Snowdrops in Summer? Stranded ūüćĄūüćĄūüćĄ!

This is were I’ve been sitting the past couple of days, designing the stranded Art Nouveau snowdrop vest for my mushroom dyed yarns:

I’ve divided the yarns in lightest and darkest yarns. The vest will have a light background with a vertical design in dark. It will not be like fair isle where you have horizontal stripes and sequences, it will be more Art Nouveau Jugendstil:
 my chart sketch in Stitchfiddle

I’ve been designing both on Stitch Fiddle.com, the free charting site for knitting and embroidery, and in Photoshop and on paper:

Here you see some sketches for the vertical design. Under the cat’s chin is a stylised design that will break up the strands of three free flowing guirlandes with snow drop flowers:
 sketch in Photoshop for easy cut, transform and paste.

The stylised collomns will be at Centre Front, Centre Back and the sideseams. At the sideseams I can incorporate the waist and bust shaping.

For the past hour I’ve been casting on 236 stitches, for 2 x 2 ribbing. The body will be knitted over 260 stitches. My gauge will be somewhere between 26 and 30 stitches per 10 cm (=4″), depending on how relaxed I am.

I cast on using German Twisted Cast On. After each 50 stitches casted on I’d like to put in a marker so I don’t have to recount them countless times. Cat inspection is necessary:

I can’t believe this is the only crab hand marker I could find!

All others are in WIPs. I have tons of markers with a ring or loop and now all I want is crab hands and I don’t have any. Except the green nature loving queens’ crown. Typical.

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designing my Miffy Nijntje pullover

Dutch designer Dick Bruna gave birth to Miffy in 1955:

Her dress, with the icon 5 petal daisies, is a solid part of my identity. It is the reason why I love daisies in all shapes but especially ox eye daisies (madeliefjes).

To answer the call for stranded knitting I’ve started a pullover. Top down, round yoke. At the top will be her iconic white collar and white button. The flowers will be at the bottom and on the sleeves. Not all over.

However I still want an all over stranded sweater so I will  put a contrasting stitch in ever 5th or 6th stitch. Bit of a strawberry vibe going on:

For colours I have chosen green. Shetland type yarn, from an independant spinner in Estonia, from Wool & Yarn.

I’ve already got this yarn in a project and that light green is BRIGHT:

My Dandelion cuffs. So the main colour will be the dark green, with the light green as the contrast colour.

For the hearts of the flowers I have yellow. It is mushroom dyed yarn and it’s about as bright as the commercial yellow in these cuffs.

Dick Bruna has a clear black outline around his coloured shapes. I won’t have that. But if in the end I do not like the result I may cover some stitches with black and see if that improves things.

In the mean time I have rescaled Bruna’s drawing so I know how big the flowers and the collar are on a full scale person. They are big enough to be in intarsia! But I want the double thick fabric of stranded knitting so I won’t do intarsia.

But I won’t be carrying the white all around the collar either, when it’s only visible at the front and I’m already carrying light and dark green. I’m not good with 3 colour stranding. So here’s what I did:


I just broke the yarn and left the ends loose.

Shetland type yarns forgive this treatment readily. The loose ends will just grab onto the back of the fabric and felt somewhat together. There is a lot of good in natural yarn that has not received the super wash treatment.

The pattern does not exist. I just cast on a number of stitches that would fit over my head, based on the gauge of my mushroom vest. My head if 56 cm at its widest and gauge is 26 st/10cm, needles 2,25 mm.

After a few rows of all k stitches (for a rolled hem) I did one row of purl, to counter the rolling. This turned out not to be not enough and the neckline still rolls terrible. Perhaps there’s a solution once the sweater is well on its way.

For now I increase about 4 stitches every row, to get a round, flat pancake that can lie across my shoulders. I increase every 6th row or something and then I increase 24 stitches in one go. This messes up the white bits a bit and also where to put the light green stitches but this is a carefree knit so I just look at the knitting and think up and implement a solution.

