19 August 2013

Snowflake Monday

Snowball Makings

I made a LOT of snowflakes on the train after girls camp in June. I've learned the hard way to make the snowflakes when the ideas come. The ideas might not be around anymore if I wait until I have enough time.

Unfortunately, most of my non-work computer time has been devoted to photo retouching since then, so I didn't have time to write the patterns.

A Week's Work

One packed commute I decided to write one of the patterns on my phone, since there wasn't room for elbow movement required in my typical crochet workout routine. My light rail commute is about 40-45 minutes on a normal day. I wrote a pattern in one commute. I was so excited to have completed my goal!

That night I got home to begin retouching yet more photos but decided to download the snowflake pattern first. But it was nowhere to be found. I had saved it after every round, but not a trace existed anywhere. The pattern I'd written was gone. And still is. I may have to name that snowflake Disappointment or even Whiner when I do finally sit down to write it again.

There are pockets of no signal along my commute route. Obviously. I'd run into problems before when trying to make phone calls or respond to emails. But I've never lost my notes, which are connected to my email address, in all the three years I've had an iPhone. Even when I upgraded earlier this year from an iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4, I lost all my contacts and all my saved phone numbers, but snowflake patterns and Ride the Rockies journals I'd written back in 2010 and 2011 were all still there.

mobile pattern writing

Needless to say, it took me a while to trust the notes feature on my phone again. But stubborn determination finally did kick in, and last week I attempted to write a snowflake pattern aboard the train once again. Instead of saving the pattern every round this time, I emailed it to myself every round, and then I checked to make sure my email actually arrived before beginning the next round.

About two minutes before the end of my morning commute, I completed an eight-round snowflake!!!!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!! Yes, that's eight exclamation points, one for each round, count 'em! I had a total of seven partial and one full snowflake patterns in my email, too! It worked!

I've been working on computers at work now for about... gosh, I had to count... 32 years, and I've had a computer at home for about 19 years now. One of the first things I learned, both at work and at home, from Day 1, was save, save, save, and then save again. Even at work where we had document management systems that supposedly automatically backed up all documents every three to five minutes, I learned the hard way to always make a spare copy and keep it in a separate location. Before partitioned hard drives, that meant printing out a hard copy every once in a while, and typing it in again when a work system went down and whatever I'd been working on didn't come back up with the system. At least I had something to work with to do my job all over again.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to write patterns on a regular typewriter, or worse, with pencil and paper, back before electronic technology.

I used to get blisters on my writing fingers (gripping my pen way too tight) from writing books or poetry or writing in my journal when I used pen and paper for longer than about an hour at a time. I could never, ever get the lower-case A or the semi-colon to show up on carbon copies when using a typewriter because my pinkies have always been weaklings. At my first newspaper, before computers, we used to count the number of characters and spaces on each line of text, and then type them out again using our numbering system to justify columns, meaning making news stories even on both sides. Remember ticker tape?!? Yes, I worked at a newspaper that used a ticker tape system, too.

how to

I even remember balancing the phone between my ear and shoulder while I tried to type as fast as our Washington correspondents could dictate because long-distance then was charged per minute, and the correspondents had a lot of newspapers to which they had to relay stories on a daily basis.

To me, writing patterns takes MUCH more concentration than writing stories, journals or novels, and I am so thankful I didn't have to learn to do it the old way! (Although I might be better at diagramming if I had, right???)

And I'm grateful this old dog CAN learn new tricks and figure out a way to back up snowflake patterns written on a phone on a fast-moving train in pockets of low or no signal!

See if you can figure out the connection to today's snowflake pattern name. Besides all these memories making me very hungry...


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!

Mele al Forno Ripiene Snowflake

Finished Size: 6 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 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

Mele al Forno Ripiene Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1dc), 11 dc in ring, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: 1 sc in same ch, 1 sc in next dc, * ch 8, 1 sc in each of next 2 dc; repeat from * 4 times; ch 4, 1 dtr in starting sc to form 6th ch 8 sp of Round.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in same sp, * 5 dc in next ch 8 sp, ch 3, 5 dc in same sp; repeat from * 4 times; 5 dc in next sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 sp.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 3 dc in same sp, * 1 dc in gap between next 2 5/dc groups, 4 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 4 dc on same sp; repeat from * 4 times; 1 dc in gap between next 2 5/dc groups, 4 dc in next sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 5: Ch 2, 2 dc in same sp, * ch 2, sk next 3 dc, 3 dc in next dc, ch 2, 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp; repeat form * 4 times; ch 2, sk next 3 dc, 3 dc in next dc, ch 2, 2 dc in next sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 6: Ch 2, 1 dc in same sp, * ch 2, 5 dc in middle dc of next 3/dc group, ch 2, 2 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp; repeat form * 4 times; ch 2, 5 dc in middle dc of next 3/dc group, ch 2, 2 dc in next sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
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 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * ch 5, 7 dc in middle dc of next 5/dc group, ch 5, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * 4 times; ch 5, 7 dc in middle dc of next 5/dc group, ch 5, 1 dc in next sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 7.

