Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Itty Bitty, Teeny Weeny Crochet

A recent invitation to participate in a charm exchange has brought me the opportunity to explore the wonderful world of miniature amigurumi. An exchange like this brings artists together to collaborate in the making of each other’s charm necklace or bracelet. Our group includes artists in a variety of mediums: ceramic, mixed media, felt, beads, metal, and found objects. And I get to contribute crochet to the mix! Each of us gets to pick a theme for our jewelry piece, and I chose coral reefs. Imagine all the colorful things we could do with that! But first I have to make a charm myself to get my bracelet started. What reef creature could I make?

crochet-picnic-basket1First things first, I’ve never crocheted anything this small. I think the smallest piece I’ve done is the picnic basket that is about 2” tall. Just to practice, I tried making an urchin, thinking it was a simple shape… but it was too simple and it just looked like a ball. After trying a few more sea creatures, I decided to make a starfish. First I attempted to convert a life-sized starfish pattern to this scale by using DMC floss and the smallest size hook I could find. But no matter what I tried I couldn’t get it small enough. It made me realize that miniature crochet has its own tricks and rules! I do have a lot to learn.

I needed extra-small materials and extra-small patterns. I went to my local craft store with all my crochet hooks in hand to try to complete my set of steel hooks. I love how inexpensive steel hooks are! For under $20 I was able to get all the hooks I needed, from size 00 to size 14. I was also able to find crochet thread and 100% Pearl Cotton Thread in Size 5. My friend Annie let me borrow her Size 8 thread to try. Now I feel sufficiently equipped for this challenge.

Itty Bitty Crocheted Critters by Erin ClarkMini Amigurumi  by Sara ScalesI also found some books about miniature crochet that are bound to help. Mini Amigurumi by Sara Scales includes patterns for a wide variety of cute little gems from birds to babies to fruits and vegetables. Some are as small as 1/2”! Itty Bitty Crocheted Critters by Erin Clark includes patterns for some really interesting creatures like a flamingo, gecko, and crocodile. I’ve seen works from fellow crocheters done from these patterns and I can’t wait to try them out too.

We’ll be making charms for this exchange and meeting every other month over the next year. It will be exciting to see if I can improve my skills over this time. And I can’t wait to see what everyone else makes too!

I’ll share with you more in the coming week about how the charm exchange works. Until then, here’s the crochet pattern for the starfish I made for my own bracelet. I’m wondering if any of you have tried miniature amigurumi. What’s the smallest thing you’ve ever crocheted?

Starfish Charm

Starfish Charm Crochet Pattern

(Inspired by the work of Julia Kolbaskina)

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Mohair Brooch: a Crochet Pattern for Mother’s Day

My grandma receives a knitting lesson from my great-grandmother.

My grandma receives a knitting lesson from my great-grandmother.

Ask any knitter or crocheter where they learned their skills, and the vast majority will tell you from their mother or grandmother.

I remember when I first moved to Colorado, my mother flew out to visit me for a week. I was living in a studio apartment with nothing but a couch in my living room and not much to entertain us. My mom taught me how to crochet a granny square that week. (That’s all the entertainment we needed!) I really took to it, and before long I was crocheting granny blankets for everyone I knew.

Crochet Mohair Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel PicnicMy grandmother was also an avid and prolific knitter. I think she knit a sweater for every one of her grand kids. My brother got a sweater with a really cool dinosaur on it, and I got a Southwest-inspired one that I still have today. In most of my memories of her, she is knitting. Grandma even took her projects with her on all of the long, cross-country trips that she and Grandpa loved to take. I feel like she and I have so much in common. I am very thankful that I inherited her love of fiber arts as well as her abundant yarn stash.

In celebration of my mom and grandmother and all that they taught me, this Mother’s Day I thought I’d crochet a brooch out of vintage mohair yarn that once belonged to Grandma.

In keeping with the vintage motif, I designed a brooch that’s reminiscent of the filigree knot jewelry that was popular in the 1950s and 60s. I guess there is a chance that this mohair could be from that time period too!

Mother’s Day is just around the bend, but you still have time to make something for your mom. Maybe a brooch in her favorite color would do nicely. And don’t forget to thank your mom for everything she’s taught you, especially if one of those things was knitting or crochet.

Crochet Mohair Brooch

Difficulty rating 2Materials

Small amount of fingering weight mohair yarn in light aqua (ArtYarns Silk Mohair in Aqua, 60% mohair, 40% silk, 0.88 oz [25 g] / 312 yds [285 m])
Small amount of fingering weight yarn in white (Bernat Baby in White, 90% acrylic, 10% nylon, 1.75 oz [50 g] / 191 yds [175 m])
C-2 (2.75 mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle
1” bar pin
Sewing needle and thread
Beads (optional)

Instructions

Wrap aqua yarn around index finger 10 times to form a ring. Insert crochet hook, yo, and pull through all the loops. Slst to secure.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 1

Rnd 1: 24 sc into center of the ring. It’s easier if you sc a few before taking the ring off your finger.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 2

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 3

Join with slst to 1st sc.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 4

Rnd 2: (Ch 8, sk 3, sc) 5 times. Ch 8, sk 3, join with slst to 1st sc.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 5

Rnd 3: Sc 11 in ea ch-8 sp. BO

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 6

Rnd 4: Hold the brooch with RS facing. Ensuring that your yarn is in front of the brooch, attach white yarn in any center sc of the 3 skipped in Rnd 2.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 7

* Ch 12. Hold the next aqua loop forward. Working behind the loop, sc in the next center st by inserting your crochet hook from front to back.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 8

Ch 12. Hold the next aqua loop backward. Working in front of the loop this time, sc in the next center st.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 9

Rep from * to the end. BO. Weave in ends.

Crochet Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic

Sew on beads if desired.

Mohair Crochet Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic

Position the bar pin at the top of the center ring created in Rnd 1. Make sure that you can’t see it from the front. Sew bar pin on.

Mother's Day Brooch by Squirrel Picnic 10


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Recordando a familiares y amigos, Día de los muertos

Muertos Mart

In Mexico, the Southwest U.S., and around the world in other cultures, Day of the Dead (Día de los muertos) is celebrated from October 31 through November 2. With Aztec roots, the holiday celebrates death as a rite of passage, just another step in the circle of life. It is a time to remember and honor family and friends who are deceased and take a moment to reflect on our own mortality.

You can take part in the festivities too with these vibrant traditions:

Build an alter to your loved ones.

Paint your face with calavera makeup.

Make sugar candy skulls.

Decorate your loved one’s grave and have a picnic.

Celebrate with others at a Day of the Dead festival, such as…

The Día de los Muertos Mart at the Pirate Gallery in Denver on Saturday, November 2.  From 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

There will be a big opening reception with piñatas for adults and children, a candlelight procession, and Aztec dancers.

Your very own Squirrel Picnic will also be in attendance at this year’s mart! I’ll be there with Hodge and Podge (in their costumes), selling sugar skull scarves and appliqués I designed and crocheted. I’m looking forward to meeting some really cool people and sharing the wonders of Squirrel Picnic with them.

If you find yourself in the Denver area this weekend, stop on by. There will be jewelry by Sylvie of Deviled Eggs Designs and Ranee of Autumn Moon. Annie will offer her deliciously detailed fiber art. Trish will sell her wicked aprons (I’ll be wearing mine!). And much, much more!

Skull Scarves and Appliqués by Squirrel Picnic

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