Inserting light green every row gives me too much of the bright stuff. So I’ve gone to one row stranded, one row not stranded. As you can see on the inside this doesn’t give me a sturdy, warm stranded fabric… but I have decided appearance is more important in this case. I really do not want too many light green dots. (I even contemplated using the same dark green as the contrast colour but that would be too weird, stranded knitting with the same colour.)

Designing Concrete Cardi for a practical wool nymph

Do you remember my love for Concrete cardigan by Nicole Feller-Johnson?

It has this lovely textured back panel and I thought it would look smashing in thick handspun yarn, back when I preferred to knit vests beginning from the back panel, not top-down or bottom-up.

I casted on, back in November 2016, and elongated the back so it could become a proper length vest or even cardigan:

I then put it in hibernation about a year ago because the neckline was way too wide at the back and the arm holes were not functional enough for me and I didn’t know how to fix it. I could have guessed these issues by looking better at the pattern photo’s:

Concrete is knit sideways and meant to be decorative first and functional second and looks best on elegant and flat chested nymphs. I guess a year ago was still delusional about my knitting skills and my nymph like nature.

Here we are today. I’m at the cabin, the mushroom yarns have been rinsed for the final time:

I brought the sparkly Sunshine on Snow pullover (Crazy Stripes) in fingering weight to work on and I have worked on it but now I’m want a break and it’s cold so I feel all adult-y and ready to pick up a thick vest WIP and knit for my real body:

This panel is too small. Do not think this will be wearable. This I have learned from Mushroom Dyed Vest. This piece of knitting here really is just the back panel of a vest, without the side bits with the decreases for an armhole.

These armholes do not work for me. I want normal armholes. Shaped armholes. “Decrease, increase. Pick up stitches, knit a sleeve, if you must.” kind of armholes. I will not be distracted by the holes in this piece of fabric, this panel has no armholes. Yet.

I could add side bits to this back panel for that but that would require sideways knitting. Which I think is a bit too weak a fabric to have at this point in the garment. I will knit the side bits the regular way, top down, while I knit the front bits.

That leaves me with this existing back panel that has two vertical slits in it. Vents. A bit cold for me. I cannot rip them out and reknit because the panel is knitted outwards from the centre and then continued at the bottom. I have no tail to pull. Two vents…. a good place to insert fairy wings I guess.
pattern Enchanted Ivy Wings by Lisa Jelle
Still a bit cold though and me being such a practical wool nymph… I’ll sew them shut.

OK. Next problem. The neckline is too wide and I get cold there —> I would like a normal vest shape, with two shoulder straps. How do I give that to this piece?

Well, in these wool woods there’s no stitch marker police. I am allowed to rename the existing ones at the top edges “shoulder point stitchmarkers” and add new ones in I’ll call “inner shoulder seam point”. Voil√°, shoulderstraps created.

Right. Final problem: what is the front going to look like?

I’ll be descending into the front panels from the two shoulder seams/straps. I need a neck line shape (I usually do V-shape). And I need a decision about texture. Large horizontal ribs like the lower back? The bottom border will be high and ribbed, just like the back. The sleeve cuffs too.

I won’t mirror the square panel on the front, I don’t think that is flattering on me.
I could do a wide collar? And by that I mean a wide lapel. I’ll think about all this as I sew the vents shut. In the mean time I’ll ponder this yarn because it’s an old and dear one.

It is 400 grams, 700 meters, of a short stapled organic fleece, from a breed akin to Zwartbles. I spun it back in January 2010, all in one weekend for my very first spin-along. I was still fairly new to Ravelry and spinning and still very ill. I had just moved into the cabin with Lillepoes, who helped with the spinning:

Spinning short staple longdraw on a Louet S10 without modifying its pull! Lucky is the beginner who doesn’t know she’s working against the grain.

Since then I’ve tried to knit the yarn into a Wrenna Cardigan but the open lace work looked horrible in the thick round yarn. This pattern needs soft bulky yarn that fills up the yarn overs:
 pattern Wrenna by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes:

For Concrete Cardi the yarn is perfect. No holes, just play with knits and purls. I’ll see where all this inspiration takes me for the front panels.

sparkly snow stitch markers

I just worked until I ran out of beads and thread. Now I have 38 markers and won’t need any more of these till I’m 120 years of age!

