Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


A New Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern for You… This one’s big!

Large Skull Crochet Pattern by Squirrel PicnicIt’s hard to believe that it’s October already. Halloween and Day of the Dead will be here before we know it, so I wanted to get this larger skull pattern ready for you to use. Well, that’s not entirely true… I designed it for my own use too. You see I’m using them on some of the items I’ll be selling at the Pirate Gallery’s Celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Pirate has been hosting this vibrant festival for the last 30 years! This will be my second year to attend and I’m so excited that I get to be a part of it. This year I’m selling hoodies with small crochet skulls on the elbows, like elbow patches. I’m calling them Skullbows. You may have seen photos of them in the small skull pattern post. I’ll also embroider and embellish larger skulls, like the one featured here, with beads and sew them to the backs of other hoodies. The festival will be held on November 1, so I better get to work!

Right now, my bed/craft room is buried in boxes of hoodies and yarn and beads. I’d show you a picture, but I’ve lost my camera somewhere under there. In fact, if you don’t hear from me for a week or two, don’t despair. It just means I’m buried amongst the piles and I’ll be working my way out shortly.

I’ll be sure to share photos of all my preparations for Muertos Mart as we get a little closer. In the meantime, enjoy crocheting some large and small sugar candy skulls! Continue reading


Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

Candy skull coin purse

Sugar skulls and many other forms of calavera are a popular feature of Day of the Dead celebrations throughout the world. Traditionally, these skulls are made of cane sugar that is molded in one piece and then decorated with line art, flowers, and often the name of a deceased loved one as a way of honoring them.

I drew inspiration from these designs to crochet my own version of the sugar skull. The pattern starts out with a fan to create the forehead, then you work on the opposite side to create the eyes, nose, cheeks and teeth. Within the PDF pattern, I’ve included a very detailed step-by-step photo tutorial to guide you along. It’s a lot of fun to embellish these motifs with beads, embroidery, and crochet flowers to really make them look like sugar candy skulls.

Squirrel Picnic Crochet Skull AppliquesEmbellished or just plain, I’ve found so many uses for these skulls. I’ve worked them into scarves, using floral motifs in between each skull. I made a small coin purse (pictured above) by sewing the bottom half of two skulls together and adding a lining and metal clasp. They also make fantastic appliques. They look great on just about anything! Sew them to pillows, bags, scarves, hats, mittens, and jeans. Sew them to your pockets for an original and fun look. But by far my favorite use for them has been as elbow patches on hoodies. It’s so easy to do, and it creates a garment that will definitely get people’s attention.

Check out photos of all these projects at the end of this post. And download the free pattern below to give yourself a great head start on your Halloween and Dia de los Muertos preparations.

Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

Continue reading


The Squirrel Tail Mystery Is Solved!

Squirrel Crochet Pattern by Squirrel Picnic

The choice is yours! Would you like your squirrel with a crochet tail or a faux fur one? Now the pattern includes instructions for both.

The biggest dilemma in Squirrel Picnic’s history has finally been solved! With my new and improved crochet squirrel pattern, we can dress our squirrel friends up in fancy costumes and clothing without their pesky tails getting in the way. Now we can all sleep at night. Continue reading


SQUIRREL PICNIC (the comic): Who’s That Ghost?

Previous Episode: My Acorn’s Better

Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 1 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 2 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 3 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 4 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 5 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 6 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 7 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 8 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 9 Squirrel Picnic Comic Halloween 10

Happy Halloween

Special thanks to Susan Welteroth (my mama) for crocheting and naming Deca Podge…
and sending her on the long trip to Colorado. Love you, Mom!


The Creepiest Crochet on the Web

Let’s face it, Squirrel Picnic is more cute than creepy. You won’t ever see an impaled fatimal or a squirrel skeleton. It just doesn’t happen here, but that doesn’t stop us from appreciating the macabre, especially around Halloween. So I thought I’d take advantage of the approaching holiday to explore the darker side of the fiber arts and gather what I consider to be some of the creepiest, most disturbing crochet on the web.

In addition to having the guts to bring some pretty amazing (and yucky) things to life in crochet, these artists are also exceptionally talented. What I find most interesting is that whether they are crocheting bacteria, skeletons, or dismembered limbs, each of these artists explores some of life’s most disturbing aspects through an art form that is essentially soft and comforting. Through its cuddly nature, crochet provides a unique opportunity to reexamine and explore some of the more uncomfortable aspects of life such as the human body, violence, and mortality. I found myself wanting to dip my hand into the skeleton’s crocheted intestines, slip on a pair of bacteria-inspired gloves, and pet the impaled stuffed animals. I can’t think of any other medium that can evoke that kind of reaction.

Check out the links below for more examples of crochet creepiness and let us know what you think of the evil-yet-cuddly creations. But beware… these crochet masterpieces aren’t for the faint of heart.

Shove Mink’s Croshame

Photo property of Shove Mink and Croshame. Used by permission.

Photo property of Shove Mink and Croshame. Used by permission.

Shove Mink recreates horrific scenes from films like Sid and Nancy, Pulp Fiction, and The Exorcist. In fact, her “Exorcist Playset (featured above) is one of her most famous works. On her blog, Croshame, you’ll find other sinister and devilish characters from Gilly the Guillotine and Henri the Executioner to Carrie Bear. Check out her Antigurumi Gallery for more creepy cuddly fun.

