14 November 2011

Snowflake Monday

Douglas Snowflake

I wanted to climb a peak to commemorate the seventh anniversary of my back surgery, but snowstorms raged on all three peaks I'd picked. One of the main reasons I climb is for the view, and there is no view during a blizzard.

So The Lizard and I took a bike ride instead. During this windy, blustery and threatening-to-rain ride, I contemplated different edgings for my Fall Blaze Hat because I'd received multiple requests for a crochet rim instead of the knitted rim. While I was working out the stitches in my head, it occurred to me I could design a snowflake to match the hat, fingerless gloves and cowl.

Then I had to come up with a name for the snowflake. Our training ride doesn't have a formal name, but the route included sections of the Elephant Rock ride we do every June. I wasn't sure I liked Elephant Rock as the name of a snowflake, so back to the drawing board I went.

We were in Douglas County, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this month. There is a Douglas Pass, although it's way on the other side of the state. And I've been seriously contemplating a Douglas bike as a replacement when and if my bike calls it a day. During this particular training ride, the... what do you call it... bottom bracket kept... how to describe it... thudding? I don't know much about the mechanical aspect of bikes, but The Lizard knew what this meant ("too much play in the bearings, because your bike is getting old"), and he thinks he'll be able to fix it. So I may yet get another year out of my bike. (I'm not one who buys a camera, bike, car, phone or computer every time something new comes along. I use my stuff until it absolutely cannot in any way be fixed anymore.)

My Lost BoysDouglas isn't just the name of a couple of Colorado places and a bike. Douglas is the name of the brother I lost coming up on ten years ago, and he would have turned 48 this week. Douglas is the perfect name for this snowflake.

Douglas County was named after Little Giant Stephen A. Douglas, famed orator, senator, and presidential and romantic rival to Abraham Lincoln. He briefly courted Mary Todd before she married Abe. Douglas believed the people should decide if slavery should be allowed or abolished, not the government (popular sovereignty).

Douglas Pass is located along a two-lane highway connecting Grand Junction to Rangely and Dinosaur, and one of the last times I saw my brother was a road trip we took to Dinosaur. Douglas Pass is not exceptionally high, at 8,268 feet, but it is not maintained at night, so winter driving in the dark can be an adventure. The pass, located in the Bookcliff Mountains (another very cool name), provides an exceptional view of the La Sal Mountains, right outside of Moab, one of my favorite places on earth. Once upon a time, a challenging mountain bike trail called Flight of Icarus, with nearly 4,000 feet of screaming downhill, began at the summit of Douglas Pass but was closed by the BLM in 2003. Nope, I never rode it; I'm not a downhiller on skis or bike. The Lizard never got the chance to ride Icarus, but would have if the trail had not been closed.

Douglas bicycle frames, named for Colorado Cyclist owner Doug Bruinsma, for many years were made in Washington state for the mostly mail-order bike shop in Colorado Springs. Bruinsma moved his mail-order bike shop from Estes Park to the Springs the year after I moved to Estes Park for an eight-year newshound stint. We probably crossed paths without ever knowing it. Douglas was an American-made, affordable and sturdy bike with top components and a special and sentimental name. Of course, now that I've decided I want one, they are no longer made. Figures. Maybe my limping bike will last another year.

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!

Douglas Snowflake

Finished Size: 5 to 6.5 inches from point to point, depending upon hook size
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7, 8 or 10 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
NOTE: I stiffened these flakes with spray starch and an iron on cotton setting.

Douglas Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (does not count as dc on this round), 12 dc in ring, sl st across starting ch 2 into 1st dc. Pull magic ring tight.

Round 2: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2), *1 dc in next st, ch 2; repeat from * around for a total of 12 dc; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 5.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), *3 dc in next dc, ch 2, 3 dc in same dc, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around, ending with sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 instead of last dc of final repeat, for a total of 6 ch/2 points. (If desired, bind off here for a cute small snowflake.)
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: Ch 6 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 dc in same st as sl st, ch 3, *1 sc in next ch 2 sp, ch 3, sk next 3/dc group, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in same dc, ch 3; repeat from * around, 4 times; sl st in next ch 2 sp, ch 3, sk next 3/dc group, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 6. (If desired, bind off here for a cute small snowflake.)

