02 May 2011

Snowflake Monday

drafting off Mom
Two months ago, Sara asked if I might be able to work with a snowflake pattern her husband's grandmother had written and make it bigger. She has patiently waited weeks for me to play with thread, and then her response to my first attempt made my whole week.

"That is beautiful! So much more fantastic than anything I came up with. I'm excited to try it out myself :-)," Sara wrote two weeks ago after I finally sent a photo. What more could a snowflaker ask than to receive an email like Sara's after a stressful day at the office?

Back in the dead of winter, Sara wrote: "I've been crocheting snowflakes for about a decade now and sending them in 50-60 Christmas cards each year. I am struggling with a snowflake pattern for Christmas '11 and I am hoping you might be able to help.

"My husband's grandmother passed away this past year," Sara continued. "In going through her things, the family found a handwritten snowflake pattern. Naturally, they gave it to me. The entire family was excited to see what this mysterious pattern might look like completed. Well, it's 3 rounds. 'That's ok,' they said, 'Just make up a few more rounds and add to it.' And now I'm stuck. Normally I'd have 50 snowflakes already made by this time, but I'm completely stuck at making up a pattern. I can follow patterns no problem, but I lack the creativity to make something actually look good."

Sara said she made a few attempts but was not satisfied with the design. She acknowledged my continual blog "too busy" posts when asking if I might be able to extend Norma Tirrell's pattern and make it something worth sending out this year for Christmas.

I had been trying to come up with a new design suitable for Mother's Day, and this project perfectly fit the bill. What a treasure, to have a handwritten pattern designed by your grandmother! My grandmother taught me to crochet and often made up patterns in that effort, but I don't think she ever wrote any of her patterns. I have the diary she began the year she got married, but her entries became more and more sporadic after the wedding, and by the time my dad was born more than a year later, Grandma apparently no longer had time to write. Yet the faded aqua book with gold leaf page edges is in her handwriting. I suppose Sara and her husband treasure Norma's snowflake pattern the way I treasure my grandmother's journal.

I tried to stay within the trefoil theme Norma designed. I got a kick out of her chain 10 loop for hanging because that's how all crocheted ornaments were hung when I was a little girl. I also was thrilled to see the double crochet join I've used for years because I despise slip stitching across previous work to get to a starting point, and it was awesome to find out at least one other person was irritated by that, as well.

Making this snowflake brought back many warm memories of my own grandmother and the simpler life back when I learned to crochet. Sugar was used for starching. Families had but one television in a household, and it often was black and white. Only one car sat in a driveway, and some driveways had none. The kitchen always smelled of home-baked goodies, and the smell of freshly pressed corduroy filled the house every morning before my grandfather went to work. The telephone had a rotary dial, and jump rope and hopscotch were the games that kept us occupied while Grandma washed the laundry and then hung everything to dry in the backyard with wooden clothespins.

In a tribute to mothers of mothers, here are instructions for Norma's snowflake (which has eight points) and my modification (which has six points), which I'm calling Mount Mamma because, by golly, we have a Colorado mountain by that name!

One of Mom's Roses
Mount Mamma is the 174th tallest peak in Colorado at either 13,530 or 13,646 feet, depending upon where you get your information. Located just across Baldwin Gulch from 14er Mount Antero, which has been the target of my camera many times during the last 15 years, Mount Mamma has never received proper respect from me, although I have seen it from the summit of Mount Princeton, just north of Antero. Had I known atop Princeton I was gazing southwest at a mountain named Mamma, you can bet your bottom dollar I'd have taken a picture of it! Unfortunately, I didn't know we had any landscape feature by that name until I began researching mountain names for snowflakes. Darn it.

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!

Norma's Snowflake

Snowflake, size 2 hook

Ch 5, join with a sl st to form ring.

Round 1: Ch 1, 7 sc in ring, join with sl st in first sc.

Round 2: Ch 3, dc in same st. *ch 5, 2 dc in next sc repeat from * 5 times, ch 2, dc in top of beginning ch 3.

Round 3: (ch 3, sl st in same st) for P group. *ch 3, sl st in center st of next ch 5 lp (ch 3 sl in same st) 3 times for another p group, repeat from * 5 times, ch 3, sl st in base of first p group. sl st to center of next ch 3 lp. Ch 10 for hanging lp. Sl st in same st, fasten off starch & press.

Mount Mamma Snowflake

Finished Size: 4 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line


Make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same st as sl st, *ch 5, 2 dc in next st; repeat from * around 4 times for a total of 6 spokes; ch 2, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 (ch 2 and 1 dc counts as final ch 5).

Round 3: 1 sc over final dc post of Round 2, [ch 3, sl st in sc, ch 3, sl st in sc, ch 3, sl st in sc] (trefoil picot made), *ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, make trefoil picot; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 2, 1 dc in starting sc (ch 2 and 1 dc counts as final ch 4).
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 4: 1 sc over post of final dc of Round 3, *ch 6, 1 sc in next ch 4 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 6, sl st in starting sc.

