Come to the Benicia Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, April 2, 2017!

If you’ve never experienced Maker Faire before, the Benicia Mini Maker Faire would be a great introduction. It’s taking place at Benicia Middle School on Sunday, April 2nd from 10am until 4pm. And my family and I will be there to show you fun and fantastic things!

As its name implies, the Mini Maker Faire will be smaller than a flagship Maker Faire, which means you actually may get to see every amazing thing that will be there!1 For more information about what exactly a Mini Maker Faire is and what you can see and do at the Benicia Mini Maker Faire, visit

Here’s what my family and I will be showing at the Benicia Mini Maker Faire:

My husband is bringing his drawing robot that makes poster-size drawings. The robot draws slowly, but it’s very cool to watch the image take shape. For more information, visit his website

My 10-year-old daughter,2 aka TinkerGirl, will be doing 15-second drawings and showing off the timer she made and programmed to count down, flash lights, and buzz after 15 seconds have elapsed. Visit her webpage to learn more.

My contribution is entitled “Upcycled Fun!” and entails two different kinds of upcycled projects.

The first project turns recyclable plastic containers into homemade shrink art. I’ll show you examples of what my family and I have created using washed recyclable plastic containers, scissors, Sharpies, and a warm oven.3 It’s really fun and a great project to do with kids!

A homemade shrink art star in progress.

A homemade shrink art star in progress.

My daughter creating her own shrink art panda pendant.

My daughter creating her own shrink art panda pendant.







My second project takes old t-shirts and turns them into homemade yarn, which you can then use to knit or crochet whatever you’d like.4 I’m bringing two items I created with my homemade t-shirt yarn: a snowflake trivet crocheted with undyed t-shirt yarn, and a small bowl knitted with t-shirt yarn that I first dyed using tea bags.

My crocheted snowflake trivet with a small ball of leftover, undyed t-shirt yarn, along with a full ball of t-shirt yarn I dyed using tea bags.

My crocheted snowflake trivet with a small ball of leftover, undyed t-shirt yarn, along with the full ball of t-shirt yarn I dyed using tea bags (and later used to knit a small bowl).

My family and I would love to tell you about our projects and teach you how to make them yourselves. If you can’t make it to the Benicia Mini Maker Faire, email us your questions, and check back here in a few weeks for my post with complete and detailed instructions for making your own homemade shrink art and t-shirt yarn. However, if you do make it to the Faire on April 2nd, please stop by our table and say hello!

  1. We LOVE the super-huge Bay Area Maker Faire, but it is impossible to see everything and we always leave wishing it lasted for more than one weekend. []
  2. I also have a 2-year-old daughter, which largely explains why I have not posted anything in a very, very long time! []
  3. A hole punch and parchment paper are also convenient to have on hand, and you’ll need an oven-safe pan for baking your shrink art. []
  4. Well, anything you’d like that can be made with somewhat chunky yarn. []
Posted in Crocheting, Home Decor, Knitting, Yarn | Comments Off on Come to the Benicia Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, April 2, 2017!

A “Spectacular” Cabled Pillow Cover

Two Sided Throw Pillow Knitted Side

The cabled side of my throw pillow.

Last December I received a comment on a photo I posted of a cabled pillow cover I created.  The commenter called my design “spectacular” and asked me to share my pattern.  How nice is that?

Well, it’s only taken me 9 months,1 but I’m finally responding to this kind comment and posting the pattern for my Cabled Pillow Cover (see below).

My original pillow used two different colors of yarn and had a different pattern on each side.  I designed a cabled pattern for the one side and used dark brown yarn2 to knit it.  For the other side I modified a plough and cables pattern I found in the book Tunisian Crochet by Sharon Hernes Silverman, and I used a light brown yarn to make that panel.3  Then, to tie it all together, both physically and visually, I single crocheted the two panels together using a strand of each color of yarn.

