Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Make It! Challenge #8: Zombies in Love

Zombies in Love from Squirrel Picnic

My husband, Shelby, is the best. Since the start of Squirrel Picnic, he’s had to put up with crochet squirrels coming on vacation with us, weekends sacrificed to endless crochet craziness, and a living room that is almost always covered in yarn. He’s also been my best adviser, weighing in on everything from yarn color to construction. He has a very good mechanical mind. For these and so many other reasons, I am very pleased to be able to dedicate Make It! Challenge #8 to him — it’s well deserved and long overdue. And, yes, he advised me on everything for this project, even coming with me to the yarn shop to pick out zombie colors.

As you could probably already guess, for this challenge Shelby asked me to make him a zombie version of myself (a zombie self-portrait if you will). I set my heart on a few details from the start: an exposed brain with a flap of scalp, an eye that could pop out of the socket, and an arm that’s been cut off at the elbow. Of those three details, the eyes were the hardest, and I’m still not thrilled with how bug-eyed my zombie looks. So when I decided to make a zombie version of my husband to accompany the zombie version of me, I chose to simplify the construction of some of the details. Before I knew it, I had two very different patterns. The bodies and appendages are basically the same, but details like the eyes, brain opening, hair, and limbs are more complicated on the girl zombie. Have fun picking and choosing which details you like between the girl and boy zombies to make your zombie uniquely your own.

As a final note, I should mention that this pattern doesn’t include how to make clothing for your zombie. However, at the end of each pattern, I’ve listed links to the free sewing patterns I used to make my zombies’ clothes. Most 16” to 18” doll clothes patterns will fit your zombie, but do a fitting with the pattern before you start. There are a lot of free American Girl Doll clothes patterns online, and from what I could tell, most of them will fit your zombie with minimal tweaking.

As I type this, our zombies look very cute sitting on the couch together and holding hands. I’d love to see pictures of your zombies too! Send them to squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com or share them on Facebook.

Zombies in Love Crochet Patterns Continue reading


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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