21 January 2019

Snowflake Monday


This is one of the 11 red birthday snowflakes I made for my niece, Layla. Are you thinking what I'm thinking??? I think this one needs a slight rework! But both patterns are included below.

I asked Lizard for a snowflake name inspiration, and he said the first thing that came to mind was an old Eagles tune, Desperado.

So, "You know the Queen of Hearts is always your best bet."

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!

Queen of Hearts Snowflake

Finished Size: 4.5 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

Desperado Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 17 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [sk next 2 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in same dc] 6 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: Sl st into next ch 3 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 6 dc in same sp, 7 dc in each of next 5 ch 3 sp; sl st 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 4: Ch 14 (counts as 1 dc and ch 12), [1 dc in next gap between 7/dc groups, ch 3, 1 dc in same gap, ch 12] 5 times; 1 dc in next gap between 7 dc groups, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of staring ch 14 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [9 dc in next ch 12 sp, ch 5, 9 dc in same sp, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp] 6 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Queen of Hearts Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 17 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [sk next 2 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in same dc] 6 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: Sl st into next ch 3 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same sp, 1 tr in same sp, 1 dtr in same sp, ch 1, sl st in top of dtr just made, 1 dtr in same sp, 1 tr in same sp, 2 dc in same sp (picot shell made), [in next ch 3 sp work (2 dc, 1 tr, 1 dtr, ch 1, sl st in top of dtr just made, 1 dtr, 1 tr, 2 dc] 5 times; sl st 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 4: Ch (2 counts as 1 dc), 1 linked hdc in next dc, [ch 15, sk over next picot and next dtr, tr and dc, yo and draw up loop through next dc, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook, yo and draw up loop through next gap between picot shells, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook, yo and draw up loop through next dc, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook, yo and draw through all 4 loops on hook (dc dec for heart shaping made)] 5 times; ch 13, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 5: Ch 5 (counts as last dc of last heart bottom and ch 3), [10 dc in next ch 15 sp, ch 5, 10 dc in same sp, ch 3] 5 times; 10 dc in next ch 15 sp, ch 5, 9 dc in same sp, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; 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 snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

18 January 2019

17 January 2019

Muted Rainbow


I was playing with a rose in Photoshop a while back when I decided it would be really cool to dye a muted rainbow. My idea at the time was to mix up my favorite rainbow hues, and add a touch of gray to each one.

Playing with my first amaryllis of the holiday season also inspired visions of shades of gray.






I finally got a chance back in November to experiment. And I'm just now writing about it. How's that for timely?

I mixed up six of my favorite rainbow colors, and tainted each with a touch of charcoal gray.


The colors were not exactly what I was hoping for, but they aren't bad for starters. I was very surprised the yellow and orange turned out nearly identical shades of the best olive green I've achieved to date. (Now I know how to make olive green!)


I also tried a new way of drying on this batch. It took about twice as long (I threw the thread-filled socks in with other laundry – twice), but it did keep the thread from getting linty, and even better, tangled.


Another of my ideas was to create a muted, striped rainbow mandala. While I was working up this plain jane mug rug, I wondered how it would look with a surface snowflake from the same eggshell neutral in the stripes. None of my 3D ideas panned out, so I stiffened it and decided to try again another day. I might even try gray for the neutral stripes instead of the eggshell.


After the first round of muted dyeing, I thought perhaps I should start with gray thread instead of white. I went through my stash and found only pale gray thread. I looked at both Hobby Lobby and Joanne's, but both had only pale gray. The colors achieved with those gray threads will be not as bright as on white thread, but it won't be the gray rainbow I could picture in my head.

So now I'm thinking about dyeing six hanks of thread to charcoal gray, then redipping into bright rainbow colors, just to see what happens. Stay tuned!


Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIF Friday at Kathy's Kwilts and More.

15 January 2019

Winter Wonder


Yes, winter is here, but Honey Hoya doesn't care!!!


Lizard inherited three hoya plants from his father back in 2002. For years, he thought the straight-leaf plant was hemlock. He didn't expect blooms. He'd seen the curly-leaf plant blooming at his father's house, but didn't realize when he took in the plants they might one day be exotic and beautiful.