Round 8: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * ch 5, 9 dc in middle dc of next 7 dc group, ch 5, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, [1 dc] in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), ch 6, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 8, sl st in sc, ch 6, sl st in sc (tri-picot made), ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), 1 dc in same ch 3 sp as [1 dc], ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * 5 times, omitting last 2 dc and ch 3 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5; 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.



Mele al Forno Ripiene

Stuffed Baked Apples for Two


2 apples, cored
1 graham cracker, crushed and pulverized
1/4 cup quick-cooking oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup cooked brown rice and quinoa
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make slits in apples to prevent skin from bursting during baking. I made snowflake designs, of course. Mix graham cracker, oatmeal, rice, quinoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Add just enough maple syrup to help ingredients adhere. Tightly stuff apples and place on foil-covered cookie or pizza sheet. Mound more stuffing on top. Bake for 30 minutes. If desired, serve immediately after removing from oven with a scoop of vanilla caramel ice cream on top - on snowflake plates, of course. Refrigerate any leftover stuffing in an airtight container to use again on your next cored apples.



  1. I learn from you every time I visit your site! This time some pattern writing hints! I have quit trying to write patterns but still create doll clothes, snowflakes, hats but just don't bother to even take notes but now I will try keeping my phone or my kindle beside me and typing in the directions instead of writing them. Thanks again for all your patterns, pictures, stories and great ideas!!

    1. Thank you, Brenda! I still don't fully trust my iPhone, but I do like being able to use it, even if I have to go to extra lengths trying to make sure I don't lose things!

  2. Never heard of a stuffed baked apple before, always good when an old dog can learn new tricks lol

    1. Oh, Pat, you have not lived until you've devoured a stuffed baked apple!

  3. I love visiting your blog with the beautiful pictures and great patterns. I have one request......could you please increase your font size? It's getting harder as I age to read small print. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks, Charlotte! I am not so good yet with CSS, which is what it would take to change the size on my blog, which would be easier than changing every individual post, or even just the snowflake posts, but I am trying to learn the programming language.

      Until then, Mrs. Micawber has provided some excellent tips below for viewing (she beat me to the punch, and I didn't think of keystrokes to achieve the desired effect), and my first thought was to adjust the viewing percentage, which on Internet Exploder (sorry, couldn't resist) is a handy little tool on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. On Firefox (which is my preferred browser), you have to use the view menu at the top left of the screen (which I just looked up and is control plus, like Mrs. M said below). On Chrome, which I do not use very often and do not know as well, there is a little icon on the top right of the screen with short little horizontal lines across it. I press that button to get the menu that includes "zoom" with a plus and a minus, plus to make the text bigger, minus to make it smaller.

      If a printout is what you need larger, my quick answer is to change the print percentage in the print menu, but that could cut off part of the print if you print too big. I may have to do a tutorial one day to explain a better way to do it without losing any print. But that will have to come when the brain isn't as scrambled and tired as it is at the end of a work day...

  4. I think you're making us all hungry now! Those apples look divine ... and that snowflake is a real knockout! It looks even better without my glasses on - the teardrop shapes really pop!

    Even with autosave, I too still save save save all the time on the computer. (Because you just never know.)

    Congrats on conquering the pattern writing dilemma. :)

    P.S. To Charlotte above: If you press Ctrl and the plus key (+), the text and images on your screen will enlarge. You can do this repeatedly until it's readable. (Ctrl and the minus key (-) will shrink them back again.)

    1. Thank you, Sue, for covering for me when I couldn't! You are a gem! I never would have thought of keystrokes if not for you, even though all the other common tasks I do regularly with keystrokes. Go figure!

      I don't know how I feel about the snowflake looking better without glasses... :O

    2. Oh gosh, I didn't mean anything bad by the no-glasses thing - it just makes some of the elements look more like solid shapes so they really jump out of the design. You can get the same effect if you squint your eyes a bit so as to make it a tiny bit blurry. :)

  5. You were a busy little beaver! Oh I love, love, love stuffed apples!


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