Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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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.

 


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Miniature Crochet: Robot on Vacation

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my friends and I have started a new charm exchange. In a charm exchange, each participant picks a different theme for their necklace and then makes the first charm to go on it. At the first meeting, we share with each other the theme we have chosen.

The theme for my necklace is “Robot on Vacation.” The idea is that my tiny robot friend, Zero, would like to go on vacation. But where does a robot go for holiday? He will require the help of my friends to show him a good time.

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I crocheted Zero using Perle 8 cotton and a 1.00 mm crochet hook. I sewed two tiny washers on with perle cotton thread for eyes and embroidered a little mouth. His arms are made out of these cool beads I found. And of course, he needed a matching heart. I attached him to this really cool necklace I found at Nomad Beads in Boulder. It looks very industrial, I guess. I also found some sprocket and gear charms there that I added to set the “mood” of the piece. Zero is approximately 1.5” tall.

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Then I made a suitcase for Zero to travel with. For this I took a plain old cardboard box and covered the outside with felt and the inside with some neat fabric that my friend Annie had in her studio. She has everything in her studio. I always joke that I love to go shopping down there. It’s a full service store! In fact, I was working on this suitcase in her studio when I asked, “What if I lined the top of the box with metal?” She immediately said, “I think I have some metal you can use!” And sure enough she did. What a great and generous friend!

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To complete the box and really make it look like a suitcase, I added a handle made out of nuts and bolts and some silver beads I had from a previous project. Then I found these awesome luggage labels from Luckies of London. (They can also be found on Amazon.)

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This set even included a luggage tag that I affixed to the inside of Zero’s suitcase.

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Finally I made Zero a journal to document his travels in.

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On the inside it says:

6 October 2016

Hi, my name is Zero and I’m a friendly little robot who works in data processing for The Number Factory. I have finally accrued enough paid time off to take a vacation! I’m leaving the monotony of number crunching behind for some much-needed R&R. But where does a robot go on vacation?

I’ve never been on holiday before. My boss suggested that I just power down for a week; you know, give my motors a break. But that sounds like absolutely no fun. After running numbers day in and day out for years, it’s time for this robot to live!

After some pondering (imagine me with my wee robotic limb pressed to my chin while staring blankly at the sky), I’ve decided to leave it up to the nice people of the world to show me a good time. My friend Jennifer Olivarez of Denver, Colorado, has agreed to host me first and provide a proper send-off. Jennifer says she knows a few people in Colorado who would be happy to put me up for a bit. Eventually I hope to travel the world!

If I am lucky enough to meet you and you are nice enough to let me crash on your couch for a night or two, would you mind signing this travel journal? It will make a nice memento of this special journey. (Sadly I don’t have enough memory to store memories—just enough to process data.) Would you say a little something to help me remember my stay with you? You might include a photo of us together or of one of the places we visited, or perhaps a little doodle or quote to capture the experience. I’ve also included a charm necklace on which I hope to collect a charm from each destination. Can you help me with that too?

Most of all I want to thank you for taking the time to show me around, for making my vacation memorable, and for being my friend. I hope we can meet again someday.

Love,

Zero

robot-on-vacation_zero-and-his-travel-journal

I hope that my fellow charmies enjoy their guest and that he comes home with lots of fun tales to tell!

This month I get to make a charm for Annie’s necklace and her theme is clowns. I think I will probably make a cute clown (as opposed to the scary kind), but we’ll see what I come up with. I’m hoping that whatever I do, I will remember to snap some progress shots so I can share with you more tips and tricks for micro crochet.

Until then,

Happy crocheting!


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How to Assemble Sugar Candy Skull Scarves

Black skull scarf with pink flowers

Black skull scarf with pink flowers

Several years ago I made a few scarves incorporating my Sugar Candy Skull Motif pattern with flower motifs. I ended up with two scarf styles: one pairs black skulls with 3-D red or pink rose motifs, the other pairs white skulls with a colorful, lacy flower pattern.

