Hi everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful summer. Can you believe that fall is here?
I have to apologize that I and the squirrels have been rather distant lately. I have been working on some new patterns and projects that I can’t wait to share with you! Meanwhile, Hodge and Podge have been gathering nuts for the winter (you know how squirrels are). Here are some of the other things we’ve been up to…
Sophie’s Universe Blanket by Dedri Uys
People have been doing some amazing things with crochet in recent years. One of my favorite new patterns is one that Dedri Uys of the blog Look What I Made released last year. Her pattern for the Sophie’s Universe Blanket was originally provided in a crochet along over the course of 20 weeks. At the time, I was overwhelmed with my work on The Big Acorn Race so I wasn’t able to take part. Instead I watched in amazement as blankets from people all over the world came together in some extraordinary color combinations. Each blanket is like a bouquet of flowers, just inviting you to dive right in. I promised myself that as soon as the book was released, I would begin a Sophie’s Universe Blanket of my own. And thankfully I have.
I began this blanket at the end of spring and had to put it away for a while because, as I’m sure you can relate, it is hard to work on a wool blanket in the summertime. Now that it is fall I have dug it back out and am enjoying working on it again. I just love how it is coming together.
The finished blanket will have (at least) 113 Rounds in it! I’m using Cascade 220 in Deep Lavendar, Lemon Yellow, Blue Hawaii, Chartreuse, Cotton Candy, Italian Plum, Celery, Lake Chelan Heather, Bright Nectarine, and White. What a crazy combination! But so far I think it is working, don’t you? If you’d like to follow my progress on this blanket throughout the fall and winter months, check out my Ravelry page. I’d love to see you there.
I recommend checking out some of the amazing Sophie blankets that continue to grow by the day on Instagram at #sophiesuniversecal2015.
I love working on this blanket. Dedri’s free pattern is loaded with detailed instructions that help to keep you on track. It’s the best. In fact, even right now as I am typing this, I am wishing that I were working on the blanket. It’s addictive! So if you don’t see me for a while in the weeks ahead, know that I am probably just busy on my Sophie!
A New Charm Exchange Is About to Begin
Do you remember the Charm Exchange? I participated in this amazing event a few years ago and it pretty much changed my life… or at least the way I look at crochet. Here is basically how a charm exchange works: Gather together a group of fellow artists and have each choose a theme. Each then provides their own necklace or bracelet and creates the first two charms to fit their theme. They attach these charms to their necklace or bracelet and place it in a box or bag that has been appropriately decorated to also fit their theme. The box or bag isn’t necessary, but it is fun to do. One person lists everyone’s name alphabetically and uses the list to determine whose charms each will make next working in a round-robin manner. Over the course of ten months or so, we will meet about every two months to show off our charms, tell a little about how we made them, and hand them over to the excited recipient. And, of course, we’ll receive a new charm for our own necklace or bracelet each time as well.
With this year’s charm exchange I will be exploring the realms of miniature crochet again. I’ve already gotten word of some of the other participants’ themes and I can’t wait to get started. But speaking of getting started, I have to make the necklace for my theme, the first charm, and the box that it will go in. I have decided on the theme “Robots on Vacation” and the box will be my robot’s suitcase. I still need to crochet the robot and finish up the suitcase… and the necklace. Oh my! I better get started. The first meeting is only a few weeks away!
Halloween Is Just Around the Corner
In case you are looking for some spooky, fun Halloween crochet projects, I thought I’d pull some out of Squirrel Picnic’s big and scary (scary dusty!) attic for you to see.
The Big Acorn Race Wins a Big Award!
This past August, I learned that The Big Acorn Race had won second place in the 2016 CIPA (Colorado Independent Publishers Association) EVVY Awards. Now in its twenty-second year, the CIPA EVVY awards is one of the longest-running book awards competitions to recognize excellence in independent publishing. For more information on this awards program and to view the finalists, visit http://cipabooks.com/cipa-evvy-awards/cipa-evvy-award-finalists/
To celebrate this big news, I’m taking 10% off the book’s list price! From now through New Year, get your copy of The Big Acorn Race for only $16.95. It would make a great present for both kids and teens who are learning to crochet, parents who crochet and want to make the toys in their kids’ favorite stories, as well as anyone who just plain likes cute things.
Thanks for supporting Squirrel Picnic and super-cute crochet!
This is the first in a series of video tutorials I plan to make on some of the basic techniques that are used in the amigurumi patterns you will find here at Squirrel Picnic. I hope you enjoy these tutorials. If there is a specific technique that you would like for me to cover, leave a comment below or email me at squirrelpicnic(at)gmail(dot)com.
But for now, let’s learn how to make a magic loop! The magic loop is a great alternative method for beginning any crochet project worked in the round. It’s especially useful for amigurumi projects. There are several methods for making the magic loop, but over the years this particular one has become my favorite.
All you need is a ball of yarn and a crochet hook, so grab yours and let’s begin!
Where to Find It: Annie’s #871510, New Methods for Crochet Socks
Ravelry Listing: Side to Side by Rohn Strong
Skill Level: Easy
Size: Pattern includes instructions for foot lengths of 9, 10, and 11 inches
Special Pattern Features
Afterthought toe and heel
Stitch for foot: half-double crochet
Stitch for leg: half-double crochet
For the month of August I wanted to try something a little different, so I chose a sock pattern that is actually worked flat. It was surprisingly easy to do! Here’s how a sock is constructed using this method.
First you crochet the body as a long rectangular piece of fabric. This will be the top of the foot and the front of the leg. Next, you crochet the bottom of the foot by only crocheting into 1/3 of the body stitches, leaving the rest unworked. After this, you attach your yarn in one of those unworked stitches and crochet the same number of rows as the foot to create the leg. When you fold this so that the edges meet and sew it up, you get a tube with a hole for the heel. Pretty cool!
Then all you have to do is crochet around each opening to create the toe and the heel. The really neat thing about this pattern is that you use the same instructions for crocheting the heel and the toe.
My only concern with this construction is that the ankle is quite tight. Even in the pattern’s main photo the stitches at the ankle seem to be stretched. The heel could be a bit wider I suppose. It’s also important to note that unlike toe-up socks, with socks worked flat like this, you can’t make any adjustments as you go. Therefore it is highly recommended to make a gauge swatch before beginning these socks.
All in all, this was a fun pattern and I recommend it for anyone who would like to try something new.
Check out previous months in this incredible year of the sock: