Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Year of the Sock: September

patons-kroy-toe-up-socksPattern: Patons Toe Up Socks

Check out the step-by-step tutorial (pattern is also available here): Crochet Socks Beginner Tutorial from The Crochet Crowd

Ravelry Listing: Toe Up Socks (crochet) by Patons

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks Jacquards in Meadow Jacquard

Skill Level: Easy

Size: Pattern includes instructions for foot lengths of 6, 7.5, 9.5, 10.5, and 11.5 inches

Special Pattern Features

Worked in joined rounds
Afterthought heel
Stitch for foot: single crochet
Stitch for leg: single crochet
Cuff: Alternating half-double crochet and front post double crochet

Last month several people in our Year of the Sock Facebook group asked for a recommendation for a good first-time crochet sock pattern. I have been on the lookout for such a pattern all year, and after scouring the internet for one to recommend to the Facebook group, I think I have finally settled on one that will do nicely. I say this with a bit of reservation: for the most part, this a great beginner sock pattern, but there are also a few things that annoyed me. What bothers me though might not bother you, so take my review with a grain of salt.

patons-kroy-toe-up-socks-joined-roundsThe first thing that really peaked my interest is that this pattern comes with an hour-long step-by-step tutorial by the designer, Mikey of the Crochet Crowd. This tutorial really is step-by-step; this kind of detail is exactly what every beginner craves. I wish I had known about this pattern and tutorial when I was starting out. Anyone who is interested in trying their hand at sock crochet could start with this video and gain a very good grasp of sock construction and terminology, and most importantly be able to crochet their very first sock. Continue reading


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Year of the Sock: July

Year of the Sock July CrochetPattern: Crochet Heart & Sole Socks (AKA Step-by-Step Socks) by Amy O’Neill Houck

Ravelry Listing: Step-by Step Socks by Amy O’Neill Houck

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks in Aqua Jacquard (Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight in Soft White was used for the toe and heel)

Skill Level: Intermediate

Size: The pattern is written for a 9″ foot length but you are advised to try the sock on as you go (if possible) to adjust.

Special Pattern Features

Toe-up method
Afterthought heel
Stitch for foot: linked double crochet on the bottom, V-stitch on the top
Stitch for leg: V-stitch

This sock is worked from the toe up in continuous rounds. The toe, foot, and ankle are worked in one piece and an opening is created for the heel. The afterthought heel is created by working 50 stitches into the heel opening and then decreasing with sc2tog at each corner for 15 rounds.

For the month of July, Patricia (my year of the sock partner in crime) and I chose Crochet Heart & Sole Socks by Amy O’Neill Houck to complete for the month of July along with the crowd over on our Facebook group.

Year of the Sock JulyThis is one popular pattern. It even goes by two different names depending on the source. It has been featured by Crochet Today!, Crochet Now! (twice), Red Heart Yarns, and the Knit and Crochet Today! TV show. After completing these socks, I can see why. They are pretty fast and easy to do. The instructions are clear and straightforward and contain a lot of interesting features.

One thing I am learning as we go through this year of the sock is that the stitch patterns that a designer selects for the top and bottom of the foot can mean the difference between a mediocre pattern and a great pattern. There are a few things to consider it seems. 1) The stitches on the bottom of the foot need to be flat so that they are comfortable to walk on. 2) The stitches on the top can be anything, so long as they are the same height as those on the bottom (for socks worked in the round). 3) The shorter the stitches used, the less ease is created to the fabric. In other words, short stitches create a tighter, less stretchy sock. What you really want is for the sock to hug the foot with just enough ease so that movement isn’t restricted. So far the stitch patterns that seem to work best for the bottom of the foot are the modified half-double crochet (used in March’s sock), extended single crochet (used in April’s sock), and linked double crochet, which was used in this month’s pattern.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these details. 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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Your Squirrel Friend Loves to Play Dress Up!

Squirrel and Accessories by Sandra Hauser

Not only did Sandra Hauser crochet a squirrel friend, she made all these accessories for her too. Now that’s one lucky squirrel. Great work, Sandra!

Many of the patterns for the items you see here can be found for free at the picnic. Because they are small, they whip up in a jiff and require very little yarn. These accessories are a great way to use up leftover yarn.

Dress up your squirrels. They love to accessorize! Be sure to share photos of your dolled-up squirrels at squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com. We love to give you and your squirrels the spotlight.

Get the free accessory patterns for your squirrel friend (from left of squirrel, going counterclockwise around her):

  1. Princess hat
  2. Workout towel (multiple patterns for Podge’s Fitness Gear at the end of the post)
  3. T-shirt, jersey, or sweater
  4. Picnic basket
  5. Purse or satchel

These patterns can be found in Squirrel Picnic’s very own book, The Big Acorn Race:

  1. Aprons
  2. Baseball cap
  3. Award medal
  4. Award medal for you
  5. And, of course, the squirrel


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Make a Squirrel-Sized Valentine

Squirrel Sized Valentine Heart by Squirrel PicnicThis week Hodge came to me with a special request. He really, really, really wanted to make a valentine for Podge and he needed me to show him how to crochet one. Of course, I would show him how! I couldn’t say no to that sweet face.

And while we were at it, we decided to create a video so you could follow along stitch-by-stitch as well. The pattern is pretty quick and simple. You’ll need to know basic crochet techniques like chaining, working in the round, and making slip stitches, half-double crochets and double crochets.

I introduce a new technique in the video as well: the alternative join method or needle joining. It’s a nice alternative to the slip-stitch join because it creates an invisible join in your final round.

We hope you enjoy the video, make lots of valentine hearts for your squirrel friends, and have a very happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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