Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Year of the Sock: July

Year of the Sock July CrochetPattern: Crochet Heart & Sole Socks (AKA Step-by-Step Socks) by Amy O’Neill Houck

Ravelry Listing: Step-by Step Socks by Amy O’Neill Houck

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks in Aqua Jacquard (Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight in Soft White was used for the toe and heel)

Skill Level: Intermediate

Size: The pattern is written for a 9″ foot length but you are advised to try the sock on as you go (if possible) to adjust.

Special Pattern Features

Toe-up method
Afterthought heel
Stitch for foot: linked double crochet on the bottom, V-stitch on the top
Stitch for leg: V-stitch

This sock is worked from the toe up in continuous rounds. The toe, foot, and ankle are worked in one piece and an opening is created for the heel. The afterthought heel is created by working 50 stitches into the heel opening and then decreasing with sc2tog at each corner for 15 rounds.

For the month of July, Patricia (my year of the sock partner in crime) and I chose Crochet Heart & Sole Socks by Amy O’Neill Houck to complete for the month of July along with the crowd over on our Facebook group.

Year of the Sock JulyThis is one popular pattern. It even goes by two different names depending on the source. It has been featured by Crochet Today!, Crochet Now! (twice), Red Heart Yarns, and the Knit and Crochet Today! TV show. After completing these socks, I can see why. They are pretty fast and easy to do. The instructions are clear and straightforward and contain a lot of interesting features.

One thing I am learning as we go through this year of the sock is that the stitch patterns that a designer selects for the top and bottom of the foot can mean the difference between a mediocre pattern and a great pattern. There are a few things to consider it seems. 1) The stitches on the bottom of the foot need to be flat so that they are comfortable to walk on. 2) The stitches on the top can be anything, so long as they are the same height as those on the bottom (for socks worked in the round). 3) The shorter the stitches used, the less ease is created to the fabric. In other words, short stitches create a tighter, less stretchy sock. What you really want is for the sock to hug the foot with just enough ease so that movement isn’t restricted. So far the stitch patterns that seem to work best for the bottom of the foot are the modified half-double crochet (used in March’s sock), extended single crochet (used in April’s sock), and linked double crochet, which was used in this month’s pattern.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these details. Continue reading


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In a Nutshell: News from the Picnic

Here in Colorado, summer is breezing along. It’s been a summer of exploration, discovery, and reflection.

Denali seen from TalkeetnaEarly on, I did some traveling. In June, my father and I went on a trip together to Alaska, just the two of us. It was the trip of a lifetime. We flew around Denali in a Cesna, took a jet boat up the Susitna to Devil’s Canyon Gorge, watched the Aialik Glacier calve into the bay in Kenai Fjords National Park, and hitched a ride with the sled dogs at Seavey’s Iditarod Tours in Seward. We saw moose, black bear, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, puffins, porpoises, sea lions, otters, and humpback whales!

Then earlier this month, Shelby and I, along with his dad and his dad’s girlfriend Dottie, road the Cumbres-Toltec train from New Mexico to Colorado. The route is full of switchbacks and turns around some beautiful country and steep mountain cliffs. Returning from these outdoor adventures, I have been keen to get outside as much as possible to enjoy Colorado nature, but to tell you the truth, it’s been just too darn hot. In the end, it all worked out because I have a lot of crocheting and designing to do, which I like just as much as being outside!

Some incredible things have been going on at the picnic. Regarding the book, there have been interviews and I’ve received some help getting the book into stores. It’s still a challenge, but I’m happy to make progress by baby steps. In other news, I’ve been hard at work on some new designs and some special plans. Here’s what I’ve been up to: Continue reading


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Little Tuxedo for a Big Heart

Brigh's TuxedoI’ve heard that the best thing to do when the world feels dark is to send out a little light of your own. Whether you visit nursing homes, give blood, feed the homeless, crochet blankets for the needy, or knit caps for preemies, doing something for someone else helps keep you connected to the world, helps you see the bigger picture, and just plain feels good.

I want to introduce you to two amazing souls who are helping the world one animal at a time. Bob Krugmire fosters animals for three different shelters and rescue programs in the Denver metro area and provides photography services for Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies and Denver Boxer Rescue (in addition to several other non-profit organizations). Over the years, he’s welcomed into his home everything from puppies and kittens to ferrets and a scorpion. Most recently he even adopted a pair of sugar gliders! But of all of Bob’s animals, one pooch in particular has really captured my heart. I think you too will find him to be quite the charmer and a real inspiration. Continue reading

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