Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gifts of Love: Beaded Earrings (PATTERN)

This post centers on the third pair of earrings I made for a friend I had overlooked. (See the first and second.)  This pair is based on Moira Crochet's Teardrop Earring #5, with a few small additions in order to add the beads to the edges.

I will be posting my additions only here, so please go check out Moira's page for the base pattern!

You will need:

  • Three spools of thread. For my pair of earrings, I used two threads of light blue cotton thread (because that's what I had) and one thread of black polyester thread and crocheted them all as one strand.
  • Two fish hooks, kidney wires, or other earring attachment.
  • 20 Beads
  • Moira's original pattern.

STEP 1: String the beads onto your threads.  This is so important.  You will not be able to get them on once you have started the motif, so put all that you need, or even more, onto your strand at the very beginning.  Remember, since we are using three threads as one strand, you need to put the beads over all three threads.

STEP 2: Follow Moira's instructions here for set up and Rounds One and Two.  The beads don't come in until the very end, so just continue to push them down your strand so that you have room to continue crocheting.

STEP 3: Follow the instructions below in place of Moira's Round Three.

Chained beads, from
  1. 4 sc into ch-4 space, slip stitch into slip-stitched sc
  2. 2 sc into ch-4 space.  (Then, push your first bead up RIGHT next to the previous sc.  Now, chain one, but make sure that you grab yarn that is beyond the bead.  On the right, I have added a picture of beads crocheted into a chain.  Your bead should look like this.  You have now added a bead.) 2 sc into same ch-4 space.  Slip stitch into slip-stitched sc.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 once more
  4. 5 sc into ch-5 space, slip stitch into slip-stitched sc
  5. 3 sc into ch-5 space, add bead as before, 3 sc into same ch-5 space.  Slip stitch into slip-stitched sc.
  6. Repeat step 5 three times (4 in total)
  7. Repeat step 4
  8. Repeat step 2
  9. Repeat step 1
  10. Repeat step 2
  11. Repeat step 1
  12. Repeat step 2
  13. Repeat step 1 three times
  14. Repeat step 2, fasten off.
Hope you like it!  Let me know how it goes!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Reverse I-Cord Lanyard (PATTERN)

One of the mothers I babysit for absolutely loves lavender.  She also mentioned how desperately she was in need of a lanyard to keep her keys on.  Having a variety of keys for different places on different rings and large bags and coat pockets for them to get lost in, I can totally understand!

So, I took an afternoon to whip this one up for her.  I couldn't find any similar patterns online, so I figured I'd post it here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Oil Catcher

Once, while scrolling through  patterns, I came across an oil catcher.  My {future} husband cried out "Oh!  You have to make one of those for my Mom!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Travel Blanket: Bahama Cruise Block

Finding a monkey in our suite after a formal dinner.
Previously, I posted about my decision to make a travel blanket of yarn from different trips, including my Erie Canal Block.

Well, I have made the second one!  This one represents our honeymoon on a cruise to the Bahamas.  Of course, it's nigh impossible to find a quaint yarn shop in Tourist City, Bahamas, and so, after the advice of a few friends, decided to spring for a representative hank from elsewhere.  It is, after all, our honeymoon.  And it really was a nice one, despite the cold weather and several days at sea without much to do.

I decided on Handmaiden's Double Sea Silk, made from 30% Seacell (which is based on Seaweed) and 70% Silk, from in the colorway of "Ocean."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gifts of Love: Wire Earrings

Previously, I posted about making a pair of earrings for a friend who I had overlooked in my wedding planning.

Here is the second pair I made, knit from wire with blue beads upon it.  I really liked this pattern, though knitting with wire took a little getting used to.

Has anyone else done that?  What do you think?

Ravelry Pattern | Ravelry Project

Friday, April 18, 2014

Doily-mobile Earrings (and Snowflakes)

My mom, she has a thing for doilies.  When we lived in Switzerland, she found these elongated doilies on sale and bought five, even though she had little to no use for them.  One ended up becoming the tablecloth for my American Girl Doll Felicity (who sadly does not exist anymore).

