Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Two Little Piggies

I love custom requests. I just love them. I love getting to come up with something new - usually something I wouldn't have come up with on my own. But mostly I love the stories that so often come with custom orders.

I just had the pleasure of making a set of custom piglets for a pair of 18 month old twins who are about to be adopted. I don't know much about their story - but I know that adoption is just so beautiful. And I love that I had the honor of being just a small part of their homecoming.

Their aunt requested two coordinating pigs - one purple and one green. She needed a pretty quick turn around - so I decided against making up my own pattern. The testing, the frogging, the re-designing - I didn't want to risk not being done in time. So I decided to use Amigurumi to Go's Pig Pattern. I've used a few of her pattern's before and they're all so cute. She also does video tutorials of a lot of her patterns - so if you are a visual learner, or you're new to amigurumi - it's a great place to start looking for free patterns.

Of course, I can't just take a pattern as it's written. I just can't help it. I miniaturize. It's what I do.

The original pattern makes about 10" pigs. Mine fit in my hand pretty easily. I forgot to measure them before I sent them to their new home - but I think they were around 6 or 7".

They'll huff...and they'll puff...and...
I really love how these little guys turned out. Their feet and tails are alternate colors. And those puffy cheeks - just irresistible. 

One last look at the busy streets of Chicago before they head south for their new home
Those tails. 

I'm kind of sad to see these guys go. But I was so happy to send them off to meet their new twin buddies.

If you want to miniaturize your own piglet, I put my notes on my modifications on my ravelry project page. They're shorthand - and it's possible that I'm the only one who would understand them. But if you try it out and you get stuck - just let me know. I'm happy to provide interpretations. 

And if you are looking for a custom order - let me know! I would be honored to be a part of your story!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ollie the Owl - Free Crochet Pattern

Who doesn't love owls? I know there are tons of crochet owl patterns out there - but I'd like to take a moment to add my own little hoot to the crochet owl community.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Ollie.
Ollie, meet the Internet. Internet, meet Ollie. 
He's just about 2.5 inches tall and possibly my favorite thing to make. I've been making Ollie's and sending them out into the world since 2008. I used to sell his pattern, but I've decided that the world needs more of these little hoots flying around. So I'm making his pattern free. Lucky you!

This little Ollie above is made of cotton yarn. But I have a soft spot for felted Ollie's. They shrink up to about 2 inches tall and are just the sweetest fuzzy little things.
So soft and fuzzy!
You want to make one, right? Well here you go!

Ollie the Owl - Free Amigurumi Crochet Pattern

Add this pattern to your favorites or queue on Ravelry

Skill Level: Beginner. Requires basic crochet skills.
Finished Size: Felted - 2" tall; Not felted - 2.5" tall
Supplies Needed:
  • Small amounts of worsted weight yarn. These little guys don't use a lot of yardage. If you want to felt your Ollie, make sure you use 100% wool. You'll need three colors of yarn for the body, eyes and beak.
  • Small amount of stuffing
  • Safety eyes (optional)
  • 4mm (G) Crochet hook (If you crochet loosely, you may want to go down a hook size. If you can see holes through your work, you'll see stuffing come through your Ollie)
  • Stitch Marker
  • Yarn Needle
Stitch Abbreviations:
SC – Single Crochet
DEC – Decrease by crocheting 2 stitches together
2SC – Single crochet 2 stitches in the same space
SL ST – Slip Stitch
SC 2 – SC in the next two (or the number indicated in the pattern) stitches
FO – Fasten off
Magic Ring – if you're not familiar with the 'magic ring' there are a lot of great tutorials online. Here is one of my favorites.

Gauge is not important in this pattern; however, you should make sure your stitches are tight enough that the stuffing will not show through your finished product.

This pattern is crocheted in the round.  At the beginning of each round, place your stitch marker in the last stitch.  Move your stitch marker up with each new round.


Make Two
Using your choice of eye color, begin by making the ‘magic ring’
Round 1: SC 6 in ring
Round 2: *2SC* around (12 stitches)
SL ST in first stitch, FO
Leave a long tail (6-8 inches) for attaching to body.


