Saturday, August 29, 2009

Snowflakes in Summer

It might be 107degrees here, but in Molly Pink world it’s a few weeks before Christmas. In my mind I’m smelling the spicy scent of Swedish ginger cookies and the wonderful scent of pine wreaths as I work on the next book.

Supposedly Mel Torme wrote the classic Christmas Song on a sweltering summer day, so maybe I’m on the right track. Just as an aside, Mel went to my high school – though long before me. I have Molly crocheting snowflakes to decorate the bookstore’s window. It occurred to me that I’d probably write it better if I actually made a snowflake.

I’d seen the crocheted snowflakes at Christmas bazaars and in pattern books, but I’d never thought of making one before. Frankly, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. They looked so intricate, I imagined the pattern would be too complicated to follow. But for Molly I’d try anything, so I got out some thread and a tiny steel hook and found a pattern called Suzy Snowflake.

It was refreshing to do something with my hands besides fuss with the BlackBerry which refuses to go online as it is supposed to, or deal with my desktop computer that out of the blue started to ask questions about how to boot up.

It always takes me a little while to adjust to working with such a slender hook and such fine thread. The pattern had directions inside other directions, and I wasn’t sure how far I’d get. But after a few minutes of actually being able to follow the convoluted directions, I started to get excited. I knew I could do it. I was so good with organization that when I set it aside for a while, I put a stitch holder on my work, wrote down exactly where I was in the pattern and included what I was supposed to do next so there would be no chance of me losing my place. I put the whole thing, including the book with the directions and the hook, in a gallon size plastic bag. No way was I going to let the hook slide off somewhere and disappear.

My plastic bag maneuver worked pretty well except I have this bad habit of putting all my projects on the floor around the chair where I work on them and the bag got buried. But when I found it, it was nice to have everything together. There was a slight organizational error. The ball of thread was missing it’s label and I assumed it was #10, but now think it is really #3 which is probably a little heavy for a snowflake. Oh well, there’s always next time.

When I finished the snowflake, it was just a floppy thread piece. So just as I had Molly do, I starched it. It amounts to pouring some liquid starch in a plastic bag and soaking the snowflake. Then I laid it out on wax paper on top of cardboard. I pulled and shaped it and then stuck push pins in to hold it in place.

The hot weather was good for something. My snowflake dried in no time. Research can sure be fun. Here is how it turned out.


Anonymous said...

Looks just like Chicago---beautiful!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Isn't it fun that we writers can create any time of year, any climate or atmosphere that we want! At least until we leave the computer for a while...

Julie said...

Really pretty! And in the roasting depths of fire season, there's nothing like giving your imagination up to cold weather to help you cope. (Until you step outside and feel yourself scorch.)

Betty Hechtman said...

Thank you, Anonymous.

It is nice to be able to retreat into your imagintion, Linda. It's like reading, only better.

Julie, it is indeed fire season. I had the snowflake drying outside and I was hoping it wouldn't end up smelling like smoke from the forest fires currently burning. It didn't. The wind seems to be carrying the smoke in another direction.

Camille Minichino said...

Very nice work, Betty!

Terri Thayer said...