Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Make a Squirrel-Sized Valentine

Squirrel Sized Valentine Heart by Squirrel PicnicThis week Hodge came to me with a special request. He really, really, really wanted to make a valentine for Podge and he needed me to show him how to crochet one. Of course, I would show him how! I couldn’t say no to that sweet face.

And while we were at it, we decided to create a video so you could follow along stitch-by-stitch as well. The pattern is pretty quick and simple. You’ll need to know basic crochet techniques like chaining, working in the round, and making slip stitches, half-double crochets and double crochets.

I introduce a new technique in the video as well: the alternative join method or needle joining. It’s a nice alternative to the slip-stitch join because it creates an invisible join in your final round.

We hope you enjoy the video, make lots of valentine hearts for your squirrel friends, and have a very happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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How to Make Your Amigurumi’s Head Turn: A Video!

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How to Make Your Amigurumi's Head Turn by Squirrel PicnicI have a wonderful surprise for you today! I recently discovered an inexpensive and super fast way to give your squirrel amigurumi a head that turns. The problem with amigurumi is that they are so small. I haven’t been able to find commercially made doll joints in the right size. But what is a doll joint really? It’s just a post with a fixed head and a washer that pops on to the other end. If you look around the Internet, you’ll find doll makers who have come up with all sorts of solutions: buttons and thread, screws and washers, and my personal favorite — safety eyes!

Let’s use safety eyes to make our squirrel’s heads turn! The concept is pretty simple. Just work the head section of my squirrel pattern through the last round, leaving 6 stitches remaining and a little hole. Fasten off your stitch, leaving a long tail. Thread this tail through the remaining stitches. You do the same thing with the opening at the neck of the body. You’ll insert the head (eye) of a safety eye into the hole on the head of your squirrel and pull the tail tightly to close the hole around the post of the safety eye. Then snap on the washer and fit the hole on the body around the washer. Pull that tail tight to close it around the post and ta-da you have a movable head. If that didn’t make sense, you’re in luck… I made a funny little video to demonstrate. Enjoy! Continue reading


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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.

Let’s begin! Continue reading


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How to Add Faces to Amigurumi: Crochet Eyes and Eyelids

Crochet Eye Tutorial by Squirrel PicnicTo crochet the eyes, nose, and mouth seems like the obvious way to add a face to your amigurumi, but I have to admit that it’s the method I use least often. I usually opt for embroidery or safety eyes, but after putting together this tutorial, I know I will turn to this method more often. I hope you will too!

In fact, there are three things I have discovered most appealing about these crocheted eyes: (1) they are easier and faster to make for larger toys than embroidery; (2) they are ideal if you are making the toy for a child, because as long as the pieces are sewn on securely, they won’t present a choking hazard; and (3) you can play with the placement of the eyelids to create a very unique look. A lot of a toy’s personality depends on how you place the eyelids. If you want the toy to be dopey, place them farther back on the eye. If you want him to be happy, place them directly above the eye. If you want him to be angry, place them farther forward. Have fun playing around with the placement to see what expressions you can create.

In this tutorial I used worsted-weight yarn and a G-6 (4.00 mm) hook to crochet the eyes and eyelids for a 10-inch teddy bear. If you are making eyes for a smaller amigurumi, like my squirrel for instance, you might try using crochet thread and a steel hook size 00 or smaller. If your amigurumi is a size somewhere in between those two, you might play around with different yarn weights and hooks to get the eye size you desire.

Grab your hook and some yarn in black and white and the color of your choice for the eyelids. You’ll also need a pair of scissors and a yarn needle. Let’s begin! Continue reading


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How to Give Your Amigurumi a Smiley Face

Amigurumi Smiley Faces How To by Squirrel PicnicIt’s time to learn another technique for adding faces to your amigurumi. I think you’ll enjoy this one — it’s probably the easiest to do.

Whenever you are making a toy for a small child or pet or you’ve run out of safety eyes or you’re just looking to try something different, a simple smiley face might be just the look you’re after. The following tutorial will show you how to use French knots for the eyes and a simple technique called a detached chain for the smile. There’s no reason to be intimidated by French knots. Just give them a try and remember that a little practice makes perfect. Well, actually, I don’t think my eyes are ever perfect, but I just tell myself that’s what gives an amigurumi its personality.

So grab your amigurumi, yarn needle, and yarn and let’s begin… Continue reading