Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff

Big Acorn Race Update: Time to Test the Patterns


Tall n Fast Flower Pillow (Kate)

Tall n Fast Flower Pillow (Kate)

Working with pattern testers for the first time has been a wonderful, eye opening, humbling, and gratifying experience.

When I started the book, I thought that I wouldn’t need to have my patterns tested. Where would I go to find people who would test them? Would anyone be willing to do it for free? I don’t have much money to spare, but I realized I could acknowledge them in the book and even send them a copy when it came out. But would that be enough compensation? I was really worried that it would be an imposition to ask someone to lend their talents and so much of their time for so little reward.

Squirrel Accessories: Baseball Cap and Apron (Grace)

Squirrel Accessories: Baseball Cap and Apron (Grace)

But as has happened so many times before with my blog, I was utterly amazed by the outpouring of support. Every single crocheter I approached was more than just willing to test a pattern or two for me, they were excited to be a part of my project.

Asking for help has always been a little difficult for me. I was brought up to “do it yourself” with what you have on hand, but as I get older I’m realizing there’s a much easier way. It’s called community and friendship. It’s a blessing to have people in your life that you can count on, people who will support you and lend a hand whenever you need one. And it’s a blessing to be able to be there for them in their times of need. What can I say, I feel so lucky to have my friends.

I’m also doubly blessed that my friends are also such talented artists! Let me introduce you to my fabulous group of pattern testers:

Patricia Castillo of Pops de Milk presents all the glorious crocheting, knitting, cooking, and baking she does out of her home in Vancouver, Canada. If you’re new to crochet, check out her Crochet Basics tutorials. Very detailed, lots of great photos, crystal clear instructions. We share a special connection, as we recently discovered we have virtually the same craft space setups!

Grace hails from Florida where she runs blogs devoted to knitting and doll making. She even runs a knitting group. She may be the youngest crocheter in the group, but she has talent up to her ears. She’s hard working and dedicated and highly creative.

Vanja Grundmann is also a wonderful friend and an expert crocheter whom I’ve gone to many times in the past for her wisdom and advice. She is a talented crochet artist out of Croatia whose specialty is doll making. Her BB dolls are world-renowned. Check out her blog AmigurumiBB for scores of free and expertly written crochet toy and accessory patterns.

Sharon Pridmore blogs about her life and crafts in Australia from her site Gentlestitches. If you’ve been at the picnic for a while now, you would recognize her work in last year’s New Year’s Eve video. Sharon has a wonderful sense of humor and a great big heart. In addition to her many triumphant amigurumi patterns, she’s taken up spinning and is currently working on her own line of yarn!

Tajana Rabar of Italy explores crochet, knitting, sewing, origami, and more in her blog Tatie’s World. She’s a wonderful artist and very devoted friend. As the recipient of some of her beautifully handmade goodies in the past, I can attest to the fact that she puts a lot of love and pride into everything her hands touch, especially when she is making them for family and friends.

Kate Zaynard is a dear friend and former coworker of mine who lives nearby in Lafayette, Colorado. We’ve been sharing crochet inspiration and projects for several years now. One of my favorite memories is of when she made a squirrel named Rosie from my squirrel pattern. Rosie and Podge became fast friends and now whenever I make something for Podge, she insists that I make one for Rosie too.

And here is a gallery of the photos from their pattern tests.

All of the testers gave me such beneficial technical advice. They found things I would never have even thought of! The truth of the matter is that there are so many ways to crochet. It’s like a breath of fresh air to hear another artist’s perspective on a pattern and to be introduced to alternative approaches.

They each also helped to point out the stitches and steps that could use a little extra explanation, either through photos or additional instructions in the technique section. I’ve just recently started working on the technique section and this was a big help to learn which stitches and instructions I should focus on.

Rest assured, none of the patterns are difficult. That has been my goal all along. It was so thrilling to hear it repeated again and again in my pattern surveys that the patterns were easy but entertaining. What an endorsement!

I’m finishing up the final pattern right now and I even have a few pattern testers who have volunteered to test this pattern too! I feel like the luckiest squirrel in the world! It’s good to have friends.


14 thoughts on “Big Acorn Race Update: Time to Test the Patterns

  1. How wonderful to have such great help! Looking forward to the book 😊

  2. I’m so happy and so moved by your words! ❤ ❤ ❤ I'm proud to be a part of your team!! Can't thank you enough to have included me in<3 ❤ ❤ I had a look to the blogs of the other fellow testers and the only thing I can say is thet their work is simply stunning! Do you realize that you managed to put together so many lovely people to be a part of one of the most beautiful captivating and friendship making project I have ever seen! Bravo,Jenniffer!!!!

    • Thank you, Tajana! As always your kind words touch my heart. I am very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful, kind, and talented people. I love you all like sisters. It’s such a fun group of women. Can you imagine if we went on holiday together? What a fun time we would have! Thanks again for all your help and support. Love and hugs to you!

  3. Ahhh! They all look awesome! I love the different looks for the phone case 😀
    And the jet pack, OMG, giggling a little too much here.

  4. Well, I love all of these! The squirrels are adorable, the clutch is cute and the coasters/mandalas are very nice, but the flower wall hanging is my favourite! I am looking forward to buying your book.

  5. I enjoyed being part of this very much and also looking at what the others have made. I particularly LOVED Vanja’s cushion. X

    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed being a part of my project. It was a pleasure to have you along. I will forever be indebted to you for your comments on the oak leaf clutch. And I love the photos you took along the way. They always make me smile.