As I sit here watching the snow fall, I can't help but be mesmerized by it. I've already seen one snowfall this winter, so, really, I'm good. We made a snowman and everything. But it IS pretty. Each flake completely unique. Each one fleeting. So much beauty in such a tiny thing that only exists for a moment. It's incredible, really.
It's no wonder that I tried for YEARS to make thread crochet snowflakes like I remember my mother making to adorn our Christmas tree. And time after time I failed. Until suddenly, I was able to do it! Suddenly, I could finally work with that teeny tiny thread. But good gracious those snowflakes were tedious to make! And so I designed my own. One with lots of chains and some careful blocking during the stiffening process. These are my Star Snowflakes!
This was also my very first magazine submission, which, much to my surprise, was accepted and published in Interweave Crochet Accessories 2012! It was validation for my work and I couldn't have been more excited to see my name in print. On actual magazine stands! It was also pretty incredible.
And so, as another milestone design in my crochet career, it was high on my list of Crochet Impressions to attempt. When one of my students decided to try her hand at making a snowflake, I joined in with my Nazli Gelen Garden size 10 cotton thread and trusty 2.25mm hook. Sure enough, it looked just like the other little squiggles I remembered making before!
Therein lay the problem. Normally I stiffen these when I block them - but that would also make it less absorbent for the printing process. But without the stiffener, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle it in the way I need to in order to achieve an ideal impression. Hmm.
So I decided to give it a try and see what happened. I soaked it (plain water and no rinse wool wash), blocked it, pinned it in all the little places, and then I let it dry. And then I let it dry some more! I had no idea how I was going to get it off the blocking board and onto my printing glass...
I left it to dry until I had a couple of toddler free hours so that I could work uninterrupted. Then I held my breath and started removing pins. 49 of them. And unbelievably, it held its shape! With no stiffener! I was elated. Yes, it was floppy and the arms obviously couldn't support themselves, BUT. I could work with this!
I got out a couple more blocking mats out and very carefully laid one on top of the snowflake. Then I pressed the two mats together and flipped it over, removing the bottom one and then slowly removing the saran wrap covered paper with my blocking guides printed on it. There! One upside down snowflake! Now to get it onto the printing glass.
Bringing the blocking guide printout with me, I pulled out my double sided tape and started placing it on the glass, using the printed snowflake to make sure I got the right amount of tape on the first time to cover every single spoke. Once that was done, it was time to stick the snowflake on. It was still upside down on the second blocking mat and so I flipped the printing glass over and pressed that onto the snowflake instead of the other way around like I normally do. Yes! I flipped the glass back over, centered it on top of my blocking guide again, and made a few little tweaks with a toothpick before pressing each arm and spoke into the tape to make sure it was well anchored. Success!
I did a couple test impressions to get the paint soaked in and to see how it was going to go and then, BAM! It worked! I had a print! With my crazy little snowflake! I was pretty darn tickled, to say the least.
May I present Crochet Impressions: SNOWFLAKE
And for most of my prints so far, this would be the end of the story. But it just so happens that there is more to this one.
I had uploaded the primary file to Redbubble and Society6 and was going through making adjustments to optimize the image for each product that I could when I came to the duffle bag and backpack on Society6. The single large snowflake just didn't work, but they have a multi-piece template that you can download, so I started playing with that. I adjusted the size of the image to make it fit on the ends of the duffle bag and then I started really playing around with it for the backpack and before I know it, here I have this digital reimagining with multiple sizes and rotations of the same snowflake (which is, incidentally, kind of ironic since snowflakes are actually all unique) and it just seemed to demand to be a print in its own right!
And so I ALSO give you Crochet Impressions: SNOWFLAKE[s]
I imagine this hanging in a winter loving minimalist's home. It also makes a really neat repeating pattern over on some of the Redbubble products (check out this scarf) as well as a pretty sticker. The framed print options they have always make me pause a moment, though. This thing I've created - it's ART. Real art!
I'm still rather in awe that this idea of mine actually creates such interesting pieces. I love the details left behind by the stitches, the texture, even the imperfectness - I'm never quite sure what I'm going to get when I press painted crochet fabric to paper. But I've had more wins than losses thus far and I'm excited to see what will be the next one!
You can find SNOWFLAKE prints on Redbubble and Society6 now, as well as, of course, on a lot of other products. I'm amazed at all the different objects I can see my work on! And SNOWFLAKE[s] you'll find here and here. You can also click through some of the images above.
My favorite non-print piece for this image? I have to say the backpack, if only because it was what caused the evolution of this image!