The Big Acorn Race

A Squirrel Picnic Story with Crochet Patterns and Projects


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!

Advertisements


4 Comments

Tips for Making the Spiral in the Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillow

This week in the crochet along, we made the spiral that begins our Tall ‘n’ Fast Flower Pillows. Crocheting spirals is one of my favorite techniques. It looks a lot more complicated than it really is. Once you start you won’t want to stop!

To get started, grab the yarn you want to use for A and B in the pattern. You’ll need your G-6 (4.00 mm) crochet hook as well. The spiral is also the pattern used for the gauge swatch, which I’ll go over in more detail after we have our spirals made.

Rnd 1: The first step is to make a magic loop with A. You’ll find a step-by-step tutorial of this on page 34 of your book. (I hope to put together a video of this soon!) There are other methods to make a magic loop, but after years of trial and error, I’ve found this one to be the easiest.

Work your first 4 stitches into the magic loop, but don’t close the magic loop just yet.

Remove your hook and pull on the loop where your hook was so that you won’t lose your stitches when you attach and begin working with B.

Magic Loop

Attach B by making a slip knot and placing it on your hook. Hold the magic loop in your left hand. To sc into the magic loop, insert your hook into the loop from front to back, yo, pull through the loop, yo again and pull through both loops on hook.

Once you’ve made your B stitches into the loop, you’ll need to close the magic loop.

1) Here’s what yours should look like so far. (Except maybe for the kinks. My yarn was very kinky for some reason.)

Magic Loop 1

2) Gently hold the A stitches between the thumb and pointer finger of your right hand. With your left hand, pull slightly on the tail end of A while watching which of the A loops gets smaller. See how in the photo below, one loop has shrunk!

Magic Loop 2

3) With your left hand, pull on the shrunken loop until the magic loop magically closes! Except for that one loop that got bigger. No worries. We’ll take care of that next.

Magic Loop 3

4) Pull the tail end of A again until this last loop is snug. And you’re all set!

Magic Loop 4

Rnd 2: Now pick up B again. You’ll be working into each of the A stitches (yellow in this photo).

9 Spiral IMG_2014

For each round in Rnds 3-7 you will be working into all the stitches of the opposite color. So for Rnd 3, pick up A again, and work 2 dc into each of the B stitches. The last stitch will be the one with the long loop of B. See it’s not so hard at all.

But be sure to count your stitches just to make sure you match the pattern throughout. Otherwise things might get complicated and we don’t want that. Here’s what your spiral will look like at the end of each round.

Fasten Off B with the Alternative Join Method (aka Needle Joining)

1. Cut the B yarn leaving a tail of at least 6 inches. Fasten off as you normally would by drawing the tail through the last stitch. Thread the tail onto a yarn needle or tapestry needle.
1 Alternative Join IMG_20672. With right side of fabric facing you, pass the tail under both loops of the next stitch from front to back.

2 Alternative Join IMG_2069

3. Insert the needle into the center of the last stitch of the round, under the back loop only, and out to the wrong side of the fabric.

3 Alternative Join IMG_2074

4. Pull gently to adjust the stitch so that it looks invisible. Weave in the end on the wrong side of the fabric.

4 Alternative Join IMG_2076Gauge

Now is a great time to measure the diameter of your spiral. Your spiral should measure 7” from one side to the other, through the center. (You can give or take up to 3/8” on either side without being too concerned.) But if it is really quite a bit smaller, you’ll need to try again with a larger hook. If it is larger, try the spiral again with a smaller hook.

See you next time for Rounds 10-13!

Rnd 9

Rnd 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10 Comments

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.)