Thursday, November 30, 2017

Snowflake Ornament

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Last month, I posted about Christmas crochet projects that I was contemplating. One of the featured projects was a double snowflake ornament by Snowcatcher.  If you're interested in pinning it to give the pattern a try, click below. Isn't it stunning?

I had some extra size 10 crochet thread already on hand. I varied from the original pattern by going with my favorite size 2 steel crochet hook instead of size 8. It took me about a day to crochet the two snowflakes (the inner and outer) to assemble. After finally figuring out the pattern, I'm betting I could reduce that time. Row 3 of the pattern for the bigger and smaller snowflakes really stumped me a couple of times. Of course having an active toddler constantly distracting and causing you to lose your stitch count doesn't help.

The part that took the longest was blocking and stiffening them. Vintage Crafts and More posted different stiffening methods. I settled on the Epsom salt method listed, since I had plenty of Epsom salt on hand and they claimed it would provide a sparkly effect on the snowflakes. Cool!

The original pattern calls for diluted Elmer's glue. I didn't want to dig through my kids arts and crafts supply cabinet (it is scary!) to find glue, so I went to the Internet searching for an alternative method.

After throwing the snowflakes into the Epsom salt and water mixture, I used an old Amazon delivery box, wax paper, and some pins to block the two snowflakes. Don't plan on using those pins again for sewing. When I shared this project in a crochet Facebook page, somebody suggested using a foam base with rust resistant needles to shape the snowflakes. If you plan on making multiple snowflakes to gift or sell, I would recommend going this route. At least using the rust resistant pins, since regular sewing pins will quickly rust after a few blocking uses and ruin your project. Since this was my prototype, I settled with what was on hand before purchasing more resources for this project.

The instructions stated the solution would set quickly, so I tried to work fast pinning and shaping the snowflakes once I pulled them from the mixture. The snowflakes took a couple of hours to dry, so I stressed myself to work quickly for nothing. The Epsom salt stiffening method worked great for the smaller snowflake. The Epsom salt crystallized to provide a light sparkle effect, but you will only see it if the light hits it just right. If you want it to be shimmery and sparkly, you'll need to use glitter.

Unfortunately, the bigger snowflake needed something substantially more to make it stand up against gravity. As you can see from the photo, that the big snowflake was still a little too floppy. Dang it!

I guess I needed to find another stiffening method. The big snowflake shape was nice, so I didn't want to use the sugar method or put it back into the Epsom salt. That would cause it to lose it's shape and need to be re-blocked. I guess that left me with painting on diluted Elmer's glue...the very method I wanted to avoid doing. Sigh!

After digging through my kids arts and crafts supplies (such a chaotic mess!), I found a used glue bottle with a little bit of glue that wasn't completely dried out still left in it, plus a clean paint brush (score!). I diluted the glue with some water and painted it onto the big snowflake. After covering it with the glue solution, I left it to dry for over a day to make sure it completely dried before assembling. Since the smaller snowflake did well with the Epsom salt, I left it alone and focused only on the big one.

Assembling it together took the least amount of time, but it is the most rewarding. I used some leftover thread to string it up. For a more clean look, I would probably use fishing wire to connect the smaller snowflake to the bigger one in the future. As I previously mentioned, I just used what was on hand. I guess I was just too impatient. Despite the setbacks, I still think it turned out pretty!

Happy hookin' and stitchin'!


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