The Big Acorn Race

A Squirrel Picnic Story with Crochet Patterns and Projects


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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.

Sunflower

Podge’s Sunflowers

Difficulty rating 1Finished size: 1.75 inches

Materials

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

Abbreviations

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

Instructions

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.


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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!


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Tiny Daisy Crochet Pattern

Pattern for Crochet Daisy from The Big Acorn Race

Are you and your squirrel friends as excited as I am that winter is finally over and springtime is here? Celebrate the arrival of spring by crocheting some daisies like those featured in The Big Acorn Race.

I made the daisies for the scenes from the book out of fine-weight yarn (Lion Brand Bonbons Cotton Yarn in white and yellow) and a size B-1 (2.25 mm) crochet hook. If you have never experienced mini-crochet before, these flowers are a great opportunity to practice. Here are a few tips to help get you started:

  1. Ease yourself and your hands into the task of crocheting on a small scale by using a heavier weight yarn and appropriate crochet hook for the pattern first. I’d start with a medium-weight yarn for the first daisy, just to give the pattern a try, then move down in weight from there.
  2. Crocheting tiny takes patience. If you find yourself getting frustrated, put your work aside, and go do something else for a while or even put it away for a day or two. Your work and your nerves will benefit from a fresh perspective.
  3. Be sure to stretch your hands now and then. Whenever my hands start to tense up, I find it helpful to take a break and do a few hand and wrist stretches like these offered by Kathryn of Crochet Concupiscence.
  4. Have fun! Trying out something new always brings ups and downs, but paying attention to the aspects of the new project that you really love will help you crochet it with a smile on your face.

Tiny Daisy from The Big Acorn Race

Difficulty rating 1

Finished measurement: about 1” in diameter from petal tip to petal tip

Daisy Crochet PatternMaterials & Tools

Small amount of fine-weight yarn in white
Small amount of fine-weight yarn in yellow
B-1 (2.25 mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle or tapestry needle

For this daisy I used…

Lion Brand Bonbons Cotton Yarn in white and yellow (10 g./0.35 oz; 26 m/28 yds)

Petals

With white, ch 3 and join with slst to 1st ch to form a ring.

Rnd 1: *Ch 4, slst in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next ch, slst in next ch, slst into the ring, rep from * 7 more times. (8 petals made)

FO and weave in ends.

Center

With yellow, ch 2.

Rnd 1: 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. FO, leaving a long tail for sewing. Weave in other end.

Assembly

Use the long tail to sew the center circle to the center of the petals. I like to pull the tail tight as I sew the center on to draw the stitches in and give it a three-dimensional look.

Weave in all remaining ends.


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The reviews are in… everyone loves The Big Acorn Race!

The Big Acorn Race is a delightful story filled with whimsy, magic, and fun. It inspires the imagination… and then gives readers the tools to crochet the characters so that they can let that imagination run wild. Original, unique, and unbelievably adorable!!” —Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence

“In The Big Acorn Race, Jennifer Olivarez tells a charming story set in a cheerful crocheted world, and offers fun projects with friendly illustrations and lots of step-by-step photos.” —Suzann Thompson, author of Cute Crochet World

The Big Acorn Race is super cute and extremely creative. I was particularly impressed with the level of detail and photography in Jennifer’s instructions!” —Twinkie Chan, author of Twinkie Chan’s Crocheted Abode à la Mode

“We love how The Big Acorn Race not only tells a heartwarming story but also inspires readers to create a mini crochet universe of their own.” —Liz & Jimmy Reed of Cuddles and Rage

“The story of The Big Acorn Race is cute and just the right length for kids with short attention spans. And what kid wouldn’t love to have the characters of their book to play with? Jennifer’s instructions are so very well done and easy to follow. I just can’t wait to pull out my crochet hook and yarn and get started!” —Lois Weaver of Zo Zo Fiber Arts

The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez

A whimsical storybook and crochet pattern book in one!

