Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Make It! Challenge #12: Unlikely Friends Crochet Parrot and Penguin Patterns

 

Unlikely Friends HeaderWelcome to the finale of the Make It! Challenge series! Sheena from Virginia challenged me to make unlikely friends amigurumi, meaning animals that don’t normally hang out together. We talked about a few different examples before we decided that a penguin and a parrot would make an unlikely pair. Where would they meet? A penguin in the Amazon would be a sweaty mess and a parrot in Antarctica would shiver his feathers off. Maybe they should meet on a mild September day in Colorado, like today.

Crochet Unlikely Friend Bird by Squirrel Picnic 12Pondering the theme of unlikely friends as I was brainstorming the construction for this Make It! Challenge led me to origami. The art of using intricate folds to turn a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional object seems about as far away from crochet as you can get.

Usually an amigurumi is created by working in the round (crocheting in a spiral to create spheres). I wondered what would happen if I started instead with a flat surface, like a granny square. I decided to start at the corner of a square to create a beak, and then working out from there, I could create a striped pattern that would mimic the bird’s coloration. The tough part was determining how to fold this one square so that it took a form that would stay together and do it in a way that would be easy for others to duplicate. Despite multiple trials, it never quite worked. In the end, sewing a second smaller square on the front and folding the head and wings forward and the tail back was the easiest answer. All in all, I am really pleased with this origami-inspired amigurumi. I hope you enjoy it too. 

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Make It! Challenge #11: Thumb Wrestling World Championship

World Champion Thumb Wrestlers by Squirrel PicnicWhen I held my call for submissions last year, I received two suggestions that happened to coincide. Sharon and Shane from Melbourne, Australia, challenged me to make a ninja, and Vanja from Osijek, Croatia, challenged me to make a sumo wrestler. After musing on what a ninja vs. sumo match might be like, I decided we must find out, and so the first ever joint Make It! Challenge was born.

Luchador vs Ninja Crochet Thumb WrestlingFor Make It! Challenge #11, I crocheted contestants to compete in a Thumb Wrestling World Championship. In addition to the ninja and sumo wrestler, the contestants include a luchador and Hulk Hogan, the famous WWF personality.

To play, you simply pop one of these contestants onto your thumb, lock hands with your opponent, say “One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war,” and wrestle thumbs until someone’s thumb is pinned or the crochet thumb wrestler falls off. Whoever is left “standing” with their crochet thumb wrestler intact is the winner.

If you get really good at it, try holding two matches at once.

I hope you enjoy crocheting these and holding a Thumb Wrestling World Championship of your own.

Make It! Challenge #11: Thumb Wrestling World Championship

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Announcing the Make It! Challenge Recipients for 2015

The response to my call for challenges was the best ever this year! As exciting as it was to receive so many Make It! Challenge proposals, with only three slots to fill, it also made for a very difficult decision. Thank you so much to everyone who submitted their ideas. I wish that I had the time and resources to pursue all of them. If your idea wasn’t chosen this year, please don’t be discouraged. Keep working on your idea to make it truly unique and resubmit it.

I think you will be very pleased with the challenges that I’ll be tackling. I’ll be trying a few new things and maybe even writing a knitting pattern! But before I ruin all the surprises, let me just announce the winners… Make It! Challenge 2015 RecipientsCongratulations! I’ll be emailing each of you in the coming weeks to let you know my schedule for the year and when you can expect for me to complete your challenge. I hope you are just as excited as I am to get this new year of challenges rolling.


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Challenge Me to Make Something Awesome

Island Play Set by Squirrel PicnicI’m so overjoyed at the response I’ve received from the release of last week’s Make It! Challenge Island Play Set. It is especially gratifying to be able to publish a pattern that makes so many people happy. That’s really why I started the Make It! Challenge series in the first place and why I’ve decided to continue it for another year. I’m currently accepting challenges for 2015 and have three slots to fill. Read on to find out more about this series and how you can get involved! Continue reading


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Make It! Challenge #10: Crochet Island Play Set

Island Play Set with Animals Crochet Pattern by Squirrel PicnicLast spring, Brittani from Wisconsin challenged me to make her son a play set. Specifically, he really wanted a farm play set. Through my research, I found a few barnyard play sets already in existence, including this free one from Lion Brand (you have to log in to view the free pattern). I really loved the play set idea, so Brittani and her son agreed to let me come up with a unique alternative.

I was surprised to find there are a lot of crochet play set patterns out there. In addition to the farm one, I found a safari play set, a teddy bear picnic, a flower pot play set, a racetrack, and lots and lots of toy food. No one had made an ocean play set though, and I instantly fell in love with the idea of crocheting an island surrounded by little ocean animals. Thankfully, Brittani and her son loved the idea too!

