03 September 2012

Snowflake Monday

Lavender Snowflake
This snowflake was born of an idea I've had for a long time, more than a year, and finally decided to cook. I even took my broomstick on a cross-country skiing road trip in February of 2011, thinking I could work on my idea in the evenings after full days of skiing and taking snow pictures. I'm getting old, and all I wanted to do after each day of skiing was soak in a hot mineral bath with a cup of hot herbal tea and then sink into bed for at least 8 hours.

The broomstick was in my crochet bag for months afterward but didn't see the light of day until Thanksgiving last year, when I pulled a muscle and needed to soak in a hot mineral bath once again. The aroma of spearmint, chamomile and lavender brought back the yearnings to create a broomstick crochet snowflake, and ideas started popping into my head so quick, I wasn't sure I'd remember all of them.

My grandmother's tools, including two thread lace projects she did and the L'Oreal highlighting tool she used as a size 7 crochet hook, which has become my favorite hook for threadwork.

my grandmother's L'Oreal crochet hook and lacework

My grandmother taught me broomstick crochet when I was a teenager, and to this day, I still use the chopped-off broom handle my grandfather sanded down for her more than 40 years ago. (I still use the L'Oreal highlighting tool she used for crocheting with thread, too.) Working broomstick crochet in the round, however, was something I didn't know if I could pull off until I actually gave it a try. Unfortunately, that broomstick just won't do for snowflakes in the round. I had to find a new way to hold the loops.

My second attempt was on very large circular knitting needles. Pulling the loops around the flexible needle cord and then pulling them over the huge plastic knitting needle ends was tedious and frustrating. I continually had to finger reshape the loops. There had to be a better way.

My third attempt was done with empty breath mint tins that were not round but all the same size. The technique worked, but I had to take the lids off the tins to get the loops over the tops. Not that big of a deal, but I do like to recycle as much as possible, and this rendered six tins less than suitable for other uses.

The next attempt was with pencils, and that worked very well with the exception of occasionally leaving marks on the thread. The pencils inspired me to try straws cut into sections (which work very well as long as I don't pull the thread too tight and misshape the straws in the process), batteries (which really are too heavy for threadwork, but again, they were consistent in size), lip balm (close to perfect), bead tubes (also close to perfect, but I don't have enough empty ones of the same size), and glitter tubes (same problem as beads).

M&M tubes cut in half and straws cut in half

The Lizard and I typically each get a new lip balm at almost every ride we participate in, so I have a huge supply. The lip balms turned out to be one of my favorite broomstick substitutes, second only to cut mini M&M tubes, which provide recycling opportunities for me and sweet treats for The Lizard who cut the tubes for me. (I should never be trusted with blades sharp enough to cut plastic. I'm far too much of a klutz!)

Because broomstick crochet in the round was a new technique for me, I was going to name the snowflake after one of our Collegiate Peaks. The Lizard encouraged me to use "a prettier name" (yes, those were his words); he said this snowflake is too lovely for a name like Columbia or Harvard.

Hot mineral baths played an important roll in the development of this pattern, so why not name it after one of the key fragrances that inspired it and a mineral oil-named landmark (of which there are many in Colorado): Lavender!!! Not only is the name beautiful, the color marvelous, the flower heavenly, the mineral bath soothing and the scent intoxicating, but Lavender also is the surname of an early San Juan Mountaineer and co-author of a San Juan climbing guide, Dwight Garrigues Lavender. Born in Telluride, Lavender at the age of 18 found a note in a bottle atop Uncompahgre Peak. The author, Chester Price, invited anyone who might read the note to join him in climbing in the San Juans. Lavender wrote Price, and the two joined Melvin Griffiths in forming the San Juan Mountaineers.

Because of his successful ascents of many difficult peaks, a route on one of my favorite mountains, Sneffels, bears the name Lavender, and a peak in the La Plata Mountains northeast of Durango also bears his name.

Lavender was the first to partially ascend the north face of photogenic Mount Sneffels. The col, or gap in a ridge, that now bears his name may be seen here. See photos of a current summit register still bearing his signature from 1930 here (scroll about halfway down the page, but note photos of Teresa, whom I enjoyed hiking with back when I could still climb mountains). Lavender also was among the climbing party first to reach the summit of Jagged Peak, deep in the Weminuche Wilderness and considered by many to be the most difficult mountain to climb in Colorado. Lavender is responsible for the name of El Diente Peak. One source claims he designed and produced the first pitons made in the US at an engineering workshop of Stanford University.

