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    Entries in jacqui harding (2)


    Free pattern - Christmas Snowflakes

    I designed this snowflake for a crochet class, and have really enjoyed making them for the christmas tree & to give to friends. So I thought I'd give my readers a little gift and share the pattern with you!

    They are quick to make and only use a little yarn so there's plenty of time for you to whip some up to gift. Make them teeny tiny in lace weight or as a window decoration in bulky yarn. The one pictured was made with Rico bamboo yarn - dk  - with a 3.25mm hook.

    6 point Granny snowflake:

    Rnd 1: Into magic loop, 3ch, 2tr, 2ch, (3tr,2ch) 5 more times, sl st to join (6 clusters)  

    Rnd 2: sl st along to ch sp, ch3, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr into 2 ch sp, (3tr,2ch,3tr) into next 2ch sp 5 times, sl st to join (12 clusters)

    Rnd 3: sl st along to ch sp, 3ch, 2tr, *picot, 3tr into 2ch sp, sl st into sp between clusters, (3tr,*picot,3tr into 2ch sp, sl st into sp between cluster)  5 times, sl st to join. 

    *Picot: Ch4, sl st into back of 4th st from loop, ch4, sl st into same st as before, ch3, sl st into same place. Yes, I know that looks wrong - but it makes the most even looking picot loop.

    Hanging chain: For one of the picots, extend the centre ch4 to around ch25 (you don't need to be exact, just long enough to be a practical loop) before working the sl st into the same st as before.

    To stiffen decorations

    Decorations are best made at a tight tension. Use a smaller hook than recommended for the yarn.

    For the star shown I used clear children's glue. I got a pack of glues from the pound shop & one of the clear glues had a small circular sponge applicator which makes it quick to apply the glue exactly where it's wanted with minimal mess! PVA glue works well - dilute slightly to make it easier to paint on. I sprinkled some fine silver glitter over the stars after glueing & pinning. Because - sparkle!!

    I used some dense foam chilled food packaging as my blocking board for this, not wanting to get glue on my good blocking mats. I also found that the foam discs from pizza packaging works well :)

    Other ideas:

    Spray starch. Quickest option. Spray starch onto surface of decoration and press with iron. Most suitable for natural fibres - it is easier to melt synthetic yarn! Several thin layers are easier and more effective than saturating then ironing. Remember to spray both sides.

    Sugar solution. Make a concentrated sugar solution by heating a small amount of water in a saucepan and adding sugar until no more will dissolve. Soak decoration in solution, pin & leave to dry.



    Spinning in colour

    I've been spinning. Just little snatches of time, when I can. This means that my yarn is not as even as it could be, but I've been missing doing a craft just for me. I have some natural silvery Blue Faced Leicester that I've been spinning very fine for ages now, but it's made me realise that the reason I love spinning so much is colour. Colour is absolutely where it's at for me!

    I bought some Merino silk top ages ago from BabylongLegs. I had just started spinning on a spindle - didn't even had a wheel at that point. The colourway was called Neptune, and the deep blue-green colours called me. I didn't spin it at the time - I felt I needed to work up to it, and I didn't have the experience to know how to make the colours sing.

    I do now! I decided to spin half of it - around 50g, and to aim for a fingering/sport weight long colour change yarn to make into colourwork gloves. I was thinking of the fake fairisle effect that is often made with Noro and similar yarns. I chain plyed to preserve the colours, and with very little effort - 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there - I had spun & plyed the yarn within a week. Want to see how it turned out? Those lovely blues, greens & transitional turquoises? Here's a little collage for you:

    It came out just how I wanted. 220m, 50g, clean colours. And I still have 50g left! I might do the rest as a slightly chunkier 2 ply, maybe using a fractal spin. I don't know yet. But I know I'll enjoy it!