Some unused earrings were sacrificed for these, hee hee. So smart. Moonstone, vintage Chech glass.

These are simple, beginner stitchmarkers. I was taught how to make them by pattern designer and beading artist Marleen from Dutch Knitting Design. She works in a professional league when it comes to markers:




all these pictures are by DutchKnittingDesign

Well Goldilocks? Whose sweater is this?

The new sweater in the handspun Shetland knits so nicely. I’m not quite ready to part the sleeves from the bodice but I’m getting there, just a little more dept/length:

But I thiiiiiink it’s already wide enough:

I guess I started the increases at the sides too soon.

I wonder if I could risk it and separate the sleeves from the body now, just cast on a few extra stitches and hope it stretches downwards a bit:

Also: I’m afraid I’ll run out of yarn!

Already I’m thinking of doing a block of different coloured yarn in the back, so that I can use all that soft handspun for the cowl and the front and the sleeves. A coloured block in the back? I’m already planning to do intarsia in the round! This is not relaxed knitting¬†ūüôĄ

Let’s approach it logically. What I have here weighs about 100 grams. There’s 50 grams left on the ball that’s attached, that will get me halfway to my bellybutton. I have another ball of 140 grams, that will get me to the bottom for sure. And there’s the piece I knitted before (I didn’t frog it but in my mind it’s frogged) and that weighs 185 grams and will make at two sleeves. Or more. Let’s see:

That’s the rub: will this thing make two sleeves AND a cowl or just two sleeves??

Knitting the cowl now first would be the best thing to do. Also because it may shift everything upwards, making it way too soo to separate for the sleeves now.
!!!
Aargh.

Stupid bears with their magic yarn maths. I’m going to knit on my sock now.

reasoned my way into a top-down sweater with inset sleeves

The handspun Shetland is becoming a sweater again! One that fits.

I “unvented” a way of knitting a top-down sweater with inset sleeves using one continuous thread. Not breaking yarn, not attaching new balls.

It’s not contiguous or ziggurat technique either. I can’t really explain it this late at night but cast on is at the width of the shoulders, at the start of the sleeve cap. It’s just about where the dark line is, above the green thread that has the neck line stitches parked.

Then I knitted towards the neckline, decreased on one side and knit the shoulder flap. Then picked up stitches on the side for the sleeve, then knit along the cast on across the back and picked up a few stitches on the other side for the sleeve, then knit along the live stitches of the second shoulder flap, decreased a few at the neckline and knitted the second shoulder flap. Then picked up stitches on its side for the second sleeve and then I was ready for the first round.

It’s a bit fiddly. But it worked in the end.

Didn’t work in the beginning though:

So yay, I’m on my way again! A nice, roomy winter sweater. With a cast-on the width of my shoulders, which is the most important width for fitting a knitted sweater (or a sewn dress). My shoulders are fairly square so I don’t need to incorporate short rows and shape them.

Knit on needles 5 mm, it ought to be going fast.

PS “unventing” is what Elizabeth Zimmerman calls when you invent or discover a way of knitting that has surely been invented or discovered by someone before you. I thought of this on my own but surely I’m not the first to do so.

Here, see if you can make head and tail out of my method. Second picture is the main picture. Top picture just shows the problem: a shoulder seam right in the middle of where you want your shoulder flaps to be (you want to pick up stitches along the whole of the shoulder flap to knit a sleeve)

Taken when I’ve picked up all the stitches and am officially at the beginning of the first round:

Those few stitches at the bottom of the side of the shoulder flap where picked up before the shoulder flap was knitted.

End result after knitting from the previous picture downwards, to the left and upwards again. Ready to start the ordinary knitting of a top down set in sleeve sweater pattern. I’m calling this the beginning of the round now:

Below an illustration of why you can’t just cast on and knit two shoulder flaps:

Cast on, one flap knitted and stitches picked up around it. Knitted along the cast on to the second shoulder flap but something’s wrong: cast on determines where the top part of the sleeve ends. This sleeve will sit too much to the front of the sweater.

