Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Spring Meadow Rug Crochet Pattern

After a thorough cleaning of my bedroom/studio this spring, I decided to crochet a lively rug to cover my very blah carpet. When it came to picking the yarn for this project I knew I wanted a soft cotton, but I also wanted to try something new. I was really curious what a variegated yarn would look like in a chevron stitch pattern and I was ready to experiment.

I always love seeing the magic that happens with yarn of variegated colors. You never know quite what to expect. Sometimes, as with striping yarn, fun bands of color will appear. Other times you will get pools of color. It all depends on the yarn and the stitch pattern. So I was really pleased when this well-known and inexpensive cotton yarn created a mottled look when done up in a chevron stitch pattern.

Despite my breaking the rule against using variegated yarn with an intricate stitch pattern (I think that’s why most people use solid colors in this instance), I discovered with variegated yarn the chevron stitch pattern isn’t totally lost in the play of color. In the end, I think it creates a vibrant effect that you wouldn’t be able to achieve with solid color or stripes.

And now my floor is covered and the cotton feels divine under my bare feet, rather like a soft patch of spring grass.

Spring Meadow Rug Crochet Pattern

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The Sleepyz Blanket Crochet Pattern

The Sleepyz Blanket from Squirrel PicnicThe Sleepyz Blanket is the very first of what I’d like to call my story patterns — patterns that help to tell a story in both the finished piece and its creation. What I found through this project is that the story behind the piece continues to entertain as you’re crocheting. Each step in the pattern contains little prompts that will delightfully remind you of the story.

The story behind the Sleepyz Blanket, “All Tuckered Out,” is a creative take on why we get progressively sleepier as the day goes on. In this picture story, little creatures called Sleepyz climb up on you throughout the day with the intention of driving you back to bed.

The blanket illustrates the picture story in several ways, first by having you crochet several dozen Zs, the mischief-makers in the tale. The next part of the pattern has you crocheting the blanket and sewing on the Zs, which represents how the Sleepyz join forces by weaving themselves into a blanket. Each stitch in the blanket even corresponds to one of the methods employed by the Sleepyz to send you to dreamland. The resulting super soft and cuddly blanket makes you want to curl up and go to sleep.

This Sleepyz Blanket project has been quite a journey. And I’m so thankful to everyone for following along and having patience as I tried out yarns and tinkered with ways to construct the Zs and join them. Thanks so much for all your support and advice! I hope you enjoyed this series and the finished blanket and story.

Other articles in this series:

“All Tuckered Out”
Joining Forces
Crocheting Zs Everywhere I Go
Playing with Yarn
Making Zs by Trial and Error
Big Decisions to Make
Introducing the Sleepyz Blanket!

The Sleepyz Blanket Crochet Pattern

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The Sleepyz Blanket: Crocheting Zs Everywhere I Go

It feels like I’ve been crocheting Zs forever! Everywhere I go, I have my yarn and my crochet hook. It’s a great way to keep my hands busy and to pass the time. I find needlecrafts to be very calming, especially when I’m cramped on a bus after a long day at work. So I guess it’s a good thing I have a lot of Zs to crochet! Does crocheting and knitting have a soothing effect on you too?

It’s been about a month since I started crocheting these Zs. Every night when I get home, I toss the Zs I made that day into a box to be wet blocked later.  When I finally took a look at my Z stash the other day, I was floored by the number I’ve already made! I almost have the 155 Sleepyz I’ll need to make a standard size afghan, and seeing them all together was a little overwhelming. I found myself getting sleepier and sleepier in their presence. It shouldn’t be that surprising, but crocheting Sleepyz will wear you out!

In the park, on the bus, in my office while at lunch. Crochet here, crochet there. I crochet Zs everywhere!

Other articles in this series:

Playing with Yarn

Making Zs by Trial and Error

Big Decisions to Make

Introducing the Sleepyz Blanket


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Wreath Spritz Cookie Crochet Pattern

Wreath Spritz Crochet Cookie PatternIt’s time for the second cookie in our Great Cookie Countdown: the spritz! Spritz are a vanilla-flavored butter cookie from Germany and Scandinavia. “Spritz” or “sprintzen” in German means “to squirt,” which describes how the cookie is made. The dough is loaded into a cookie press and a trigger is pulled to squirt the dough through a metal template at the end of the barrel, which molds the cookie into a decorative shape, such as a wreath, flower, or star.

Crocheting in the back loop for every row creates a beautiful rib pattern that imitates the design of a spritz wreath. Traditionally these cookies are red, green, white, or beige, but feel free to use whatever color strikes your fancy. Add some sprinkles if you like by sewing on seed beads.

Visit the Great Cookie Countdown Page for the story behind this series and a complete directory of Christmas cookie ornaments.

Spritz Wreath Cookie Crochet Pattern… Continue reading


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Pattern for Crochet Acorns and Fantastic Ways to Use Them

Hodge and Eric showed us over the last few weeks how acorns are a treasured gift among squirrels, but I think the crocheted variety could come in handy for us humans too. Below are some unique and creative ways you might use these acorns. And, as always, here’s the free pattern to make your very own!

My pattern includes instructions on making a cap and a bottom, which you sew together to form an acorn. If instead you don’t sew the cap to the bottom of the acorn, you’ll have a unique gift box in which to hide a little present.

Gift Acorn

Add acorns to a fall wreath or mantel display.

Acorn Decor

Crochet your acorns in holiday colors or all white and hang them on your tree or display them in a decorative bowl on your coffee table.

White Acorn

String a cord through the stem and wear the acorn as a necklace.

Acorn Necklace

Use bright colors and a crochet hook size H-8 (5.0 mm) or larger to make an acorn like Eric’s bioengineered one. These acorns would make wonderful pincushions, present toppers, or even cat toys.

Neon Acorn

Crochet Acorn Pattern Continue reading