Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Knit and Crochet on the Go

You may find it interesting to know that I don’t spend my days playing with yarn. As much as I would love to do that, I need a full-time job to support my yarn habit. I work in the editorial department of a greeting card company and do most of my knitting and crocheting on my two-hour round trip commute. And don’t worry, although I once saw a driver knitting behind the wheel, I’ve never tried it. I’d rather take the bus.

Anyone who’s traveled with a yarn project can tell you the importance of having a good kit to hold your project and supplies. Whether you’re commuting by bus like I am or you’re packing for a summer vacation, here are some articles to help you get organized so you can take your skills on the road, and read on to find out about the kit I finally chose. Continue reading


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Make It! Challenge #6: Jack Russell Clutch

Jack Russell Clutch For Make It! Challenge #6, Ranee Galambos challenged me to make a purse inspired by her favorite pet, a Jack Russell terrier named Nina.

“I loved her energy, devotion, intelligence and her company. She was the most amazing dog I ever owned and always made me laugh at her craziness,” Ranee said.

It was my pleasure to design this clutch inspired by such a wonderful furry friend.

I was excited to start this project because I knew it would be a great opportunity to try my hand at felting. I did some research and asked tons of questions, and now I’m ready to tell you all about this very fun and interesting technique that will make your clutch soft and cuddly as well as beautiful.

First, I stopped by my local yarn shop to hear what the experts had to say. When I went straight to the bright white wool, they stopped me and graciously advised that you shouldn’t use bleached white wool for felting because the bleaching process has damaged the fibers. Also superwash or washable wool will not felt. The higher the wool content, the better felted the final piece will be.

More helpful advice came from Kiki and Steven of Luscious Gracious. I recommend checking out their “Murphy’s Laws of Felting,” which provides pretty much everything you need to know. Most importantly, I learned that in felting, a knitted piece will shrink more in height than it does in width. With this in mind, I made a swatch first and recorded the size before and after washing it three times in a top-loading washing machine set to “Whites.” Would you believe that my swatch shrank 20% horizontally and 45% vertically? It made me really glad that I had taken the time to do this test! Designing the pattern 20% wider and 45% taller was a little tricky and the dog that I knit does look a little wonky, but thankfully the dog I pulled out of the final wash had shrunk to the exact size I had anticipated.

Therefore, the best advice I have for you is to make a swatch and wash it in the same manner that you will use to wash the clutch. Record the setting you use and the number of washes it takes to get the level of felting you desire. Then use that information to guide you at the felting stage, because even if you use the same yarn I have used, you’ll most certainly have a better washing machine than the ancient one I used in the basement of our apartment. Most likely yours will take less than three washes!

Jack Russell Clutch Continue reading


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Hodge & Podge No. 5

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2013

Happy World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Get out your yarn and knitting needles or crochet hooks. Grab your friends, and head to your nearest park for a day of knitting, crocheting, and sharing your love of yarn with your neighbors. Or just pack your current project in your bag and work on it wherever the day takes you.

Knit in Public Day began in 2005 as a way to give knitters an opportunity to meet each other, because as any knitter can tell you, knitting can be a pretty solitary hobby. Since then, it has become the largest knitter run event in the world, with local events held in Australia, China, England, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, the United States and many more countries.

I’ll be knitting a sleeveless top out of that coral-colored KnitPicks yarn I showed you back in March. It’s about time I got this done, and I can’t wait to get out into the sun for a day of plein air knitting! What will you be working on?


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Challenge Me to Make Something Awesome

There’s no doubt about it. Friends of Squirrel Picnic, or fellow picnickers if you will, are some of the most creative, innovative, and humorous people I’ve ever met. You have big imaginations, and you’re not afraid to try new things. Best of all, you agree that the world needs a lot more fun.

Through the Make It! Challenge over the past six months, some of you have inspired me and pushed me to my craftiest. You’ve challenged me to make a toddler’s hat in the shape of a roast turkey, a felted sloth, and a Batman mask. And I’ve had a blast exploring your ideas and creating each one. But I want more! I have a few more challenges lined up for the rest of the year, but I also have several open slots. Now’s your chance to be included in this one-of-a-kind project.

The concept is pretty simple. If you have an idea for an awesome item that can be created through knitting, sewing, or crochet, email a detailed description and any sketches, photos, or links to me at squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com. Keep in mind, the more information you include, the better the chance that I will accept your challenge. And if I do accept your challenge, I’ll publish the pattern here at squirrelpicnic.com so that others can make my original design too. Best of all, I’ll send you the sample, free of charge, as a thank-you for your idea.

For more information and to see the Make It! Challenge Hall of Fame visit the new Make It! Challenge page. I can’t wait to see what you think up next!