31 October 2023

Happy Halloween!

He does the Tell-Tale Heart, too!

30 October 2023

Snowflake Monday

I kind of hoped I might be able to come up with a new Halloween snowflake for today, but my creative juices seem to have evaporated this spooky season. Just know I tried!

I couldn't even come up with just a plain, regular new snowflake pattern this week! Even though it's snowing as I type! (First of the season for us!!!) Mostly likely due to time constraints, NOT because I'm losing interest. Here is just a tiny sampling of time bandits from my last few weeks...

I even had to bury my Brussels sprouts because they are under the eaves and don't get much snow (or rain). I'd read the sprouts will become sweeter if I let them keep going when it freezes, but they are only good to 10 degrees. We are supposed to hit 9 degrees tonight and 8 degrees tomorrow night!!!

For this week's snowflake, I had to dip into my dwindling collection of unpublished patterns.

This week's pattern is a bit of a gem for me. I didn't realize it was still lurking in my undone stack. Back in November of 2011 (Wow!!! Have I really been blogging that long?!?), I published my first in a series of snowflakes designed with one theme and two common center rounds. I think Longs Peak may have been my first snowflake series all inspired by one snowflake design. (See also: Longs Peak II and Longs Peak III.)

Back when I first concocted my Longs Peak idea(s), I came up with motif projects, too, which are included in the above-linked patterns.

(And thank you so much to those who have been sharing tips about where to find Elmer's glow-in-the-dark glue!!! I have bought several bottles of purple, orange and blue Elmer's glow glue, and I'll probably never quit hunting for for the yellow that dries clearest, but I have stocked up on glow beads, glow glitter and glow-in-the-dark spray paint. So glow-in-the-dark adventures at Snowcatcher have not died!)

I don't have a new motif project to go with today's version of my Longs Peak Snowflake, which bears the name of the third of four mountain peaks flanking Longs Peak, but I am still occassionally working on the motif project that goes along with the fourth version of my Longs Peak flake, and I'm hoping to publish both of these new patterns, perhaps as soon as I finish my 2023 crochet temperature project. Wouldn't that be a great way to start 2024???

The stunning beauty of my crochet temperature project motivated me to get going on two other long-term motif projects earlier in the year, and for a few weeks, I actually did do one motif from each of the three projects every single day. As always, though, life got in the way, and soon I was back down to just the temperature motif on a daily basis. I've continued working on the Harvest Flower motif project as time allows, but the third motif project, also awaiting pattern publication, which awaits project completion, has, in essence, gathered a bit of dust while waiting. I'm hoping my avocado-pit-dyed thread project also will find the light of day once I get done with my 2023 crochet temperature project.

I've not climbed Pagoda Mountain or any of the other three 13ers flanking Longs Peak, but there was a time when all four were on my bucket list. I did climb Longs, my first 14er, and I've been up to Chasm Lake below the diamond face of Longs, one of my most favorite sunrise locations in Colorado, multiple times.

Now I'm not sure we will ever be able to climb again; we've done a few very short and easy hikes since Lizard was diagnosed with Parkinson's, and two at altitude. So Pagoda, Meeker, Lady Washington and Storm might be off my climbing map. But they definitely make thrilling notches on my crochet belt.

13,497-foot Pagoda Peak sits just over half a mile southwest of the summit of Longs along the picturesque Keyboard of the Winds. I've "Long"ed for years to create a crochet project using that name and inspiration!!! The name Pagoda, which the peak received because the mountain is a visual reminder of Asian eaves, inspired the points on this snowflake. Pagoda Mountain is the second-tallest subpeak flanking Longs behind Mount Meeker, and it sits prominently above the gorgeous Glacier Gorge. When you climb all four subpeaks in a day, you earn the title Grand Slam. If you throw in Longs, too, you get a Radical Slam. It never was my goal to climb all four peaks in a day or perhaps even a year. Now, if we do get to visit the area again one day, we'll likely have to be content getting peak reflections in nearby lakes. But, nothing wrong with that, right? It's still better than sitting on the couch!

I will leave you with a very old teaser photo of my yet unpublished Longs Peak-inspired motif project, and let's hope this baby will help ring in the new year in a just few cold, short (hopefully snow-filled!!!) months!

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: 7.25 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

Special Stitches:

dc cluster: [yo and draw up loop, yo and bring through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, yo and bring through all 4 loops on hook
tr cluster: [yo twice and draw up loop, yo and bring through 2 loops on hook, yo and bring through 2 loops on hook] 4 times, yo and bring through all five loops on hook

Pagoda Mountain Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, [ch 3, 2 dc in ring] 6 times; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round. Don't pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: Dc cluster around post of dc directly below, [in next ch 3 sp work (dc cluster, ch 4, dc cluster)] 5 times; dc cluster in next ch 3 sp, ch 2, 1 dc in top of starting cluster to form 6th ch 4 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.

Round 3: Tr cluster over post of dc directly below, [in next ch 4 sp work (tr cluster, ch 9, tr cluster)] 6 times, omitting last tr cluster of final repeat; sl st in top of starting cluster.