The other four, she put as antimacassars in her forest green mom van.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Knit and Crochet: Page Post

(After being posted, this article will be transported to the "Knit and Crochet" page.)

One of the ways that I, personally, strive toward simplicity is by stopping to think.

A recent study has showed that knitting is healthy for your brain. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gifts of Love: Purple Earrings

Those of you that have been following along know that I made gifts for all of our wedding party.

You may also have noticed that I made five Bridesmaids Shawls, but seven Groomsmen's Beerds.

There were five groomsmen and two close male friends who were practically groomsmen.

Randall asked me to make two for them as tokens of his appreciation of their friendships.  I did, of course.
And that got me thinking...there was one friend I really should have included as well, but due to some drama, never did.  But I also knew she would never wear a shawl.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dad's Cozy Gator

As you know by now if you follow this blog on anything like a regular basis, I make lots of gifts.  Lots.  Well, my Dad's birthday was this past Monday, and so, surprise surprise, I made him...a gift!

My Dad is always hard to shop for.  He doesn't really have a keen appreciation for the arts, doesn't particularly enjoy unique items of clothing, and really only will use something if it fits directly into his current routine or optimizes his life somehow.  Last year, I got away with Double Helix Socks, which he seemed to like, but socks again?  That was out of the question.

But, lucky for me, he does have a few hobbies, and most of them are outdoors.  A Miami boy transplanted to Boston, he's learned to love the cold without impinging his outdoor passion.  This means November through March, you can find him winter camping, skiing (cross-country and downhill), snowshoeing, or mountain biking in the snow.  It's certainly an invigorating set of activities!

When I moved to San Francisco, a place where 45 degrees is a chilly day, I found a plethora of people who used this newfangled item called a "gator."  As someone who always wore down coats and scarves, I hadn't ever considered this an item one would use, but upon further investigation, I saw its use.  It can be just that little extra warmth you need on a day between the seasons.  It can line your scarf-coat area where the wind sneaks through on a particularly blustery day.  And it can be pulled up to catch the bottom of your ears that never quite get covered by the hat.

You guessed it: I made my father a gator.

I followed a pattern I found on Ravelry, but used Bulky weight yarn, bigger needles,and fewer stitches.  It actually ended up being less stretchy because of that, which was somewhat sad, but it worked anyway.  Next time, I would make it longer by at least a few inches.

Ravelry Pattern | Ravelry Project

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Heartwarming Headache: HeadCrab Hat (PATTERN)

My brother-in-law's fantastic post about his hat.

I posted a few months ago about my brother-in-law's birthday gift from last year - cow slippers.  As you can imagine, I had trouble again this year, until my husband sent me this link.  Apparently, headcrab hats are all the rage this year, and he was convinced that Whitsun would love one.

The only problem was that I couldn't find a pattern.

And so, lo and behold,  bring you...the Headcrab Hat Pattern!


  • about 150 yards of a bulky, crab colored yarn (subject to change)
  • scrap yarn for your leg-ends
  • size 9 needles
(note: this was made to go over dreadlocks)
  • Cast on 66 stitches, join in round
  • Knit in a (k2, p2) rib for one inch
  • Knit stockinette stitch until hat measures 6-7"
  • K2tog every 11 stitches for 9 rows.  12 stitches remain.
  • Cut yarn, thread through, and bind off.
Short Legs:
(make 4)
  • Cast on 5 stitches, join in round
  • Knit for 10 rows
  • Switch to contrasting color, knit 2 rows
  • K2tog twice, knit 1
  • Cut yarn, thread through, and bind off.
Medium Legs:
(make 2)
My hubby in the hat before we sent it out.
  • Cast on 5 stitches, join in round
  • Knit for 15 rows
  • Switch to contrasting color, knit 2 rows
  • K2tog twice, knit 1
  • Cut yarn, thread through, and bind off.
Long Legs:
(make 4)
  • Cast on 10 stitches, join in the round
  • Knit for 15 rows
  • K2tog 5 times
  • Knit 20 roww
  • Switch to contrasting color, knit 2 rows
  • K2tog twice, knit 1
  • Cut yarn, thread through, and bind off.
  • Attach the four short legs across the "forehead" of the hat
  • Attach the two medium legs on either side of the stretch of short legs
  • Attach two long legs on the outside of the front stretch of legs
  • Attach the other two long legs about 4 inches apart in the back
  • Weave in the ends and be consumed!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Homemade Composter!

