Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


How to Add Faces to Your Amigurumi: Satin Stitch Embroidery

Satin Stitch Amigurumi Face Tutorial by Squirrel PicnicI love the look  of satin stitch embroidery, but I don’t use it very often for my amigurumi because, I have to warn you, it does take longer to do than any of the methods I have shown you so far. It also takes a lot of focus, because you have to repeat the same stitch over and over again until an area is filled in. You will probably notice in this tutorial that by the time I got to the white part of the eyes, I had gotten a lot less picky about the straightness of my stitches. Looking back, I wish I would have taken a break halfway through or put the project aside for a day or so. Then I would have been able to come back to it fresh: fresh eyes, fresh mind. In the least, I hope you might learn from my mistake. If you find yourself growing frustrated or impatient, feel free to take a break. You certainly have my permission.

That aside, I think you will be pleased with the results you achieve by using satin stitch embroidery to add details to the faces on your amigurumi. I always think it looks very professional, as this is the technique most often used by large toy companies to manufacture stuffed animals for young kids. Satin stitch embroidery is a great choice for toys that will be used by children of all ages, because you don’t need to worry about any small parts that might present a choking hazard. While the big companies use machines to do all the work, I will show you how to do it by hand. After all, it’s the time and love that you put into it that makes a hand-embroidered stuffed animal so special.

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Motley the Bear Crochet Pattern

Motley the Bear Crochet Pattern by Squirrel Picnic3Introducing Motley Bear! I made this bear for one of my dear friends who was donating her kidney to a relative. I wanted to provide her with a bear that exuded confidence while at the same time bringing a lot of colorful cheer while she was recovering. I think Mr. Motley pulls it off nicely.

This bear pattern is based on my original Sleepy Bear pattern, with one obvious difference — he’s all done up in stripes.

Motley Bear GreenA striped bear provides a great opportunity to use up some leftover yarn too. I made this green bear out of odds and ends of green yarn that I collected over the years. I even have another bear that I am crocheting as I go, adding a round at a time as I gather leftover yarn from other projects. If you start a stash-busting bear like I have, my biggest word of advice is to pin a card listing your place in the pattern to your bear each time you put him aside so you’ll know where you left off when you pick him up again.

When I work in stripes like this, I prefer to end each round by joining with a slst and then chaining 1 with the new color to start the next round. By pulling on the strand for the previous color, it creates almost perfect, non-jogging rounds. They aren’t entirely perfect though. You still end up with a noticeable seam that spirals down the back, but I always just make sure that this part is at the back when I sew on the arms and legs and face. I prefer this method because I am too lazy to fasten off one color and attach the new one in each round. If you have a different method for changing colors in a striping pattern, by all means use it… and please share it with me! I am always up for learning new techniques.

Here are some other techniques you might try:

June Gilbank of Planet June has some great video tutorials for an invisible join (the one I mentioned above that I am too lazy to do), a no-cut join, and a hybrid of the two.

Needle Noodles has a great photo tutorial for two slip-stitch methods of color changing.

Motley the Bear Crochet Pattern

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Crochet Purse or Satchel for Your Squirrel Friend

Satchel or Purse Crochet Pattern from Squirrel PicnicThe latest comic featuring Hodge, Podge, and Eric showed how much these squirrels love their new bags! Hodge likes to carry all of his craft supplies with him everywhere he goes, because you just never know when you’ll need a sewing machine or your knitting basket. Podge, on the other hand, likes to travel light and only carries a tube of lipstick. I’m more like Hodge — I carry a backpack filled with crochet projects and tools every day! Do you have craft supplies in your bag right now?

If your squirrel has lots of stuff, he or she is going to need a purse or satchel too. Crochet one today with this free pattern. It’s quick and easy! Decorate their bag with embroidery or beads. Use chain or ribbon for the strap. These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to get creative and customize it to your squirrel’s personal style.

If you haven’t made a squirrel amigurumi yet, you really should! They are so much fun to have around. Visit my free pattern to make a Hodge or Podge of your very own. Continue reading


Make It! Challenge #11: Thumb Wrestling World Championship

World Champion Thumb Wrestlers by Squirrel PicnicWhen I held my call for submissions last year, I received two suggestions that happened to coincide. Sharon and Shane from Melbourne, Australia, challenged me to make a ninja, and Vanja from Osijek, Croatia, challenged me to make a sumo wrestler. After musing on what a ninja vs. sumo match might be like, I decided we must find out, and so the first ever joint Make It! Challenge was born.

Luchador vs Ninja Crochet Thumb WrestlingFor Make It! Challenge #11, I crocheted contestants to compete in a Thumb Wrestling World Championship. In addition to the ninja and sumo wrestler, the contestants include a luchador and Hulk Hogan, the famous WWF personality.

To play, you simply pop one of these contestants onto your thumb, lock hands with your opponent, say “One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war,” and wrestle thumbs until someone’s thumb is pinned or the crochet thumb wrestler falls off. Whoever is left “standing” with their crochet thumb wrestler intact is the winner.

If you get really good at it, try holding two matches at once.

I hope you enjoy crocheting these and holding a Thumb Wrestling World Championship of your own.

Make It! Challenge #11: Thumb Wrestling World Championship

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A Ripper Aussie New Year’s Party

Each year, Mayor Snack Frog hosts a New Year’s Eve party at his pad and invites all his friends from the picnic and beyond, including you! This year, special guests flew all the way from Australia to attend. These delightful amigurumi characters by Sharon Pridmore of gentlestitches.com included a bushy-tailed possum, 3 foxes, a crocodile, dogs, and zombie bunnies. Australia is filled with dangerous creatures, so Sharon sent along some Easter brown snakes and a red-backed spider as well, all of which we found to be very well-behaved despite their reputation.  You can find patterns for Sharon’s crochet creations on her website or Ravelry. We were also very excited to see that she sent along MEAP2, which she made with my cuddly robot crochet pattern, so MEAP had a girlfriend to dance with all night.

We hope you enjoy this very amateur stop-motion animation, and we wish you plenty to smile about in 2015!


Hodge’s Favorite Things: Free Thanksgiving Crochet Cuteness

Excited HodgeHodge is very excited for Thanksgiving. I mean, look at him. He can’t sit still, he’s so excited.

He says he’s jumping for joy because there’s just so much to look forward to. The food. The football. The friends and family. The food. And all the Thanksgiving decorations and toys he plans to crochet to make the season as festive as can be.

This year, Hodge has helped me gather some of his very favorite free Thanksgiving crochet patterns to share with you. He says you should make them all and proudly display them on your mantel for everyone to see. Or if you will be traveling this Thanksgiving, any one of these would make a very unique gift for the host and a sure conversation starter.

Hodge's Favorite Things Thanksgiving 2014

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