Round 4: Sl st in top of next cluster, [sl st in next ch, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each of next 8 ch, [ch 14, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 2, sl st in each of next 7 ch, ch 9, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 2, sl st in each of next 5 ch, ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, sl st in each of next 3 ch, ch 7, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 dc in next ch, 1 dtr in next ch, ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook (spoke picot made), ch 5, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 dc in next ch, 1 dtr in next ch, working back down spoke, sl st in each of next 2 ch (diamond point made), ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 2, sl st in each of next 3 ch, sl st in ch between next 2 branches, ch 8, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 2, sl st in each of next 5 ch, sl st in ch between next 2 branches, ch 10, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 2, sl st in each of next 7 ch, sl st in next ch below bottom branch and in next ch, ch 2, sk next 2 tr culsters, 1 dc in each of next 9 ch] 6 times, omitting last nine dc; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: I've been stiffening my flakes with undiluted, full-strength water soluble school glue for quite a while now, and I've been squishing the glue onto and throughout each flake with my fingers (yucky mess!!!) instead of gingerly painting the flakes with glue. Yes, it's a mess. But it's faster. And stiffer.

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.

26 October 2023


I was so confident on October 7 that we'd experienced our final 85+ temperature of the year, I took the pinks out of my crochet temperature project bag. This was a pretty big deal because we were about to travel to my mother-in-law's house for a week, and I wouldn't have my pinks if I needed them.

I decided to take a chance because I also needed my vacation time to finish my annual Halloween snowflakes for the grands. I'd already gotten quite a few days behind on my crochet temperature project, thanks to a pinched nerve in my back, and I'd caught up. (Thank goodness!!!) I would be gone nearly as many days as I was unable to sit when I was in pain, so I knew I could catch up if I got behind again because I took no pink thread.

Thankfully (because I am no fan of hot weather), I didn't need pink while I was gone! And, I got to reintroduce some of my favorite spring colors!!!

They say it's not "Indian summer" unless you've had a freeze. We'd had a great streak of cooler highs but not freezing nights before we left town, which made me think we were done with summer. Temperatures were unseasonably warm at the beginning of October, and that dreaded dark pink (only because I don't like hot weather) in my crochet temperature project made three more appearances when, in my mind, it should have been packed away until next year. UGH!

While we were gone, the little foothills village where I live had its first freeze (and first hard freeze) of the season!!! The sudden cold did in all my (pleasingly pink) cosmos that was remarkably rampant in many places I did not plant (but treasured!) and all my pepper plants and tomato plants. (I'd harvested all veggies and put them in the window to ripen before we left, and they were perfect when we returned home!)

Now, I thought, we finally were done with summer! Gonna miss my veggies and flowers, but not gonna miss the 80s and 90s one bit!

Then, darn it, back came those blasted 80s! Very thankful to still not be using pink in the crochet temperature project, but I had to pull out the maroon again (80-84 degrees) several times. Luckily, I didn't need it until the day we got back home, because I'd left it at home. Very fortunately, we missed the expected high of 85 one day last week by just one degree! (85 degrees and up are all pink.)

Quite thankfully, because I don't like high temperatures, not because I still have so much pink in my hand-dyed stash, I never used two of the pinks in my 2023 temperature chart.

One of my goals with this crochet temperature project was to use up some of my hand-dyed crochet thread because there's just so much of it. I love to dye, but I can't use up the stuff I dye fast enough. I've been mostly good about keeping the new year's resolution I made pre-pandemic to not dye anymore until I use up what I have.

As I run out of crochet temperature project colors, I've been diving into the stash to get as close as I can to the color that ran out. I had to dye purples earlier this year because I used up ALL my medium to dark purples. That made me look a little more closely at the original goal to use up as much hand-dyed thread as I could because the colors I'm running out of are colors I love using.

Now I'm about to run out of my pale sage, which I probably will need to finish out the year. (Shoot, I'm going to need more of it this week, for both highs and lows!!!) I have no other shades of sage or anything even remotely close at all left in my stash. And I love the hue. So I'm dyeing more, and I'm hoping to get a gradient collection of at least three shades. I'd be happy with four if I can get them!

I try to reuse each dye until there is no pigment left.

And now, thanks to our true and often predictable Indian summer (getting hot again after a freeze), I'm about out of my only maroon, too.

Maroon isn't really a shade I adore or even use as much when I'm crocheting, but it's SO hard to achieve. When I do use it, it's typically for patriotic, Christmas or Valentine's projects. All three of which are coming up! So I guess I need to try my hand at dark maroon again, too. Darn it! Did not plan that aspect of my temperature quilt out well at all. Not once did I fret at the beginning of the year at the prospect of running out of any of the colors I'd selected.

A long-term goal (not started yet) close to my heart for decades is to create thread crochet tapestries of some of my favorite photos. Can't very well do that if I've used up all my hand-dyed thread.

My crochet temperature project has been teaching me so many lessons. I'm making a list of things I've learned for an end-of-project wrap-up. I've learned so much about snowflake surgery (thanks to booboos I discovered too late and could not live with), crochet techniques such as joining, thread end-burying and difficult stitch mastery. I am really thankful I took on this project, even though there were times when the pinched nerve in my back made me wish I didn't have make a motif every single day (and catch up when I got so far behind).

Earlier in the year, I'd actually considered trying to use up my hand-dyed blue crochet thread in an all-blue 2024 crochet temperature project. Although I think that would be a stunning work of art, I don't think there's any way I could part with the entire collection now! Crazy me. I just want to add more to it!

Most importantly, I've learned it's okay to have a good stash with great selection. It's okay to take up space at home for things most important to me. And perhaps it's even okay to dye a bit more, even though I've still got at least 80 colors left in my stash!

more maroon and sage

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