14 January 2013

Snowflake Monday

I have been collecting blue snowflake fabric for about 32 years, give or take. I have wanted to make a snowflake skirt with handkerchief hem for at least half of those years, if not more.

I found the perfect pattern in about 2003, but at that time, I still didn't know where most of my snowflake fabric was hiding. By the time I found it, I had big plans for a snowflake quilt, and I didn't want to cut into the fabric until I knew for sure I wouldn't be needing more for the quilt.

The quilt, which I'd begun in a different life, when I still had children living at home, was supposed to be for the 2012 Denver National Quilt Festival. When I took the project back up last year, the corners didn't match up to perfection, and then I wrecked my bike and broke my wrist. So the quilt STILL isn't finished, darn it. Perhaps this winter...

I finally decided in December it's okay to make my skirt now. I have plenty more snowflake quilt ideas in my head, but I think I have enough fabric to serve multiple purposes.

The skirt was supposed to be my Christmas skirt. I wanted to wear it to work the Friday before Christmas. I wanted to wear it to church the Sunday before Christmas. But I didn't get it done until after Christmas because the fourth quarter at work is always far too demanding. I finally wore the skirt to work on New Year's Eve. I wore it to church the day before that.

All along, I'd planned to embroider snowflakes, either by hand or by machine, along the seams of the skirt with one of the unused fancy threads I picked up in anticipation of quilting the snowflake quilt. I attempted free-motion quilting for the first time ever on my 32-year-old sewing machine last winter, but then I broke my wrist and never perfected the skill.

I attempted to free-motion one string of snowflakes along the skirt's zipper seam because it was the shortest seam and because on the back of the skirt, no one would really see the stitching if what I did turned out awful.

What I did turned out awful! There wasn't time to embroider it by hand and still be able to wear it for any of the 2012 holidays, and 32 years ago I'd deliberately selected a sewing machine without a wide range of embroidery stitches because I didn't think I'd ever need them. I can hand embroider anything.

That was before marriage, before kids, before divorce, before everything that complicated this thing called life, before second perfect, awesome and wonderful marriage, before getting old and in a hurry too often.

If I had it to do over again now, I think I probably would have sprung the couple extra hundred dollars for a sewing machine with a programmable embroidery feature just so I could do snowflakes. Spilt milk...

Alas, I tried every embroidery stitch on the machine on the various skirt seams. Too late to undo. They don't go together. But who's going to be looking at the seams anyway, right?

Another thing I initially intended to do was crochet a snowflake edging of my own design along the long, long, long hem. I did stitch a row along the hem so I will be able to accomplish this part of the goal at some point. But again, no time for such a task in time for Christmas or New Year's. Or February. Or this winter.

I also considered making an original snowflake to applique onto each point of the handkerchief hem. But then I decided that would be overkill. Just when you thought I'd never get tired of snowflakes.

Nevertheless, my lovely new skirt with mismatched topstitching inspired today's snowflake. Given the story of my lost and found fabric, the designing and making of this skirt, the challenge of this "layered" snowflake, the difficulty I had getting up Castle in order to walk up super simple Conundrum and the conundrum we encountered while descending Conundrum, doesn't Conundrum Peak sound like the perfect name for this snowflake?

14,040-foot Conundrum Peak is a sub-summit of Castle Peak, the tallest 14er in the Elk Range near Aspen and the 12th tallest peak in Colorado. Conundrum doesn't count as a real mountain because the saddle connecting the pair of 14ers is but a mere 200 feet lower than Conundrum. The connecting saddle would have to be a 300-foot drop in order for Conundrum to be classified as a real mountain.

Conundrum got its name from the nearby creek and hot springs, so named by 18th century prospectors who didn't find the Mother Lode for which they were looking.

The Lizard and I climbed both Castle and Conundrum on the same day, and to me, Conundrum is a mountain, especially since Castle must be reclimbed on the way back down! No one can ever tell me I didn't climb two mountains that day! Or is it three??? (Castle + Conundrum + Castle???)