Using the brown yarn, make the ‘magic ring’
Round 1: SC 6 in ring
Round 2: *2SC* around (12 stitches)
Round 3: *SC, 2SC* around (18 stitches)
Round 4: *SC 2, 2SC* around (24 stitches)
Round 5: *SC 3, 2SC* around (30 stitches)
Rounds 6-9: SC around (30 stitches)
Round10: *SC 3, DEC* around (24 stitches)
Rounds 11-12: SC around (24 stitches)
Stop here to sew on the face.  
Place your eyes where you want them and attach the safety eyes through the center of the eyes.* You want the edges of the eyes to just be touching each other. Use the safety eyes to keep the eye pieces on the head and sew around the edges of the eyes to attach them to the head. 

*If you don't want to use safety eyes to make a little kid safe toy, you can follow this pattern:

Make 2 using a scrap of black yarn
CH3, SL ST in first chain.
Fasten off.
Sew these chains to the center of the eyes.

Next, sew on your beak. With beak yarn:
Step 1: Make a 'V' between the two eyes.
Step 2: Fill in the 'V' with vertical lines
Step 3: Make two horizontal lines across the top of the 'V'


Using main yarn, begin with the ‘magic ring’
Round 1: SC 5 in ring
Round 2: 2SC around (10 stitches)
Rounds 3-6: SC around (10 stitches)
SL ST in first stitch, Fasten Off, leave a long tail (6-8 inches) for attaching to body
Attach wings to body.
Weave in all ends from attaching wings, eyes and beak.
If you do not plan on felting your owl, Congratulations! You’re done!

I hope you love your little owl! If you made one - I'd love to see your pictures. Link your project page on Ravelry, or tag @samsqueak in your instagram pics!

If you want to felt your little hoot, keep reading...

Machine Felting Instructions

Felting is the process of binding the wool or other natural fibers of your yarn. During the felting your owl will shrink in size and the stitches will become less visible as the fibers bind together. 

Set your washer to hot wash and cold rinse and use the maximum agitation and length of cycle.
Put your owl in a lingerie bag or a zipped pillow case. Throw in some sturdy clothing or towels to give it something to agitate against.
(Note: felting creates a lot of fuzz in washer that can get on your clothing or towels, so it’s best to use an old towel or a pair of jeans you don’t care about anymore. If you use jeans, turn them inside out to prevent little bits of blue lint from getting mixed into your felting.)

Add a few tablespoons of detergent. Allow the washer to run a full cycle of agitation. Before the spin cycle, take out your bag and check the progress of the felting. If your creation is felted to your satisfaction, put it back in the wash for the rinse cycle. If you would like it to be felted further, put it back for another agitation cycle.
After the rinse cycle, if you want it to felt just a bit more you can throw your creation in the dryer on low with a dry towel for a few minutes. Check on your creation frequently and pull it out when it’s still a little damp.
Fluff your little owl back into shape and let it dry fully on a towel. 

Welcome to Samsqueak

Hi There! I'm so glad you've stopped by my little corner of the blogosphere. I'm new here. So here's a little introduction for you:

My name is Sam. I am small, and fairly high pitched. So that pretty much explains the name Samsqueak and the mouse logo.

I am a self taught "yarnist". That is to say, I don't consider myself an artist by any means. But I make things with yarn. Sometimes I sew. And occasionally I'll pick up a totally random craft - like block printing. But mostly, I just stick with yarn.

Commutes are just better when there's yarn involved.
I taught myself to knit my freshman year of college to avoid studying for finals. (That's totally normal, right? Doesn't everyone do that?) Everyone I knew got a garter stitch scarf for Christmas that year. The next fall I spent a semester studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. (AKA The most beautiful place on earth.) My host mom thought it was entirely inappropriate that I knew how to knit but not how to crochet. So she took it upon herself to teach me. And I've been hooked ever since. (see what I did there...)

I'm not exactly sure where this blog is going - but you can expect to find some original Samsqueak patterns - like owls, giraffes and robots. And you'll probably see some awesome patterns that other amazing designers have come up with and I couldn't resist picking up. And you might occasionally catch a glimpse of my kid. Because I think he's super cute. And it's my blog, so I can do what I want.

See. I'm putting pictures of my adorable kid on here already. I mean, really, those eyes.
So that's that.

I hang out on Instagram if you want to follow me @samsqueak.

And if you like my stuff and don't want to make it for yourself, you can buy it in the Samsqueak etsy shop.