Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Simple Eyes with Felt and French Knots

Ultra Easy Amigurumi Eyes Tutorial by Squirrel PicnicI’m back with another tutorial on how to add faces to your amigurumi. This time I wanted to show you what I do when I just need a simple pair of child friendly eyes and I need them fast. As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes in this series, whenever I’m making a toy for a kiddo, I try to use embroidery instead of safety eyes or buttons.

These eyes use a common embroidery technique: French knots. I used to be really intimidated by this stitch, but just like anything in life, the more you practice, the easier it will get. Making amigurumi eyes is a great way to get in your practice.

If you’re like me and find that it’s hard to achieve consistency with your French knots, you will love this technique. With these eyes, you’re doing one eye at a time (breaking your thread between each eye), so you can pull the knot as tight as you like without having to worry about the slack at the back of your work. We’ll be tying the tails at the back, so the knot will stay in place as well.

So let’s get started… Then, next week, I’ll share with you a pattern that incorporates this technique and double bonus… it’s the next Make It! Challenge.
Continue reading

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Creative Wedding Idea! Invite Guests to Decorate Squares for a Quilt

Mixed Media Quilt Square for the Bride by Squirrel PicnicAt the end of February, I received a letter from my aunt whose daughter, the middle child of three, would be married in late June of this year. The mother-of-the-bride had a great idea that she needed the help of the entire wedding guest list to pull off. She was sending to each of us a 6 1/2″ square of fabric with the instruction to decorate it in any fashion we chose. We could embroider it, paint it, scrawl a simple message on it with a fabric pen, just to name a few ideas. The resulting square was to be sent back to her by mid-April so that the squares could all be sewn together to make a quilt — a wonderful keepsake for the bride and groom.

Taking a pleasant Monday off from work, I hit the craft store and purchased cotton batik fabric in two different shades and a white cotton fabric too. I was thankful I was able to find everything else in my own stash.

So armed with a pile of craft supplies and a notion of a design cooking in my imagination, I got to work. Continue reading


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Let’s Doodle Stitch!

Doodle Stitch BearI hope you enjoyed the tutorial last Friday on how to use satin stitch embroidery to give your amigurumi some spectacular looking eyes. I had a lot of fun stitching it, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t stop with the face. In this post I’ll tell you more about how stitch-crazy I went with this bear, and I’d like to also address all of you who asked me about where you can go to get lessons in embroidery. Continue reading


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How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Satin Stitch Embroidery

Satin Stitch Amigurumi Face Tutorial by Squirrel PicnicI love the look  of satin stitch embroidery, but I don’t use it very often for my amigurumi because, I have to warn you, it does take longer to do than any of the methods I have shown you so far. It also takes a lot of focus, because you have to repeat the same stitch over and over again until an area is filled in. You will probably notice in this tutorial that by the time I got to the white part of the eyes, I had gotten a lot less picky about the straightness of my stitches. Looking back, I wish I would have taken a break halfway through or put the project aside for a day or so. Then I would have been able to come back to it fresh: fresh eyes, fresh mind. In the least, I hope you might learn from my mistake. If you find yourself growing frustrated or impatient, feel free to take a break. You certainly have my permission.

That aside, I think you will be pleased with the results you achieve by using satin stitch embroidery to add details to the faces on your amigurumi. I always think it looks very professional, as this is the technique most often used by large toy companies to manufacture stuffed animals for young kids. Satin stitch embroidery is a great choice for toys that will be used by children of all ages, because you don’t need to worry about any small parts that might present a choking hazard. While the big companies use machines to do all the work, I will show you how to do it by hand. After all, it’s the time and love that you put into it that makes a hand-embroidered stuffed animal so special.

Let’s begin! Continue reading


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How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Sleepy Eyes

How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Sleepy Eyes / SquirrelPicnic.comMy series on how to add faces to your amigurumi continues with one of my favorites: the sleepy face. It doesn’t require many materials — all you need is yarn, a needle, scissors, and your crochet or knit toy. In just a few quick steps your adorable toy will have an equally adorable face. Let’s begin… Continue reading


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Countdown to Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos is almost a week away! To say I have been busy getting ready for the event is an understatement. I don’t know quite why I do this, but as I’m sure you’ve observed from my previous crochet projects here on the blog, I have a very distinct tendency to overdo things. I blame my imagination. Once I get something in my head, I just have to create it. So in preparation for this upcoming Dia de los Muertos Mart at the Pirate Gallery, I have been crocheting like crazy. Let me show you.

I’m calling these Skullbow (Skull + Elbow) Hoodies. I crocheted the skulls, of course, sewed them onto the sleeves like elbow patches, and even embellished some of them with beads. Nothing in my studio is safe from embellishment at this point.

Like I said, I’ve really gotten into adding buttons, beads, and embroidery to these skulls. I ended up making five Skull Art Hoodies and I love each one. I hope you like them too!

