Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Make It! Challenge #10: Crochet Island Play Set

Island Play Set with Animals Crochet Pattern by Squirrel PicnicLast spring, Brittani from Wisconsin challenged me to make her son a play set. Specifically, he really wanted a farm play set. Through my research, I found a few barnyard play sets already in existence, including this free one from Lion Brand (you have to log in to view the free pattern). I really loved the play set idea, so Brittani and her son agreed to let me come up with a unique alternative.

I was surprised to find there are a lot of crochet play set patterns out there. In addition to the farm one, I found a safari play set, a teddy bear picnic, a flower pot play set, a racetrack, and lots and lots of toy food. No one had made an ocean play set though, and I instantly fell in love with the idea of crocheting an island surrounded by little ocean animals. Thankfully, Brittani and her son loved the idea too!

The detail I liked most from all the play sets I encountered was how some of them transformed into a bag or box to hold all the little pieces of the set. I included this feature by adding a drawstring to the play set base. Because the play set is rather large (three feet in diameter), the drawstring is a bit longer than I expected, but I think it’s still quite useful to be able to toss all your little ocean animals into the bag and cinch it up so they don’t get lost. Update: A friend of the blog, Ankhara, suggested to pull the drawstring out from two opposite sides of the play set to close it. This way the drawstring will not be too long. Thanks for the tip!

This pattern should be fun and enjoyable for crocheters of all skill levels. The animals are very quick to make because most of their limbs are crocheted in the final rounds. I thought it would be nice not to have too many pieces to sew on at the end.

In fact everything is nice and easy on this island. It’s paradise! At this beach, you don’t have to worry about sunburn or sand that works its way into everything. The sharks even play nice here! I hope you enjoy making an island play set of your very own. I’d love to see photos if you do! Send them to squirrelpicnic{at}gmail{dot}com.

Island Play Set Crochet Pattern

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Baby Rainbow Chick Crochet Pattern

Crochet Baby Rainbow Chick by Squirrel PicnicBaby rainbow chicks are just about the cutest creatures on the planet. Each spring, a rainbow chicken will lay between six and twelve pastel-colored eggs. These eggs are often mistaken for candy, so the female rainbow chicken must guard her nest very diligently against sweet-toothed woodland critters.

Baby rainbow chicks are very rambunctious. They hop around like bouncy balls on a sugar high. But they’re ridiculously adorable, so most everyone puts up with them.

They whip up super quick, so you can crochet a dozen in no time flat. They fit comfortably in plastic Easter eggs too.

I think we’ll call this one Pepito. Thanks to Sheena (NotAPunkRocker) for the name!

 Baby Rainbow Chick Crochet Pattern

Difficulty rating 1

Finished size: 1 1/2″ tall and 5″ around at the widest point

Materials

small amount of worsted-weight yarn in white (Caron Simply Soft in White, 6 oz [170 g] / 315 yds [288 m])
small amount of worsted-weight yarn in purple (Caron Simply Soft in Orchid, 6 oz [170 g] / 315 yds [288 m])
small amount of worsted-weight yarn in yellow (Caron Simply Soft in Sunshine, 6 oz [170 g] / 315 yds [288 m])
F-5 (3.75 mm) crochet hook
1 set of size 6 mm safety eyes (if you are making this for a child, please embroider eyes)
Polyester Fiberfill
Tapestry needle

Gauge

5 sts = 1″
5 rows = 1″

Instructions

Crochet a Baby Rainbow ChickBody

Note for changing color: This chick is crocheted in joined rounds in order to create almost perfect jogless stripes. In other words, each round ends with “join with slst, ch 1.” On the rounds with a color change, join with slst as usual, but use the next color to ch 1.

Of course, you could always fasten off each color and reattach the new color. This will give you a more precise stripe, but you’ll have to weave in some ends (or just tie them on the inside), which could be annoying… unless it’s your favorite part, then by all means, knock yourself out!

With white, ch 2

Rnd 1: 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. (6)

Rnd 2: 2 sc in ea sc around, join with slst, switch to purple, ch 1. (12)

Rnd 3: * Sc, inc, rep from * 5 more times, join with slst, switch to white, ch 1. (18)

Rnd 4: * 2 sc, inc, rep from * 5 more times, join with slst, switch to purple, ch 1. (24)

Rnd 5: Sc in ea sc around, join with slst, switch to white, ch 1.

