Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GENEies March!

My family at the Boston March for Science

The March for Science happened just over two months ago.  The journey of designing the GENEie collection of DNA beanies, headbands and pussyhats was a whirlwind.  Not only are these some of my favorite designs ever, but you responded so positively to them, too.  The Boston March for Science was the first time that I saw someone wearing one of my designs... and I saw at least 10!  

The first time I ever found my designs on the street!  GENEies at the March for Science Boston.
I didn't take pictures with everyone I found wearing a GENEie (one of the kid speakers was wearing a plasmid headband!)  When I asked you, my amazing followers, to submit pictures of your GENEies that marched around the world, you delivered.  In Ravelry you can find pictures of many finished GENEies, but you don't always get to see them in action at the marches.  Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to submit pictures and give me permission to use them here on ChemKnits.  

GENEie Hats go Marching - Your Photo Submissions

Submitted by Reneta P., Boston, MA
Reneta P marched in Boston, too.  I didn't speak to her at the rally, but her sign caught my eye and when I realized she was also wearing a GENEie I was thrilled.  Reneta marched "because science is the way to understand the world and make it a better place."

Submitted by Jessica McGrath, Boston, MA
Jessica McGrath marched in Boston because "I'm a scientist and because science makes everyone's life better."  Puppies marched for science in GENEies, too!  I love the DNA helix of the GENEie Pussyhat in a contrasting color, it really pops.  

Submitted by Laura Patterson.  Washington, D.C.
Laura Patterson took a fantastic selfie at the Washington Monument.  "I'm from Sacramento, but I marched in D.C. representing California State Scientists. Critical thinking using empirical evidence is so important to tackling every issue we face, and I find the increasing disregard for science and facts as the bases for making decisions dismaying." I would have loved to travel to DC for the March for Science, but I am impressed by how many satellite marches there were.  

Submitted by Heather Kvale, Washington, D.C.
Heather Kvale also marched for science in Washington, D.C.  "me (headband), my husband (didn't have time to make him a hat), and our friend Katie (hat). :) Thank you so much for the patterns!"  It was my pleasure, Heather!  

Submitted by Bridget Shobe, Washington, D.C. 
Submitted by Bridget Shobe, Washington, D.C. 
"My name is Bridget Shobe and I marched in Washington DC. I knit several of the DNA hats for myself and friends! I am an environment science student at UMBC."  I love her slouchy version of the original cable GENEie hat!  I also love the picture of Bridget and her friends wearing brain hats.  There were so many interesting pro-science outfits at all of the marches.  It was wonderful to see what people created!  

Submitted by Lori Cambell.  Vancouver, BC, Canada
Lori Campbell submitted a photo she took while at the march in Vancouver, BC.  She didn't make or wear the hat, but she "did complement [the owner] on her lovelywork."

Submitted by Lauren Ross Feldman, Princeton, NJ
Lauren Ross Feldman marched in Princeton, NJ.  She has a PhD in linguistics and marched because "I believe in facts and research.  I do not believe that science is partisan."

Submitted by Lauren Ross Feldman, Princeton, NJ
Feldman added with her next photo submission, "I marched because my child - the one whose hand I am holding in this picture - almost died in October 2014 because of a mesenteric defect we didn't know she had. She is alive and well today because of science. Because of research and medicine. The first thing I said to my husband the morning after the election was 'How much federal funding do you think CHOP gets?' I am terrified for us and for all our children that there are answers out there, cures and treatments and prevention, that we desperately need funding & research to discover, and that this administration will set us back decades and we will lose lives and suffer quality of life."

Submitted by Lisa Hansen, San Francisco, CA

Lisa Hansen marched in San Francisco.  "We marched because we believe science is the best way to find solutions for problems, and that it has to be ALL science. You can't just pick the parts you like. Yes, science has got it wrong, but we always strive to be right. We study, we think, we challenge."

Submitted by Kathy W, San Francisco, CA
Kathy W marched in San Francisco with her sister-in-law, Catherine D.  I enjoy the peek of a palm tree in the background.  I'm not sure how the weather in CA was on April 22 but I bet it was warmer than Boston!  

Submitted by Katie Cabral, San Francisco, CA. 

Katie Cabral marched in San Francisco.  She took this photo at the UCSF pre-rally.

Submitted by Amy Replogle, Tacoma, WA.  

Amy Replogle  "marched in Tacoma, WA with a group of faculty, staff and students from the University of Puget Sound (it was my job to gather the contingent, hence the banner I'm wearing)."

Submitted by Rachie MGruis, Salt Lake City, UT

Rachie MGruis marched in Salt Lake City.  I love her crochet applique GENEIE (aka spliced.)  I still wish that I had been able to design a full crochet version of the DNA cable, but I'm glad that some crocheters liked the spliced work around.  

Submitted by Rachel Smith Gebauer, Klamath Falls, OR.

