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My Favorite Things: snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

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Our My Favorite Things series is drawing near a close, with the lyric "Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes." A snowflake reminds us of the endless beauty of nature, the quiet of the outdoors, and the harmony of the season. The beautiful individual snowflake is also a common theme in knitting patterns, although many of them are not consistent with the instant-gratification and stress-busting theme of this series. However, here are some of our favorite snowflake patterns, with some admittedly needing more concentration than can be had while the holiday cookies are baking.

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Snowflake cloth: Dishcloths are always popular items to knit in a pinch, since they are small and the patterns are usually fairly easy to follow. Also, with no shaping whatsoever, the only thing to remember is when to knit and when to purl. This one, by Alli Barrett, costs $2.00 as a Ravelry download and has a six-pointed snowflake embossed on the front. Purchase the pattern and make several to leave in the kitchen and every bathroom in the house, and then bring them out with the tree and ornament boxes the following year.

Six-pointed snowflake chart: Amy Anderson's free Ravelry download is a charted snowflake which can be incorporated into any knitting pattern with a 24-stitch pattern repeat, or a bloc of knitting with at least that many stitches to add an embellishment. Add the snowflake to a solid sock or hat pattern, or just make several squares to sew together when you have enough to make a place mat or little blanket. The pattern can be knitted either as stranded color work, or as duplicate stitch, or as a knit-and-purl pattern.

Snowflake hat: From Carissa Knits comes the traditional knitting pattern of an eight-pointed snowflake pattern used in fair-isle designs, combined with an easy-to-shape beanie, to make a hat for children or adults. The pattern itself is free on her blog, and the pattern is an excellent introduction to stranded knitting for knitters who have never worked with two colors at a time. The original pattern was made in Caron Simply Soft solids, making it virtually stain-proof and perfect for children.

Fair Isle snowflake stocking: Nicky Epstein's classic Christmas stocking offers traditional colors and patterns, and the stranded color work is exclusively at the top of the stocking so the majority of the project is more simple. The eight-pointed snowflake can be made either with the fair-isle technique or with duplicate stitch, for people who do not feel ready for stranding on more than just the first inch of the project. The pattern can be purchased for $4.00 on Ravelry.

Snowflake Star: Judy Gibson's easy six-pointed star pattern can be knitted anywhere from the waiting room of a doctor's office to waiting in line at the grocery store, and the size can also be adjusted as necessary. Starch them and hang them from the Christmas tree, or just steam them and lay them out across the dinner table for some added flair during dinner. The pattern is free on Judy's blog, and it is knitted from the center out on double-pointed needles.

Fair Isle Christmas balls - snowflakes: Offered as a chart and knitted in the round, Heidi Haywood's compilation of snowflake designs can be purchased for $4.50 on Ravelry and offers more than just one pattern. Since the patterns are spherically shaped, the finished projects can be hung on the tree, or from a door frame or ceiling for a whimsical decoration. The patterns only call for two colors, lessening the confusion if the knitter is new to stranded knitting.

Come in from the cold: This pattern, found on the Knit Picks website, is for both a coffee cup cozy and coaster, and can be found for free. Making several of these little items is a great way to get rid of old yarn, and the finished projects can be used as housewarming gifts, little items for the postman or garbage collector, and the felting process can eliminate any lapses in tension. Try out this pattern with leftover wool yarn and see how your fair-isle and felting skills turn out without committing to a larger project.

Tomorrow's installment, silver white winters that melt into springs, will dedicate our thoughts to patterns relating to what we can knit for use after the holidays. Even after only one month of snow and darkness, our thoughts turn to spring and the hope of warmer, sunny weather. Stay tuned.

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