19 September 2011

Snowflake Monday

Pikes Peak framed

This project was supposed to commemorate my successful climb of Pikes Peak at the end of August. But I got so tied up in my final training rides, watching the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Cottonwood Pass and taking the car back in for a third round of brake work, I didn't get this finished in time for photos before we had to leave for the ride. And then, once again, I failed to reach the summit in the allotted time.

I still love these jerseys, though! Now they can commemorate two years of Snowflake Mondays. I published my first Snowflake Monday on 21 September 2009. Didn't know then it would become what it has become. Now it has become a personal challenge to see just how many snowflakes I can design. I plan to keep going until my head is empty. (If you ask the right person, they might tell you my head has always been empty...)

Last year's official Pikes Peak cycling jersey featured red polka dots. That's the design used on the King of the Mountains jersey, awarded to the best climber in the Tour de France.

I didn't really like this year's Pikes Peak jersey, cartoon cyclists pedaling through the Devil's Playground, a lightning-prone segment of the road up Pikes Peak, so I decided to design my own jersey. Initially, I thought red snowflakes on a white jersey would mimic the King of the Mountains jersey, plus look really cool on last year's official Lanterne Rouge rider.

A steep and feared Pikes Peak WHowever, I don't really like red. And, ahem, even though I didn't make the summit, I was NOT the Lanterne Rouge this year. Woohoo! (Also I did NOT get swept! I just wasn't allowed to proceed beyond Glen Cove.)

After this year's Pikes Peak ride, red snowflakes just won't do. After I found the cheapest least expensive long-sleeve plain white cycling jersey (with reflective zipper!!!) I could get my hands on, I made a handful of turquoise snowflakes, and I created my very own King of the Mountain jersey. The Lizard liked it so much, he asked for one of his own, only blue with white snowflakes. He's made it no secret he likes white snowflakes.

So today we have a Pikes Peak Snowflake, designed especially for these jerseys, and we have the Snowcatcher King of the Mountain Jersey. If you have no need of a cycling jersey, feel free to apply your favorite blocked but unstiffened snowflakes to a coat, T-shirt, dress, jeans, pair of shorts or pants, swimsuit, hoodie, towel, sweater, scarf, whatever your heart desires.

King of the Mountain JerseyOne thing I've learned through this process is it's much easier to appliqué snowflakes onto flat material, so I should have made my own jerseys instead of buying ready-made jerseys and applied the snowflakes before assembling the garments. Also, sewing snowflakes onto ready-made sleeves is not the most fun project I've ever done, although it did entertain a number of fellow train passengers, and I managed to complete the project without accidentally stabbing anyone.

I knew putting the snowflakes on stretchy material would require a little more thought and skill than woven cotton, such as quilt squares. For these jerseys, I used a whip stitch around the edges and periodically checked to make sure the fabric was still stretchy by pulling on it.

Finally, if your sewing thread perfectly matches your crochet thread, you may sew your snowflakes to your garment with a sewing machine instead of by hand. That isn't always possible with pre-made garments, especially sleeves, but works fabulously and quickly for projects such as skirt hemlines and bag edgings. I used the free-motion setting and slowed down a bit so I could guide the snowflakes exactly as I wanted them to be appliquéd.

Pikes Peak is perhaps best known as the inspiration behind Katharine Lee Bates' "America the Beautiful" but also served as a portion of the gold rush era mantra "Pikes Peak or Bust" because miners traveling from the east could see the mountain before they could see the Denver area for which they were heading. Pikes Peak is about an hour south of Denver via car but was a couple days' journey back in 1858.

Pikes Peak was named in honor of Zebulon Pike Jr., who led an 1806 expedition but failed to summit the peak he called Grand Mountain. Prior to the first known summit by non-natives in 1820, the mountain was called El Capitan by Spaniards and Tava, meaning Sun Mountain, by Ute Indians. Dr. Edwin James was the first non-native to climb the peak, which he did in two days without any difficulty (obviously, he wasn't traveling via bicycle). Dr. James also was the first person to describe what later became the Colorado state flower, the blue columbine. Major Stephen Long (who has a peak he never summited named after him but who went on to claim other great milestones I'll share when I design a Longs Peak snowflake) named Pikes Peak after Dr. James, but trappers and miners continued calling it Pikes, and that's the name that stuck.

columbinePikes Peak is the most visited high mountain in the US, thanks to the paved road, the Barr Trail and a cog railway, all of which lead to the summit. In addition to the annual Assault on the Peak bicycle ride, which will be offered for the third time next year, up the paved road, the Pikes Peak Marathon is a grueling race for runners to the summit and back via the Barr Trail, 26 miles round trip.

The road up the mountain was made famous worldwide by the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds, first staged in 1916, and at times won by renowned drivers including Mario Andretti and the Unsers.

In 1899, Nikola Tesla knocked out power throughout Colorado Springs attempting to transmit what would have been the first radio signal from Pikes Peak to Paris, but he went on to become one of the most accomplished electrical engineers, pioneering wireless energy transfer to power electronic devices.