Some people marched with crowds of thousands of people.  Rachel Smith Gebauer marched in Klamath Falls, Oregon with "100+ marchers in a rural Red town."  Rachel said, "I wore it proudly at our local March. I wore my Science Not Silence button on the opposite side."

Submitted by Nancy Adams, Portland, OR.

There were so many different science hats representing many fields across the country.  Nancy Adams submitted a photograph of her daughter and her friends at the Portland, Oregon march.  "In addition to the GENEie hat are the Science March Forest Beanie and Swimming Bacteria hats."  

A post shared by Erin Huggins (@erin.hugs) on

Erin Huggins (@erin.hugs) marched in Columbia, South Carolina.

A post shared by Patricia (@madlycreativeme) on

Patricia (@madlycreativeme) marched in Seattle, WA.   Her science pins were really epic and really elevated the knit GENEie hat.

A post shared by Patricia (@madlycreativeme) on

Thank you so much for sharing these pictures with me, and giving me permission to share them! Writing up this post I am feeling all of the feels. I love connecting with different knitters and crafters, but to connect through our love of crafting and our commitment to raising our voices was especially inspiring. Please don't forget to use your voice to speak up about the issues you care about. Take time to contact your elected officials (I like and I've heard positive things about Resistbot.)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dinoculars - A Craft Project for Multiple Kids

Rowdy turned one in January.  One year olds don't need a lot of planned activities at a birthday party, but his friends who are three and older would appreciate something to do.  I was on the hunt for a simple craft project that would require minimal supervision and then would be fun to play with at a dinosaur themed birthday party.

I have seen a few different dinoculars projects.  These involve decorating the tubes before gluing them together.  This would be great if you were working on the project with one kid, or if an adult wanted to make multiple, but a bunch of preschoolers and toddlers won't want to wait for glue to dry.  Therefore, I decided to take a different approach and glue the toilet paper tubes together BEFORE decorating them.  

The crafting station has:
  1. Dinoculars bases - pre-glued toilet paper tubes (or cut in half paper towel tubes) with holes already punched
  2. Pre-cut paper ready to decorate
  3. Tape
  4. Stickers (foam ones are best used after)
  5. pre-cut ribbon for parents to tie to the ends.  ~2.5 ft

I felt like this would be a simple craft project that kids could do with minimal supervision.  I hoped it would be self explanatory.  (Or at least easy enough to figure out what to do.)

  1. Decorate Paper (save foam stickers for step #3)
  2. Tape paper around pre-glued tubes
  3. Add foam stickers (if desired)
  4. Tie ribbon into holes
  5. Search for Dinosaurs!!

When I created the instructions, I put Grandmama and Lucky to work to see if they could accomplish the project as written.

It was a success!  Lucky wanted to make some more straight away but I told him he needed to wait until Rowdy's birthday party.  

The dinoculars were a huge success!  it was wonderful to see kids having fun making them and then going around my house hunting for different dinosaurs!  

Lucky played with his long after the party.  I'm so glad I took the time to get this project ready for the party.  It was super easy to prep and the enjoyment was fantastic.  I also printed out some dinosaur coloring book pages for the kids to decorate.

Even Rowdy found the project very entertaining.  I wouldn't let him play with ones that had a ribbon, and he might have ripped off all of the stickers, but this is about as much enjoyment as a 12 month old can get out of a project!  

This wasn't just enjoyable for my human children, Indy really likes to chew on toilet paper rolls so he was very interested in this craft project.  

Don't worry, Indy.  I still have quite the stash of paper tubes.  I'll let you have some, too.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pride Headband - DIY Rainbow Tulle Flower

June is Pride month!  I designed some fun twisted rib Celebrate Equality Wristbands, but Lucky claimed these "bracelets" as his own.  I planned to create some kind of fascinator to show my support for the LGBTQ communities.

I picked up some tulle in rainbow colors.  There were many different options to chose from, so I selected the brightest options I could.  I purchased 1/4 yard of each color which would be more than enough for multiple headbands and was only a couple of dollars total.

When I laid the squares out on the table, the gradient they formed was stunning.  I took MANY photos!

My original inspiration was to create some kind of rainbow poof headband.  However, I LOVED the way the tulle stars came out from my patriotic headband, so I wanted to create similar petals for my rainbow pride headband.  (Even if the tulle was a pain to work with!)  The plan for this headband is to make six petals in a ROYGBP colorway.

I cut two 5" squares in each color.  Just like with the tulle patriotic star flowers, I folded the double tulle on the diagonal twice and then created a running stitch through the raw edge.  As I pulled these closed I formed a six petal flower.  

The finished star is about 5" across in either direction.  

The star/flower went together quickly.  The frustrations that I had working with the tulle last time were absent this time.  I think that after I had created a few petals I got the hang of it and it was much easier to complete.

