Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


Big Acorn Race Update: Crocheting the Story

Dragonfly by Jennifer OlivarezThe next few weeks will be super busy for me as I attempt to crochet everything needed to tell the story of the Big Acorn Race. This includes all the props and even some of the characters themselves. It seems like I’m crocheting everywhere I go. I’ve been crocheting on the bus, on my lunch breaks, in line at the store. But if you know me, you’re probably thinking Weren’t you doing that before the book came along anyway? Yeah, you’re right. But now I feel like I’m crocheting with a purpose. Although it’s felt a little frenzied at times, so far I’ve been successful not to let the pressure take the fun out of it. That’s very important, you know.

And let me tell you, I’ve gotten a lot done! I even remembered to photograph some of my work to share with you. Continue reading


Make It! Challenge #12: Unlikely Friends Crochet Parrot and Penguin Patterns


Unlikely Friends HeaderWelcome to the finale of the Make It! Challenge series! Sheena from Virginia challenged me to make unlikely friends amigurumi, meaning animals that don’t normally hang out together. We talked about a few different examples before we decided that a penguin and a parrot would make an unlikely pair. Where would they meet? A penguin in the Amazon would be a sweaty mess and a parrot in Antarctica would shiver his feathers off. Maybe they should meet on a mild September day in Colorado, like today.

Crochet Unlikely Friend Bird by Squirrel Picnic 12Pondering the theme of unlikely friends as I was brainstorming the construction for this Make It! Challenge led me to origami. The art of using intricate folds to turn a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional object seems about as far away from crochet as you can get.

Usually an amigurumi is created by working in the round (crocheting in a spiral to create spheres). I wondered what would happen if I started instead with a flat surface, like a granny square. I decided to start at the corner of a square to create a beak, and then working out from there, I could create a striped pattern that would mimic the bird’s coloration. The tough part was determining how to fold this one square so that it took a form that would stay together and do it in a way that would be easy for others to duplicate. Despite multiple trials, it never quite worked. In the end, sewing a second smaller square on the front and folding the head and wings forward and the tail back was the easiest answer. All in all, I am really pleased with this origami-inspired amigurumi. I hope you enjoy it too. 

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How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Simple Eyes with Felt and French Knots

Ultra Easy Amigurumi Eyes Tutorial by Squirrel PicnicI’m back with another tutorial on how to add faces to your amigurumi. This time I wanted to show you what I do when I just need a simple pair of child friendly eyes and I need them fast. As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes in this series, whenever I’m making a toy for a kiddo, I try to use embroidery instead of safety eyes or buttons.

These eyes use a common embroidery technique: French knots. I used to be really intimidated by this stitch, but just like anything in life, the more you practice, the easier it will get. Making amigurumi eyes is a great way to get in your practice.

If you’re like me and find that it’s hard to achieve consistency with your French knots, you will love this technique. With these eyes, you’re doing one eye at a time (breaking your thread between each eye), so you can pull the knot as tight as you like without having to worry about the slack at the back of your work. We’ll be tying the tails at the back, so the knot will stay in place as well.

So let’s get started… Then, next week, I’ll share with you a pattern that incorporates this technique and double bonus… it’s the next Make It! Challenge.
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