A better armhole and nice things on the walls.

This is the new armhole:

Much better!

It may still look a bit large but in my experience it shapes up when you pick up stitches (3 for every 4 rows) and start the sleeve. Tubes always feel more narrow.

I kept the increases at the neckline the same because I will attach a shawl collar to it. It feels a bit weird, having fronts that do not close and a neckline that even runs over the apex of the bust. But my Grey Pumpkin Ale has the same neckline and wears very nicely with its shawl collar. (And this yarn is soft enough to wear next to the skin.)

Oooh, what’s that behind me, in the hallway? Is that an embroidered cat?

It is!
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
This is a vintage embroidery I found at the thrift store many years ago. Somebody put lots of love and effort in this! It came with the frame too.
I often stand before it and have a little pause, appreciating it.

It hangs over my birthday calendar, right between the front door and the hooks where we keep our keys. Under it hangs a small ceramic cat hanger, bought at the x-mas market in Muenster. There used to be some glass x-mas baubles there too, all year round. A happy little hippo and a cat, but they broke in the course of time.

The first few years we had the cabin I’d go to the church thrift store in the village here. This was before thrifting gained a main interest. It was just old farmers bringing their stuff and trying to raise some money for (the roof of) the church. It was an empty building with local ladies volunteering and a table with a coffeepot and a tin with cookies for people to have a sit and chat.

I’d look for old handmades with a friendly vibe to put on the wall of the cabin. My foot treadle sewing machine is from there too. And my kitchen scales. Most of the crockery. Some hand tools.

In later years having friendly decorations became more important as I had fallen ill by then and was staying at the cabin permanently. I’d lie on the couch most of the day, not able to move or think, and it was vital to have friendly things in sight, wherever my gaze fell. This is the wall opposite my couch:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
The embroidered cats came from the thrift store, the rest are gifts from Ravelers (=people from Ravelry). All from people who understood I had to be approached softly but not tepidly. Most of them I hadn’t met in real life when they send me things. There are hummingbirds under the lamp ūüôā

Over the years family and ravelers send cards and handmades and I stuck them on my walls and they encouraged me when I felt down:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
The birdy paperclips were a birthday present.

Above my sewing machine these two hang:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
That pincushion is a handmade taking hours of love, also a present from a Raveler ūüôā Someone I’ve met maybe twice in the past 8 years! Talked to her online four times total. You don’t need to be an active presence in my life to contribute significantly to my wellbeing ūüôā

The wren I painted myself, sometime in the last century. The frame is all oak, from the church thrift store.

And this is the window sill next to my sewing machine, right over the chair Lillepoes loves to sleep on. It’s also opposite my couch so I’ve seen these cards every day all day long for the last 8 years ūüôā
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
Cards from Ravelers, handmade pincushions, cats and fairytales. These are the four subjects my happiness revolved around for all the time I’ve been ill ūüôā I’d simply enjoy the colours and the sentiments if I was very brainfogged. I’d explore compositions and alternative storylines if I had two braincells to rub together.

I no longer live at the cabin. I’m a city girl now.
Times have changed here too. The thrift store has moved into a real store and is now a professional venue. They still have coffee but it’s a machine now: drink up while you shop.
The old farmers have all gone and their (grand)children have sold all their stuff online, cashing in on “vintage”.

We visit the cabin for short stays now. A weekend here, a midweek there. I slide right back into the old habits of friendliness and peace. But it is not sustaining me anymore if I stay here for longer periods. If I stay here longer than 5 days by myself, I get antsy and sad. I feel society’s progress closing in. There’s always more traffic, more people, more stuff being build around here. Time is running through my fingers.

It’s still a safe haven but it’s edges are defined now.
I wonder where the next decade will see us. Me and the cabin.

By the way,¬†I recognize this antsy-ness, the feeling of being restrained. It’s the sign of one door closing and not yet seeing which window opened. It’s the sign of new opportunities. Ones you can forge yourself, should you desire to.

It’s an uneasiness I know from points in my careers, studies, relationships, internet groups, society as a whole, you name it. So I’m not unsettled by the uneasiness itself. After all, it’s the breeding ground that brings forth the most innovative things.

