Preserving Eucalyptus (2 ways) - Part 1

I bought Eucalyptus once before on a whim. I ended up loving the way it looked in my kitchen, and it photographed so beautifully as well. Eucalyptus is a pretty hardy plant, and it actually lasted a couple weeks in a vase full of water in my kitchen, but after a couple weeks I was sad to see it go. 

It’s been a couple months since the first time I bought Eucalyptus, and a couple days ago was the first time I found it again at a flower market. I want to try preserving it this time, so I always have it in my apartment. I don’t have much experience preserving plants, just a couple failed attempts at pressing flowers in my journal, but because this plant is so hardy I think it will do well. 

Reading online it looks like there are two common ways to preserve it. The first is just hanging to dry, and the second is using a vegetable glycerin mixture. The second method is supposed to give the leaves a waxier feel, whereas following the first method will produce a dryer and more brittle result. I decided to split my bunch in half and test out both methods.

For the first method of drying all I needed was some Eucalyptus, an elastic band, and some twine. I first secured the Eucalyptus stems with an elastic band. You could omit this and just use the twine, but the elastic band will keep the bunch tight, because the branches will shrink a little as they dry. After securing the elastic band, wrap over the elastic with some twine, tie a knot, and leave a long end for hanging your bunch. Hang the Eucalyptus in a cool dry area for 2-6 weeks, until dry.

For the second method I needed to buy some vegetable glycerin. I first cut the ends of the Eucalyptus to the length I wanted, and then I gently smashed the ends with a hammer (this helps the stem absorb the mixture better). I mixed 1 part vegetable glycerin with 2 parts boiling water in a mason jar and then placed the Eucalyptus bunch in the mixture. The Eucalyptus should stay in this mixture for a couple weeks.

I’ll post a follow up to this blog post in a month or so, showing the differences between the two methods that I tried, so make sure you subscribe!

Row Counting Stitch Marker DIY

I’ve accumulated quite the collection of stitch markers in the past couple years and I love the idea of a stitch marker that keeps track of how many rows I’ve knit so I thought I would add another one to my collection. This is a DIY for a stitch counter with sliding beads that you can use to count the number of rows you’ve knit. I decided to use ten beads on each of my counters because it’s a nice even number but you can use however many you think would work for you. If you'll be using this marker on larger needles make sure you get jump rings large enough to comfortably slide over the needles.

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Materials:

  • embroidery floss

  • 10 counter beads (size 6/0)

  • 2 accent beads (with same hole size as counter beads)

  • lobster clasp OR jump ring

  • 2 embroidery needles

  • needle nose pliers

  • scissors

Step 1: Cut 20 inches of embroidery floss. Thread the floss through your jump ring or lobster clasp (depending on which you’re using).

Step 2: Tie a knot in the thread as close to the jump ring or lobster clasp as possible.

Step 3: Using an embroidery needle, thread one of the accent needles onto both threads. 

Step 4: Push the bead right up to the knot.

Step 5: Tie a knot right beneath the bead and get it as close to the bead as possible.

Step 6: To make it easier to thread the counter beads place an embroidery needle on each thread.

Step 7: Thread one of the needles through one side of the bead and the other needle through the other side of the bead. Pull each thread to tighten the bead up to the top.

Step 8: Attach all 10 beads this way, pulling each tight so you have a line of 10 beads as shown in the picture.

Step 9: Tie a knot in the embroidery floss approximately 1 cm down from the last bead you threaded.

Step 10: Use an embroidery needle to attach another accent bead over both threads.

Step 11: Tie a knot in the thread as close to the accent bead as possible. Trim the threads.

Knit Necklace Tutorial

As I become more obsessed with knitting I’m always trying to think of new ways to incorporate it into my life, so I thought it would be fun to make a knitted necklace. I’ve included the instructions in this blog post, but the pattern will also be available on Ravelry. If you would prefer the pdf version follow the link under the patterns tab above.

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What You'll Need:

  • Fingering weight yarn (I used Knit Picks Comfy Fingering in Ivory)
  • Size 2 mm needles (US 0)
  • Chain
  • Lobster clasp
  • 4 jump rings
  • Needle nose pliers (with wire cutters)

Gauge:

In my opinion gauge is not important for this project, because it isn’t something that needs to be sized correctly. Instead of knitting a swatch just knit the triangle for the necklace, and if you aren’t happy with the size adjust your tension. This is a quick project to knit, so knitting a swatch would take about the same time as knitting the triangle anyway.

Abbreviations:

  • sts - stitches
  • ssk - slip, slip, knit
  • k2tog - knit two together
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Directions:

  1. Cast on 13 sts
  2. Purl 1 row
  3. ssk, knit until there’s 2 sts left, k2tog
  4. Purl 1 row
  5. Repeat steps 3&4 until 3 sts remain (knit side facing you)
  6. ssk, knit 1
  7. Pass 1 stitch over the other, and sew in all loose ends
  8. Sew a length of chain around the three edges of the triangle
  9. Attach jump rings to the top two corners of the triangle
  10. Attach a length of chain to each jump ring (cut chain so it’s the length of necklace you want)
  11. Attach a jump ring and a lobster clasp to the end of one chain
  12. Attach a jump ring to the end of the other chain

You’re done! Now you can wear a knitted piece with every outfit, even though it’s the middle of the summer and too hot for most knitted accessories like scarves and hats. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!