16 April 2012

Snowflake Monday

Chris Williamson's Castaway Snowflake

About a year ago, I wondered what a snowflake would look like if I made huge chain spaces and then chained the chains.

When I broke my wrist, I thought that idea might be the perfect way to see if I could crochet while in a cast because it seemed like it might be an easy snowflake, one that wouldn't require much hand movement.

The temporary cast allowed me to do a little bit of tiny hook crochet at a time; my fingers were so sore then, they limited me more than the cast did. By the time I got the real cast, my fingers were moving pretty well, but the cast all but shut down crochet. After about a week, The Lizard sanded down a sharp point that felt as if it was stabbing deep inside my thumb, and I was able to work up this sample.

Normally, a medium-sized snowflake will take me 15 or 20 minutes. This one took me five nights. Pinning it in two different ways took another two full Saturdays! The pinned pins kept catching on the cast! I still think it's an easy snowflake, but not with a cast on the crocheting hand.

Enter Chris from across the pond. When she read what had happened to me, she immediately emailed to ask what she could do to help. Her initial thought was for me to talk her through my snowflake idea via Skype. My slow dialup prevents me from communicating with my family via the internet, so I knew Skype wouldn't be an option. I asked Chris if she'd like to test the pattern I'd written for this Castaway Snowflake. She eagerly agreed.

I didn't have photos to show Chris how to chain the chains or what the snowflake should look like, only written notes describing how I was trying to experiment with the chained chains to see what kind of shapes I could achieve, and that my attempts to create hearts had failed.

Without photos to work from, Chris came up with a beautifully pinned snowflake with plenty of hearts and lots of love. The best part of this adventure is this was Chris' first time pinning and stiffening a snowflake!

She took on this ostensibly impossible mission (with typed and electronically transmitted instructions that did NOT go up in smoke after she read them) to make sure Snowflake Monday kept going, and she created a masterpiece snowflake and a true work of art!

Your mission, Sisters of the Snowflake, should you choose to accept it, is not to focus too much on our photos when you pin your snowflakes and to come up with your own interpretation. I've set up a Flickr group so we can all see how many different versions of this snowflake we can invent.

Thank you, Chris, for making this stage of my recovery so much fun! (And happy belated birthday!!!)

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!

Chris Williamson's Castaway Snowflake

Finished Size: 6.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, size H crochet hook (or whatever desired larger size hook you choose), empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Castaway Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr in ring, * ch 12, 3 tr in ring; repeat from * 4 times; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: Sl st into next tr; ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr in same st, ch 16, * 3 tr in middle tr of next 3/tr group, ch 16; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in 4th ch of starting 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 3: Sl st into next tr; ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr in same st, ch 20, * 3 tr in middle tr of next 3/tr group, ch 20; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4.

Round 4: Sl st into next tr; ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr in same st, ch 24, * 3 tr in middle tr of next 3/tr group, ch 24; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4.

Round 5: Sl st into next tr; ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr in same st, ch 7, 1 dc in 4th ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, sl st in next ch, sl st in top of tr just worked (teardrop made), 1 tr in same tr in main body of flake, ch 28, * 2 tr in middle tr of next 3/tr group, ch 7, 1 dc in 4th ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, sl st in next ch, sl st in top of tr just worked, 1 tr in same tr in main body of flake, ch 28; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4; bind off. Weave in ends.

Chris Williamson's Castaway Snowflake
I think Chris' pins in this photo look like appropriately-hued beads, don't you?

To chain the chains, insert the H hook (or whatever larger size hook you are using) through the opening between the first and second rounds in any chain space, from the front. Twist the first (lower) chain around the hook (I went right with the hook and caught the chain with the hook and straightened the hook back out), then bring the second round chain through the chain loop you just made, then bring the third round chain through the chain loop just made, etc., until you get past the final round. Repeat for each of the other five chain space openings. (This is like picking up dropped stitches in knitting, if you are a knitter. If you’re not a knitter and you just completed this step, you now know how to pick up dropped stitches when you learn to knit!)

Castaway Snowflake

When I pinned, I tried to shape my chains in different shapes: diamonds, triangles, squares, and then I tried hourglasses and hearts. I wanted to make several more snowflakes and try this step with a C or D hook, pulling the points tighter to see how that would look. I think there are many creative possibilities in the shaping of this snowflake, and I would love to see what you come up with. Share your photos here, if desired.

chain the chains

chain the chains

chained chains

ready to shape

Castaway Snowflake

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.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. 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.

Castaway Snowflake


  1. Wow, very cute and ingenious.

  2. This snowflakes reminds me of a bicycle chain! I did think the pinned one was actually beaded. Too bad you can't do it that way!

  3. I really like the idea of molding the chains into different shapes. Gives a lot of room for creativity.

  4. I love funky methods like this. What a very pretty and delicate snowflake, and well done Chris! I especially like the pinned photo.

    That is a most gorgeous yarn in your snowflake, Deb.

  5. I love the blue one! It's gorgeous!
    I'm glad I was able to help. Hugs!

  6. Bellissimi!!!...mi chiedevo se si possono avere gli schemi...Grazie.

    1. Thank you, Santina! Unfortunately, I have not had time yet to chart my patterns. I do hope to have charts for all my snowflakes one day.

      Non ho grafici ancora; spero di essere in grado di attirare tutti i miei disegni un giorno.

  7. Where can I find the pinwheel graph you use for blocking? Did you draw it yourself?

    1. 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.


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