Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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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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Year of the Sock: June

Year of the Sock-JunePattern: Ribbons & Bows Socks by Jerry Rigdon

Yarn: Fingering-Weight Merino from Cozy Rabbit Farm

Special pattern features:

Toe-up method
Afterthought heel
Stitch for foot: cable and openwork on the top of the foot, single crochet remaining stitches
Stitch for leg: the cables continue in the leg with additional cables and ribs added, evenly spaced around

As you may recall, my May sock didn’t go as well as expected (due to a touch of user error… and general malaise), so I declared a do-over! I chose a fingering-weight merino from Cozy Rabbit Farm. I couldn’t tell you what this glorious colorway is (it’s not listed on their website and the belly tag doesn’t list it), so I think I’ll call it orange sherbet.

When it starts to get hot in Colorado, like it has been this week, I daydream about orange sherbet. My favorite!

I had more success with the pattern and yarn this time around. It just goes to show what a difference a great skein of yarn can make. You may remember that I used Cozy Rabbit Farm merino for my March socks as well. It works up like a dream and is just as the name suggests: completely and utterly cozy.

Yarn

Cozy Rabbit Farm recently updated their website and they now offer online ordering. I don’t know about you but I’m eyeing those skeins of mocha magic. Wouldn’t that make a divine tunic? Be sure to check out the “Where to Find Us Tab.” They might just be at a show near you!

Once again, June’s sock pattern is “Ribbons & Bows” by Jerry Rigdon. It features a toe-up construction and afterthought heel. The bottom of the foot is done in single crochet stitches. The openwork center panel of stitches creates little bows up the top of the foot. Cables on either side of this look like jaunty ribbons. The combination makes for a fun sock project that is fast and easy to do.

June Socks 6

A word of caution, though: single crochet provides very little ease, so it is important to check your gauge before starting out and to try on the sock as you go. For this sock I ended up working the largest pattern size with a D-3 (3.25 mm) hook. This worked out fine, but I probably could’ve gone with a larger hook, knowing that my single-crochet stitches tend to be tighter.

June Socks 4

I think the cables on either side are my favorite detail. If you like cables like I do, the fun really begins at the ankle where the pattern places another set of cables evenly spaced at the back. This is paired with alternating front and back post double crochet stitches in between each cable. This provides great fpdc and bpdc practice! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be breezing along. The ankle really does work up much faster than the foot with all those dc stitches.

Year of the Sock: June

Another detail worth mentioning is the afterthought heel. Afterthought heels use an attached chain to create a hole where the heel will be stitched in later. After you’ve finished with the sock, you go back to this heel, pull up a loop with the RS facing, and place your stitches evenly around the hole. Then you continue crocheting in the round, while decreasing at the two corners until you have about 12-15 stitches. You FO and use the tail to sew the remaining stitches closed.

Stitching in an afterthought heel.

Stitching in an afterthought heel.

This pattern is the first sock I’ve ever crocheted with this type of heel. Up until now I thought that I really preferred the short-row heel the best because it reminded me of knitted sock construction. But there’s something very important to be said about afterthought heels. If you have a tendency to wear out the heels on your socks, this is a great method to use. When your heels wear out, you can carefully unravel just the heel and replace it with a brand-new one just by stitching it back in. Isn’t that cool?

Which heel construction do you prefer?June Socks 5

And don’t you think my new socks are sunshiny fabulous?

Let’s Crochet July’s Pair of Socks Together!

Before I forget, we are doing something different for the month of July. My friend Patricia of PopsdeMilk.com and I have chosen a very easy, but interesting sock pattern that we can all crochet together. Together we’ll be making “Crochet Heart Sole Socks” by Amy O’Neill Houck. This free pattern from Red Heart is worked from the toe up with an afterthought heel. A linked double crochet stitch is used for the foot and a v-stitch is used for the ankle.

If you’d like to participate, you’ll need approximately 425 yards of fingering weight yarn (4 ply), a 2.75mm (US C/2) crochet hook, stitch markers, and a yarn needle. The pattern is written for women’s size 9 shoe but you can try on the sock as you go to make adjustments.

Grab the free pattern here: http://www.redheart.com/files/patterns/pdf/KTV2005C.pdf

Check out the Ravelry page for more details: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/step-by-step-socks

Be sure to join our Facebook group to get the scoop on tutorials, techniques, and tips related to this sock pattern. And don’t forget to share your progress photos and let us know if you have any questions. We can’t wait to get started. Let’s crochet socks together!

Check out previous months in this incredible year of the sock:

January

February

March

April

May

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