My pattern is only for the cabled panel that I created.  You can knit two cabled panels and make both sides of the pillow cover the same, or you can choose a different pattern for one side, as I did.  The plough and cables pattern that I used is very pretty, but it’s not included with my Cabled Pillow Cover pattern since I didn’t create it.4

Two Sided Throw Pillow Tunisian Side

The other side of my cabled pillow cover, with the modified plough and cables pattern from Sharon Hernes Silverman’s book Tunisian Crochet.

If you love Tunisian crochet (as I do), or if you’re interested in learning it, Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting by Sharon Hernes Silverman is a great book to own.  It has clear, detailed instructions on how to Tunisian crochet, with photos for each step in the process, which I found especially helpful.  The book also contains many beautiful patterns–the Honeycomb Skirt and the Ivory Shell are particularly lovely, and the Have It Both Ways Pillow (from which I got the plough and cables pattern) is really attractive.  It’s just a fantastic book, with projects for every skill level, and I highly recommend it.

To make your own Cabled Pillow Cover, download my pattern here:

MakerKnit Cabled Pillow Cover


  1. It’s all my new daughter’s fault. Alright, not really. But I’m still trying to blame the baby for everything. []
  2. I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Truffle. []
  3. I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Camel Heather. []
  4. However, if you purchase Tunisian Crochet and want to modify the pattern to fit the other side of your 14″ cabled panel, just add 8 chains to the initial chain and work another set of Tunisian purl stitches and Tunisian simple stitches over those 8 additional chains. []
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Back to the Land of the Knitting

Yesterday I cast on my first knitting project of the year.  Yes, you read that correctly.  On September 18th, I started my first knitting project of 2015.  Crazy, and a little sad, but true. Although I have a great excuse….

Last November we welcomed another daughter to our family!  She was adorable and (mostly) good-natured, but sheesh! was she needy: feed me, burp me, change my diaper, bathe me, rock me, put me to sleep.  Given her demands (and trying to keep up with my older daughter and the rest of things in life), I haven’t had the time, energy, or interest for much else for quite some time.  But now my daughter is 10 months old and she is a lot of fun.1  And having regular sleep once again, I am inspired to get back to some things that I have missed, like knitting.

IMG_5532My childhood best friend just had a baby a few days ago–a beautiful little boy–and I immediately wanted to start knitting him something as soon as I saw his photograph. With fall and winter on their ways, I thought a hat would be a nice gift.  And I had some of my favorite hand-dyed yarn in my stash in lovely shades of blue2 that would be perfect for a hat for my friend’s new son.

IMG_5528I used this same yarn, Malabrigo Arroyo, for a hat I knit for my daughter when I was still pregnant with her last year.  Like the first newborn hat I designed, this hat is just a simple Stockinette stitch hat with rolled brim, but I recalculated the pattern for the DK-weight Arroyo yarn (my original pattern used worsted weight yarn).  For my daughter, I chose the colorway 872 Purpuras, which I already had in my stash (because I wasn’t kidding when I said this was one of my favorite yarns).3

George modeling my daughter’s hat; he was so easy to work with last time that I enlisted his help again. 🙂

I love a rolled brim for a child’s hat because it’s so practical—it can be rolled up or unrolled as much as necessary to fit the child’s head.  I am also particularly partial to using beautiful, hand-dyed superwash merino wool. Malabrigo’s Arroyo is especially scrumptious, both in its variation of hues and its softness.  And because it is superwash wool, it’s machine-washable, which is something every new parent will appreciate.

I named this pattern “Newborn Hat, the Second” because it is my second newborn hat design and because it is for my second daughter. 🙂

To make your own newborn hat using a DK-weight yarn, download my pattern here:

MakerKnit Newborn Hat, the Second


  1. I can say this now that she is sleeping regularly and I am no longer chronically sleep deprived. []
  2. Malabrigo Arroyo in colorway 855 Aguas. []
  3. I also have the colorway 047 Coffee Toffee, which I’ve used for yet another newborn hat; stay tuned for that pattern! []
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