It’s the possibility to determine and forge a new direction that hinders me. It feels like an obligation. Be smart. Act.

But I’m not ready to bring the cabin to a new era. I’m still very much attached to old ways, old nature and old embroidered cats on the walls.

Or other beasts:
cabin kitchen wall decoration embroidery bird gaai
(that’s the wall above my stove:)
cabin kitchen wall decoration embroidery bird gaai

Once, twice, Little Flower Cardigan

It’s happening again…

Is it a knitting law?
That whenever you knit a fitted garment you actually knit it twice. Knit once, wisen up, rip it out, knit it again, better.

This is my Little Flower Cardigan. The one from my handdyed sportsweight, where I start with a lace backpanel and then improvise a cardigan, inspired by Dahlia Cardigan. Two weeks ago I blocked the back panel in the cabin:

And then I spend all the time I didn’t knit on the green handspun rolls vest calculating and knitting the two front panels to the back panel. I had to figure out the rate of increases and the armhole and where to pick up the parked stitches from the back panel.

I used Grande Plage cardigan  by Claudia Geiger as my guideline since we share gauge and it has sleeves you knit after you knit the bodice:

And now I have two front panels and am at the bottom of the back panel and should start some waist decreases soon (or a bust dart) and I haven’t knit at it for a few days mainly because of distraction by thrummed earmufflers but also a bit because I was unsure about it:

These front panels are a bit skimpy. I reasoned: “I’m going to add a shawl collar, just like with Grey Pumpkin Ale. It’s going to be beautiful!”

But it’s not the front that’s the problem. It’s the sides. That armhole is very big.
“It’s allright. Your Grey Pumpkin Ale has big armholes too!”

So I showed my friends the picture and asked: “Are these arm holes too big? What would you do? Would you reknit the front panels?”
And they said: “Yes, they are too big. Reknit.”

ūüė°¬†I don’t want to go back to where I was two weeks ago. I want to wear this cardi, now.
So I said: “My Grey Pumpkin Ale has big armholes like this! I’ll just pick up stitches and start decreasing in the round before I knit the actual sleeve. Here, like this:”

And they said: “They are too big on your Grey Pumpkin Ale too. Look at all the fabric at the underarm.”

ūüė°
Stupid hobby. Stupid knitting laws. I’m bound by this gorgeous yarn. I want that nice cardigan, with a nice fit. So I will reknit. After I recalculate everything.

In the mean time I’ve cast on for a loose fitting sweater. With a boucl√© yoke. With sparkles. Without a pattern:

And I’ve bought fingering weight for another cardigan. With speckles. And stripes. (I don’t like stripes.)

And I’m ignoring the three vests and four cardigans I already have on the needles. They are in the closet.

I feel there are some more knitting laws in play here and that I’m not using any of them to my advantage.

Charting snowdrops for the mushroom dyed vest (spencer)

I want to have my stranded spencer on the way for the wool fair on 19 and 20 May in Nieuwport. I’d love to show the tutor then some results of his dyeing workshop.

I’ve determined I need to cast on about 250 stitches, on needles 2,5 mm, aiming for a gauge of 30 st/10 cm. I need to redo the math before I cast on but it’s good enough to start charting in Stitchfiddle.

My inspiration for the bottom of the spencer is one of the mitten kits from Riihivilla, mushroom dyer expert in Finland. The pattern is Snowdrop Mittens by Jouni Riihelä and Leena Riihelä, only available with the kit.
 pic by Riihivilla

I’m also looking at the free¬†Snowdrop chart by Sandra J√§ger which was nicely modified by Tribpot in her Snowdrop Square.

But both are not the snowdrops that are my favourites. These designs have their snowdrops open and well in bloom:
 wiki

The ones on the cuff of the mittens even look to be a double hybrid:
 wiki

This is how I love my snowdrops:
Untitled pic by me

A closed, white drop, like a little bell, with a little green hat and blueish slender leafs. I should be able to chart these. Even though I don’t have a dark green in my palette of mushroom dyed yarns.