Lizard married me in 2005. The plants (and his spectacular Christmas cacti) moved into my apartment with my new hubby. The plants never bloomed in my apartment.

We bought a fixer-upper in 2009. It has lots of east-facing windows, which means plenty of daylight for my indoor garden, including those evergreen hoyas.


I excitedly screamed for Lizard when I noticed the first time the curly-leaf hoya bloomed, just prior to our wedding anniversary the year we bought our home. Lizard came running with a magazine rolled up into a swatter because thought I'd found a spider...

He could not contain my excitement, but he probably didn't want to, either! He remembered having seen similar blooms at his father's house many years, but he had never really looked at the blossoms closely. Now, in addition to being able to really look at the flowers, he had my macro photography... unending!!!


















The curly leaf plant made so many gorgeous blossoms and brought us three years of exhilaration!

In 2012, we lost the curly-leaf hoya to mealy bugs. I tried everything I could to save it, even trying to root a cutting, which was infested with more mealies before it formed enough roots to be transplanted in soil. The next year, I found a similar baby plant in a home improvement center, and I quickly snatched it up and placed it where Lizard's father's plant had thrived.

It was so tiny back then! I'd read the ropes must reach six feet before producing flowers. I don't know that we had to wait that long, but now there are three ropes longer than six feet, and I can't even keep count of the flowers anymore! So, it's not Lizard's father's plant, but without his father's plant, I wouldn't have known to love hoyas so much!




The year we lost the original curly-leaf hoya, one of the straight-leaf plants bloomed for the first time, almost as if to console us. Lizard was as shocked as me! Ever since about 2014, we've had both white and pink blossoms.


The straight-leaf plants haven't bloomed yet this year, but I expect magnificent things from them in the future.

One of the straight-leaf plants began dropping leaves last autumn, and I couldn't figure out why. I hadn't changed anything, but one plant was decidedly not happy. I thought perhaps they might be root bound. They'd been in the same tiny little clay pots for perhaps 20 years and had never been repotted, as far as The Lizard knows.

During the Thanksgiving break, Lizard had to work, but I had four days off. So I repotted all three hoyas and a couple of Christmas cacti that were still in plastic pots. I'd read terracotta is better for indoor plants than plastic, so I've been on a very slow mission of replacing all the plastic pots in my entire indoor and outdoor collection.

Christmas came early for the straight-leaf hoyas, which turned out to be in even tinier plastic containers inside the tiny clay pots, with no drainage all those years. I wish I'd taken a photo of the hoya roots growing up and around the terracotta watering stakes, famished for nutrients! Those poor babies! No wonder one was losing leaves, and how amazing that either of those plants ever bloomed for us!

I think it will take a while for all three hoyas to get used to their new environs, but I think they will be happy hoyas once they realize they are free to grow!






The decorative plastic stakes are terracotta on the bottom, where it counts. I don't know if we will get any white hoya flowers this year, but that pink curly hoya, oh, my!!! We're going to have a flower-filled winter!





14 January 2019

Snowflake Monday


Several years ago, one of my loyal readers asked if I ever planned to crochet any of Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley's snowflakes. Bentley is one of the first known snowflake photographers. Interesting Trivia: He was born 95 years and four days before me.

Snowflake Bentley became interested in snowflakes as a teenager, just like me, but he took more initiative to study them than I ever did at that age. He tried to draw the snowflakes he saw through a microscope and built his first snowflake photography setup at the age of 20. I was taking pictures of snowflakes when I was 15 or 16... with a Polaroid camera. Those were some tiny snowflake images!!! Plus, we didn't get much snow at all in southern New Mexico, so I didn't get many opportunities to practice.

Bentley coined the idea that no two snowflakes are alike (which physics professor Kenneth Libbrecht has proven wrong by creating twin snowflakes in the lab at Caltech) after photographically capturing more than 5,000 snowflakes.

I own all of Bentley's books. I own all of Libbrecht's books. This last Christmas, I became the owner of Don Komarechka's book and poster. (Thank you, Lizard!!!) If Alexey Kljatov ever publishes a book, I'll likely add that to my collection.

