The Big Acorn Race

A Squirrel Picnic Story with Crochet Patterns and Projects

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Mayor Snack Frog Free Crochet Pattern

Did you know that you can get the crochet pattern for Mayor Snack Frog (the frog who referees the big acorn race) for free? All you have to do is hop on over to the picnic. From his dapper black hat on down to his roly-poly belly, Mayor Snack Frog is brimming with good cheer. He’s the life of the party. Learn more about his adventures in the Squirrel Picnic webcomics and enjoy making a frog of your own.

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Podge’s Sunflower Crochet Pattern

Podge’s sunflowers just keep getting taller and taller. At this point, she’s expecting to be able to climb them all the way up to the clouds by September!

I should probably clarify, these sunflowers are only tall by Podge’s standards. At just 1.75 inches wide, they look tiny to us humans.

If you are new to miniature crochet, this pattern would be a great one to try. It calls for fine-weight yarn and a B-1 (2.25 mm) crochet hook, which are large in the world of miniature crochet. However, if you find you are having trouble getting your fingers to work with these materials, try the pattern again with a heavier yarn and larger hook (worsted-weight and a G or H hook should do) until you are comfortable moving down to the smaller sizes.

Celebrate the dog days of summer by crocheting some sunflowers of your own. They would make great appliques for small items like phone cases, coin purses, and barrettes.


Podge’s Sunflowers

Difficulty rating 1Finished size: 1.75 inches


Fine-weight yarn in brown
Fine-weight yarn in yellow
For the sunflowers in The Big Acorn Race, I used Lion Brand BonBons Cotton Yarn in Chocolate Brown and Yellow
B-1 (2.25 mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle or tapestry needle


ch = chain
ea = each
FO = fasten off
rep = repeat
sc = single crochet
slst = slip stitch


With brown, make a magic loop.

Rnd 1: 6 sc into the magic loop. Close magic loop. (6)

Rnd 2: 2 sc in ea sc around. (12)

Rnd 3: * Sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc, rep from * 5 more times. Join with slst to 1st sc. (18) FO.

Rnd 4: Join yellow with a slst in any sc of Rnd 3. * Ch 5, slst in next sc, rep from * 17 more times. (18 petals) FO and weave in all ends.

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Announcing Another Winner! (Instagram Giveaway)

June 2016 Winner of Instagram Giveaway

Congratulations go out to @thequiltingdoberman!

You have won your very own copy of The Big Acorn Race. Please email squirrelpicnic(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I’ll pop your prize in the mail today.

In other news, did you know that you can now find The Big Acorn Race in Barnes & Noble (and wherever books are sold). I don’t know if that’s a big deal, but when I saw that the book had ventured beyond the realm of Amazon and out into the big wide world, it really gave me quite a thrill. It’s like watching it fly out of the nest. (Sorry, weird metaphor. How would I know what that’s like? I should’ve interviewed a bird before saying such a thing.)

We’re working hard on getting the book into yarn shops nationwide as well. I’ll keep you posted on where you can find these little squirrels and their adventure.


2016 Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower CAL Closes, Winners Announced

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first annual Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow Crochet Along. I had such a wonderful time watching your pillows transform each week from spiral centers to colorful flowers in bloom.

The crochet along ran from early April through May, during which time I sent out 2-4 page pdf newsletters with tips and tricks that expand upon the instructions included for the pattern in my book The Big Acorn Race. Some special highlights included a coloring template of the pillow front to help crocheters choose colors for their pillows in advance and a brand-new pattern for a pillow back done with a spiral.

Let’s take a look at the finished pillows…

It was exciting to see the great variety of color combinations. From the vibrant to the subtle and delicate–each is so beautiful and original! From what I gather, everyone enjoyed most the spiral and the rounds that create the stripes and petals. Those are my favorite rounds too.

The back of the pillow is just as much fun to do as the front! I could tell that participants really enjoyed adding their own style to the backs of their pillows. Several participants chose the new spiral pattern for the back, and I was excited to see the magic created by combinations of colors with slight tonal variations and of solid colors with variegated yarns. Some participants chose to repeat the front for the back as well. I need to try this one myself. It looks so cool! Others created their pillow backs in bands of alternating colors. I love the variety!

And I was really pleased to hear that everyone seemed to learn something new from my tutorials. It’s my pleasure to share what I’ve learned over the years and to do my little part in helping to grow the popularity of crochet.

It has been very exciting to see everyone’s personality and creativity shining through in their pillows. I couldn’t pick a winner if I tried! So, as I usually do, I’ll let the Random Number Generator pick two winners for me. (I placed the names of participants who sent or posted photos of their completed pillows into a spreadsheet. Participants who filled out a survey received an additional entry.) And the winners are…

2016 CAL Winners

Congratulations Emily Simone and Katy Board!

Emily and Katy, to claim your prizes, please email me at squirrelpicnic(at)gmail(dot)com with a mailing address.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this first ever Squirrel Picnic crochet along. I had such a good time, and I hope you did too. Even if you weren’t able to enter the drawing, I’d love to see your completed pillows. Would you share a photo with me? I’ll even add it to this gallery if you like, so everyone can see your handiwork.

It’s been fun meeting you all and getting to know you better. See you around the picnic!

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Tips on Assembling Your Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow and Adding an Edging


Now it’s time to assemble our pillows and add one final embellishment to the edge.

So grab your completed Pillow Front and Back, a 14” round pillow form, the yarn you’d like to use to crochet the two sides together, and the yarn you’d like to use for the edging.