I’ve set some other parameters for the spencer: Jugendstil feel instead of Fair Isle. (Fair Isle has small ribbons of repetitive patterns). No diamond shapes but rather flowing lines. But not too large/high.

Eeek, I’m still nervous to start serious charting so I wasted some precious time making this collage to get in the mood:
snow drop collage art nouveau

Not sorry I wasted time. It has beautiful pictures and lines!
And, after all, humans are eye-loving animals. (That’s crooked language, it sounds like we love to have them for dinner. Should it be “visual creature”? “Sight addicts”? Don’t know. We love patterns and colours and seeing things.)(In that vein: I love how cats learn to tolerate our adoring gazes. To them, staring is rude and threatening. But nearly all pets learn that their humans are eye-addicts and they allow us to stare at them and adore them. I love when life serendips like that.)(What? Should totally be a word.)

The collage has some embroidered snowdrops and those translate well onto knitting charting paper. As long as you modify them a bit because a knitted stitch is not square.

Eventually I did get to work. Here’s my work in progress:

Each row only has two colours. Where there are 3 colours on the chart, that one stitch will be slipped from the previous row, thusly stretching it a bit up to the current row. It’s not an extra stitch or third colour in that row.

Sooo. Wasted some more hours writing this post. Did you notice my detours or was I stealthily enough to still claim efficiency?

Yeah, I thought so too.

Alright, I’ll do some more charting now. Those leafs don’t look very “Art Nouveau” to me and I need something “curly” on the top to make the transition to the next thing above. Which will be….ermm….??

Weird Wool Wednesday: lalala I can’t hear you, in style.

To my WIPs:

and because I like to do my ignoring in style I am going to costumize my ear mufflers today.

I’ve got a new pair of ear mufflers that I wear daily. They’re the kind that builders use. My old ones are worn out after 5+ years of daily use, so today I bought a new pair:
Untitled
They look al stern and urban and dark and a bit “Porsche” too (or is that just me?). I want to make them more friendly. (At the bottom of this post there’s a PS¬†about the peace and quiet of wearing ear mufflers and how I want to murder you if I hear you chew.)

Think “earmuffs” and you think this:

Fun fur on a crocheted base. Defining the publics idea of earmuffs since the ’80s. Free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn.

Not an option for me, I’m not 13 yo anymore nor would I want to look like one every day. Nice to have the option though. Perhaps make a series of covers and have them in rotation, change covers according to mood? Together with these perhaps, for my inner 8 yo:

Sheep Earmuffs by Joanne Loh, a free pattern.

I could knit a plain cover and costumize it:

Free pattern “Two hoots adjustable ear warmers” by Iris Wildsmith¬†but it’s not available at the moment ūüė¶

The owl and the cover it sits on are knitted. I’d go for crochet, it’s faster and you could attach the embellishment to the cover while making it, instead of having to sew it on later.

Crocheted earmuffs, with flower embellishments:

Cheerful Earmuffs by Mags Kandis, not online available, it’s published in a book.

These look nice and friendly. But all a bit childish. I don’t think I want to be this lovable every day. Half of the time when I’m wearing my ear mufflers out in public I don’t want to be approached. For example in public transport, when knitting or when in a busy establishment. These friendly flowers and animals send the wrong message.

(The other half of the time I do want to be approached when wearing mufflers, I’m only using them to dampen sounds, not social contacts. For example at fairs, festivals or when walking down the street. My new mufflers in their current look hinder this.)

Instead of having a separate embellishment I could use knitting or crocheting itself to make things pretty:

This is I Heart Earmuffs by Faye Kennington, a paid for pattern which uses decreases and thrums in a beautiful way. I’m impressed how technique and functionality are combined and made into a thing of beauty. This is how I want all my “things” to be!
My clothes, my WIPbags, my building, my utensils, my tools, my car, my city, my train, my station, my airport, my plane. You know, “my things”.

Ahummm, I’m getting carried away here¬†… but combining the essence of a building technique with the essence of a material and achieve good¬†functionality AND make it beautiful, that’s the summum of human creation to me and a great source of joy for me as a human being.
O my, now I have to buy this pattern, just because it’s making me write these words and show you my inner pompous! Or is it my inner architect? (Is there a difference even?)