My crocheted snowflakes have been inspired by Libbrecht, Komarechka and Kljatov, as well as a few other snowflake photographers more talented than me, but I had not really studied Bentley's snowflakes closely, possibly because there are so many of them. I often look through this book, but I think I must have been overwhelmed. Perhaps I had to see my own actual and somewhat primitive snowflake photographs to be able to visualize the color and form captured in the black and white photos before I could be truly inspired.

I opened up the book once again on New Year's Day, determined to create my first Bentley-inspired snowflake, and wouldn't you know it. I couldn't even get past the first page! Today's pattern is inspired by the first photo on the first page!!!


What I love most about this pattern is that deep down inside, I was secretly hoping to do heart-themed snowflakes throughout this month, not only in preparation for Valentine's Day, but also because my niece Layla requested 11 red snowflakes for what I thought was her February birthday. I missed the boat! I found out last week her birthday is in January. And it was last week! Oh, no!!!


So, I'm off to create 10 more red snowflakes, hopefully some with hearts, so she won't think I forgot about her birthday wish.

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 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread in one to five colors, 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


Heart Motif Instructions

With 1st color, make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring. Do not join. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: 2 sc in each sc around for a total of 12 sc.
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: Sl st in next sc, sk next sc, 6 dc in next sc, sk next sc, 1 sc in each of next 2 sc, 5 sc in next sc, 1 sc in each of next 2 sc, sk next sc, 6 dc in next sc, sk next sc, sl st in starting sl st; bind off. Weave in ends. Leave center tail if desired to string through center of Fidget Spinner motif and Snowflake.


Fidget Spinner Motif Instructions

With 2nd color, make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 11 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic ring tight.

Round 2: Ch 6, 1 dc in 4th ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, sk 2 dc, sl st in each of next 2 dc] 3 times; sl st in base of 1st spoke; bind off. Weave in ends.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Toothy Smile Motifs

Toothy Smile Motif Instructions (make 3)

With 1st or 2nd color, ch 16.

Round 1: 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 1 hdc in each of next 3 ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, 1 hdc in each of next 3 ch, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, draw up loop in final ch, change to outline Round color, complete sc, 2 sc in same ch, working down bottom side of piece, 1 sc in each of next 15 st, 1 sc and sl st in end of motif; bind of. Weave in ends, or crochet over ends during Outline Rounds.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.


Bentley Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, [ch 2, 2 dc in ring] 5 times; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, [2 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 10, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 1, sk 1 ch, 1 hdc in next ch, ch 1, sk next ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 1, 2 dc in same ch 3 tip] 6 times, omitting last 2 dc and last ch of final repeat; 1 hdc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form final ch 1 sp between spoke dc and 2/dc group.
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: 1 sc over post of hdc directly below, [ch 2, 1 sc in next gap between 2/dc groups, ch 2, 1 sc in next gap between 2/dc group and spoke dc, ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, sl st in next ch 1 sp, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, sl st in next ch 1 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, sl st in ch 4 tip, ch 16, sl st in 11th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st in same ch 4 tip, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, sl st in next ch 1 sp, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, sl st in next ch 1 sp, ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, 1 sc in gap between next spoke dc and 2/dc group] 6 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc, bind off here if not making outline Round or if making outline Round in different color. Weave in ends.


Outline Round 4: With outline Round color, 1 sc in any tip, [ch 24, 1 sc in next tip, ch 4, working into Toothy Smile motif with previously worked Outline Round color on the bottom, 1 sc in each of 16 st across top, making sure to catch one Outline Round color sc on each end of motif, ch 4, 1 sc in next tip] 3 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc.

Outline Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [1 dc in each of next 24 ch, 1 dc in tip sc, ch 3, 1 dc in same tip, 1 dc in each of next 4 ch, 1 sc in each of next 18 sc, 1 dc in each of next 4 ch, 1 dc in next tip sc, ch 3, 1 dc in same tip] 3 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; 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.

Heart and Fidget Spinner motifs may be glued onto Snowflake during stiffening or after, or use center tail of Heart Motif to string through center of Fidget Spinner Motif and Snowflake prior to stiffening.

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.









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