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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: An Ear for Fashion

December 21, 2010

1. Product name: Crocheted Headphones

2. Background research: Music is a major part of my life. I listen to it all day long- at work, on the bus, on the train, at home, everywhere. But I have two major problems: 1- I have tiny ears and 2- I’m always cold.

These don’t sound like applicable problems when considering the enjoyment of music but believe me, they are. I love my iPod and iPhone as much as the next person, but those non adjustable giant white earbuds- erg! They will not stay in my tiny ears for love nor money. Plus when the winter months roll around –and especially now that I live in the UK (where the winters are unbelievable) I always end up wearing earmuffs over my earbuds. It seems a bit redundant.

3. Hypothesis: If I use these beautiful Crocheted Headphones then I will be able to listen to my music, stay warm, and stop worrying about them not fitting properly.

4. Experiment: I chose the yellow headphones. Yellow is definitely my favorite color and this yellow is just the right shade. I can’t wait to wear these headphones in the blustery cold weather of Wales, England, and whatever trips I happen to take. With the hours of listening I will be able to see if these headphones live up to my expectations.

5. Results: These headphones are very straightforward- no instructions needed. The adjustable headband is super handy- they adjust like any other headphones by pulling or pushing on either end. They are comfortable and warm- though if you have larger ears than I do (which isn’t hard) they may not cover your whole ear and give the beloved ear warming effect to the full extent.

The only downside I found is the sound quality. They aren’t as clear or as loud as earbuds- you have to turn your music up louder to hear it at the same level. Once you do that though, no prob. These headphones are a stylish way to warm up in the cold (even if that cold is just heavily air-conditioned public transport). In fact, I even wear them as earmuffs without plugging them in sometimes- I just tuck the cord into my coat pocket and I’m good to go.

6. The bottom line is these headphones are great. They come in super cute colors, they keep you warm, they’re adjustable, and they do the job they’re intended for. What more could you want? I love my new headphones!

– Brenda Barrett

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: iMitt DIY Mitten Kit

December 10, 2010

Product Name: iMitt DIY Mitten Kit

Background Research:

I can knit in stockinette all day long, but can I actually knit a fitted mitten? I’m not just testing out this knit kit, but also testing my skills. The real challenge will be, can I finish these mittens in time for cold weather?


Using the iMitt DIY mitten kit, with everything I need included, I can teach myself to knit mittens before winter really kicks into gear.


I was a bit nervous when I laid out all the materials in front of me. Two balls of sage green yarn, a pair of circular needles, stitch markers, a yarn cutter and a daunting set of instructions. And these weren’t normal mittens; they had openings for my fingers so I could operate a smart phone in the cold. What had I gotten myself into? I’d just tweeted that I’d be finishing these mittens soon, so I had no choice but to get started.

Check out some of the work in progress photos.

Well it took a few tries, and the help of some friendly YouTube vloggers, but I did it!


The mittens were knit! And the weather reports are calling for snow. I finished just in time.

This kit did have about everything I needed. I grabbed a ruler to check my measurements and kept my laptop on so I could get a second opinion on some of the instructions. The pattern was pretty daunting for a self-taught knitter like myself. I consulted YouTube and frequently, restarted a few times, but it all came together. And the challenge was definitely worth it.

One thing I learned was that the woman’s small still ran too big for my tiny hands. I adjusted the pattern to start with 36 stitches and that worked much better. If you’re knitting for a child, or like me, you have ridiculously small hands, be sure to adjust the pattern before you get started.


When I first saw the shape of a mitten emerging from my needles, I knew I’d done it. And there is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment. I couldn’t recommend the iMitt DIY mitten kit enough to all your crafty friends.

The mittens are super cute, warm, and have a perfect sized opening for my thumb and pointer. Now I just need to get an iPhone!

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