23 July 2012

Snowflake Monday

Challenger Point Snowflake

This snowflake was inspired by the thread colorway, called iris. Only three of my two dozen or so irises blossomed this year, thanks in part I'm sure to the heat wave that sparked many Colorado fires. Because I haven't satisfied my flower fix this season, I find myself making more and more snowflakes with flower themes and colors.

I've received another couple of requests to write out a pattern for a snowflake rock. This is going to be challenging because in order to make detailed written instructions work, crocheters will have to find a rock equal in size to what I use for the pattern, as well as match my tension. In other words, there is no rocket science in this. You still may have to adapt the pattern to accommodate your tension and rock size. Hopefully this project will provide joy during the journey, and not spikes of frustration when the pattern doesn't precisely fit any given rock.

The challenge of this project fuses with the anniversary of the placement of a special plaque atop a Colorado mountain this week. Twenty-five years ago on July 18, a plaque commemorating the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which disintegrated shortly after takeoff the year before, was mounted atop the 14,081-foot shoulder of Kit Carson Mountain.

On the other side of Kit Carson is another sub-peak officially named in honor of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated a few months before I attempted to climb Challenger Point.

Challenger Point, The Prow, Kit Carson Peak, Columbia Point, Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle

I was living in what was known as "Spaceport USA" at the time, a photojournalist with the local newspaper. Many of my assignments revolved around activity at Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. I'd grown up to the tune of F-15s breaking the sound barrier, the sound of freedom. I served as a volunteer youth hostess during the grand opening of the International Space Hall of Fame. The Space Shuttle Columbia landed not far from my stomping grounds in 1982. My background may or may not be a factor in my love of Star Trek and Star Wars. Space is and always has been in my blood just as thick as photography and cycling.

I learned of the Challenger incident watching screened, camera ready photos scroll out of an Associated Press wire service machine, back in the days of film, darkrooms, manual typewriters and snail mail. Most small newspapers didn't have the means to transmit stories and photos electronically. (The birth of photojournalism occurred in 1935!)

My editor wasn't happy with the first black and white Challenger photos to come across the wire, so he sent me home to snap color photos of my television screen. All three television stations ran continuous coverage. (That's all we had back then, just three stations, and they all signed off after the late-night news and The Tonight Show.) I snapped photos of the plume of smoke against the blue sky, then rushed back to the office to process the film, then print four registered (matched up) CMYK prints, all black and white but each representing a different color: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The photos were photographed with a huge screen camera, as big as a photographer, to be made into page-size negatives that would be etched or burned onto thin aluminum plates used on giant revolving drums to print newspapers.

Challenger Point

I didn’t quite make it to the top of Challenger Point in 2003, so I didn't get my own photo of the memorial plaque, which reads:

In Memory of the Crew of Shuttle Challenger
Seven who died accepting the risk,
expanding Mankind's horizons
January 28, 1986
Ad Astra Per Aspera

The Latin phrase means, "To the stars through adversity."

I'm not certain why it takes something tragic, such as the loss of both of our shuttles, first one, then another, so many years ago, to pull us together as a nation and a people. But I am very grateful we still are able to unite and become as one following the tragic aftermath of events such as what happened in Colorado just a few days ago. May our combined hearts and prayers blend in a plea for comfort, peace and strength upon those affected.

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!

Challenger Point Snowflake

Finished Size: 4 inches from point to point
Materials: For snowflake: size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, 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. For rock: size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, smooth, round, clean river rock approximately 4 inches in diameter and approximately 2 inches thick.


Ch 6, sl st into 1st ch OR make magic ring.

