The Big Acorn Race

A Squirrel Picnic Story with Crochet Patterns and Projects


Leave a comment

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

Assembly

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

Edging

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.

IMG_2612

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.

IMG_2638

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

IMG_2630


Leave a comment

Tips for Crocheting Rounds 14-19 of the Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow

In the next 3 rounds of our Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillows we crochet the petals, a background for them, and a round to hold them flat. All while adding even more color and fun!

Rnd 14: Making Petals

Starting this round is probably the most difficult part. When you change color by pulling up a loop of the new color as your first chain, it’s rather hard to keep this chain from getting longer when you have to reach 3 stitches away to get to your first stitch. To help hold your chain in place until you are able to secure it by weaving the tail in, make the 1st petal over the tail end of your yarn. Position the tail so that it is just above and behind the stitch you are working into. Insert your hook and crochet the stitch around the tail. The tail will be enveloped by your stitch. This is also a handy trick to speed up weaving in ends. If you crochet your first 3-5 stitches like this whenever you are changing yarn at the start of a round, all you will have to do at the end is weave the rest of the tail in a different direction to secure it.

Crochet over the tail

When you get to the end of the round, join with a slip stitch to the 1st stitch.

join with slst to 1st st

Rnd 15: Filling in Behind the Petals

We will be working into the stitches of Rnd 13 (both the stitches we skipped and the bar of the hdc we crocheted the petals into) and the sc stitches of Rnd 14, which occur between each petal.

The key here is to hold the petals forward so you can access these skipped stitches from behind the petals.

fold the petals forward

The next stitch gives us an interesting situation, as it is the one we used in Rnd 14 to make our petal. The stitch itself is already occupied (pretty cramped actually), so we will need to crochet into the only available loop: the bar of this stitch. Hdc stitches have something called a “back bar” or a third loop below the front and back loops we usually use.

You can even use this technique of crocheting into the back bar to create a fabric that resembles knit stitches. Pretty neat!

After working into the next skipped stitches, work into the next single crochet of Rnd 14.

2 dc into the sc between petals

Continue the pattern around as instructed.

This round creates a vibrant backdrop to our petals, really making them stand out!

Rnd 16: To Hold the Petals Down

To make sure that everything lines up perfectly in this round, be sure to work your first stitch in the next tr stitch and not the tr at the base of your initial chain. (If you don’t do this your petals will lean to the right.)

crochet into the next stitch to get lined up

Your next stitch should be directly behind the chain space of the closest petal. Into this stitch and the chain space together, work 2 hdc. This holds your petals down neatly (and provides the increases needed for this round).

Repeat the pattern around. After crocheting into the chain space on the last petal, you should have just 5 hdc remaining. This is because we started with that 1 lone hdc in the beginning that got us all lined up.

Join with slst to End Rnd 16

Ta-da we’re almost done with the front of our pillow.

Rnds 17-19: Wrapping Up Our Pillow Front

These final rounds are like a breath of fresh air — so nice and easy. So sit back and enjoy some refreshingly mindless crochet. Well, you do have to count, but otherwise it’s a piece of cake. See you next time when we crochet the Pillow Back!


3 Comments

Tips for Rounds 10-13 of the Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow

I hope you are enjoying crocheting this one-of-a-kind cushion. In this installment, you will find information specific to this pattern about working in joined rounds and the role of the initial chain. Different designers approach this in different ways, so I thought it would be worthwhile to address how my instructions are written. (Feel free to use a different method if you prefer.)

And then it’s on to Rnd 12! This is one of my favorite rounds. It represents a special change of heart for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a bit of a perfectionist bent. Well, this particular round really taught me to loosen up and have fun. At first I was inclined to write the pattern so that people would have to count all those hdc stitches in Rnd 10 as they went in order to get their “wheel spokes” absolutely positively evenly spaced. But then something inside me said, “Just let loose. This pattern is supposed to be fun.” So that’s what I did. And I’ve been satisfied with the results in every pillow I’ve made. I hope you are able to let loose too and really enjoy this fun round.

You Don’t Have to Cut Your Yarn after Each Round!

One important thing to note about this pillow front is that you don’t have to cut your yarn at the end of each round if you don’t want to. You can carry it up the back instead. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method in my opinion. When you choose not to cut the yarn after each round, you end up being “tied” to many balls of yarn and you’ll probably have to untangle them now and then to keep them straight. I do this by keeping them in order and always bringing the next color to the front of the line before I start the round. This keeps the colors tidy at the back of your work, which is really just for your own enjoyment (no one will ever see it!). However, if you don’t pull the yarn a little taut when you start using it again, you run the risk of the join being loose later down the line. If you choose to trim your ends each time you change color, you won’t have to worry about anything coming loose because you will weave in your ends before you assemble your pillow. So it really may just be a matter of how much you enjoy or don’t enjoy weaving in ends!

