to bring this drawing to life. June’s armadillo design was the perfect one to use as my base, especially since the armor shell is made as a separate piece that attaches after it’s all done.

Armadillo crochet pattern by PlanetJune The PlanetJune Armadillo crochet pattern

I made each leg a different color with 3 toes, and made the ears and eyes and facial expression to match Isabella’s drawing as closely as possible. The color I added to the armor was achieved partly by crocheting in stripes, then I made small appliques and sewed them on and did some surface crochet to get the shapes and colors that were used in the drawing.

Maureen's crocheted armadillo

It took me 2-3 weeks working intermittently to recreate the armadillo. I also had a color copy of the drawing made up to send with the crocheted armadillo. I mailed it to Isabella in the care of her school principal. It was presented to her at school.

Isabella with her armadillo drawing and Maureen's crocheted armadillo

I sent a note thanking her for making the beautiful colorful drawing and sharing it with the fundraiser for her school. I encouraged her to continue to have fun making beautiful things using her imagination and talent. I told her that when I see it on my fireplace mantle every day, it brings me joy.

I recently received a note back from Isabella and her mother. Isabella’s handwritten note says:

Dear Ms. Maureen,
Thank you for my armadillo. I really like it. I like how it looks exactly like my drawing and it turned out very colorful. It is very special to me.
Love, Isabella

Isabella's note

Her mom also sent a beautiful note thanking me for making the armadillo for Isabella, which she named “Alice.”

Isabella's mom's note

I loved Isabella’s artwork right away the first moment I saw it. I felt compelled to do something to express how much I admired her work and that I hope she continues to enjoy drawing and making things. I thought I could do it justice as a crocheted stuffed animal that she might like, so I gave it a try. It was a happy and moving experience for both of us.

(Back to me, June, again!)

I love everything about this story – it’s such a fun project, and isn’t the story behind it fantastic?! Both Maureen and Isabella are wonderfully creative, and I’m so happy my armadillo pattern contributed to their collaboration.

Part of the joy I find in having a clean and simple design style is seeing how people choose to adapt, embellish and modify my PlanetJune patterns – and I’m sure you’ll agree that Maureen’s armadillo is a prime example of that creativity.

Thank you so much, Maureen, for sharing your story with us today 🙂
Please leave Maureen 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, 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!

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Barn Owl crochet pattern

I’m so happy to present another new design that was many years in the making: the Barn Owl!

barn owl crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

Barn Owls are my favourite owl, and adding a Barn Owl option to my Owl Collection was always part of my plan. Out of interest, I thought I’d look back at my digital notes to see how long it’s taken to bring it to life…

I first came up with the seeds of this idea in March 2014. It took until 2017 (and a whole year of prototyping) to figure out the unique shaping for the smooth lines and minimal sewing of the main Owl Collection design, but I couldn’t quite get the barn owl right… At that time, I said:

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!

I’m so glad I decided to publish the single-colour owls in June 2017 instead of waiting for the inspiration to finish the barn owl as well, because it took another 5 years to figure out how to add the barn owl’s distinctive facial features and get the colour changes that run all the way down the body just right!

owl collection crochet pattern with barn owl expansion pack by planetjune Whoooo’s this then?! My owls are delighted that their beautiful cousin, the Barn Owl, has joined them to complete the owl family.

Barn Owl Fun Facts

  • There are species of barn owl living almost all over the world.
  • It’s easy to recognise a barn owl by its heart-shaped facial disc and dark eyes.
  • The facial disc isn’t just an attractive feature! It helps barn owls to locate their prey by funneling sounds to their ears when they are hunting.
  • Unlike typical owls, barn owls don’t hoot: they have a loud shrieking cry.
  • Barn owls hunt at night, and they are often mistaken for ghosts when people see a white face with staring black eyes floating above the ground!

About the Pattern

Barn Owl is an Expansion Pack for my Owl Collection pattern, and includes all the modifications required to crochet a Barn Owl with realistic face shape and markings.

barn owl crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

Although it’s only an Expansion Pack, there’s a lot to this pattern – the special stitches that make the raised part of the face are all crocheted while you make the head, so I’ve included right- and left-handed appendices that walk you through exactly where and how to make those stitches so your barn owl will be perfect!

barn owl crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

Aside from the colouring and facial features, the Barn Owl has all the same features as the Owl Collection – the smooth, seamless head, body, wings and legs, giving you the perfect elegant owl posture with minimal assembly.

barn owl crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

(And btw, I’ve also updated the Owl Collection pattern in my new publishing software so both patterns will match, so you may as well re-download it too if you’ve already bought it! The new layout doesn’t look very different, but it’s higher quality, and all the round numbers are bolded to make for easier reading.)

barn owl crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

What is an Expansion Pack?

Expansion Packs by PlanetJune

  • An Expansion Pack is an add-on to an existing PlanetJune pattern.
  • The Expansion Pack lets you modify or add to the original pattern to create something else.
  • You cannot use the Expansion Pack alone – you must also purchase the original pattern in order to be able to complete the pictured items in the Expansion Pack pattern.

Links to Buy

You can buy the Barn Owl Expansion Pack for only $3.50 individually from the shop, or, if you haven’t yet bought the Owl Collection pattern, you can buy the multipack of both owl patterns, and save 50c on the pair.

Not ready to make it yet? Add Barn Owl to your queue on Ravelry:

Although it’s ridiculous how long some of my designs take to be birthed, I’m so happy I waited until I could do justice to the gorgeous Barn Owl – this design is exactly what I pictured in my head, eight years ago…

barn owl crochet expansion pack pattern by planetjune

I hope you’ll love it too!


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    June Gilbank

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