They look like great earwarmers, don’t they? Imagine nestling your ears into those fields of thrums. Hmmm!
Another thing I found with wearing earmufflers for sound is how safe it feels when something is covering your ears. I now think of this as a separate quality worth bringing into ones life. For example¬†in the evening, when you’re sitting at home. Or when you’re out, studying somewhere. Or in your bed, sleeping.
These earmuffs would be perfect, for feeling safe.

Right, I want to make these earmuffs!
Even though I’ve never done thrums before. It’s a paid for pattern, I’m sure thrums are well explained.
I’d call my project “Earthrums” ūüėÄ

But first continue looking for ways to make my new earmufflers more friendly. Bulky thrums will only make them bigger. But thrums, in themselves, do show the heart of knitting:

Free pattern Muffy by Susan Buchanan, published in Knitty .
I like this one, with the thrums. It’s a look that can only be achieved by knitting.

I’m a little bit concerned that my version would look ratty in a short while, though. Thrums will always fluff, I think. Especially with me being a loose knitter and wearing the things every day…

Looking for a pattern with less chance of pilling:

These are¬†Pinwheel Earmuffs by Lee Meredith, one of my favourite designers. A non-free, knitting pattern. It’s written for bulky (=pilling risk) but the pattern can easily be enlarged, I guess, to accommodate smaller weights of yarn. Sock weight wouldn’t pill at all.

Now, how would I attach a round knitted or crocheted sphere to my ear mufflers? They are are all bulge-y. Crochet is easily shaped around that. But knitting stretches over it. Which one to choose and how to attach??

Let me think.

Putting on my thinking cap for a moment:

This is pattern Katamari Queen Earmuffs by Nikol Lohr, not free but fabulous!

Take something fabulous, scale it down, remove grand gestures and you’re left with something stylish:

These are¬†¬†Floral Ear Muffs by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk and it’s free too!

I’ve already added it to my library, this is a serious contender. When made in cotton I can even wash them and keep them fresh looking all the time. Still not solved how to attach them to my ear pieces but yes, I think this is the pattern.

Stylish, not childish. Not too inviting. Not rebuking either. Not pilling and even washable. Yes please!

.

.

.

O my.

A new world presents itself.

This is “overlay crochet”. A new technique, to me.

Never heard of it, love the look of it. Each round only has one colour but you grab back to a previous round and attach stitches to it. You can build layers upon layers. How quaint!

The designer is a Swedish little bear from the Czech Republic called Tatsiana Kupryianchyk. She loves the cold grey seas and the fresh wind. She has a marvelous site over at Lillabjorncrochet.com and she explains overlay crochet very well. I like good explanations.

Tatsiana send me a free pattern for a macaron pincushion when I signed up for her newsletter:

I adore little handmade pincushions… and new techniques…that are well explained…and Europeans who love the sea and Scandinavia…

I’m falling hard!

So is anybody¬†surprised to find me and my ear mufflers at¬†the Danish shop S√łstrene Grene to look at their cotton?
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Very difficult to choose colours…. not to much contrast, not too little…. the colours need to be appropriate for every day, for every occasion… difficult, difficult. I need a dark one and a light one and two middle ones and they all must work together and work with my wardrobe and my face and my hair and my glasses:
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O no! Just as I’m about to leave with my colour choice I find a box filled with little skeins of cotton! More options!
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This cotton is non-mercerized and more loosely plied than other cotton. It’s matte. I think that works well for a thing that I want to wear every day, near my face. Ravelry calls it “kitchen cotton” if that means anything to you. (it doesn’t to me, I’m a newbie in crocheting with cotton).

Ugh, my new mufflers have a terrible sharp edge. I cut myself and it bled! Needs to be covered in yarn:
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Bad design. Ugh. This is not “my thing” at all. Not yet… I can make it better.

O my god… this happened when I got home¬†with my skeins:

Trying out the technique and the colour combinations. It’s a good pattern! That are two half macarons right there.