Round 5: *5 sc in next ch 6 sp, ch 5, 5 sc in same ch 6 sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc.

Round 6: *1 sc tightly in space below (between 5/sc groups), ch 3, 2 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 5, 2 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 sc tightly between next 5/sc groups; repeat from * around 5, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc.

Round 7: 1 sc in same sc as sl st, *make trefoil picot, ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, make trefoil picot, ch 5, 1 sc in next sc; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; 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.

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.

Happy Mother's Day!


  1. You are very creative!
    Also i really like the cute mallard and her offspring :)

  2. It´s a very suitable snowflake for the mother´s day. Well done.

    I still hope, we don´t get more snow,aaaaaarrrggggghhhhh. The weather is changing a lot this time of the year....

  3. I love it. I have a reproduction of a really old pattern that I found on the internet and its so lovely. This snowflake reminds me of that pattern. And I enjoyed the story. I have a one year diary that my grandmother wrote about three years before she died. She said several times, "No company today. So and so were here." I guess family wasn't company.

    By the way, do you know what a plain stitch is? I came across this in a really old pattern. The pattern also calls for single and double crochet stitches.

  4. beautiful.
    I hope that I will also be a grandmother to pass on this tradition - even though my girls are only 1 and 3 :)
    (I grew up playing hopskotch, skipping rope, footsie, flying kites, cricket.....)

  5. I love the first versions, but the final one is just gorgeous! I can't believe there's a mountain called Mount Mamma. Haha.

  6. Thank you, everyone, and thank you Sara, for giving me this opportunity!

    Peg, my first thought when you said "plain stitch" was a single crochet, but then you said it already has those. Could it be a slip stitch? I'll poke around and see what I can find out, but that truly has me stumped!

  7. Love the duckies. I thought I was the only one who sent out crochet snowflake Christmas cards! (One year I did stars instead.) What a sweet tribute to Grandma Norma.

  8. It's perfect....perfectly beautiful!

  9. I looked up my antique pattern. I have a thought. Its England English. Aren't the European patterns different in that a single crochet is actually what we consider a double crochet, etc.? So perhaps a plain stitch is actually a sc. I tried to find the pattern online but can't. Glad I copied it when I did. The pattern is from The Crochet Book, Sixth Series, containing D'Oyleys and Anti-Macassars by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere . . . 1877. The start of D'oyley No 1 is:
    Work a chain of 7 stitches, and make it round.
    1st round - 11 chain and 1 plain in the foundation chain, 7 times; then 5 single stitches on the 1st 11 chain.
    2nd- (1 plain, 11 chain, 1 plain: both these plain stitches are to be worked in the 11 chain of the 1st round), 3 chain, miss 10: repeat, end 1 single stitch. . .
    I've never made one of these. Perhaps I should make one, using plain as an sc as well as single stitch. D'oyley one is only 13 rows, what could it hurt. Peg

  10. Peg, it appears you are correct in your assumption. I asked on Ravelry, and this is where I was pointed:
    Crochet Hub

  11. Beautiful! I love all your snowflake patterns!
    I've never commented here before, but I just wanted you to know, your patterns are saving my life!
    I was knocked to the ground a few too many times at a martial arts tournament this past Saturday. I suffered a concussion and I am being forced to relax (AKA, not do ANYTHING fun...) for at least two weeks. This morning I decided to look through my bookmarked crochet patterns and I decided to tackle your "King's Crown" snowflake. I just completed my fifth of your snowflake patterns today and I'm still going strong!
    I don't know what I would be doing with myself otherwise :)

    Thanks so much! Keep up the flakes!

  12. Thanks, what an interesting site. I shall have to spend some time on there. After I finish what I am working on now I think I will give my old pattern a go.

  13. I've been reading your blog for awhile now. I love your snowflakes. I was so touched by the story of Sara and her grandmother's snowflake pattern.

    I have many things from my grandmother that I treasure so, like china, glass bowls, handwritten recipes and also handwritten crochet patterns (like "house slippers"). My grandmother also taught me how to crochet.

    I wonder: will my grandchildren treasure any of my valued possessions? I sure hope so, because I think owning things (or even skills) maternally inherited adds a connectivity to life that cannot be achieved any other way.

  14. Oh, sweet nostalgia. You had me at corduroy. When my girls were little, we lived in snowy states and they wore a lot of corduroy pants and overalls. My Dad calls them whistle britches because of the noise they'd make as the kids ran by. And hopscotch! Geez, I feel about 10 years old right now ... and that's not easy to do!!! Love your Mountain Mamma snowflake and the Grandma Tirrell story. And the wonderful picture of momma duck and her little babies. Great post!


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