As part of my effort to live more simply, I have started the adventure of owning my own worm colony!

I hear the questions already. How in the world is that simple?

Simplicity means not having to worry about the trash as much.  It means not having to walk across down dragging a wire cart to get a bag of soil for your three potted plants that you'll only use a quarter of.  It means having everything you need, and being able to get it within your own power.  It means buying less.

I throw all my food trash (except for dairy or meat) in the bucket at night, and I am left without having to worry if the trash will rot or if I need to take it out before it's full.

I throw all my papers that need to be shredded in the bucket and let the worms turn them into dirt.  I don't have to worry about shredding them by hand and throwing them out at different dates.

I know that I am doing my part to minimize landfills, and so I sleep easier at night.

When I need fertilizer for my plants, I take some leachate from the bottom bucket, which is right on hand when I need it.

When I need dirt, there's handfuls of it right in the bucket for me to grab.

It doesn't look glamorous, but I don't mind.  My head it much clearer.  It's just another step toward peace.

For anyone interested in making their own bucket, I followed this tutorial for two 5-gallon buckets, and it has been working wonderfully for almost two months now.  (Yes, I did wait to make sure I didn't get pests or smell before posting, and I haven't gotten either!)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Belated Thrummed Mittens

Last year, I promised my mom a pair of mittens for her birthday.  For a woman with poor circulation who lives in one of the coldest and windiest regions in the US, I thought I would make some windproof, fuzzy mittens!

I decided on the thrummed/stuffed/fluffy mittens pattern from Joan Janes on Ravelry and they came out wonderfully!  Essentially, the concept is that you use a basic yarn as a background, and then use ripped roving yarn to make "thrums," with the fluffy ripped ends sticking straight into the mitten.  When you wear it, the ends felt together to the sides and all you feel is a beautiful wind-proof fluffy warm barrier.

I made a pair of these mittens for my mother...and they wouldn't even go over the heel of her hand.

So, determined to rip them out and start over despite the fact that I had just become homeless, I returned to the drawing board, only to decide within the next week that I was needed to graduate early, which meant I had to start on the wedding knits! (hereherehere, and here)

So now, as we're approaching her birthday again, I decided what better than to send these mittens over with her gift for this year?

The muppet slaughtering.
I wanted to re-use the yarn from the original pair, but instead I slaughtered a muppet (phrase coined by Randall).  Yep, undoing them was a horrific experiment in un-felting, poorly-pulling, and exploding all over the living room.  It was okay, though, because when I made the original pair, I ended up slicing little cuts on the insides of my knuckles from ripping all the roving yarn (cutting them doesn't give the same effect), so I knew at the very least I needed those thrums!

And here we are, finally, with a pair of mittens that will hopefully fit my mother!

Ravelry Pattern | Ravelry Project

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Simplicity: Page Post

(After being posted, this article will be transported to the "Simplicity" page.)

So much of our lives is a rush.

Rush out of bed.  Rush to work.  Rush to lunch.  Rush back.  Rush home.  Rush through dinner.  Rush through the laundry.  Rush to bed.  Rush to wake up again.

Sometimes, it's important to stop.


And let the ripples settle in the pond so you don't drown in the waves.

That's what the Laboratory is about.

Finding ways to slow down and enjoy life.
Finding ways to smile.
Finding ways to live a life that is less stressful, less rushed, and less chaotic.

For some, these ideas might seem to add more stress.  That's fine; disregard them.

I am just one humble woman sharing her escapades into serenity and inviting you to join me.

Shall we?