Just a little while later and I have a whole macaron pin cushion:

It has two sides. Because the yarn is matte, soft and “collapsing” (i.e. not round or tightly plied) the typical stitches of the overlay crochet technique do not pop. But I like it that way.

I like this. I love this!
 in purple grey taupe blue.

I’m going to cover my ear mufflers with overlay crochet and my WIPs can live in the closet for a while longer.

(Except for my sportsweight Serra cardigan.¬†That one I’m knitting like the good cat that I am.)

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PS: Here’s a bit about wearing ear mufflers and relaxing and recovering from ME and filtering out impulses and also: misophonia.
 Dog noise protection.

I wear my mufflers in the city, at wool fairs, during felting workshops and when I take my daily rest on my day bed. I wear them just about anywhere where I can do with a bit of peace and quiet after an hour of noise.

It’s a good thing, muffling sounds. It helps resetting the nervous system into a relaxed state. It’s good for people who are wired by nature; for people who are sensitive; people who feel overwhelmed and just about anybody else who recharges in a world of calm instead of action.

Don’t get me started on continuous noises such as building noises, traffic, waves at the sea, planes and helicopters going overhead, a washing machine rumbling or music in the city. The hum of electronic devices! Dog whistles. Humming airco units on buildings. Some truck parked and running stationary. Especially cooling trucks sporting a Thermoking!
All these siphon away my energy.
Untitled pic by Zena C, of a Thermoking truck.

I like my ear mufflers, my old ones. I had bend them so they’re not that tight. They are truly mine, after months of wearing they shape into a left one and a right one. I put¬†foam stickers on them, covering the neon brand sign. There’s a giraffe on the left and an elephant on the right. That way I could¬†feel which way the mufflers ought to go, without looking. And they look friendly.

I also wear them when my husband is eating his dinner. Because I have the charming affliction called misophonia where you get all murderous when you hear someone gulping or munching nearby. It’s a neurological thing, it’s nothing personal. It’s like nails on a black board, there’s no defence to it nor a possibility to prevent the reaction. *chomp chomp* = instant hate.

The sounds tap straight into the nervous system responsible for Fight or Flight (the sympathetic nervous system). In this case triggering the FIGHT response:

We can give it a fancy name:

And there are triggers everywhere if you open yourself up to them:

But it’s just one of those things. Don’t sweat over it. Don’t make it bigger than it is.

My mysophonia isn’t triggered over people eating carrots or apples or chips. It’s when I hear the wet sounds of masticating or the gullllp of a swallowed fluid that I get enraged. Truly enraged. I indeed fantasize about¬†planting a fist into someones face.

But that’s all it is. It’s just a bout of rage. It passes. It’s just an emotion, a fleeting emotion. I’m mature enough to not associate it with the person initiating this reaction.

My husband is mature enough too. He just hands me my mufflers when he brings his food and we enjoy peace while he eats. There are more important things in life. The fact that¬†he is considerate enough to bring me my mufflers -or check whether I’m wearing ear plugs before he operates the coffee bean grinder- makes me love him every time he does so. I so appreciate his consideration ūüôā

There are some tricks to ease the misophonia, for example it’s less¬†if we’re both eating or if we’re talking while eating or when there’s some noise masking the chewing¬†like a movie on tv or music. Distraction works. I can even force myself to zone out but, honestly, that’s so much work that it’s easier to wear the mufflers and not take it personal.

So. Having a pair of mufflers just to make life easier when that life includes continuous sounds and noises and misophonia works very well for me. I can still talk while wearing them and I can still hear what people say. It does take a bit of practise though, especially speaking when you can’t hear yourself.
If I want total quiet I put in earplugs before putting on my mufflers.
The downside of ear mufflers is I can’t wear my glasses.

Also: I married a fidgeter. He’ll click a pen; play with the zipper of his hoodie;¬†move his foot over the hocker up down up down up down; frunnik frunnik frunnik!

A fidgeter and a precision hearer, we are clearly matched to put a chuckle into life ūüėÄ

(If only he would fidget with a hook and some yarn! But noooo.)