Happy Augtober! Did you have a great Juvember? If you live anywhere near my part of the world (Toronto) you may be wondering what happened to summer. Cool temperatures and far too much rain have been a cruel plague on us northerners that enjoy such a short summer to begin with. The upside? Great knitting/crochet weather!
No matter what the weather is producing outside, my mind fibre-wise seams to be stuck firmly in December. Last December, at the eleventh hour I thought; "Hey, wouldn't it be nice to crochet up a bunch of snowflake tree ornaments to include in my Christmas cards?". After finding a pattern and dusting of my crochet hooks, I came to the realization that a) my meager crochet skills would not make it through the pattern, b) I wouldn't have enough time to teach myself the new skills and c) who was I kidding, even if I had a p.h.d in crochet and learned to live without sleep there was no way in hell I would be able to make all of those snowflakes before Santa Claus was comin' to town.
Let it snow:
This year, as I seem to be having a love affair with crochet, I thought I'd take another stab at this snowflake business. Funny how six months and a little 'hooking' later, the patterns that had me scratching my head in the past are suddenly crystal clear. I feel like I learned a new language. Well, I suppose I'm not fluent yet:
See that? Six inches! According to the pattern, the finished snowflake should measure approximately three inches. Hmm. Being an 'advanced beginner' crocheter I'm not sure what went wrong here. Am I the loosest crocheter in the west? Was my hook size far too big? I'm going to take another stab at it, but the accidental doily/flake gave me the prime opportunity to experiment with starching. If I wrecked the thing I wasn't going to be heartbroken.
Is anyone else surprised that spray laundry starch is super-easy to find? Maybe it's my generation, but I don't know anyone that starches anything! Heck, just plain ironing is chore enough! The snowflake pattern recommends 'crochet thread stiffener' but seeing as I don't live near a big craft store, and well frankly, I really don't know what 'crochet thread stiffener that is', I figured good old-fashioned starch would do. I did a little research on starching doilies (and yes, as always, by 'research' I mean 'google'), and it appears there are a lot of different ways to go about this. Me? I took the easy route. I covered a scrap of cardboard in plastic wrap and sprayed the be-jeezus out of it with my laundry starch.
Oh yeah, and pins. Pinning is important! After a couple of coats the snowflake is stiff enough to keep it's shape, though still flexible. I think if it wasn't so ginormous it would be just fine, but the sheer girth of the thing means it wouldn't make a great tree ornament. Well, maybe if it were a giant tree...
I think with a little practice (and some serious down-sizing) my dream of whipping a bunch of these up for holiday cards will come true! Bonus - snowflakes are non-denominational!