I get an odd thrill when I can run up my yarn between rounds this neatly. Too bad it’s on the WS of the work and no one will ever see! But I will know. (WS of Pillow Back pictured.)

I get an odd thrill when I can run up my yarn between rounds this neatly. Too bad it’s on the WS of the work and no one will ever see! But I will know. (WS of Pillow Back pictured.)

With that, let’s begin Rnds 10-13!

Rnd 10: Let’s Talk About Initial Chains and Changing Colors

Start by inserting your hook into the loop of A that we left off with last time. Pull a loop of C through the A loop and chain one more time. (Whenever we change color in this way, the first loop you pulled up will count as your first chain.) Also note that this initial chain serves not only to change color but also to get us to the height we need to work the stitches in the round. In the patterns throughout the book, unless otherwise noted, the initial chain doesn’t count as a stitch. (See page 35 for more information.)

Initial Chain

Here’s another example that might illustrate it more clearly: To begin Rnd 11, you’ll pull up a loop of D and chain 3 more for a total of 4 chains.

Rnd 10: Skip the Alternative Join Stitch

There are two ways to skip the alternative join stitch: Either hdc into the stitch before the join, sk the alternative join, and hdc in the next stitch of A. Or if you find it hard to get your hook into this last B stitch, skip it and hdc into the A stitch with the alternative join (not into the join itself).

To end the round, join with a slst to the first stitch. Be sure not to mistake the chain for the first stitch. In fact, from this point on, it might help you to use a piece of waste yarn to mark the beginning of each round.  At the end of Rnd 10, you should have 90 sts.

To end the round, join with slst to the first stitch of the round.

To end the round, join with slst to the first stitch of the round.

Rnd 11: Working in the Round

This is also a good time to talk about working in the round. There are a few schools of thought on where your first and last stitches should go. In the book, I talk about working the first stitch of a round into the next stitch (not the one at the base of the initial chain). The last stitch is worked into the back of the slst join that ended the previous round. I feel that this gives it a more seamless join.  This method also means that the initial chain does not count as a stitch. Again it is only used for changing color and achieving the height needed for the stitches in that round.

Rnd 11 first and last stitch

Be sure that you don’t make your slip-stitch joins too tight. You’ll need to be able to work into the back of them at the end of the next round. You can always tighten them after you finish the round by pulling a bit on the working end.

Rnds 10-11 not only gave us an opportunity to get on the same page about beginning and ending rounds, but those parts in the middle were pretty nice too. I enjoy easy rounds because they let me zone out and crochet without thinking too hard. They offer a nice change of pace, and they get me relaxed and ready for the more complicated parts. I’m not gonna lie, Rnd 12 is more complicated, but once you get the hang of it, I’m sure you’ll find it a piece of cake.

Rnd 12: Around the Post

Let’s get started on this exciting round. First grab your ball of E yarn and follow the pattern to the first stitch that we will skip. To find the hdc directly below the skipped st, hold your work upright so that the next stitch is at the top. Trace an imaginary line down from this stitch to Rnd 10.

This hdc will never be exactly below. Technically it will be either to the left or right of the sk st. Just decide whether you want to work into the hdc before or after the sk st and choose the same way each time. Consistency is key, but keep in mind this is not meant to be exact. It’s much more fun to eyeball it.

Whichever stitch you choose, keep your eye on it or hold it between your left thumb and forefinger as you wrap your yarn around your hook three times to begin the dtr.

To crochet around the post, insert your hook into the space before the hdc, behind it, and out to the front on the other side. Yo and pull the loop through the st. Yo again and pull it through the first 2 loops on your hook. Yo again and pull it through the next 2 loops. Yo again and pull through the next 2 loops. Yo one more time and pull through the last 2 loops.

A Tip for Working Double-Treble Crochet Stitches

One trick that might help you with double-treble (dtr) crochet stitches is to try to hold the initial 3 yarn overs with your right fingers as you insert your hook and work the first part of the stitch. This will help you “hang on” to those wraps without tightening your gauge.

Continue with the pattern to finish the round.

Rnd 13: Take a Breather

I hope you had fun with Rnd 12! Thankfully Rnd 13 is super easy, so enjoy a nice relaxing round. Now is a great time to weave in your ends so far, unless you’d prefer to do them all at the end. See you next time for Rnds 14-19!

rnd 13 IMG_2168