Castle and Conundrum are the only 14ers in the Elk Range I can climb; the other five are far too difficult and dangerous for me. Castle is considered fairly easy by most mountain climbers, but it's the only time in my life I've ever chimneyed up between two rocks, which means I had to use my back and my hands in addition to my legs to get up a short but exposed (meaning a very long way down if you fall) rock chimney. (Obviously before back surgery.)

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: 6.5 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

NOTE: This snowflake is created in two parts. A bind-off and re-join are required on the 3rd and 4th Rounds.

Conundrum Peak 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 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2), * 1 sc in next sc, ch 2, 1 dc in next sc, ch 10, 1 dc in same sc, ch 2; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc and ch 2 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd 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: Sk next ch 2 sp, *1 sc in each of next 3 ch of next ch 10 loop, ch 2, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (picot made), 1 sc in next ch of ch 10 loop, ch 15, 1 dc in 5th ch from hook, 1 dc in next ch, ch 2, sk 2 ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 2, sk 2 ch, 1 dc in each of next 2 ch, ch 2, sk next 2 ch of ch 10 loop, 1 sc in next ch of ch 10 loop, ch 2, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (picot made), 1 sc in each of next 3 ch; repeat from * around 5 times; bind off.
NOTE: While working up a white version of this snowflake in 2023, I tried using dc instead of sc in the ch 10 loops to stretch out the 2nd Round and make it more visible. I like the way my adaptation looks, but I made a hideous mistake in the white snowflake. Can you see it? I also decided if I’m going to use in the 3rd Round, I probably ought to use them in the 1st Round as well.

Defective Conundrum Snowflake

Round 4: Rejoining with sl st on hook, 1 sc in 1st ch of any ch 2 sp above 2/dc group closest to body of snowflake on right side of spoke, 1 sc in next ch, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch (long picot made), 1 sc in each of next 2 ch of spoke, above 1 dc in middle of spoke, ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, 1 dc in last sc made (fat picot made), 1 sc in each of next 2 ch in tip of spoke, ch 4, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch (long pointy picot made), 1 sc in each of next 2 ch in tip of spoke, ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, 1 dc in last sc made (fat picot made), 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, above 1 dc in middle of spoke, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch in spoke, above 2/dc group closest to body of flake, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), ch 7, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in next ch, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, 1 hdc in each of next 2 ch (pointy picot made), ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made); repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; 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. Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle! I hope I get a few more winter snowstorms before spring so I can wear it again before November!

  2. Great pictures of you and your sweetie pie- I think everyone of those outfits should be in my closet! What great fashion!

  3. Love the skirt ... well worth the 32 year wait! Like the shirt too with the snowflake. Great work there girl! You and your honey, great, great picture, beautiful couple.

  4. I think the embroidery works fine - it works in well with the fabric mix. What a gorgeous thread collection!

    Gosh, those photos are amazing. I love the waterfall and the shot of you both. And thanks for explaining the bit about the saddle - I'd wondered about that before.

    Great snowflake - I like the way you've worked in both peaks and the saddle. :)

  5. Your skirt looks fantastic, and "parempi myöhään kuin ei milloinkaan", better late than never :).

  6. Questions about the pattern:
    Rd 2: Should "1 dc in same dc" be "1 dc in same SC"? So there would be two double crochets in one single crochet?

    Rd 3: Should the chain 8 in round 2 be chain 10? I ask because you say in the chain 8 space that we are to do a total of 8 scs and skip 2 chains.

    1. Good catch on Round 2, Krista, and thank you. I am fixing that right now.

      What you've suggested for Round 3 sounds correct. Looking at the photo, that looks exactly like what has been done, so I'm going to go ahead and make the change, assuming I changed it during the construction process and forgot to change it in the pattern. But I don't have a crochet hook in my hands right now, so I might not be seeing things correctly.

      In any case, I thank you for helping me get the pattern in better shape!

    2. Actually, looking closer at the photo now, it looks like I changed the 8 total sc in the ring to 6, so it would be 2 sc instead of 3 on each prong closest to the center, but I think either would work. The ch 10 would provide just a tad more space inside the opening for the point I folded down during stiffening.


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