Thursday, December 6, 2012

Old Snowflake Quilt Block

This 12" Old Snowflake block is the tenth block of my Starwood Sampler Quilt that I made as a block of the month with my quilting group.  I created this quilt to tell the story of my home and community.  This pattern is found free on-line at:  It was first published by Nancy Cabot.

At our home, we receive anywhere from 100 - 150" of snowfall annually.  Typically, our snow is pretty dry; we get 1" of moisture for every foot of snow.  Our biggest and wettest snows come in the spring. 

I'm a reading teacher at an elementary school and love to read Snowflake Bentley with my students every year.  It's the true story of Wilson Bentley, one of the first known snowflake photographers.  He was born on February 9, 1865 in Jericho, Vermont and died on December 23, 1931 after being out in a blizzard, trying to photograph snowflakes.  Wilson photographed over 5,000 crystals in his lifetime.  Each year the Jericho Historical Society puts out a new pewter snowflake Christmas ornament designed from one of Wilson's crystal photographs.  I hang up my pewter snowflakes in my window, keeping them all winter long. 

Here's a fun recipe I've used with my students:

Borax Crystal Snowflake
For each snowflake, you will need:
1 white pipe cleaner
Wide-mouth pint jar
Boiling water
20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster

1.  Cut a white pipe cleaner into 3 equal sections.  Twist the sections together in the center so that you have a six-sided star shape.  If your points are not even, trim the pipe cleaner sections to the same length.

2.  Attach string along the outer edges to form a snowflake pattern.  Attach a piece of string to the top of one of the pipe cleaners and tie the other end to a pencil.  (This is to hang it from.)

3.  Fill the wide-mouth jar with boiling water.  Mix borax into the water one tablespoon at a time.  Use 3 tablespoons of borax per cup of water.  Stir until dissolved.  (Don't worry if there is powder settling on the bottom of the jar.)

4.  Insert your pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil is resting on the lip of the jar and the snowflake is freely suspended in the borax solution.

5.  Wait overnight and by morning the snowflake will be covered with shiny crystals.

You might also enjoy seeing my other "snow" quilt blocks: 


  1. I have never heard of that book but I have seen reproductions of his amazing photographs. My father used to photograph snow and frost and had a slide show of water in many forms. I'll have to hunt up a copy next time I hit Powells (my favorite book store in Portland OR)
    How many quilters were in your block-of-the-month group? That seems like such fun.

  2. I love Snowflake Bently too! As a second grade teacher we read it every year and studied snowflakes on our mittens before they melted. Now retired,I enjoy it with my grandchildren and enjoy displaying the book.
    How I have also enjoyed all your quilt blocks and diary posts! Thank you!

  3. I'd like to know where to get pewter snowflakes. Sounds really beautiful!

  4. Found it myself just ordered 2 one for me and one for the inlaws. They love unique ornaments! Thank you! Love your block

  5. I will have to pass on the recipe for the snowflake to my niece in law. They have five children (1 teenager and 4 under the age of 12). I love that block. I might have to make it.


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