Shanell Brooke Papp’s The Lab

Photo property of Shanell B. Papp. Used by permission.

Photo property of Shanell B. Papp. Used by permission.

Shanell Papp crocheted a replica of a human skeleton and vital organs for her exhibit titled “The Lab” in 2006. About the idea that yarn helps people relate to difficult subjects, Shanell offered these thoughts:

“I think an audience is more receptive to textiles/knitting/crochet since it seems more comfortable somehow. It is just easier to hold a textile heart and think about mortality in a sincere/thoughtful way than if you are holding a real heart or a plastic heart. It seems like a kinder way to talk about difficult things.”

I agree. Unlike other exhibits (I’m thinking of the “BODIES” exhibit that has been touring the country), Shanell’s skeleton welcomes us to reach out and touch all the different organs made from various yarns expertly chosen for their color and texture.

Patricia Waller’s Wonderfully Deranged Crochet

Photo property of Patricia Waller. Used by permission.

Photo property of Patricia Waller. Used by permission.

Patricia Waller’s work is both exquisitely crafted and beautifully demented. On her website, you’ll notice that her works are divided into categories such as Broken Heroes, which features beloved children’s characters in unthinkable situations and Happy Gardening, which depicts woodland creatures getting mutilated by gardening tools (poor squirrel!). Other works include crocheted prosthetics, Siamese twins, accidents, bad luck, animal experiments, and how to kill your first love. Hers is the best crocheted blood I have ever seen!

And if that wasn’t scary enough, check out these morbid gems…

Sonja Bäumel’s Bacteria Crochet

Sonja Bäumel is the artist behind several textile projects inspired by what she found from studying the fiber qualities of bacteria growth. Her “crochet membrane” fashion design explores how bacteria on our skin could be used to create clothing.

Lauren Seiffert’s Crochet Autopsy

For her BFA thesis project in 2011, Lauren Seiffert crocheted a full-scale human body complete with organs and then performed an autopsy. The video’s pretty amazing!

TinyBully Crochet Zombie Apocalypse Wear

Casey Storm of TinyBully creates knit and crochet fingerless zombie gloves torn to reveal wounded flesh and a zombie hat with eyes that pop out of their sockets!

Alana Noritake’s Brain Hat

(It’s not crochet, but I had to sneak this in.) According to 9BYTZ.com, medical student Alana Noritake designed and knit this awesome brain hat, perhaps after being inspired by her anatomy textbooks.


We’re on Vacation

Hodge and Podge are on vacation

Looks like Hodge and Podge are already relaxing in the sun, while I’m still here stuffing my luggage full of yarn. It’s about time I join them for some much-needed R & R.

But don’t dismay, we’ll be back just in time for some Halloween fun. Join us on October 23 for an in-depth look at some of the creepiest crochet on the web and on October 30 for the very first Squirrel Picnic Halloween Comic!

In the meantime, I’ll be sharing lots of Hodge and Podge photobombs on Facebook and Twitter.


Batman Returns: Crochet Mask Pattern Updated

I’m so very pleased to present a new and improved crochet Batman mask pattern, Batman maskjust in time for Halloween! The original pattern was published as Make It! Challenge #4 last March when Justin O’Neill dared me to crochet a Batman mask for him. Since then, hundreds of pretty cool people have viewed that post and several dozen very patient crocheters have made their own. Many were even gracious enough to give me some feedback. I have to admit, not all of it was good and not everyone was thrilled with the pattern. When I revisited it again a few weeks ago, I also was not thrilled. Why on earth did I do that? I found myself asking over and over again. I quickly decided that this pattern needed an overhaul and set out to make a Batman mask of my own this time, revamping the pattern as I went. Some things I changed completely, but some elements stayed the same.

What is different about the new pattern:

  • Beginning construction. The hat portion of the mask is now a basic beanie pattern.
  • Place markers. The second half of the pattern, which creates the area below the eyebrows, has been revised so that instructions for the eyehole and nosepiece area are given between place markers, making it easier to keep track of the stitch count.
  • Stitch counts. I’ve added stitch counts at the end of each round and for the eyehole and nosepiece area where needed.
  • Photos. Updated photos of the beginning of the eyehole and nosepiece area should make this part of the pattern clearer.

What is unchanged about the new pattern:

  • Yarn. No one seems to have had success substituting yarn for the bamboo-silk blend I used. Acrylic and wool do not have enough stretch. My best advice is to use the same yarn that I used or a brand that has a similar ratio of bamboo viscose and silk. Sorry about this, but I think that this yarn is what makes this mask unique. It is designed to be form-fitting and I have not yet found another yarn that achieves this. (If you have success with another type of yarn in this pattern, please let me know and I’ll update this information!)
  • Size. This pattern is for an adult with a hat size of 7 ¼.

This may be the first year in a long time that I have a costume figured out for myself well before Halloween. But the holiday is fast approaching, so I wanted to give you the opportunity to make a Batman mask with my revised pattern too. I’ll leave the original pattern up just below it in case you still need it. Please feel free to contact me here or at squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com if you have any questions.

Happy crocheting!