Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


Make It! Challenge #6: Jack Russell Clutch

Jack Russell Clutch For Make It! Challenge #6, Ranee Galambos challenged me to make a purse inspired by her favorite pet, a Jack Russell terrier named Nina.

“I loved her energy, devotion, intelligence and her company. She was the most amazing dog I ever owned and always made me laugh at her craziness,” Ranee said.

It was my pleasure to design this clutch inspired by such a wonderful furry friend.

I was excited to start this project because I knew it would be a great opportunity to try my hand at felting. I did some research and asked tons of questions, and now I’m ready to tell you all about this very fun and interesting technique that will make your clutch soft and cuddly as well as beautiful.

First, I stopped by my local yarn shop to hear what the experts had to say. When I went straight to the bright white wool, they stopped me and graciously advised that you shouldn’t use bleached white wool for felting because the bleaching process has damaged the fibers. Also superwash or washable wool will not felt. The higher the wool content, the better felted the final piece will be.

More helpful advice came from Kiki and Steven of Luscious Gracious. I recommend checking out their “Murphy’s Laws of Felting,” which provides pretty much everything you need to know. Most importantly, I learned that in felting, a knitted piece will shrink more in height than it does in width. With this in mind, I made a swatch first and recorded the size before and after washing it three times in a top-loading washing machine set to “Whites.” Would you believe that my swatch shrank 20% horizontally and 45% vertically? It made me really glad that I had taken the time to do this test! Designing the pattern 20% wider and 45% taller was a little tricky and the dog that I knit does look a little wonky, but thankfully the dog I pulled out of the final wash had shrunk to the exact size I had anticipated.

Therefore, the best advice I have for you is to make a swatch and wash it in the same manner that you will use to wash the clutch. Record the setting you use and the number of washes it takes to get the level of felting you desire. Then use that information to guide you at the felting stage, because even if you use the same yarn I have used, you’ll most certainly have a better washing machine than the ancient one I used in the basement of our apartment. Most likely yours will take less than three washes!

Jack Russell Clutch Continue reading


Hodge & Podge No. 5

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2013

Happy World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Get out your yarn and knitting needles or crochet hooks. Grab your friends, and head to your nearest park for a day of knitting, crocheting, and sharing your love of yarn with your neighbors. Or just pack your current project in your bag and work on it wherever the day takes you.

Knit in Public Day began in 2005 as a way to give knitters an opportunity to meet each other, because as any knitter can tell you, knitting can be a pretty solitary hobby. Since then, it has become the largest knitter run event in the world, with local events held in Australia, China, England, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, the United States and many more countries.

I’ll be knitting a sleeveless top out of that coral-colored KnitPicks yarn I showed you back in March. It’s about time I got this done, and I can’t wait to get out into the sun for a day of plein air knitting! What will you be working on?


Spring Fever

These past few weeks, it seems as if I’ve been doing nothing but knitting, crocheting, and sewing, and yet I have so little to show for it. Do you have that problem too? I just can’t seem to keep my attention focused on one project long enough to finish it before moving on to the the next. It must be spring fever! So since I don’t have any completed projects to show you, I’ll just show you all the things I’m working on.

Spring is just about ready to bloom at Squirrel Picnic. I’ve been crocheting leaves and flowers everywhere I go. It’s been especially fun to talk to people on the bus about all these little leaves I’m making. I can hardly wait to get Hodge and Podge into their new seasonal diorama.

March 007 (800x568)

A friend of ours wants very much to have a baby, but she’s having a hard time convincing her husband. Her plan of action? To just go ahead and crochet a baby blanket. I love this! It’s her first crochet project and she’s doing great. I crocheted these airplane and flower appliques for her to add depending on whether she has a boy or a girl. Now come on husband, give this girl a baby.

March 023 (800x600)

Slowly but surely I’ll get the two summer dresses I started sewn by summer.

The fourth Make It! Challenge is about 95% complete. I should have the pattern for you very soon. It’s the perfect hat for stalking the city at night.

Batman Mask1 (800x336)

And because I just can’t stop myself from starting new projects, I ordered this fantastic yarn from KnitPicks to start a summer top. Don’t you just love the color!

March 004 (800x600)

Well I better get back to work. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


My Favorite Part of Knitting a Garment Is the Last Stitch

The only other moment that can compare is when on the first day that you wear it, you get to tell someone, “I made this!” I still have loose threads to weave in and super-cute flower buttons to sew on and, of course, spring has to arrive… But when it does, I’ll be sure to share a photo with you of its first day in action.

lacey spring top


What I’m Working On

I found this amazing merino wool from Malabrigo Yarn in sapphire magenta at Fancy Tiger over Christmas break and started knitting this scarf the same day. Now, a month later, I just really want to finish it so that I can wear it before winter is over!

I’m using the vertical bobbles stitch from The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting. It’s such a fun intermediate pattern. With just four rows, it’s varied enough to stay interesting but simple enough that it’s easy to remember.

Malabrigo Scarf (600x800)

Inspiration for the Weekend

Check out this awesome knitted fast food by Bonnie Burton, co-owner of Colorful Stitches in Lenox, Massachusetts. On her Colorful Stitches blog, Bonnie also features knitted sculptures of other favorite foods, including pizza, lobster, spaghetti and meatballs, and a giant chocolate cake. Yum!Burger