Douglas Snowflake Twins

Round 5: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), 1 dc in starting ch 3 sp of Round 4, ch 1, *1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 4.

Round 6: Sl st into next ch 1 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc same ch 1 sp, 2 dc in each of next 2 ch 1 sp, *3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp, 2 dc in each of next 4 ch 1 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 5, sl st in top of dc just made, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp, 2 dc in next ch 1 sp; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1 hdc), *1 sc in each of next 2 st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in next ch 5 loop, 3 tr in same loop, ch 6, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in sc, ch 5, sl st in sc (tri-picot made), ch 2, 3 tr in same loop, 1 dc in same loop, sk next 3 st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, 1 hdc in next st; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last hdc 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.

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.

Douglas Snowflake


  1. The Douglas is a beautiful pattern and a wonderful way to commemorate your brother.

  2. I'm really enjoying the coloured yarns on the snowflakes.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who believes in using it up and wearing it out! Wow, if you have to buy a new bike next year how will you EVER decide? So much to choose from. (I suppose the Lizard will build it for you.) Perhaps you can find a Douglas frame out there somewhere.

    What a sweet picture of your brother.

  3. Beautiful photo of your snowflake... but I especially loved the photo of your brother and that the snowflake is named after him.

  4. I just know your brother, Douglas would be so proud....it's so hard to have to say good-bye but keeping them in our memories is so comforting....I too lost my sister who I barely knew, and yet she is still today very much a part of my thoughts....her name was Oriana, (you seldom hear that name) and while I was on vacation I heard a mother call out to her little girl with my sister's name...it was such a treat actually ...I just wanted to give her a hug...but I didn't! Our loved ones just keep us going right!

  5. Veeeeery pretty.

    Have a nice week.

  6. I love and appreciate all of your hard work both in snowflakes and charity. I would love to use some of the threads that you have Huron Peak and Lost Creek Wilderness. Where did you find them?


  7. Hi, Michelle. Most of the variegated thread I've been using is from Sara's Colorwave Yarns or Lizbeth (from Handy Hands). I think the flakes you refer to are Sara's Colorwave in the Pool colorway. The blue and white Douglas flake is Lizbeth in their newest colorway, appropriately called Blue Ice.

  8. I'm thrilled to have happened upon your site back in March...I've made at least 25-30 of your snowflake patterns. Simply stunning! I don't know how you do it!
    I was wondering how you feel is the best way to store my snowflakes. I tried keeping them in individual Ziploc bags inside a large plastic container, however, they began to bend and mold to the snowflake below. I spent a couple hours getting them flat again. Any ideas would be most appreciated. Please start a new year of Snowflake Monday. I so much enjoy your work! Thanks

  9. Thank you, Rose. I think that's about the nicest thing anyone's said so far this year!

  10. PS: Rose, I forgot to answer your question. Just finished a 60-mile bicycle ride, and I'm cold, hungry, and covered with mud, sweat and goose poop!!! :)

    I'm working on a post for next week's Snowflake Monday that will include stiffening methods and storage methods. I store my snowflakes, biggest on the bottom, in airtight containers like normal people use for leftovers. I'll have pictures and tips next week.

  11. Hi, I just love all of your snowflakes. You are incredibly talented.I have looked at all of you snowflake patterns and have already made 3 or 4 of them. I have also made the little jewelry box.I haven't found anything that I don't want to make. I appreciate all your hard work posting all that you create!!

  12. I am so glad I found your site!! I love every one of you snowflakes. I have made several of them already!! I also made the little jewelry box. I absolutely love it!! I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work in putting together this site and sharing all your creations with all of us!

  13. Wow! I love your site! And you are a cyclist! Very cool! We ride mainly in Florida but go out of state a few times a year to ride with friends to RAGBRAI in Iowa and other rides. I always want a project to work on in the car while we are traveling. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Jodster! Snowflakes are perfect for daylight car trips, as long as you're not the driver. ;) I just finished 20 or so on my road trip to Washington! I must admit, it was most difficult sometimes to keep crocheting instead of looking out the window because some areas, such as North Cascades, were too pretty to not stare, daydream and drool!


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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