Polio claimed Lavender at the tender age of 23 just a few months after he graduated from Stanford in 1934. During his short life, Lavender participated in more than 30 first ascents.

Because I'm naming the flake Lavender, I simply HAD to make one with my very own hand-dyed thread from the Ravellenics.

blue heavy

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Lavender Snowflake

Finished Size: 6 to 7 inches from point to point, depending upon size of loop holders used
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, 6 small loop holders such as pens, pencils or 3 straws cut into halves, 6 medium loop holders such as lip balm, bead containers, pill bottles or glitter tubes, etc., empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, glue or desired stiffening agent, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Lavender Snowflake Instructions

Ch 4, sl st into 1st ch OR make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc; pull magic ring tight, leaving enough ease for stitches to lie flat.

Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same sc as sl st, * sk next sc, 2 dc in next sc, ch 3, 2 dc in same sc; repeat from * 4 times; sk next sc, 2 dc in same sc as starting dc, ch 1, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 3 (ch 1 and dc count as final ch 3 sp, and you will be working over post of dc just completed during next round).

Round 3: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over dc post below, 1 sc in gap between next 2 2/dc groups, * 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 3 dc in same sp, 1 sc in gap between next 2 2/dc groups; repeat from * 4 times; 3 dc in next sp, ch 5, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 3.

Round 4: * Ch 5, 10 sc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * 5 times; sl st in final sl st of Round 3. Binding off here makes a wonderful and stress-free little snowflake.

Mini Lavender Snowflake

Round 5: Sl st into next ch. * Using small loop holder, draw up a loop through each of next 3 ch and place loops on holder, draw up loop through each of next 10 sc, placing loops on medium-sized loop holder, sk next ch; repeat from * around 5 times.

Round 6: Yo hook as if to make a sl st and pull up to same height as small loops. Give hook an extra twist. * [YO and draw up a loop through next small loop, yo and pull through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, yo and draw through all four loops on hook (dc cluster made), ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (sc picot made), ch 3, 3 sc in next 3 medium loops, ch 3, 1 sc in next 4 medium loops, 1 hdc in same loops, 3 dc in same loops, 1 hdc in same loops, 1 sc in same loops, ch 3, 3 sc in next 3 medium loops, ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 3; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting dc cluster.
Please go here to see the original.

Round 7: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), * 1 sc in next sc picot, ch 3, 1 dc in middle sc of next 3/sc group, ch 3, 1 dc in same sc, ch 3, 1 dc in middle dc of next 3/dc group, [ch 3, 1 dc in same dc] 3 times, ch 3, 1 dc in middle sc of next 3/sc group, ch 3, 1 dc in same sc, ch 3, 1 sc in next sc picot, 1 dc in next dc cluster; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 3; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

A link to the blocking template I use is located here. That website has some of the most helpful snowflake information I know of. I also have a link to it on my sidebar to the right. I try to keep all the important links there so everyone will be able to find the information they need.

Mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Lavender Snowflake Rock

6 comments:

  1. This snowflake is very pretty in shades of lavender. Sounds like you went to a lot of work to create the pattern!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely, all of them...the colors are refreshing, and you are teasing me with that last darling rock shot! :)...I know still my rocks are lying about naked, and what with winter coming.....if I had you talent....they would be dressed fairly nice! Ha! Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You had me at "Lavender" - my favourite colour since age 2. (Purple is often a stand-in, but lavender is my true love. And a beautiful word, as you say.) That thread is lovely, and the snowflake worthy of it.

    What an inspiring and touching story of the climber Lavender.

    P.S. Isn't it amazing how scents tie in so strongly with memories?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love, love, love your snowflakes! I've always made mine in white thread but seriously want to try the dyed thread like you use. Can you please tell me where/how to buy some?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Anonymous. This lavender thread is my own hand-dyed, but I have ordered from two different sellers on Ebay, Bre-Aly on Etsy, Lizbeth from Handy Hands, and Sara's Colorwave Threads. These links are in alphabetical order and in no order of preference. I have noticed an increase in sellers the last couple of months, and some of them are priced far beyond my means, so I have not tried the wares of every seller, only the affordable ones.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I saved my chapstick containers for months to try out this snowflake pattern. Sadly, the Nivea ones seemed too big and slippery to work well. Instead I cut cardboard into strips and wrapped the edges in tape and it worked perfectly!

    ReplyDelete


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