Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Challenge Me to Make Something Awesome

Island Play Set by Squirrel PicnicI’m so overjoyed at the response I’ve received from the release of last week’s Make It! Challenge Island Play Set. It is especially gratifying to be able to publish a pattern that makes so many people happy. That’s really why I started the Make It! Challenge series in the first place and why I’ve decided to continue it for another year. I’m currently accepting challenges for 2015 and have three slots to fill. Read on to find out more about this series and how you can get involved! Continue reading


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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

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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

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