Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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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How to Make Your Amigurumi’s Head Turn: A Video!


How to Make Your Amigurumi's Head Turn by Squirrel PicnicI have a wonderful surprise for you today! I recently discovered an inexpensive and super fast way to give your squirrel amigurumi a head that turns. The problem with amigurumi is that they are so small. I haven’t been able to find commercially made doll joints in the right size. But what is a doll joint really? It’s just a post with a fixed head and a washer that pops on to the other end. If you look around the Internet, you’ll find doll makers who have come up with all sorts of solutions: buttons and thread, screws and washers, and my personal favorite — safety eyes!

Let’s use safety eyes to make our squirrel’s heads turn! The concept is pretty simple. Just work the head section of my squirrel pattern through the last round, leaving 6 stitches remaining and a little hole. Fasten off your stitch, leaving a long tail. Thread this tail through the remaining stitches. You do the same thing with the opening at the neck of the body. You’ll insert the head (eye) of a safety eye into the hole on the head of your squirrel and pull the tail tightly to close the hole around the post of the safety eye. Then snap on the washer and fit the hole on the body around the washer. Pull that tail tight to close it around the post and ta-da you have a movable head. If that didn’t make sense, you’re in luck… I made a funny little video to demonstrate. Enjoy! Continue reading


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


How to Give Your Amigurumi a Smiley Face

Amigurumi Smiley Faces How To by Squirrel PicnicIt’s time to learn another technique for adding faces to your amigurumi. I think you’ll enjoy this one — it’s probably the easiest to do.

Whenever you are making a toy for a small child or pet or you’ve run out of safety eyes or you’re just looking to try something different, a simple smiley face might be just the look you’re after. The following tutorial will show you how to use French knots for the eyes and a simple technique called a detached chain for the smile. There’s no reason to be intimidated by French knots. Just give them a try and remember that a little practice makes perfect. Well, actually, I don’t think my eyes are ever perfect, but I just tell myself that’s what gives an amigurumi its personality.

So grab your amigurumi, yarn needle, and yarn and let’s begin… Continue reading


Make It! Challenge #7: Rainbow Donkey

Bill Brown’s comic The Evil Squirrel’s Nest, which he publishes on his blog Rainbow Donkey / Unicorn Crochet Pattern by Squirrel Picnicweekly on Thursdays, features a ragtag group of squirrels, skunks, cats, and various other wild animals who are always getting into something interesting. The main characters – Hooly, Odyssey, Hottie, Mini, and Clem – were all inspired by people Bill knows in real life. But of all the characters, the one most loved by fans is Rainbow Donkey, who is also the subject of this Make It! Challenge.

The story of how this “donkicorn” came to be is just as interesting as the character himself. Bill says:

Rainbow Donkey’s embarrassing debut appearance

Rainbow Donkey’s debut appearance

“The very first drawing of the ‘unicorn’ that would become Rainbow Donkey was a small avatar for my message board…. It was one of my first attempts to draw any member of the equine family, and to say it looked like complete crap is an understatement. Even my online friends, who were very encouraging of me for what at the time was some really bad art I was drawing, couldn’t help but point out how ridiculously awful the unicorn looked — with most of the replies being that it looked like a cow. In fact, Rainbow Cow was the first nickname being bandied about for it, but being as taken in by the real life Hooly as I was at the time, when she began calling it Rainbow Donkey, the name stuck… as did the character.”

I accepted Bill’s challenge both because I ES and SP Rainbow Donkeysadmire his work and just really like him as a person and because, much like Bill had never drawn a horse before Rainbow Donkey, I had never crocheted a horse/donkey/unicorn before. It turned out though that crocheting a donkicorn wasn’t the most difficult part. The toughest thing about this challenge was trying to capture that rough but loveable charisma that has made his donkicorn character so popular among fans. It might have something to do with his illustration style.

Bill does most of his sketching by hand, then uses MS Paint (I’m so impressed by anyone who has the patience to draw a comic in Paint!) and Photoshop to bring the images to digital life.

Click here to see how he draws his comics.

Click here to see how he creates his single-frame images in Paint too!

This process creates scenes that are bright and lively and, he admits, a little rough around the edges. I think that’s what makes them so endearing, and it was my biggest hope that I would be able to capture that quirky beauty in my crocheted version of Rainbow Donkey. I hope that you, too, can see the charm in his stubby feet, giant ears, and crooked smile. Because like Bill says, it’s our flaws that make us loveable.

Click here to read more of my interview with Bill.

And as always here’s my free pattern to make your very own…

Rainbow Donkey Continue reading