The finished flower is adorable, but it was missing something.  I decided to add a huge rhinestone to the center of the flower to give it some sparkle.

Next, I turned the flower over and glued it onto a plastic headband I purchased from the dollar store.  I got a pack of four headbands for $1!  I made sure to put glue under the headband to help the flower keep its hold on the hair accessory.  

This cute little headband was complete!  Notice how I glued the flower off center. I wanted it to be on the side of my head, not on the top of my head.  I also placed the flower so the purple, blue and green petals would show on the side of my face since these are my favorite colors.

This flower is darling.  It doesn't have the poof exuberance that I initially envisioned, but I am so excited about how this flower turned out.  I have a feeling that I will be making more tulle headbands in my future, and I look forward to wearing this flower proudly for Pride month.

I have some ideas for knit Pride hats, but it is just so hot right now that I can't even think about trying on wool hats with the air conditioning running.  Showing support for Pride is relevant for more than just in June, so these designs will come out of my sketches someday!  For this Pride month, we are sharing our support for our friends, family and community with warm weather friendly wristbands and headbands.  

Lucky is 3.5 years old.  We told him that this year that his "bracelets" mean that we believe in equality for everyone as a family, and that we believe that people should be able to express who they are.  Marriage equality doesn't seem like an issue for debate to Lucky, it is just a fact and is completely normal that people can marry who they love.  Working for acceptance and tolerance starts in the home, and I hope to teach my boys to stand up for their friends.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

4th of July Tulle Headbands

For the first time ever, I have my own patriotic outfit for the 4th of July.  I purchased a watermelon LuLaRoe dress this Spring which is a very happy blue and red ensemble. The print of the dress is pretty busy, so my usual light up star necklaces might not make a big fashion statement.  Why not make myself a fascinator?

I wanted to create a pinwheel-esque shape, but I found some pointy flower tutorials and thought I would give it a try.  With 5 petals these just might look like a star!

I purchased 1/4 yard of tulle in Red, White and Blue.  (Technically I had 1/2 yard of the blue and red since I purchased these colors for my Pride fascinators, too.)  I purchased some fun plastic headbands from the dollar store.  Four headbands for a dollar, can't beat that price!  I debated between using the navy polka dot headband or the lighter blue, and decided to wait until I was ready to assemble the headband to decide.

For this project, I also used a needle and thread to assemble the flowers, some rhinestones to add some bling and a hot glue gun to add the tulle flowers to the headband in the end.

I decided to start out by cutting 5" squares of tulle.  I thought that I would cut 5 squares for each flower, but then I decided to double up the tulle for each petal.  Therefore I cut 10 squares of each color.  It was a bit of a pain to cut the tulle on my cutting matt.  The tulle was self clingy and just didn't want to stay lined up.  Plus with the white I could barely see it!

Each petals was formed with two 5" square pieces of tulle.  I folded each square in half along the diagonal, and then in half again to create a triangle with all of the raw edges along the long side.  I formed a running stitch through this long edge and then pulled it tight to form the petal.

I didn't cut the thread between the petals, and soon one petal grew to three, then four then five.

I forgot how annoying tulle is to work with.  Trying to keep two squares together to fold them and then stitch them was really hard.  Whoops!

I repeated this process until I had red, white, and blue star tulle flowers.  

Now that I had my three flowers/stars, I had to decide how to orient them on a headband.  I didn't want a crown going across my head, I was hoping for a more fascinator vibe.  They are a little too poofy to stack on top of each other well.  If I were going to do that, I shouldn't have tied the bottoms closed right away or I should have gradated the sizes a bit better.

Since these stars were going to take on a more flower appearance, and the center of these tulle star flowers is a little sloppy, I hot glued some rhinestones into the center of each flower.  

I decided to clump them close together.  You loose a bit of the star appearance, they definitely look more like flowers than stars now.

First, I glued the white star to a spot on the headband where it would fall on the side of my head.  Once this cooled, I pushed the sides of the white flower up so I close glue the blue and red flowers close to either side.

I think that if I wanted these flowers to have a more flower shape, versus trying really hard to stay flat, I could have wrapped the thread around the bottom, or pulled it even tighter so it wouldn't stay as a flat shape.

This headband isn't exactly what I envisioned when I started out with this craft project, but it is certainly patriotic!

Patriotism isn't synonymous with conservatism.  I want to celebrate our country, while working to use my democratic voice to help encourage the change I think we need in our society.  I plan to use my voice and fight for the liberty and freedom of all members of our community.  This is what is in my heart as I gear up to celebrate Independence Day this year.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy using my hot glue gun.  I really could use a new one that would give me some more control on stopping when the glue comes out, but for now this old crafting tool is serving me well.  

This is only the beginning of my venture into creating custom headbands and fascinators for myself.  Stay tuned for the construction of a similar themed Pride headband in the next post!