Real Snowflakes

Well if I can’t crochet at least I can work on patterns!

This pattern has now been published on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/real-snowflakes

I have to say that my attempt at enrolling pattern testers was not very successful. Even the internet let me down by losing two emails with attachments!

However nothing daunted I put on my ‘US terms’ head (shades of Worzel Gummidge*) and settled down to work through the US version of my snowflakes pattern. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined and I managed to make a few improvements in the process.

So following on from that I am now ready to publish the final copies of the pdfs for both UK and US versions.

My aim had always been the end of July or August so I am pretty much on track.

Here I include a photograph of a comparison between snowflakes made with a 3.5mm hook (central circle) and those made with a 4mm hook. I found the central snowflake came out a very similar size with both hooks. snowflake size comparisonFor anyone who has not seen these before: they are all based on photographs of real snowflakes. You can find them at http://snowcrystals.com/ Kenneth G. Libbrecht kindly gave me permission to use them on my blog and in this pattern. real snowflake photographsThe ones in the above photograph are made in Stylecraft Special DK but they can be made in a variety of other yarns as you can see in my angel wreath. snowflake wreathAnd a full set in a two tone crochet cotton. crochet thread snowflakes*[Worzel Gummidge is a living breathing scarecrow from the books of Barbara Euphan Todd. Although I never read the books as a child they were made into a TV series with Jon Pertwee which I watched with my children. He had several heads which he changed depending on the needs of the current situation.]

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A New Real Snowflake

The patterns for all my real snowflakes should be available on Ravelry in a few weeks time. (Edited 9th June 2017)

Those of you who have been following this blog for a long time may remember when I collected a number of photographs of actual snowflakes and created crochet versions for seven of them.Real snowflakes to copyAt the time I decided that the snowflake in the top left of the picture would be too hard for me to make. (As an aside: I also decided that the eighth snowflake (bottom middle) was too textured to be able to do justice to it in three or four rows.)

This was for two main reasons.

  1. It would have to involve using picot type stitches and I had been unable to make satisfactory picots.
  2. I was afraid that the arms would end up floppy.

However since then I have discovered where I was going wrong and how to make picots that lie flat. I also saw some snowflakes with a similar style of points in this book: which gave me encouragement0192-bookand I have been making some snowflakes to be sold in a local charity shop using acrylic yarn and a 2.5mm hook and found that with that size hook, even acrylic snowflakes can end up very firm.

I started off using that size hook rather than a more obvious choice of 3.5mm because I had been given a Clover Armour hook of that size and was really enjoying using it , so was reluctant to use an ordinary hook. 0517-new-snowflakeAnd here is a comparison with the original photograph. 0517-comparison-with-real-snowflakeYou can see that even with my crochet not being 100% even it is still more symmetrical than the original!

Note that whereas the other snowflakes for which I created the earlier patterns all end up a similar size this one is necessarily a little larger. 0517-snowflake-comparison

It does benefit from a bit of blocking!0517-snowflake-pinned-on-boardHere is a photograph of the snowflake suspended. As you can see the points really do stay stiff! 0517-hanging-snowflake

My latest Rainbow project

This is a very special project that has been on my mind since the early days of my blog.

Once I was comfortable with crochet, I knew that I wanted to make something to go on my dining table. The early thoughts were actually fairly monochrome but one day I saw this rug – http://vi.sualize.us/pdf_pattern_hexagon_rug_available_in_english_and_spanish_yo-yo_spiral_crochet_stripe_picture_C1BQ.html – and I was inspired.

What could be better than something made up of hexagons that was also a spiral!

(I really like multiple spirals – Bedcoverviz. my bedcover my mother made for me.)

One thing that has always fascinated me is the fact that the rainbow that is essentially linear – longer to shorter wavelengths – is paralleled by the colour CIRCLE which goes round and round!

Here was a chance to use that since hexagons meant a six colour spiral and I have always considered the indigo to be a bit redundant.

And if the hexagon motifs were actually snowflakes! what could be better.

When I shared my new snowflake motif and my Snowflake bookmark pattern in January 2014 what I was planning was this cloth but I didn’t want to share the whole idea yet as I didn’t know when I would fit it in.

I had mentioned it earlier here – https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/a-new-snowflake/

The size was largely determined by how many motifs I could get out of one ball of yarn.New yarnThis is the yarn I bought last October. Including one ball each of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet and two balls of dark blue for the edge. I was going to make the central motif in white but I had that already.

I didn’t find time to start it till this February and it might have been finished before Easter if I hadn’t got distracted by other things!