Here's another interesting tidbit. Why do mountain names have no apostrophes? A troubling question for this budding reporter who relocated to mountainous Colorado mid-career and who frequently wrote stories with what appeared to be misspelled mountain names. The US Board on Geographic Names has discouraged the use of apostrophes since its formation in 1890. Roger Payne, emeritus Executive Secretary of the Board, explained: "Words when forming geographic names have lost their connotative aspects; the name is merely a label, and therefore ownership or association is no longer relevant."

An interesting benefit of the ruling made long before modern technology stepped in is that electronically searching for Pikes Peak is easier than searching for Pike's Peak. Also, remember grade school alphabetizing? Which comes first, Pikes Peak or Pike's Peak? Get rid of the apostrophe and make brain room for more important tasks, such as riding a bike, designing snowflakes, writing patterns and maintaining a blog.

Bet ya didn't know you were in for such an education when you searched for free snowflake patterns, did ya?

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!

Pikes Peak Snowflake

Finished Size: 5.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, 6 to 12 unstiffened but blocked snowflakes, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, rust-proof stick, sewing thread to match crochet thread, sewing needle, item for appliqué, spray bottle with water

Pikes Peak Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, *ch 5, 2 dc in ring; repeat from * 4 times for a total of 6 spokes; ch 2, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 (ch 2 and dc count as final ch 5). Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: 1 sc in same sp, ch 9, *1 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 9; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting sc.
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 3: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), *2 dc in next ch 9 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 3 sc in same sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, 1 tr in next sc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last tr of final repeat; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4.

Round 4: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook (counts as 2 tr increases), *1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 hdc, 1 sc in each of next 3 sc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 hdc, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 tr in next tr, 2 dc in bottom loops of tr just worked (see photos) (counts as 2 tr increases); repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last tr and increases of final repeat; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4.

2 dc in bottom loops of tr just worked

2 dc in bottom loops of tr just worked
2 dc in bottom loops of tr just worked

Round 5: Sl st into next dc (middle tr increase), ch 9 (counts as 1 tr and ch 5), *1 tr in same dc, ch 6, 1 sc in middle sc of next 3/sc group, ch 6, 1 tr in middle of next tr increase, ch 5; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st into 4th ch of starting ch 9.

Round 6: Sl st into next ch 5 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 3 dc in same sp, *ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc in next ch, ch 2, 4 dc in same ch 5 sp, ch 6, 1 sc into same Round 4 sc as next sc (working over Round 5 sc), ch 6, 4 dc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 4 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; 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.

Spray snowflake lightly with water and allow to dry. Remove gently and pin to desired object/garment. With matching sewing thread and using tiny stitches, stitch snowflake to object/garment. Wear garment or use bag, and cheerfully show your snowflake pride! Take only as many custom orders from admirers as you can reasonably fill and still make time for your own family during the upcoming holidays.

Snowcatcher King of the Mountain Jersey


  1. Where do start with that post - love the digression into the spelling history, fascinating stuff. And that photograph at the top, stunning colours. Jacket looks great on The Lizard too:)

  2. Ah, and the cycling. The biggest part of this post really. Sorry to hear you didn't make the time you had set yourself, I'm sure you had a blast trying anyhow, it sounds like a pretty steep climb to say the least. The main thing is you got you there and had a go! :)

  3. LOVE this snowflake. I love that this one has a flower in the center as I love flowers and have been waiting for this one since my last name is Pike.
    Thank you for all the beautiful snowflakes you make for us! They make me happy since we don't get snow much down here in TX.

  4. I love what you did with those snowflakes. I am anxious to get started on making snowflakes for the Christmas presents this year. Last year I gave all my friends two and now I will add to their collection. Just waiting until we get back to Yuma to start them.

  5. You are the master of snowflakes for sure...just amazing...yet my main focus in this post, is photo #1- besides stunning, and rich in color, it's got it all...sky, mountains, and blossoms....does it get any better?

  6. Cool and original sweater :)

  7. Great idea and I love the first pic.

  8. I love the clean lines of this flake. And the jerseys are fantastic (but why not Queen of the Mountains?)

    It takes a real man to wear crochet snowflakes on a cycling jersey.

    My sis and her fiance are in CO right now and will be visiting Pikes Peak tomorrow with my nephew. Thanks for the photos!

  9. Thank you, everyone!

    CrazyYarnLady, that's the coolest reason to like this flake!

    Delena, it's pretty funny to hear you want to start making flakes in the land of the sun after you leave the great white north!

    Sue, I guess we could call mine the Queen of the Mountain jersey. But I don't dare give that name to The Lizard's jersey. It's cool enough that he wants to wear it! (And he decided what snowflakes he wanted on there and where he wanted them. He also wants me to save up some spare change and have the Snowcatcher logo screen-printed on both jerseys. He's got a creative streak, too!)

  10. you make amazing things, keep it up.. you are very gifted..god bless

  11. Use elasticized sock yarn or elastic cord to crochet motifs for later appliqued features to knit/Spandex material. Love this pattern!!!

    1. That is an awesome tip, Anonymous! Thank you! The whip stitch worked fine, but boy would this have been a great solution. Now I'm set for the next trip down bicycle jersey applique!


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