06 August 2018

Snowflake Monday

Mount Aetna from the top of Monarch Pass

Ever since the first time I crossed Monarch Pass (which incidentally was via my 4Runner, not my bicycle, en route to solo climb my favorite 14er, Uncompahgre), I've wanted to design a snowflake I could name after Monarch Park. When I first moved to Colorado, I thought it was rather odd that just about every name here had park on the end of it... Estes Park, Allenspark, Horseshoe Park, Moraine Park, Winter Park, Bergen Park, South Park... And Park County??? There's no National Park there?!?! What the heck?!?

I had moved here from New Mexico, where the word park designated a National Park or a playground/sports venue. It took me a while to learn the local lingo... Park here means meadow or valley.

The View from Monarch Pass

Aside from the visual inspiration of a fantasy butterfly valley, Monarch Park rhymes, and I love that someone may have incorporated the name because it's such a loveable rhyme! (An amusement park named Monarch Park in Pennsylvania existed until 1926. I have not found a connection between the two Monarch Parks yet.)

Monarch Park

Monarch is a popular name in the area, thanks to Nicholas C. Creede (for whom the town of Creede is named) who discovered silver in what he called the Monarch and Little Charm claims in 1878. I may have to name a snowflake one day after his most famous strike - the Holy Moses Amethyst vein near the village that bears his name.

Actually, Nic was named Billy Harvey when he was born, but he changed his name at the age of 27 after learning his brother married the girl he planned to woo after his time in the army. Thankfully, the family did reconcile years later!

Apparently, my only photo from the Amethyst Vein

Hugh and Sam Boone joined Creede in his mining prospects, and legend has it the Boone brothers were the first to build a road over Monarch Pass in around 1880. They collected a toll from users, most likely a profitable venture for a good 30 years or so, when automobiles began to replace stage coaches as the most popular mode of transportation. Three different roads were constructed over the Pass over the years... Old Old Monarch Pass, Old Monarch Pass, and the current paved rendition, which opened for use in 1921.

unusual cloud formations over Monarch Pass

Nic Creede sold his Monarch claim long before striking it rich with his Bonanza and Holy Moses Amethyst mines. He eventually married Nancy Vandever (who had been married three times before and is said to have run brothels in between husbands) and settled in California, where Nic adopted Dorothy Walker, whose birth mother was a soap opera in the making. Nancy went on to live a soap opera that unbelievably has not been made into a blockbuster movie. She didn't divorce her previous husband before marrying Nic, but in later court battles, it was discovered her previous husband did in fact legally divorce her – for starting a brothel and carrying on with some of the clientele.

Is your head spinning yet???

Nic died of an accidental morphine overdose during divorce proceedings. Nancy unsuccessfully sued to gain control of half the fortune he left behind. Dorothy was returned to her birth mother, who by then had married. Upon reaching adulthood, Dorothy was successful in helping overthrow the inheritance laws of the time and received a portion of Nic's estate. In 1914 she married William Lloyd Ritchie, and together they had a daughter, Edith Romer Ritchie. Dorothy died a few months later. Edith never married, and the home where she spent her life is the Madrona Cottage in Sausalito.

Why did I look up all this stuff that has nothing do to with Colorado??? Dorothy Creede graduated from Tamalpais High School, named after nearby Mount Tamalpais, said to be the birthplace of mountain biking. When I read she married William Lloyd Ritchie, I thought we had a huge connection!!! One of the pioneers of mountain biking is a famous frame builder – Ritchie bikes!!! Tom Ritchie developed numerous mountain bike innovations and was inducted into the inaugural Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in Crested Butte, CO! Research ensued. Oops. It's Tom RITCHEY, not Ritchie. Oh, well, learned some new useless stuff!

Back to the undramatic story of the Monarch name in Colorado, the first reference to Monarch Park I could find was from prior to the construction of the current paved highway. Monarch Park was the site of a celebration and dedication when funding for the highway project was approved in 1915. Highway workers lived at the campground in Monarch Park in 1920 while building the highway.

This week's Moda Blockheads quilt block is another small one, 6.5 inches, and the center block is not big enough to contain butterflies. Instead, the block contains the world's easiest snowflake, which I do not claim as my own design because it's probably been around longer than the 131 years Colorado just celebrated, but it is a great center for today's pattern.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes and butterflies 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 7 crochet hook, 6 mini butterfly motifs, 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

Mini Butterfly Motif Instructions (Make 6.)

Make magic ring.

Row 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, * ch 3, 2 dc in ring; repeat from * 4 times; turn. Pull magic ring tight.

Row 2: In next ch 3 sp work (1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tr, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 1 tr, 3 dc); 1 sc between next 2 dc, in next ch 3 sp work (5 dc, ch 1, sl st in top of dc just made, 5 dc), sl st between next 2 dc, in next ch 3 sp work (5 dc, ch 1, sl st in top of dc just made, 5 dc), 1 sc between next 2 dc, in next ch 3 sp work (3 dc, 1 tr, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook,1 tr, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc); sl st to magic ring, 1 sc around middle of butterfly, between wings, to form body; bind off. Tie starting tail and ending tail in knot to for butterfly head, and trim ends as antennae.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Monarch Park Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 7 (counts as 1 dc and ch 5), * 1 dc in ring, ch 5; repeat from * 4 times; 1 dc in ring, ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 7 to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: 3 sc around post of tr directly below, * 3 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 3 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in starting sc to form 6th ch 3 tip.
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: Binding off here makes the unoriginal 1.75-inch snowflake I appliqued to my quilt block.

Round 3: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 3, in next ch 3 tip work (1 dc ch 3, 1, ch 5, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc); repeat from * around 4 times; in next ch 3 tip work (1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 2), 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 5 to form 6th ch 5 tip of Round.

Round 4: 3 sc over post of tr directly below, * 2 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 2, 1 sc in bottom right picot of mini butterfly motif, ch 2, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp of snowflake, ch 2, 1 sc in bottom left picot of mini butterfly motif, ch 2, 2 sc in next ch 3 sp of snowflake, 3 sc in next ch 5 tip, ch 3, 3 sc in same tip; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.
NOTE: Other motifs may be used, such as owls, hearts, mini snowflakes, etc. Also, motifs are not required. The snowflake can thrive on its own without any embellishments.

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.

NOTE: I did not stiffen butterfly antennae.

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. A rhyme sure is grand in our land. haha wow, that is quite the soap opera indeed. Surprised it hasn't been made into a movie.

  2. What a soap opera of a post! It has everything: love, hate, jealousy, passion, crime, legal battles, crochet, butterflies, owls, interesting word use, and stunningly beautiful photos! :D

    Thanks for explaining "park".


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