Friday, January 29, 2016

Ear Bud Cord Cover: Step-by-step

I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people that got dragged kicking and screaming into getting a smart phone - and then once I got one, I used it all the time.

Just not really as a phone.  I dislike talking on the phone to begin with.  Talking on a smart phone is gross.  No matter how careful I am, my screen gets all ear juicy, and it sucks to get it clean again.

When it comes to phones, I much prefer the old style flip phones with a physical keypad.

I do love my technology, though, and found myself using my phone for oodles of other things.  As I had to upgrade over the years, I found myself appreciated the improved cameras and photo quality.

I just had to replace my Galaxy S4.  It had served me well, but started to get glitchy.  All sorts of things started failing on it.  I really would have preferred waiting, but when I asked my husband to start doing some research for me, I suddenly found myself with a new phone.

One of the deciding factors in choosing a phone was the camera.  (Another was the operating system; I'm a die hard Android fan.) It's got to the point where I don't really use our cameras anymore.  I just use my phone.  The Galaxy S6 camera has gotten rave reviews, and now that I have one, I can see why!

All the photos in this step-by-step were taken on my new phone.  I used the default settings, mostly because I haven't taken the time to go through the phone's settings yet.  I did accidentally discover something called "selective focus", which lets you decide where you want to focus on your photo *after* you've taken it!  Pretty cool.

When I started this, there was still some daylight coming through my window, but my primary light source was a "daylight" LED.

The only post processing I did was to resize the photos to 30% (the default is huge!  With my old phone, as well as my cameras, I usually adjusted to 50%), cropping, and for 2 of them, rotating 90 degrees.  That's it.  I tend to be minimal in post processing to begin with, adjusting for light, but little else.  For these, I didn't even do that.

I'm quite pleased.

Now, with a new phone comes new ear buds with microphone, and a new charger with USB cable.

Did I mention I don't like how my screen gets when using the phone?

So what I'm wanting to get into the habit of is using the ear buds it came with, so my phone won't go anywhere near my ear.

I've got a number of them laying about from not only my own old phones, but the phones of other family members, too.  I find they all tend to get tangled up on things.  I noticed I'm not alone in that being a problem, as I've seen images on Pinterest of cords covered in crochet.

I decided to give it a try.

I didn't want to add too much bulk to the cord, so I went through my stash of crochet thread.  I also had a couple of cones of what looks like wool in a very fine gauge.  My mother had given me a bunch of cones, since she doesn't really crochet anymore.

Other possible options included embroidery floss, pearle cotton or any of my fine or superfine weight yarns.

I ruled out wool right away.  Even if I'm not sure if it's wool, I don't want to take a chance.  I am mildly allergic to wool, so it's not something I want touching my face and neck.

I admit I was really tempted by the metallic stuff, but again, this is going to be touching face and neck, so I didn't want anything scratchy.

I also considered going with white, since the cord is white and it would be more subtle that way, but then I figured it would start looking dingy much faster, and it's not like it can be through in the wash or anything.

I finally settled on the paler green of what I think is cotton.  There's a label inside, but I can't read it without taking it out, and it's stuck there pretty good.  It's another one from my mother.  I have no idea how old it is.

Time to break out the steel hooks!  I went with a 1.50mm hook for this, as I wanted it quite snug, and I was going to work only in single crochet.

I started with the section with the microphone and volume control, and began working near the ear bud itself.  I figured I wanted to get the shortest bits done first.

I joined the thread as close to the ear bud as I could.  The cord has a rubbery feel to it and is slightly elastic, as well as being flat, rather than round, like my other ear buds.  The texture means the stitches can't easily slide down the cord.  So it was important to work the stitches close together, and push them together often.

I don't usually work in thread, so this took some getting used to!

I also made sure to work over the tail end of the threat at the same time as working around the cord itself.  After working about an inch or so of single crochet, I pulled the tail snug to make the start look nice and neat, then trimmed it.

After that, it was just single crochet around the cord until I reached the controller.

I worked the stitches as snug to the controller as I could, then after snipping the thread with a tail long enough to sew in, I locked it with 1 chain stitch.

I then used a size 22 tapestry needle to sew the end under the stitches.

Tapestry needles have rounded tips, similar to crewel or yarn needles, so there was little concern that the needle would stab into the wire. Still, it's something to watch out for.

I pulled the needle out after about an inch or so and didn't bother trying to go any further.  After pulling it snug to tidy up the last stitch, I snipped the thread as close as possible to the stitches.

Here is the finished section.

I repeated the process on the other side of the controller, finishing off at the join.

The process was repeated again for the other side.

When I was ready to sew in the tail end, I passed the strand through the last stitch of the previous side first, then hid the tail end under the stitches just worked.  This made it look like it was all in one piece.

Then the process was repeated for the rest of the cord, up to the jack.

The whole thing was quick to work up, even though I'm not used to working in thread and the cord itself kept wanting to twist on me, making it a bit of a pain.  With the pauses to fuss with my desktop (yeah, I need a new one of those, too) and to have supper, I'd estimate the actual stitching time took maybe 2 hours.

Now... the charger cord is something else entirely.  It's a thicker cord, and is not going to be touching sensitive skin at any time.

I foresee glittery yarn in my future.

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