Round 1: Sl st into ring, *ch 1, 3 dc in ring, ch 1, sl st in ring; repeat from * around 5 times for a total of 6 petals. Don't pull magic ring too tight until after completing Round 2.
Round 2: *Ch 8, sl st over next petal into next sl st; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, 1 dtr in last sl st of Round 1 (counts as final ch 8 sp, and you will be working over dtr post in next round). Pull magic ring tight, but leave opening big enough for petals to lie nearly flat with a little bit of curl.
Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same sp, *3 dc in next ch 8 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp,; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 dc in next ch 8 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 (counts as last ch 3 sp, and you will be working over dc post in next round).
Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same sp, * ch 1, 1 sc tightly between next 2 3/dc groups, ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 8, sl st in top of dc just worked, 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 1, 1 sc tightly between next 2 3/dc groups, ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2, ch 8, sl st in same ch.
Round 5: * Ch 3, 1 sc in next sc, 1 hdc in same sc, 1 dc in same sc, ch 3, sl st in top of dc just made, 1 hdc in same sc, 1 sc in same sc, ch 3, 13 sc in next ch 8 sp; repeat from * around 5 times. To make snowflake, sl st in last sl st of Round 4, bind off and weave in ends. To cover a stone, sl st in last sl st of Round 4 and do not bind off. Keep right on going.
Round 6: Check the fit of your rock. Snowflake points should reach the edges of the rock. Adjustments may be necessary to fit the rock. *1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 7, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 7, sk next 6 sc of next 13/sc group, 1 sc in next sc, ch 7; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last ch 7 of final repeat; ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc (counts as last ch 7 sp).
Rounds 7-9: Checking fit as you go, 1 sc over tr just worked,* ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 7 sp; repeat from * around to last ch 7 sp of this round; ch 2, 1 dc in starting sc (counts as ch 5 sp). Cut off beginning thread end at center of snowflake before fitting cover over stone. Snowflake should fit snuggly. Adjust mesh stitch by adding or subtracting chains as necessary to maintain snug fit over rock.
Round 8: 1 sc over dc just worked, * ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around to last ch 5 sp of round; ch 2, 1 dc in starting sc (counts as ch 5 sp). Stretch piece over rock and continue working without removing rock. If you are using a heavy rock, take care not to drop it on body parts (yours or those of others) that might hurt. As much as possible, take care not to scrape crochet hook on rock. Continue adjusting mesh as necessary to snuggly fit rock.
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 9: 1 sc over dc just worked, * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch sp; repeat from * around to last ch sp of round; ch 1, 1 dc in starting sc (counts as ch 3 sp).
Rounds 10-finish: 1 sc over dc just worked, *ch 5, sk next ch 3 sp, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp; repeat from * around to second to last ch sp of round; ch 2, 1 dc in starting sc (counts as ch 5 sp). Continue working same instructions until hole is closed. Ch 3, l st into next ch sp; bind off. Weave in end.

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.

Challenger Point Snowflake


  1. Beautiful colorway! I remember the Challenger incident very clearly. Such a waste of lives.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of your Challenger experience and the photos. The warm light on the snowy mountains is amazing, and the moon over the mountain is also gorgeous. What a talented person you are!

  3. I've missed catching these Monday posts in the morning as well as your Friday fun posts....things have been too busy for me...and it seems my blog roll is so long, besides the FB posts, that during the summer I miss way too much of great posts! Hope your week is going well!

  4. Oh, that yarn in the top photo ... simply beautiful colours. (We didn't get even one iris this year.)

    I remember Challenger - where I was, and how we all gathered round a television in shock and horrified disbelief. What a lovely tribute to that crew.

    Lovely snowflake!

  5. That first mountain shot is just beyond words. It evokes emotion - that is a talent for sure! And the Iris snowflake is just beautiful. Love the colors in it!

  6. This one really caught my eye. What a great pattern and what lovely colors!

  7. I remember it well. As well as the day John Kennedy died. And later, the day the Twin Towers went down. All days we will all remember. U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it best when he said 'This day shall live in infamy'. Thank you Snow Catcher for reminding us all of days we NEVER need to forget, and your lovely patterns.

    1. Thank YOU, unikeu, for reminding me of more things we need to remember.


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