Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Year of the Sock

I’m declaring 2016 the year of the socks. I just realized that I have accumulated a lot of sock yarn over the years. It’s the one thing I don’t feel guilty about purchasing when I go to yarn shows, because unlike other projects, you can pretty much bet that one skein of sock yarn will make a nicely sized pair of socks. Here’s my stash right now.

My Sock Yarn Stash 2016

I’ve tried knitting socks, but I am very slow at it. I even learned how to knit two at a time (on two circular needles) to try to speed up the process. But I was still pretty slow. I only got two pairs of socks made last year. So this year, I decided to try my hand at crocheting a pair of socks. I found this fun book with 16 patterns by Janet Rehfeldt.

More Crocheted Socks Pattern Book

I started crocheting my first pair on the plane from New York City, using the first pattern in the book, “Simple Simon.” And it’s just like the title… very simple.

More Crochet Socks Patterns_Simple Simon

The construction is very similar to knit socks, but I was able to fly right through it. So satisfying! I ended up finishing my first pair of crocheted socks in one week! I think I will try to make this a regular monthly project. My new year’s resolution then is to crochet one pair of socks a month. I certainly have enough sock yarn for that. Welcome to 2016, the year of the socks!

January 2016 Crochet Socks_Simple Simon

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Super Comfy, Super Quick Knit Scarf: Step-by-Step Tutorial

Super Comfy, Super Quick Scarf free knit pattern by Squirrel PicnicI love this time of year. It’s so much fun digging out all the scarves, hats, and mittens. This year, I’m digging way back to December 2012, when I posted the pattern for a Super Comfy, Super Quick Knit Scarf. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fast knitter. Right now I have three knitting WIPs that have been on the needles for over a year (one of them a sweater in laceweight yarn–what was I thinking?). Because I’m so slow, bulky yarn is a dream come true for me because with it you can finish a project in a weekend, or like this scarf, in an afternoon.

Super Comfy, Super Quick Knit Scarf Free Pattern by Squirrel PicnicThe Super Quick scarf was my answer when I needed to bring a gift to a party and I only had one day to do it in. Using size 35 (19 mm) knitting needles, bulky yarn that is doubled up, and a fairly simple stitch pattern that is repeated for every row makes this a pattern that should fly right by.

Well, some knitters didn’t quite have the experience I had expected. And revisiting the pattern this week, I could see why. It’s a weird stitch pattern–not too complicated, but just different. So I decided to go back and create a step-by-step photo tutorial for the pattern. I’m hoping that this will help ensure that anyone who starts this scarf project will have it done in time to give it to someone special this Christmas, or for them to wear it themselves at the first snow.

Squirrel Picnic Knit Scarf 15I discovered while knitting the swatch for this tutorial that this scarf is so much fun! Once you get the knack of the stitch pattern, the needles just start to fly. And because of the bulky yarn and large knitting needles, I knit this whole swatch in about twenty minutes! The texture is so unique and the fabric is thick and luxurious. Now I want to knit one for myself. I think I know what will be on my needles as soon as I’m done with the book. And this will be one of those rare knitting projects that isn’t sitting in a bag for a year before I finish it.

So pick up some giant knitting needles and some bulky yarn and whip up this scarf for Christmas! You still have time to make it.


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Big Acorn Race Update: Getting My Squirrels in a Row

Hodge helps me sew up the seam on the last tree.

Hodge helps me sew up the seam on the last tree.

April has gone by in a blur. I couldn’t tell you where the time went. My full-time job has been keeping me so busy that I am surprised when I have the energy to work on the blog or the book in the evenings. I have a feeling I will need to take some time off this summer to get all my squirrels in a row.

Tree Trunk

I played with freeform crochet to create the exposed roots on the trees.

This month – in the car, on the bus, in parks, and mostly on weekends – I concentrated on finishing up the set and creating the first new pattern for the book. Continue reading


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Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

Candy skull coin purse

Sugar skulls and many other forms of calavera are a popular feature of Day of the Dead celebrations throughout the world. Traditionally, these skulls are made of cane sugar that is molded in one piece and then decorated with line art, flowers, and often the name of a deceased loved one as a way of honoring them.

I drew inspiration from these designs to crochet my own version of the sugar skull. The pattern starts out with a fan to create the forehead, then you work on the opposite side to create the eyes, nose, cheeks and teeth. Within the PDF pattern, I’ve included a very detailed step-by-step photo tutorial to guide you along. It’s a lot of fun to embellish these motifs with beads, embroidery, and crochet flowers to really make them look like sugar candy skulls.

Squirrel Picnic Crochet Skull AppliquesEmbellished or just plain, I’ve found so many uses for these skulls. I’ve worked them into scarves, using floral motifs in between each skull. I made a small coin purse (pictured above) by sewing the bottom half of two skulls together and adding a lining and metal clasp. They also make fantastic appliques. They look great on just about anything! Sew them to pillows, bags, scarves, hats, mittens, and jeans. Sew them to your pockets for an original and fun look. But by far my favorite use for them has been as elbow patches on hoodies. It’s so easy to do, and it creates a garment that will definitely get people’s attention.

Check out photos of all these projects at the end of this post. And download the free pattern below to give yourself a great head start on your Halloween and Dia de los Muertos preparations.

Sugar Candy Skull Crochet Pattern

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Make It! Challenge #9: Mr. Potato Head VIP (Very Important Potato) Edition Crochet Pattern

For Make It! Challenge #9, Daniel requested I crochet him a Mr. Potato Head doll. He was kind enough to let me decide on the accessories. I had a ton of fun thinking up new parts and facial features to make!

It is interesting to see all the different parts that Hasbro has come up with for Mr. Potato Head since he was invented in 1952. The first Mr. Potato Head kits came with ears, eyes (two pairs), facial hair (eight pieces of felt), feet, hands, hats (three), mouths (two), noses (four), and a pipe. Today, any Mr. Potato Head fanatic could show you an elaborate collection of accessories. Some of my favorites include party hats, pierced ears, handcuffs, bare feet, a pirate’s peg leg and eye patch, and a hockey player’s gap-toothed grin.

But with all the characters Hasbro has made into potatoes, I think there are a few opportunities they missed. What they need is a VIP (Very Important Potato) line of celebrity potatoes. Just picture it: Tiger Spuds, Morgan Fryman, Spuddy Holly, Elisabeth Shue-string Fry, Oprah French Fry, Vladimir Poutine, Mashton Kutcher, James Hashbrowns, to name a few (thanks to Becky for many of these ideas!). In the end, for this challenge, I decided on making Channing Potatum, Tater Swift, and Barack Au Gratin for my real-life celebrity potatoes. And then I threw in Harry Potater, because, well, Harry Potter’s name just screams make me into a potato.

Unfortunately due to licensing concerns, the pattern to make Mr. Potato Head: VIP Edition is no longer available. My apologies for any inconvenience this causes.


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Jelly Belly Bunny Crochet Pattern

Jelly Belly Bunny is ready to visit your home for Easter! No, she’s not the Easter Bunny. She’s more the Easter Bunny’s awkward sister, the one who finds and eats all the Easter Bunny’s candy before anyone else gets a chance. She’s a hoot to have around, but you’ve been warned, you’ll need go out and get more candy.

Read on to get the free pattern…

Jelly Belly Bunny Pattern by Squirrel Picnic

Jelly Belly Bunny Crochet Pattern Continue reading