Over the years, people have often asked me how to make these scarves and finally I think I am able to present a pattern of sorts. If you are interested in making a Sugar Candy Skull Scarf of your own, here I will provide links to the patterns you will need to make the motifs, instructions on how to arrange your motifs, and a video tutorial on how to join these motifs using a simple whip stitch. Continue reading


Let’s Crochet Halloween Socks!

October should be a fun month for sock crochet, and I didn’t want to leave you out of some of the festivities happening in our Year of the Sock Facebook group. To celebrate the season, we proposed to crochet socks inspired by Halloween and autumn. If you’d like to join in, you might choose a Halloween or fall sock pattern or create your own design inspired by the season. To help jump-start your creativity, I put together the mood board below with Halloween color palettes and designs, including a roundup of patterns. Feel free to choose one of the patterns listed here, or you might choose to work a basic sock pattern (or your favorite sock pattern) in Halloween colors, or crochet a pair of funky monster slippers!

halloween-sock-inspiration-roundup

1) Witch Leg Yarn Bomb by Rayna Noel—http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/witch-leg-yarn-bomb
2) Betelgeuse Creepy Skull Legwarmers by Spider Mambo—http://www.ravelry.com/…/library/betelgeuse-creepy-skull-le…
3) Creepy Skull Knee Socks by Spider Mambo—http://www.ravelry.com/patt…/library/creepy-skull-knee-socks
4) Monster Slippers by Lorna Watt—http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/monster-slippers-2
5) Witchy Legwarmers by Stacey Trock—http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/witchy-legwarmers
6) Halloween Spider Baby Sandals by Kittying Ying—http://www.ravelry.com/…/libr…/halloween-spider-baby-sandals
7) Halloween Pumpkins Baby Booties by Knittying Ying—http://www.ravelry.com/…/li…/halloween-pumpkins-baby-booties
8) Candy Corn Slippers by Tia Davis—http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/candy-corn-slippers
9) Candy Corn Legwarmers by Nadia Fuad—http://www.ravelry.com/patte…/library/candy-corn-leg-warmers
10) Corset Socks by Brenda K. B. Anderson —http://www.crochetme.com/crochet-patterns/corset-socks
11) Mardi Gras Carnival Socks by Janet Rehfeldt—http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mardi-gras-carnival
12) Autumn Drops by Rohn Strong—http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/autumn-drops-4

I found this mood board to be a great starting off point for my October socks. After crocheting nine pairs of socks already this year, I think I’m ready to try my hand at designing my very first pair. I hope to use some of the techniques that I’ve really enjoyed from all the socks I’ve crocheted. I’m thinking that this pair will be worked from the toe up, with an extended single crochet stitch for the foot, a short-row heel, and a very special stitch pattern that I recently stumbled upon (and now can’t get out of my head) for the leg. I think I’ll keep it a secret for now, but if you follow me on Pinterest, I bet you could guess which stitch pattern it is (when I get obsessed, there’s no stopping me!). Last night I ordered the yarn for my socks from Knit Picks. I can’t wait to see how these tonal grays work with little bits of bright green and purple popping through.

And I can hardly wait to see what socks you come up with for the month! Will you share a photo of them with me? You can email squirrelpicnic(at)gmail(dot)com or join the Facebook group. We would love to have you!

 

 

 


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In a Nutshell: News from the Picnic

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

sophies-universe-blanket-crochet-by-jennifer-olivarez2People 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.

sophies-universe-blanket-crocheted-by-jennifer-olivarezThe 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

robots-on-vacation-beginDo 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.

Zombies in Love by Squirrel Picnic

Zombie Dolls

Candy skull coin purse

Sugar Candy Skulls

Podge's Princess Hat Pattern by Squirrel Picnic

Pretty Princess Costume for Your Squirrel Friend

IG Superhero Mask for Your Squirrel Friend Pattern by Squirrel Picnic

Halloween Mask for Your Squirrel Friend

The Big Acorn Race Wins a Big Award!

evvy_silver_digitalstickers__98844This 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!

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Crochet 101: How to Make a Magic Loop

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!