The detail I liked most from all the play sets I encountered was how some of them transformed into a bag or box to hold all the little pieces of the set. I included this feature by adding a drawstring to the play set base. Because the play set is rather large (three feet in diameter), the drawstring is a bit longer than I expected, but I think it’s still quite useful to be able to toss all your little ocean animals into the bag and cinch it up so they don’t get lost. Update: A friend of the blog, Ankhara, suggested to pull the drawstring out from two opposite sides of the play set to close it. This way the drawstring will not be too long. Thanks for the tip!

This pattern should be fun and enjoyable for crocheters of all skill levels. The animals are very quick to make because most of their limbs are crocheted in the final rounds. I thought it would be nice not to have too many pieces to sew on at the end.

In fact everything is nice and easy on this island. It’s paradise! At this beach, you don’t have to worry about sunburn or sand that works its way into everything. The sharks even play nice here! I hope you enjoy making an island play set of your very own. I’d love to see photos if you do! Send them to squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com.

Island Play Set Crochet Pattern

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Make It! Challenge #9: Mr. Potato Head VIP (Very Important Potato) Edition Crochet Pattern

For Make It! Challenge #9, Daniel requested I crochet him a Mr. Potato Head doll. He was kind enough to let me decide on the accessories. I had a ton of fun thinking up new parts and facial features to make!

It is interesting to see all the different parts that Hasbro has come up with for Mr. Potato Head since he was invented in 1952. The first Mr. Potato Head kits came with ears, eyes (two pairs), facial hair (eight pieces of felt), feet, hands, hats (three), mouths (two), noses (four), and a pipe. Today, any Mr. Potato Head fanatic could show you an elaborate collection of accessories. Some of my favorites include party hats, pierced ears, handcuffs, bare feet, a pirate’s peg leg and eye patch, and a hockey player’s gap-toothed grin.

But with all the characters Hasbro has made into potatoes, I think there are a few opportunities they missed. What they need is a VIP (Very Important Potato) line of celebrity potatoes. Just picture it: Tiger Spuds, Morgan Fryman, Spuddy Holly, Elisabeth Shue-string Fry, Oprah French Fry, Vladimir Poutine, Mashton Kutcher, James Hashbrowns, to name a few (thanks to Becky for many of these ideas!). In the end, for this challenge, I decided on making Channing Potatum, Tater Swift, and Barack Au Gratin for my real-life celebrity potatoes. And then I threw in Harry Potater, because, well, Harry Potter’s name just screams make me into a potato.

Unfortunately due to licensing concerns, the pattern to make Mr. Potato Head: VIP Edition is no longer available. My apologies for any inconvenience this causes.


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Make It! Challenge #8: Zombies in Love

Zombies in Love from Squirrel Picnic

My husband, Shelby, is the best. Since the start of Squirrel Picnic, he’s had to put up with crochet squirrels coming on vacation with us, weekends sacrificed to endless crochet craziness, and a living room that is almost always covered in yarn. He’s also been my best adviser, weighing in on everything from yarn color to construction. He has a very good mechanical mind. For these and so many other reasons, I am very pleased to be able to dedicate Make It! Challenge #8 to him — it’s well deserved and long overdue. And, yes, he advised me on everything for this project, even coming with me to the yarn shop to pick out zombie colors.

As you could probably already guess, for this challenge Shelby asked me to make him a zombie version of myself (a zombie self-portrait if you will). I set my heart on a few details from the start: an exposed brain with a flap of scalp, an eye that could pop out of the socket, and an arm that’s been cut off at the elbow. Of those three details, the eyes were the hardest, and I’m still not thrilled with how bug-eyed my zombie looks. So when I decided to make a zombie version of my husband to accompany the zombie version of me, I chose to simplify the construction of some of the details. Before I knew it, I had two very different patterns. The bodies and appendages are basically the same, but details like the eyes, brain opening, hair, and limbs are more complicated on the girl zombie. Have fun picking and choosing which details you like between the girl and boy zombies to make your zombie uniquely your own.

As a final note, I should mention that this pattern doesn’t include how to make clothing for your zombie. However, at the end of each pattern, I’ve listed links to the free sewing patterns I used to make my zombies’ clothes. Most 16” to 18” doll clothes patterns will fit your zombie, but do a fitting with the pattern before you start. There are a lot of free American Girl Doll clothes patterns online, and from what I could tell, most of them will fit your zombie with minimal tweaking.

As I type this, our zombies look very cute sitting on the couch together and holding hands. I’d love to see pictures of your zombies too! Send them to squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com or share them on Facebook.

Zombies in Love Crochet Patterns Continue reading