Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Easy Chill Eyes

Last week I shared with you my new amigurumi pattern the “Chill Snowman,” which can be found in the Winter 2020 issue of Interweave Crochet. I thought this would be a good opportunity to add another tutorial to my series: How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi. Lucky for us, the Chill Snowman has a pretty simple face. It’s one of the things I love most about him, aside from his extreme cuteness.

Even though I’ve been making amigurumi for over a decade now, I still feel a certain twinge of anxiety when it’s time to embroider the face. It’s just that it can seem so daunting when the blank canvas of the ami’s face is staring up at you. I’ve developed a few tricks over the years to help me get it right and stitch a face that’s accurate as well as cute. One of the keys to a cute face is to get it centered and my favorite trick is to use landmarks. By this I mean you can use stitches in the body or head, as well as the parts that have already been attached or even the ami’s accessories as guides to where the face should be placed.

Let’s take a look at this with the Chill Snowman. Continue reading



A Chill Snowman to Make You Smile: New amigurumi pattern by yours truly makes the cover of Interweave Crochet!

Photos by Harper Point Photography and Interweave Crochet magazine

It’s been a minute since the last time I wrote. I hope you all have been doing well! I’ve been having fun exploring crochet, learning new techniques, trying my hand at selling patterns and crochet handbags online, and designing patterns for magazines. It’s been a really exciting journey, expanding my repertoire beyond amigurumi. I’ve designed afghans, socks, a retro toaster cover, and handbags to name a few (to see them all visit my Ravelry designer page).

And now, at long last, I’ve returned amigurumi! I’m very excited to share with you my newest amigurumi pattern for Interweave Crochet’s Winter 2020 issue. I’m pleased to introduce the “Chill Snowman.” Continue reading


Tree Full of Friends Now Available from I Like Crochet

Hello! I hope this message finds you all happy and well. I’m writing today to let you know that the pattern I mentioned to you way back in November has finally been published. Yay! I am so pleased to share with you all the details of this super-cute crochet toy.

Last fall, one of my dear friends, Becky (who you might remember from our croshades adventure down Pearl Street) welcomed her first born into the world — a baby girl named Claire! Long before Claire was born, I was dreaming up a fun gift for her.

Becky is one of the most colorful people I know. We have so much fun together that just thinking of her makes me smile. She cheers me up on a regular basis. I knew that this present for her new daughter should be just as cheerful and colorful.

And so I designed “Tree Full of Friends” — the perfect toy for busy little hands. This 18” x 24” crochet wall hanging of a tree against a blue sky includes several pockets on the tree in which to tuck an amigurumi owl, blue jay, and squirrel. Each amigurumi is crocheted in two oval pieces that are then sewn together. Not only are they easy to make, but stitching in the final details like the eyes and beak or nose allows you to effortlessly give these animals some personality. I really enjoyed making the eyes for these guys. (Check out the Resources page for more tips on how to add faces to your amigurumi.)

My favorite thing about this piece, aside from the cute amigurumi characters, is the variety of stitches and textures used. The wall hanging itself is worked in a chevron pattern, which I always find fun to do, and it gives the background a playful texture. The tree trunk is crocheted in the back loops only to create ribbing that, combined with variegated yarn, looks like bark. (You may remember, I did something similar with the trees in The Big Acorn Race.) The treetop and leaf pockets are crocheted with a scallop edge, and the flower petals are created around a big buttonhole so that children can pop them onto oversized buttons on flower stalks and in the tree. With so much going on in this wall hanging, the little ones won’t be able to resist everything there is to touch.

The pattern will be released in three parts over the course of three issues in the digital magazine I Like Crochet (accessible through subscription). The first part covers crocheting the background including the tree. In the second part, we crochet the birds. And in the final installment, I go over how to crochet the squirrel and flowers and finish the assembly. 

Until then, I hope you enjoy making a “Tree Full of Friends” for the kid in your life. I know I can’t wait to go over to Becky’s house and play with Claire and her new toy.



Peace, Love, and Crochet

I hope that you are doing well and enjoying the season. Many apologies that I have been absent for so long, but over the past several weeks, I’ve had to step away from Squirrel Picnic to take care of some business. First there was the business of completing two big projects that will be featured next year in the magazines Crochet! and I Like Crochet. It was an exciting experience for me and I can’t wait for you to see these new patterns.

There was also a matter of the heart to attend to. This year has been a challenging one for many of us. For me, it was marked by unrelenting pressure (from myself) and misguided ambition. I pushed myself beyond my limits to produce and market The Big Acorn Race while working full time and continuing to provide patterns and comics here on my blog. And while I have a lot to be grateful for and much to be proud of, I can no longer deny the fact that I am also completely and utterly burned out.

Looking forward to 2017, I’m reluctant to make any resolutions or set-in-stone plans, except to say that I plan to follow my heart, care for the people I love, and simply be happy. After the bizarre and difficult journey of 2016, my mind, body, and spirit are craving some r&r. More than anything I want to be able to look back next December and remember 2017 as the year I found contentment. My new year’s resolution? Just keep it simple.

In order to do this, I’m afraid I must step away from Squirrel Picnic for a long while. Thank you, everyone, for all the support and encouragement you have given me over the past four years. It has been a great honor to meet you all and get to know you better. Being a part of the crochet and blogging communities helped me to open up in a way that I never was able to before. Meeting fellow crocheters and designers and lovers of cute things from around the world helped me feel connected and not so alone. You have inspired me and challenged me to learn and grow, and I will forever be thankful for this experience.

It would be hard for me to predict when you will hear from me again here, but if you’d like to follow my journey you’ll be able to find me on Instagram. And perhaps someday Hodge and Podge will return with new adventures and projects for you to enjoy. Until then, I hope you, too, find many opportunities in the coming year to do the things that make you happiest. Keep exploring your world, making new friends, trying new things, creating memories, and sharing your talents. Most importantly I wish you a year filled with love and plenty to smile about.




Year of the Sock: October

This month, Patricia and I challenged members of our Year of the Sock crochet group to crochet socks for Halloween. I put together a roundup of Halloween and fall-inspired sock and slipper patterns to get the ball rolling.  The idea was to use the provided patterns to crochet a pair of Halloween socks, or get inspired by the other patterns and color palettes to design a truly unique pair of socks. I was so thrilled by the socks that people crocheted. Continue reading