Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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!



Make It! Challenge #3: Needle Felted Sloth

felted sloth 042 (800x600)

Thanks go out to Alicia Dollieslager for challenging me to make a needle-felted sloth. I had never needle felted before and that made this challenge even more exciting. I learned that needle felting is pretty fun and simple enough that anyone could do it, but because the needles are very sharp, it might not be suitable for young children. I love how Jane Davis puts it in her book Felting: the Complete Guide. She says, “Unfortunately, when starting out in needle felting it is almost inevitable that you will stab yourself with those sharp needles at least once, so have first aid supplies on hand and keep your tetanus shot up to date.” I guess I should feel pretty lucky that I completed this project unscathed.

The basic idea of felting is that when you move your needle in and out of the wool, barbs on the shaft of the needle grab the fibers and tangle them together to create felt. On the subject of needles, the package I purchased came with four types: a 38-gauge star-point needle for felting large areas, a 36-gauge triangle-point needle for fast felting, a 38-gauge triangle-point needle for attaching one item to another, and a 40-gauge triangle-point needle for detail felting and smoothing the surface. After trying them all out, I ended up using the 38-gauge needles for everything except the details on the face and the surface, for which I used the 40-gauge needle.

A foam pad is used as a work surface, both to protect your fingers and to help form the wool into the shape you desire. I started by poking the wool fairly deep to ensure that the center of the figure was felted. Then I switched to the 40-gauge needle to felt the surface. It’s amazing how quickly the wool begins to take shape and how forgiving this medium is.

Use my instructions to make a felted sloth of your own! Continue reading