This simple project can raise your status to super-boyfriend.
Step 1: Materials
-thin, ordinary sewing needle
-good quality sewing thread
-microwavable, heat resistant bowl / saucepan (depending on method used)
-whole cloves - san francisco herb sells 4oz of whole cloves for $1.83. Its a good deal if you're local, but they have a $30 minimum for web orders. To my boyfriend's dismay, I have had no problem surpassing this minimum on two occasions. One warning: a pound of dill is a LOT of dill even if it is only $3. If you would like some dill and you are in the bay area, please, please contact me.
Step 2: Choose a Design
Decide how you want to string the cloves. Sooner or later the heads (actually the petals of this dried bud of an evergreen tree) will break off. I've had my first necklace for about 6 years and about half of the heads are missing now, but the necklace still smells wonderful.
Step 3: Select Cloves - It Pays to be Picky
The easiest cloves to string are straight and fat. The necklaces strung lengthwise use around 30 cloves each. The remaining ones can be used to season your cider, grind up in a coffee grinder or used in other recipes.
Step 4: Clove Tea - The Steeping Process
Cloves can be softened using either the microwave or the stove.
Microwave: Place cloves in microwavable bowl with enough water to cover them well, leaving room for boiling. Microwave on high, checking tenderness every minute for approximately 3 minutes. Like your mother always told you, times will vary between individual microwaves.
Stovetop: Place cloves in saucepan with enough water to cover them well, leaving room for boiling. Steep at a low boil, checking tenderness every minute for approximately 3 minutes.
The clove stems will feel soft and flexible when ready. If the clove is not ready, you will risk either splitting the clove with the needle, or earning sore fingers by trying to force the needle through. Duct tape thimbles will not last long when working with wet cloves.
Step 5: Thread It
Tie the end of your thread to one side of the clasp, leaving a tail of about 2 inches.
Thread the needle and run it down to the clasp end, threading the tail through the needle's eye, too. The first clove will be strung on both threads in order to secure the knot and hide the tail. You will clip the tail flush after your first clove.
If you are threading your cloves on lengthwise so that the needle passes through both the head and tip of the clove, thread the head end first so as to avoid pushing the head off the clove. If you are threading the cloves on crosswise, have at it. No special rules there.
Keep threading. Add cool beads--I think red would look nice. Once dried, the cloves will shrink slightly and stay where they're strung. I think this is a great feature. If you want your cloves to be close, push them very close as they will shrink just a tad once they're dried.
Once done stringing, tie the other end of the clasp on and run the tail back through the last clove. Cut the string flush. Dry flat. Voila.