The story takes readers on an adventure in a colorful crochet world. Here we follow three little squirrels, Hodge and Podge and their friend Eric, as they compete to see who can get an acorn out of a tree first. It sounds simple, but there’s a catch: they aren’t allowed to climb the tree. They each must use their wit and imagination to find an alternative solution. What will they invent and who will win?

But the fun doesn’t stop when the story ends! The Big Acorn Race also includes over 15 crochet patterns and projects to make the squirrels and their inventions, as well as accessories for you inspired by the story. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and tutorials will guide you in making your own squirrel characters, and the colorful photographs will inspire you to imagine new adventures for these crocheted friends.

Known for her ability to create patterns that are both simple in technique but truly creative and entertaining, Jennifer has taken great care to design projects that will be fun for the beginner and experienced crocheter alike.

Available from Amazon.com and other online retailers!


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Big Acorn Race Update: Picnic Photo Shoot with Your Favorite Squirrel Friends

Final Photoshoot Sketches_Squirrel Picnic

Before heading out to the mountains for the photo shoot, I took some time to sketch out a general layout. I love drawing Hodge, Podge, and Eric.

This past week I took the final photographs for the book. These full-page color photos are the “beauty shots” that will divide the patterns into sections.

Hodge, Podge, Eric, and I decided to make an adventure out of it and head up to the mountains with all of our props. We went to one of our favorite places: White Ranch Open Space Park. It was a beautiful, blue-sky day (it didn’t even feel like winter), but it was also really, really windy. We were determined not to let the wind spoil our fun, so we carried our baskets of Big Acorn Race goodies over the mud and snow until we came upon some picnic tables in the sun.

I had sketched out my ideas on how to lay out each scene before we got there, but I hadn’t really prepared for the wind. I set everything up, taping some things down and holding others down with rocks! Then I waited patiently for the wind to die down and tried to snap as many photos as I could in between gusts.

The Big Acorn Race by crochet artist and writer Jennifer Olivarez is a whimsical storybook and crochet pattern book in one!

Hodge and Podge and Eric got to model their accessories in the first photo we took. The first group of patterns you will find in the book include instructions to make the squirrels plus their accessories and inventions. The new and improved squirrel amigurumi pattern comes complete with photo tutorials and detailed instructions on how to embroider their faces, how to create their eyes, and how to sew their tails. I think you will appreciate finally being able to find all this information in one place! There are also patterns to make Podge’s apron, Hodge’s baseball cap, and Eric’s jet pack.

Oak Leaves and Acorns Patterns to Crochet from The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez_Squirrel Picnic

Next we used the picnic scene to display the Oak Leaf and Acorn Garland, Acorns in Six Sizes, and Oak Leaf Clutch. I have had the garland hanging in my bedroom for a few months now, and I love the way it adds a pinch of woodsy charm to my room. I had a lot of fun making the Oak Leaf Clutch in particular. In addition to the instructions to crochet the clutch, I show you how to add a lining and a zipper.

Tall n Fast Flower Crochet Patterns from The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez_Squirrel Picnic

Eventually we couldn’t compete with the wind any longer. I really had to fight against the wind to get back to the car, so I had to admit that we weren’t going to be able to take any more photos on the mountain. We packed it up and headed back down to one of my favorite parks in Arvada. Here, I set up the scene for the flower section, which includes patterns to make accessories for you and your home inspired by Podge’s solution to the Big Acorn Race challenge… the Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower!

#1 Award Medal for You and Your Squirrel Friend crochet pattern from The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez

Next was the photo for one of my favorite accessories. The book also includes patterns to make an award medal for you and your squirrel friend! Aren’t they darling? Danielle Duncan teamed up with Podge to gracefully model their award medals. Thank you, Danielle! You are a natural. You and Podge will make everyone want medals of their own.

Now that the photos are taken care of and amazing artist Sylvie is finishing things up (bless her heart, she is more than amazing!), I get to start working on promotional things… like giveaways! I’m hoping to have several throughout the month of March, so keep a lookout—the details on how you can win a copy of The Big Acorn Race are coming your way! (If you’re looking to purchase a copy, I promise it’s almost here. Friends of the picnic will be the first to know, so be sure to pay attention to your email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the week ahead.)