Then, because I just couldn’t stop myself, I made four more hoodies with plain white skulls on the back. Each will come with a large, very colorful flower pin on the skull’s forehead, and shoppers will be encouraged to purchase additional flower pins to really personalize their hoodie if they want. Crochet flower pinsAs you can see, I made a ton. Some of these flowers will be for the pins, but I’m also making hair clips too. I have been crocheting these everywhere I go: you know, on the bus, on my lunch break, in line at the grocery store. The problem is I just keep coming up with more ideas and I have to try them all! Most of these flowers were made using the patterns in my favorite flower crochet book, 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet. The marigolds were made using the mum pattern from Suzann Thompson’s Crochet Garden. Bamboo crochet hooksI was crocheting so much this month that some interesting things started happening to me. Things that have never happened before… First, I got a rash on my hand. (I’ll spare you the picture; just trust me, it’s weird.) I couldn’t figure out what was causing it, until I realized that my crochet hooks, which I’ve had since I began crocheting 15 years ago, are nickel-plated. And earlier this year, I developed a crummy nickel allergy. The upside of this crochet-related injury is that I get to try out some new hooks. I got these bamboo ones from Amazon for $10. Score! Also for the first time I’m beginning to experience serious muscle pain in my fingers. After this, it may be time for a (hopefully short!) vacation from crochet. Hodge and Podge are madThis coming week will be just as busy I’m afraid, as I set about the task of organizing and pricing everything. As you can see, Hodge and Podge are not happy about this. In all the flurry of activity for the Muertos Mart, I didn’t get a chance to make their Halloween costumes. My sincere apologies to you and Hodge and Podge. I know many of you were looking forward to Halloween costume patterns for your squirrel friends. Maybe after my crochet vacation I can get started on Christmas costumes instead. How about Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel Claus? MEAP could be an elf. Eric could be the Grinch. What do ya say?

 


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How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Safety Eyes with Embroidered Nose and Mouth

This is the technique I use to add faces to my crocheted squirrels. I find it is easier to embroider on felt than directly onto the crochet fabric and safety eyes pop on in a snap. With this method, your amigurumi will have a face in no time flat.

How to Embroider a Squirrel Face Tutorial

Materials

Beige felt
Scissors
A pair of 4.5 mm black safety eyes with lock washers
Thread to match the felt
Brown or black embroidery floss
Chenille needle
Sewing needle

Instructions

Eyes

Note: Safety eyes can really only be added before you close up the head of the amigurumi, usually when 12 to 18 stitches remain. Sometimes it helps to stuff the head in order to position the eyes, then take the stuffing out to put on the lock washers.

Step 1: Cut 2 squares out of beige felt approximately 1” by 1”.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 2: Fold a square in half and snip a hole into the center with a pair of scissors.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 3: Unfold and insert the shank of a safety eye into the hole.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 4: Using the eye as a guide, cut the felt into a circle, approximately 1/8” – 1/4” wider than the eye.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 5: Insert the shank of the eye into your amigurumi and press the washer onto the shank until it clicks to lock it in place. This can’t be undone, so it’s important to check the placement of your eyes before you pop on the back. For instance, check to see that the eyes are in the same row or round. The washers have 3-6 little points on one side, which grab the fabric. Make sure that these points are facing toward the fabric when you pop them on.

Repeat steps 2-5 for the other eye.

Nose and Mouth

Step 1: Cut a square out of felt approximately 3/4” by 3/4”.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 2: Cut this into a circle by rounding out the corners. Or use a fabric pencil to trace onto the felt around a US penny (or another coin that is 3/4” in diameter). Then cut along the line.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 3: Thread brown floss onto the chenille needle (or any needle that has a sharp point and an eyehole large enough to accommodate the floss).

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 4: Tie a knot on the end.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 5: Work the needle up through the felt from the back, just above the middle of the circle and about 1/4” from one edge.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 6: Push the needle back down about 1/4” from the other side.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 7: Come back up through the felt just below the stitch you made and push the needle back down on the other side ever so slightly below the last stitch.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 8: Repeat Steps 6 and 7, each time coming in a tiny bit more from the edge to create an upside-down triangle shape to the nose. End with the needle at the back of the work.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 9: Come up from behind the last stitch, pulling the needle out from below the stitch.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 10: Go back down about 1/4” below.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 11: Come back up to the right of this. Go back down through the same entry point as in Step 10.

Step 12: Come back up to the left. Go back down through the same entry point as Step 10.

Step 13: Tie off your thread and trim the ends of the floss.

Sew on the Nose and Mouth

Note: Because the nose and mouth are sewn on, this can be done after you have stuffed and closed up the amigurumi’s head.

Step 1: Thread your standard sewing needle with thread to match the beige felt.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 2: To secure the thread, I like to tie it to the floss in the back, but you could use a knot if you prefer.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 3: Using a running stitch of about 1/8” per stitch, sew the felt nose and mouth to the amigurumi doll.

Step 4: End by coming out from under the felt and tie off your thread.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.

Step 5: Pass the needle and thread through the head of your amigurumi, coming out the back. Trim off your thread close to the back of the head and the thread should disappear into the head.

How to embroider a face for squirrel amigurumi tutorial by Squirrel Picnic.