A first I had terrible second thoughts as to whether it was going to look any good but by the time I had spent a week on it and it looked like this.After 1 weekI felt reassured.

Because I can and because I am so happy I will show you various stages in it’s developement.

The coloured spirals complete.Spirals completedThe dark blue (indigo!) edging added.Blue edge addedFinished off with a white chain edging.

Final rainbow spiral clothI wasn’t sure which way to put it on the table.Cloth parallel to sidesorCloth across tableNow recently the cloth I have had on the table has been this:Childhood tea clothwhich was the teatime cloth my mother made that was used when I was a child. (Just a bit of nostalgia!)

Aren’t the rabbits cute?Embroidered bunniesBefore that I was using this.Mother's crochet clothAlso made by my mother.

Which is now replaced by this.Rainbow spiral cloth

Everyone in my Friday craft group seem to just love this and there is a women in the craft group who wants to make a bolero for her daughter using these motifs (though all in the same colour). So in due course I was intending to supplement the bookmark pattern with further instructions on joining the motifs in case anyone else would also like to use them.

Some statistics:-

Yarn was Rico Essentials Cotton (DK) 50g balls. One each of: Red (02), Pumpkin (87), Banana (63), Grass-Green (66), Turquoise (33) and Purple (18) and two of Cobalt Blue (32), with small amount of white.

Size 4mm crochet hook.

21 motifs for each coloured spiral. 42 motifs for edge. Total of 169 including one white central one.

Finished size from side to side is about 30 inches (75cm) and 35 inches (87cm) corner to corner.

Time taken in the region of 50-60 hours including sewing in the ends. (Spread over about six weeks).

What I’m working on

Apart from my waistcoat and socks I am working on a couple of Christmassy ideas which involve making snowflakes.

I showed you this book I had bought last ChristmasSnowflake bookWell originally I had thought that I might work my way through the book and I had certainly started.

But this year, having made a couple more out of the book and not having liked them especially.

More snowflakes from book

I decided that maybe I shouldn’t try to make all of them but just make the ones I liked best. YES! I now understand why the second one wouldn’t lie flat! It is not a snowflake at all! It has seven points! Woops!

So that is what I have done.

I have made them in some of my rainbow colours crochet cotton and also silver and gold.

Snowflakes

They haven’t been ironed or stiffened, except the smaller silver and gold ones. I stiffened the smaller silver one with PVA glue and it is stiff as a board. For the smaller gold one I used spray starch and I preferred the feel of that one.

I have also been crochetting some more baubles.

Bauble shells

Now all I have to do is finish them off and work them into my special Christmas projects.

My aim is to pin out the snowflakes when I stiffen them. Like I did using the template below.

Template

But I want to make more templates and I have still to find my geometry set!

There was frost on the roofs this morning so maybe I should change to my winter background.

Snowflake bookmark pattern

0219-snowflakebookmark

This pattern is now available for sale on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/four-snowflake-bookmark

This is a very easy bookmark pattern that can suitably be made in either #10 or #20 crochet cotton. Individual snowflakes could also be made in any yarn for decoration.

The pattern is available in either UK or US terms.

A little silver in the tassel can add a little sparkle.

A Lovely Surprise

Before Christmas is totally forgotten, I thought I would post this.

On Twelfth night I tidied away all the Christmas decorations except for my snowflake tree and the LED snowflake lights. The tree is intended to be something to mark the different seasons and I thought the lights would add a bit of colour in the evening till the days get longer.

But something that I received before Christmas but only opened with my other presents came from Pretty Little Things in a Box.

I knew she was sending me a pin cushion as part of her mega November Giveaway – http://prettylittlethingsinabox.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/a-little-christmas-spirit-winners-announced/

But when I opened it I found that there were other goodies.

0219-surprise

I have been wanting to try some cross stitch since so many other people seem to be doing it. (It will have to be quick, easy cross stitch mind you.) So I have added the threads to my embroidery thread collection which gives me an even better range of colours. And all I need to do now is to decide what to do and fit it into my already crowded list of projects to do this year.

I did love the pin cushion and it will be very useful and stop me getting pins all over the floor when I am sewing!

Not sure where to fit in the buttons and star shaped beads but I will put them in my bead and button drawer for now.

Now as you know I love giveaways and, although I am not ready to do another one, I decided that I would like to respond by sending something in return.

I decided to send a bookmark and something special in the embroidery line.

Since, from the little snowflake charm on the pincushion and the cut-out on the accompanying card, it looked like she liked snowflakes I decided to make a new snowflake bookmark.

I used my new snowflake design and joined four of them together with slip stitches where they touched and added a tassel.

