Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Crochet Sleepy Bears to Show You Care

Sleepy Bears by Just a Few Stitches Crochet Group

The Just a Few Stitches Crochet Group gets a big head start crocheting Sleepy Bears for kids in their community!

We all know that Sleepy Bear makes a great gift. I love seeing the way a child’s eyes light up when they hug this lovable and cuddly bear. As summer begins to wind down, I’m already thinking about the coming holidays and all those kids out there who really need a Sleepy Bear the most. I’m thinking of the kids who lost someone special to them this year. Those who have survived tragedies like fire or natural disaster. The kids who are afflicted with illness. Those who are struggling to be accepted at school. Those who are battling depression. While a teddy bear can’t be expected to solve all their problems, it can help them to feel loved and to let them know that someone cares.

That’s why I’d like to give you this call to action. Let’s each make one Sleepy Bear to give to a child in need this holiday season. Here’s what we can do to fulfill the need between now and December 25. Continue reading

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The Story of Sleepy Bear

The Story of Sleepy BearI’ve been honored to hear from so many of you who have made Sleepy Bears for your family and friends. I wanted to share with you one such story I received that includes, quite literally, a story about Sleepy Bear.

Earlier this year, a wonderful woman named Maureen Speerly sent me an email. She had written a story about Sleepy Bear, which had come to her as she nodded off to sleep on the night after crocheting her very first one.

I was so moved by the story that it brought tears to my eyes. A humble and bighearted bear experiences love and loss, but heals his broken heart through the act of giving. The message of turning tragedy into something positive for yourself and others really resonated with me.

Maureen and I both could see how meaningful it would be for a child to receive this teddy bear and his story, especially in a time of need. So she took that inspiration and ran with it, beginning a crochet group of six to make Sleepy Bears for children who have survived tragic circumstances.  Continue reading


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Sleepy Bear’s Naptime Accessories

Sleepy Bear's Naptime Accessories Crochet PatternsSleepy Bear has long been one of my favorite patterns, and from the number of Sleepy Bears you all have made, I’d say he’s one of your favorites too! It always makes my day when someone shares a photo of a Sleepy Bear they’ve made. Each one has such a unique personality. I love it!

When fellow picnickers Nelle Helleur and Janette Vanzanen shared photos of their Sleepy Bears decked out in pajamas and nightcaps, I knew that I just had to create some accessories for my bears too. Any nap really wouldn’t be complete without a nightcap and a blanky, after all. Thank you both for the inspiration!

And finally I’m ready to share these patterns with you.  Continue reading


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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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You Made This!

It’s so cool to see Squirrel Picnic projects from people all over the world. Thank you all for choosing my patterns and for taking the time to share your finished projects with me.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to these awesome folks, whose projects are featured in this edition: Jane Pitts, Sharon Sumner, Jenny McCoy, Nelle, Janet, Barbara, Elizabeth Robertson, Alicia Rippingale, Emma, Louise, Rene, May,  and Sandra Hauser.

If you’ve made something awesome with one of my patterns, I’d love to include you in a future installment of You Made This! And if there’s anyone I missed, I’m terribly sorry. Let me know and I’ll include you in the next edition. Please send a photo of your project to squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com.

 


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Picnic Blanket for Your Squirrel Friend

After spring snowstorms like the one we had last weekend, we love seeing the snow melt to reveal luscious bright green grass. It really puts Hodge and Podge in the mood for a picnic. How fitting that this Saturday is National Picnic Day! Make your squirrel friend a picnic blanket using this free pattern, pack your basket, and head on out for a day in the sun.Squirrel Picnic

Picnic Blanket for Your Squirrel Friends

Difficulty rating 2

Tools & Materials

Medium-weight yarn in white
Medium-weight yarn in red
G-6 (4.00 mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle or tapestry needle
Towel and rust-proof pins for blocking

Abbreviations

sc = single crochet
ea = each
ch = chain
FO = fasten off

Special Instructions

To switch colors at the end of the row: Insert your hook into the last stitch (st), yarn over (yo) with the original color and pull through the st as you normally would (2 loops on hook). Yo with the new color and pull through both loops on your hook.

How to change colors at the end of the row

Picnic Blanket

With white, ch 26.

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and ea ch across, turn. (25)

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in 1st sc and ea sc until you have 1 sc left. Switch to red. Turn.

Row 3: Continuing with red, ch 1, sc in 1st sc and ea sc across, turn.

Row 4: Ch 1, sc in 1st sc and ea sc across until you have 1 sc left. Switch to white. Turn.

Row 5: Continuing with white, ch 1, sc in 1st sc and ea sc across, turn.

Rows 6-30: Rep rows 2-5. FO and weave in ends.

To help keep your blanket from curling and to help you when it comes to doing the surface slip stitch, I recommend blocking your picnic blanket at this point. Blocking your blanket will prove to be especially useful if you are using a natural fiber like wool or cotton. Acrylic yarn can be wet blocked, but you may not notice much difference.

Block your picnic blanket by immersing it in lukewarm water until it is saturated. Pull it out of the water and roll it up in a towel to get rid of any excess water. Fold up another towel and pin the picnic blanket down using rust-proof pins. Let this sit overnight or until completely dry before continuing with surface slip stitching.

Surface Slip Stitching

Picnic Blanket for Your Squirrel Friend 1Make a slipknot and place it on your hook.

Starting at either end, insert your hook into the 3rd st in from the end.

Hold the working end of your red yarn behind your picnic blanket.

Yarn over and pull through the stitch. Pull through the loop on your hook as well.

Rotate your work so that you can insert your hook in the hole one row up. Pull a loop of red up through this hole and through the loop on your hook.

Continue in this way, making a slip stitch in each row, all the way to the other end of the fabric.

FO and weave in ends.

Insert your hook in the 3rd st over from the last line you made. Surface slip stitch as you did for the first line to create parallel lines across the fabric.

Tell your squirrel friends to grab their picnic baskets. We’re ready for a picnic!

Picnic Blanket for Your Squirrel Friend 2

See a mistake or something I overlooked, please let me know in the comments or at squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com. Thanks!