30 July 2012

Snowflake Monday

Dark and early on the first morning of the second month in 2003, two of my co-workers joined me in an attempt to reach the summit of Mount Bierstadt in the deep snow of an uncharacteristically moist winter.

Both of my adopted kids had fled the nest the year before, and I'd had a hair-raising experience trying to make it up Mount Princeton alone in January. I wanted to do something I could be proud of, something that would require all my concentration, and all my friends wanted me to stop trying to climb mountains alone, particularly in winter.

My two co-workers and I began plodding up the gentle and snow-packed trail well before sunrise, hoping to catch the first golden beams of the sun from the high shoulder of the mountain. Alas, one of my co-workers began showing symptoms of altitude sickness and offered to turn back alone so we could continue on, and the other, an experienced and accomplished climber, still to this day does not believe in splitting any climbing party.

We all turned back together.

As we made our way back to the metro area in my 4Runner, we noticed all the flags in all the mountain towns we drove through were at half-staff. We assumed a well-known politician had died. We turned on my car's radio and found a news station that periodically broadcast more than just mountain static.

The Space Shuttle Columbia had disintegrated during re-entry, and once again, all seven astronauts aboard were lost.

In July of that year, another friend joined me in an attempt to make it up Challenger Point, which was named in honor of the astronauts of the first shuttle we lost. (Turns out I don't have the skills to summit Challenger Point. But my friend summited.) We'd heard rumors another plaque would be placed across the 14,000-foot hump of Kit Carson, on another sub-summit that had just been renamed in honor of the Columbia crew. Reaching the summit of that peak was beyond my abilities, so I asked my friend if he would get a shot of the newly named mountain for me from the summit of Kit Carson, which also is beyond my skills.

The following week, the plaque was indeed placed, and the ceremony included family members and friends of the Columbia crew, astronauts and an F-16 flyover in the missing man formation. I wish I could have been making my way up the mountain that day. I think the adrenaline surge might have helped me make it to the summit.

I didn’t make it up Challenger, and I’m not sure at this point if my future will include any additional 14er summits. If I am ever able to climb again, Columbia and Challenger remain on my bucket list. Today's snowflake is a promise I will try again if given the opportunity.

The second plaque reads:

Columbia Point, 13,980'
In Memory of the Crew of the Shuttle Columbia
Seven who died accepting the risk,
Expanding humankind's horizons
February 1, 2003
"Mankind is led into the darkness beyond
our world by the inspiration of discovery
and the longing to understand. Our
journey into space will go on."
President George W. Bush

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!

Finished Size: 4.5 inches from point to point
Materials: 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

Columbia Point Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 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 9 (counts as 1 dc and ch 7), [sk next sc, 1 dc in next sc, ch 7] 5 times, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 9.

Round 3: [In next ch 7 sp work (3 sc, ch 7, 3 sc] 6 times; sl st in starting sc.
NOTE: Cute mini snowflake alert! Also tried changing up the points a bit for another variation.

Round 4: Ch 4 (counts as 1 sc and [ch 3), in next ch 7 sp work (1 sc, ch 5, 1 sc, ch 7, 1 sc, ch 5, 1 sc), ch 3, 1 sc in gap between next 2 3/sc groups], around 6 times, omitting last sc and last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in in 1st ch of starting ch 4 to form 12th ch 3 sp of Round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.
NOTE: Another cute little snowflake alert!

Round 5: [Ch 7, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 2, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 5 loop, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, in next ch 7 loop work (1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, ch 5, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in sc, ch 4, sl st in sc (tri-picot made), 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc), ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, 1 sc in next ch 5 loop, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp] 6 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in Round 4 finishing dc; 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.

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.


  1. another great snowflake. This will be at the end of my hook sometime today. I have a baby bonnet to put the finishing touches on and then I can work on this snowflake.

    Wait! Is it truly "work on" or would play with be better.

    I will play with this snowflake today!

    thanks again!

  2. hooray! I just adore the spirit that rages from that photo! While I was on Pinterest the other day I thought of you. Someone had pinned a photo of a mason jar (or perhaps a pickle jar) with this same kind of stunning cover, although very thin in thread.....it was charming too!

  3. I think you'll be given the opportunity. I'm praying that you do!

  4. I love the way the picots stand out from the stone ... and in the other flake, that gorgeous hand-dyed thread.

    Thank you for keeping alive the memory of Columbia and her crew.

  5. Love this pattern, thank you! Just worked it up as my 6th snowflake in my ornament-a-day project on Rav.

    1. I must have been swamped when you left this comment because I don't even remember it. I am going to look for your project on Ravelry because that sounds like fun, plus, I can't wait to see where you are on progress now!

  6. I love all your patterns. Thank you! I've made 65 snowflakes so far. In the fifth round of this one I think in the first line, it says 1sc in next 7 chain space where it should be next 5 chain space and then vice versa.

    1. 65 snowflakes?!? Holy sparkle! That's going to look incredible on your tree... or you're going to make a heck of a lot of gift recipients very, very happy! :)

      I just tried looking at the pattern to figure it out, but I can't visualize, so I will try to make one tonight and make the appropriate changes. Thank you very much for pointing this out!

    2. Hi again, Lisa

      I printed out the pattern so I could try it one more time last night, but I didn't get a thing done last night. I'm sorry. I will still try to check this and make sure it is right.

    3. I'm so glad that I read the comments. I was so confused! I agree with Lisa, otherwise it makes the snowflake pattern go wonky. The way the pattern if currently written, the tri-picot is built off of the chain five space to the left of the chain seven and the first chain five space is skipped all together. I also have a hard time visualizing patterns before making them but I'm sure you'll see what Lisa means when you try the pattern. (If you can fit it into what I'm sure is a busy enough schedule!)

    4. Thank you again Lisa, and now Amber, for helping me get this pattern right. I apologize for taking so long; the last two weeks have been pandemonium, but I think I'm finally getting back on schedule.

      I made another snowflake, and both of you were right. I have fixed the booboos in the pattern, and I also found a typo in the first round, where I had typed dc instead of sc, and that's fixed now too.

      Thanks for being patient with me and helping me and others to get these right!!! Happy Thanksgiving!


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