0219-snowflakebookmark

I found some gold and silver embroidery thread in John Lewis

0219-metallicthread

and sent that as well.

I hope she likes them. I posted them off a couple of weeks ago so hopefully they should come soon.

Snowflakes everywhere!

My house seems to be full of snowflake decorations this year.

There is my snowflake tree. I think it would take more snowflakes and I may have more by next year. 🙂

0213-snowflaketree

There are gel snowflakes on the glass of the patio door,

0213-gelsnowflakes

a chain of snowflakes across the fireplace,

0213-mantlepiece

my snowflake wreath that I made last year,

Snowflake wreath on door

a couple of snowflake decorations for the Christmas tree

0213-treesnowflakes

and (this that was a bit of an impulse buy)

LED colour changing snowflakes.

0213-sittingroom

The great thing about these is that by hanging them against this internal window I can also see some of them when I am in the kitchen.

0213-inkitchen(Yes ! that is me in my apron taking the photo.)

And I have even found some snowflake tinsel that I have threaded between the banisters.

0213-snowflaketinsel

I must admit that although a little sprinkling of the real thing would be lovely; these days I am less happy when I have days of slip-sliding on ice afterwards.

A New Snowflake!

209-cottonsnowflake

The other day I had an idea for a new project! Yes I know I don’t really need another project to add to my list. 🙂

But this one has been in the back of my mind for a long time. It is to make a crochet cloth for my pine dining table. I have collected various ideas along the way but never really fixed on any of them. Then I had the idea, since I like hexagons patterns and snowflakes are six sided, to make a cloth based on snowflakes. However I felt that I needed a snowflake pattern that was lacy, quick and easy to make and had the classic trefoil snowflake points.

I couldn’t find quite what I wanted in my ‘100 snowflakes’ book, so I ended by working up a pattern based on the second of my ‘Easy Real Snowflakes’

Snowflake 2

About the time I devised the pattern I was travelling to Aylesbury to see my daughter and granddaughter performing in a pantomime, so I practiced joining the snowflakes together on the train.

209-trialjoining

I took the fine cotton because it was easy to transport.

After this I tried using a couple of scraps of my DK cotton yarn to make a bigger one. (Probably the size I will use) – that is the one at the top.

And yesterday I tried making a few for a garland in the Stylecraft ‘Special DK’ yarn while on the bus to Romsey.

209-snowflakegarland

As you can see: I can’t quite decide the best way to join the snowflakes. Whether to join opposite points or ones just two away from each other. The trouble with using opposite points is that since the centre of gravity is on the joining line rather than below they are in danger of flopping forward.

If anyone has done something similar I would be glad to know how you would join them.

Making them while on the train or bus makes me feel that they aren’t taking my attention from more urgent things like Christmas presents and the CAL blanket.

The trip to Romsey was to buy one more ball of the Stylecraft yarn to finish the border of the CAL blanket since the final edging I had devised was rather yarn hungry and I had almost run out when only half way round.

100 snowflakes

No I haven’t made 100 snowflakes but a few weeks ago I saw this book in a bookshop
0192-book

Now I’ve worked up a few snowflake patterns myself but there is no way I would have time to create 100 different ones.

The snowflakes in this book are all proper snowflakes with six sides and they are not excessively lacey like some I’ve seen which would make them too far from real snowflakes.

So of course I just had to buy the book.

Last Christmas I showed some of my snowflakes on my display tree.

0125-whitetree

But this year I wanted to make many, many snowflakes in crochet cotton. I had some variegated blue and white #10 crochet cotton so I decided to start with that.

So far I have made three from my patterns for ‘easy real snowflakes’

0192-mine

And four from the book

0192-frombook

I had intended originally to start at the beginning but I decided to take the cotton with me to make some while I was in Spain and photocopied a few pages.

0192-photocopies

But as I hadn’t wanted to press the book down too hard some patterns were easier to read than others, so I will have to start back at the beginning now I am home.

As they are made from cotton and some of the ones from the book are harder to shape than mine, I made a template to help me pin them out ready to spray with starch and iron.

0192-template

Annoyingly I couldn’t find my geometry set but I think this is good enough.

I think maybe I could have done better with the shaping but as I have noted before, real snowflakes are not perfectly symmetrical.

Unfortunately this is going to have to be a fill-in project to be done on the bus and in odd moments as I am trying to finish the border on my spectrum granny ripple blanket so I can use it.

0192-border

and have just started to join the CAL squares.

Sneak preview –

0192-preview

No! I am not blocking them. I will give it a careful iron when I have finished,