Start by arranging your Pillow Front and Back so that the right side of each (side you want to see) is facing out. Pair up the stitches on the edge of the Front with those on the Back as in the photo below. Hold the Front and Back together so that the Front is facing you.

Attach your yarn by making a slip knot and placing it on your hook. Insert the hook (from front to back) into a set of paired up stitches, yarn over, pull through both stitches, yarn over again and pull through the slipknot on your hook.

Pair up stitches IMG_2559

Continue with this method, pairing up and crocheting together the front and back stitches, until you are about halfway around. Insert your pillow form and continue crocheting the two sides together. When you get to the end, join with either a slip stitch or an alternative join. FO. Because the edging will likely cover up whichever join you use, this is really just a matter of personal preference.

After you have fastened off and woven in your end, smooth out any lumps or bulges, and readjust your crochet cover if needed.

Insert pillow form IMG_2575


I created this edging to complement the petal and triangle shapes created by Rounds 14-16. See how the petals in the edging line up with those in Rnd 14 and how the triangles line up with those created by the background in Rnd 15.


The key to getting everything lined up is choosing the correct starting stitch. It’s really not very hard. Here I’ll show you how. Hold your pillow so that the Front is facing you and a petal in Rnd 14 is pointing straight up. Trace an imaginary line up from the center of this petal. Count back (to the right) 4 stitches. This fourth stitch will be where we begin this round.

Begin edging IMG_2600

Take the yarn you’ve chosen for the edging, make a slipknot in the end, and place it on your hook. Sc into our beginning stitch on the edge (#4 in the photo above). Now you can probably see that when you follow the pattern for the edging you will be creating a petal right in line with the petal of Rnd 14. Cool! Continue with the pattern.


I hope you enjoyed making a Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow. Would you share a photo? Email squirrelpicnic{at} I’d love to see it.


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The Big Acorn Race Instagram Giveaway

Big Acorn Race Giveaway for FB

Hodge and Podge and Eric want to give one lucky picnicker
a copy of their new book, The Big Acorn Race.

Three quick hops and you’ll be entered to win:

1) Hop on over to Instagram and follow @squirrelpicnic.

2) Repost this photo.

3) Tag it @squirrelpicnic #wannawinthebigacornrace

I’ll draw a random winner on June 2. I can’t wait to see who wins!


Tips on Crocheting the Back of Your Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow

Pillow Back IMG_2385

Way back in April, I mentioned 3 options for crocheting your pillow back: use the Pillow Front pattern to crochet the back as well or use the Pillow Back pattern to crochet a plain back or one in many colors. If you decide to use the Pillow Front, go on ahead. You know what to do. 🙂

There are several ways to use the Pillow Back pattern to achieve a unique look. Use 1 color, use 2 or 3 or 4 or more. Lay them out in any pattern you like. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Crochet each round a different color, working in the same sequence or mixing it up. For my back (in the photo at right), I used 5 colors in alternating stripes. Each sequence is varied only slightly (some go blue, pink, purple, green, yellow and some go blue, purple, pink, yellow, green).
  2. Crochet blocks of color. Work 1 round in one color, then work the next 2 rounds in a different color.
  3. Crochet blocks of color that get wider as you work outward. This might look something like this:
    Rnd 1: With A                               Rnds 9-12: With B
    Rnds 2-3: With B                          Rnd 13: With A
    Rnd 4: With A                               Rnds 14-18: With B
    Rnds 5-7: With B                          Rnd 19: With A
    Rnd 8: With A                                Rnd 20: With B

Spiral Back

If you enjoyed making the spiral on the front of the pillow, perhaps you’d like to make a spiral for the back as well.

Special thanks to Sharon Pridmore and Elaine Womack for testing this pattern so that I could share it here with everyone!

Spiral Back


(A) Approximately 150 yards medium-weight yarn in main color
(B) Approximately 150 yards medium-weight yarn in contrasting color
Size F-5 (3.75 mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle or tapestry needle


Note: Unlike the pillow front, the back is worked in multiples of 11 so that we end up with the same final stitch count as the front. Most importantly, as you complete Rnd 1, note that you are only working 7 sts into the magic loop.

Rnd 1: Make a magic loop with A. Into the magic loop, sc, hdc, 2 dc. Attach B. Into the magic loop, sc, hdc, 1 dc. Pull the magic loop tight to close. (7) (See these tips on starting a spiral with a magic loop.)

Rnd 2: Continuing with B, 2 dc in next sc and ea of next 3 sts. Remove your hook. (11)

At end of ea rnd, remove your hook and pick up next color to begin next rnd.

Rnd 3: With A, 2 dc in ea st to the end. (22)

Rnd 4: With B, *dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (33)

Rnd 5: With A, *dc in next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (44)

Rnd 6: With B, *dc in next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (55)

Rnd 7: With A, *dc in next 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (66)

Rnd 8: With B, *dc in next 5 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (77)

Rnd 9: With A, *dc in next 6 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (88)

Rnd 10: With B, *dc in next 7 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (99)

Rnd 11: With A, *dc in next 8 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (110)

Rnd 12: With B, *dc in next 9 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (121)

Rnd 13: With A, *dc in next 10 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (132)

Rnd 14: With B, *dc in next 11 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (143)

Rnd 15: With A, *dc in next 12 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (154)

Rnd 16: With B, *dc in next 13 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (165)

Rnd 17: With A, *dc in next 14 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * to the end. (176)

Rnd 18: With B, *dc in next 15 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * 7 more times, 5 hdc, 5 sc. FO with alternative join method and weave in end.

Rnd 19: With A, *dc in next 16 dc, 2 dc in next dc, rep from * 2 more times, 5 hdc, 5 sc, join with slst. (187)