Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


35 Comments

Make It! Challenge #10: Crochet Island Play Set

Island Play Set with Animals Crochet Pattern by Squirrel PicnicLast spring, Brittani from Wisconsin challenged me to make her son a play set. Specifically, he really wanted a farm play set. Through my research, I found a few barnyard play sets already in existence, including this free one from Lion Brand (you have to log in to view the free pattern). I really loved the play set idea, so Brittani and her son agreed to let me come up with a unique alternative.

I was surprised to find there are a lot of crochet play set patterns out there. In addition to the farm one, I found a safari play set, a teddy bear picnic, a flower pot play set, a racetrack, and lots and lots of toy food. No one had made an ocean play set though, and I instantly fell in love with the idea of crocheting an island surrounded by little ocean animals. Thankfully, Brittani and her son loved the idea too!

The detail I liked most from all the play sets I encountered was how some of them transformed into a bag or box to hold all the little pieces of the set. I included this feature by adding a drawstring to the play set base. Because the play set is rather large (three feet in diameter), the drawstring is a bit longer than I expected, but I think it’s still quite useful to be able to toss all your little ocean animals into the bag and cinch it up so they don’t get lost.

This pattern should be fun and enjoyable for crocheters of all skill levels. The animals are very quick to make because most of their limbs are crocheted in the final rounds. I thought it would be nice not to have too many pieces to sew on at the end.

In fact everything is nice and easy on this island. It’s paradise! At this beach, you don’t have to worry about sunburn or sand that works its way into everything. The sharks even play nice here! I hope you enjoy making an island play set of your very own. I’d love to see photos if you do! Send them to squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com.

Island Play Set Crochet Pattern

Continue reading


10 Comments

How to Give Your Amigurumi a Smiley Face

Amigurumi Smiley Faces How To by Squirrel PicnicIt’s time to learn another technique for adding faces to your amigurumi. I think you’ll enjoy this one — it’s probably the easiest to do.

Whenever you are making a toy for a small child or pet or you’ve run out of safety eyes or you’re just looking to try something different, a simple smiley face might be just the look you’re after. The following tutorial will show you how to use French knots for the eyes and a simple technique called a detached chain for the smile. There’s no reason to be intimidated by French knots. Just give them a try and remember that a little practice makes perfect. Well, actually, I don’t think my eyes are ever perfect, but I just tell myself that’s what gives an amigurumi its personality.

So grab your amigurumi, yarn needle, and yarn and let’s begin… Continue reading


19 Comments

Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

Candy skull coin purse

Sugar skulls and many other forms of calavera are a popular feature of Day of the Dead celebrations throughout the world. Traditionally, these skulls are made of cane sugar that is molded in one piece and then decorated with line art, flowers, and often the name of a deceased loved one as a way of honoring them.

I drew inspiration from these designs to crochet my own version of the sugar skull. The pattern starts out with a fan to create the forehead, then you work on the opposite side to create the eyes, nose, cheeks and teeth. Within the PDF pattern, I’ve included a very detailed step-by-step photo tutorial to guide you along. It’s a lot of fun to embellish these motifs with beads, embroidery, and crochet flowers to really make them look like sugar candy skulls.

Squirrel Picnic Crochet Skull AppliquesEmbellished or just plain, I’ve found so many uses for these skulls. I’ve worked them into scarves, using floral motifs in between each skull. I made a small coin purse (pictured above) by sewing the bottom half of two skulls together and adding a lining and metal clasp. They also make fantastic appliques. They look great on just about anything! Sew them to pillows, bags, scarves, hats, mittens, and jeans. Sew them to your pockets for an original and fun look. But by far my favorite use for them has been as elbow patches on hoodies. It’s so easy to do, and it creates a garment that will definitely get people’s attention.

Check out photos of all these projects at the end of this post. And download the free pattern below to give yourself a great head start on your Halloween and Dia de los Muertos preparations.

Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

Continue reading


10 Comments

Charm Exchange Part 2: Working on a Small Scale Poses a Big Challenge

On a bright Sunday morning, Sylvie, Annie, and I gathered at Erikia’s house for the August Charm Exchange. I couldn’t wait to see what everyone had brought, and our little group delivered handsomely with both well-crafted and gorgeous charms and a delicious potluck brunch. There were breakfast sandwiches and pastries from local shops, a yogurt parfait bar, a homemade raspberry gelatin, fresh fruit, a cheese and bread plate, and mimosas!

With our plates loaded, we headed to Erikia’s enchanting backyard where she had a table set up for us under her brand-new canopy. She’s very excited about using the new canopy at her booth in the upcoming Salida Fiber Festival, where she will be selling her vintage tin stitch markers. She’s done an amazing job preparing for the festival, punching out the markers from antique tins and then professionally finishing and stamping them. She used similar techniques to create her charms for Annie’s Birds & Flowers necklace. The red flower is made of copper, which she shaped into a curve before enameling it with powders and a torch to give it its vibrant color.

Annie's Necklace August 2014

I crocheted my charms for Erikia’s In the Dark necklace using No. 10 crochet thread and a size 11 steel crochet hook. Working in this small scale presented a huge challenge for me. It took me several tries to get it right. For my first attempt, I crocheted the spider from the book Itty Bitty Crocheted Critters, but I didn’t really take the legs into account when I was working on the body. Although the body was only about an inch long, the legs made the whole thing over three inches! Then I tried just crocheting small balls to see what I could come up with. Stuffing these balls with Fiberfill revealed that I would need something sturdier inside to preserve their shape. I finally found some bronze-colored Bakelite beads in my stash that I thought would be a good fit both in size and color for Erikia’s necklace. I crocheted around the first bead and fastened off before it was completely covered, allowing the bead to show through. For the other bead, I ended up enclosing it completely and then sewing on small black and green beads to give it a spiky texture.

Erikia's Necklace August 2014

Rosalind used polymer clay to sculpt a mermaid charm and a squid charm for my Coral Reef bracelet. In the squid, she also added oxidized sterling silver chain and some gemstones. Even though she also found that working in this scale has its difficulties, I’m so impressed by all the detail she has managed to include in these charms. Keep in mind that they are under an inch long!

Jennifer's Coral Reef Bracelet August 2014

Sylvie created a tiny diorama inside a mini pocket watch for one of her charms for Rosalind’s Garden of Earthly Delights bracelet. It features a teeny baby with Monarch butterfly wings amid the moss of a forest floor. For her second charm, she brought new life to a piece of broken jewelry with the addition of colorful vintage floral beads.

Rosalind's Bracelet August 2014

 

Rosalind and I weren’t alone in our struggle with scale. Annie agrees that making charms this tiny poses a challenge, but I think she succeeded handily with her felt and bead charms for Alexandra’s Kokeshi Doll bracelet. All of the stitching is painstakingly done by hand, and as always, Annie’s eye for color shines through.

Alexandra's Bracelet August 2014

Alexandra sculpted her charms for Sylvie’s Eye Adore You necklace in fimo. Most of her experience is with sculpting people or animals, so working with this subject matter was a challenge for her. It forced her to think outside the box, but it also left her inspired to start on the next set of charms right away!

Sylvie's Necklace August 2014

These ladies have inspired me too. I can’t wait to get started on my charms for Annie’s Birds & Flowers necklace. We’ll be meeting again in October, and until then I think I will try working with lighter thread and a smaller hook to see what I can come up with. I might need to invest in a magnifying glass.

Check out earlier additions of this series:

Make Jewelry, Make Friends

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,014 other followers