Thursday, January 31, 2008


How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated!
I should hardly admire more if real stars fell
And lodged on my coat."
--Henry David Thoreau, 1856

Hasn't this been the strangest winter for weather here in the Pacific Northwest? Snow, rain, and then snow again! Areas of our state getting lots of snow that usually don't have much snow while other areas of a regular winter snow event get a mere skiff! Strange, indeed.

I love the snowy weather. It gives me a great excuse for staying inside day after day and quilting the day away or getting some much needed computer work time in without many interuptions. While at the computer I took a break and googled "snowflake." Wow, what a lot of fun sites come up with all kinds of activities for kids, adults, quilters, knitters, crocheters, photographers. To share just a few of my favorites...

First, you'll want to be sure and visit Quilt Design Northwest and check out Marje's website. Follow her advice for brightening a gray cold wintery day with her easily pieced pattern for snowflake decor. With many options regarding size, excellent instructions for easy painless paper piecing, and even a free bonus snowflake block offered online at her website, you can't go wrong.

This last December I found Ken Libbrecht's book The Art of the Snowflake and spent way more time than I should have browsing through all the beautiful photographs and absorbing the information about different kinds of snowflakes. You can get a sampling of his wonderful artwork and information at his website.

Amazon has a great book out for kids. I would have loved having this book when I was teaching school. I think kids of all ages would have fun creating snowflakes for all seasons. It reminds me of a favorite of all my classes when I was teaching ... If Snowflakes Fell in Flavors. Don't forget the recipe for growing your own snowflakes, and did you know that the man-made snow used on the slopes to beef up the snowbase for winter activities doesn't form real snowflakes? It may look like snow but it is really ice droplets.

For the people who love to crochet I found a free on-line pattern for creating snowflakes with pearle cotton. Creating a virtual snowflake on line is a fun thing to do ... good practice for controlling your mouse and you can even hear the sounds of the scissors snipping away as you cut out the snowflake. Better Homes & Gardens also has a similar activity. Want to create the "real" thing using with beads? BHG also has a free online pattern for easy-to-make pretty beaded snowflakes for hanging in the window. Many times snowflake decorating falls within the holiday decorating scheme but I always feel so sad when all the Christmas decorations come down so I save my snowy wintery things for the month of January.
This next discovery was a big surprise in my snowflake searching. You may be familiar with Paula Nadelstern's beautiful book on snowflakes and quilts. Check your bank balance before purchasing. The asking price for this book is now for as little as $80 and as much as $175! Great investment if this book is in your library of quilting books.

A snowflake quilt that is a little more within my budget is Terry Martin's Snowflake Follies. I'm seeing lots of quilts in different picture galleries using a variety of settings for the traditional carpenter's star block. In fact, I even have one I pieced in the early 90's still waiting to be quilted. I think I need to pull that top out of the closet and finish the quilting before all this snow goes away!
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