Rnd 6: Sc in ea sc around, join with slst, switch to purple, ch 1.

Rnds 7-8: Rep rnds 5-6.

Rnd 9: * 2 sc, dec, rep from * 5 more times, join with slst, switch to white, ch 1. (18)

Insert posts of safety eyes between stitches in Rnds 5 and 6 and pop on the backs to secure. Stuff chick firmly.

Rnd 10: * Sc, dec, rep from * 5 more times, join with slst, switch to purple, ch 1. (12)

Rnd 11: Dec 6 times, join with slst. FO, leaving a long tail. Using tapestry needle, thread this tail through the remaining sts and pull tight to close the hole. Weave in end.

Wings (Make 2)

With white, ch 2.

Rnd 1: In 2nd ch from hook: sc, hdc, 4 dc, hdc, sc. Join with slst. FO, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Sew wings to sides of the body.

Beak

Using yellow yarn, embroider a beak.

I made my beak by embroidering the outline of a triangle that points down. Then I threaded through the two bottom sides of the triangle twice to fill it in and hid the end inside the bird.

Feet

Thread tapestry needle with yellow yarn again and double it up. Insert the needle through the back of the bird (anywhere is fine) to a spot on the bottom (toward the front) where you want to position a foot. Pull the yarn so there’s only a few inches sticking out the back (we’ll take care of those in a bit).

Chick 1Insert the needle back through this same hole in the bottom front of the bird and out through a corresponding hole on the other side at the bottom of the bird.

Chick 2Pull through until the two loops are about a 1/4″ long.

Chick 3Insert your needle back through the same hole you just came out of and thread it through to the back of the bird again (anywhere is fine). Pull through until the two loops on this side are about the same size as your first two loops.

Chick 4Trim your yarn and push the ends inside the bird.

Mama Rainbow Chick and BabyEvery rainbow chick needs a mama.
Crochet a Mama Rainbow Chick with the free pattern here at the picnic.


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SQUIRREL PICNIC (the comic): The Mystery of the Rainbow Chicken Part 2

Previous episode: The Mystery of the Rainbow Chicken Part 1

 The Mystery of the Rainbow Chicken Part 2Join us tomorrow to get the free pattern to make a baby rainbow chick!

And in case you missed it, here’s the pattern for Mama Rainbow Chicken.


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Rainbow Chicken Crochet Pattern

Rainbow Chicken is just your average, ordinary, everyday chicken, except that she developed a striped pastel pattern to her plumage after a rainbow fell on her one day. Can you imagine that? I want a rainbow to fall on me too!

She lives in the woods near the picnic and lays pastel-colored eggs in springtime. These eggs look a lot like candy. But are they? You’ll have to stayed tuned for Part 2 of “The Mystery of the Rainbow Chicken” to find out! In the meantime, crochet a rainbow chicken. She’d look super cute in someone’s Easter basket.

Mama Rainbow Chicken Crochet Pattern from Squirrel Picnic

Rainbow Chicken Crochet Pattern

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Frosted Snowflake Sugar Cookie Crochet Pattern

Snowflake Frosted Sugar Cookie Free Crochet PatternHave you seen some of the frosted sugar cookies out there this year? So many of them are works of art! If someone offered me cookies as elaborately decorated as these by the folks at Martha Stewart, I’m afraid I might refuse to bite into them lest I spoil their beauty.

I’ve not been so successful with frosted cookies in the past for two reasons: (1) I like to eat cookies more than I like decorating them and (2) I’m really good at making messes. I greatly admire all those bakers who can restrain themselves from eating their fabulous creations long enough to then frost and glaze and ice them with beautiful decorations. I’m just not one of them. Even if I get to the decorating stage of baking, I’m so messy that I feel proud if I can get more frosting on a cookie than on my fingers.

Lucky for me, these crochet frosted snowflake cookies aren’t messy at all! And there’s no reason to be intimidated by that embroidered snowflake design. It’s a piece of cake to do, and I’ve included a step-by-step tutorial to make it even easier.

Visit the Great Cookie Countdown Page for the story behind this series and a complete directory of Christmas cookie ornaments.

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