Studio Musings

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thinking about Snowflakes

Years ago, my mother-in-law was known for her Christmas decorating.  In more recent years, her decorating has become more and more minimal, not even including a Christmas tree.  Last year I decided she needed a tree, so I bought one of those table top trees and made a bunch of snowflake ornaments for it and sent it to her as a surprise.

I liked it so much, this year I decided to do something similar for myself. Found myself a little live tree at the hardware store (come spring I'll plant it in one of my large patio pots).  For ornament hooks I use the inexpensive, craft earring hooks - the type you can buy by the gross at Michaels or Joann's.  They're better suited in terms of size for these smaller trees.  And if you need a last minute gift and can't find anything else, you could snag a couple of snowflakes off of your tree and call them earrings! 

I've noticed that my freebie snowflake pattern is one of the most popular pages on my site right now.  Yesterday I received an email from Julia in the UK asking some questions about her snowflakes, because they were buckling.  Both from my pattern, and some other patterns she'd found online (though I'm pleased that mine gave her the least troubles).  I tried to help her do some trouble shooting, and thought I'd share some of that here.
Seven-sided snowflakes are most likely to buckle

This ring must lay flat before you go on!
In the picture above, the buckling in the snowflake to the lower right was caused by too tight of tension.  The snowflake at the top is the exact same stitch pattern, but I've avoided the rippling by keeping careful tabs on the tension, adjusting it as I go so each round lays nice and flat.

The tension in your first couple of circles is especially important, if it doesn't lay flat at this stage, it won't lay flat later.  So take some time to manipulate the beads until they're happily arranged in a flat circle.

Sideview of buckled snowflake with too tight tension
Side view of nice, perfectly flat snowflake - lower tension

And if you're looking for more on snowflakes: here's a pitch for my snowflake pattern for sale on Etsy - 10 full pages of instruction on 5, 6, and 7 sided snowflakes with as many variations as I could come up with, with carefully proofed color illustrations and photos.


  1. Fantastic snowflakes, and really useful tips for us to have them perfect and pretty all in time for Christmas :)
    Thanks and Merry Christmas

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