Bunny fun: The Random Knitter Podcast Anniversary Party

Gwen is The Random Knitter and a friend of mine. She’s Spaceinvaders on Ravelry.
Yesterday she celebrated the one year anniversary from her podcast and she invited some of her friends around to help celebrate. Gwen loves knitting, Bram, black and bunnies.

She made a wonderful party with excellent homebaked goods and teas:
randomknitter yarn party bunniesrandomknitter yarn party bunnies
Bunnies were there too, meet Axl and Ozzy:
BeFunky Collage
Axl has a paprika and a personal playground blanket on the floos, Ozzy is too smart to be let out of the cage when there’s a knitters’ party. Ozzy got paprika too.

There were lots of WIP bags present!
Gwen has hers on permanent display:
wip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeest

We brought our own. Several:
wip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeest
You, of course, recognise a few Bird House Bags by FiberRachel and a hand felted bag by Wolbeest.

I brought a bag too, as a present for Gwen. While traveling it was a glamorous Sorting Hat:
randomknitter yarn party bunnies
But the end result was more…. poo emoji:
wip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestrandomknitter yarn party bunnies
She laughed ūüėāūüėāūüėā

Gwen is a bad ass knitter:
randomknitter yarn party bunnies

Gwen is also famous! Here she is in the current edition of Handwerken zonder Grenzen, a magazine about handcrafts:
randomknitter yarn party bunnies
A celebrity! I know a celebrity!
She hasn’t changed one bit since she became famous.

There was an other celebrity present. “Somebody” was sampling one of her beautiful handprinted sock blanks! An eco printed one!
randomknitter yarn party bunnies
Such great colours. And the way it knits up! ¬†Yes, it’s a sneak preview of what’s to come from Wolop.

All in all we had a lovely party and RandomGwen made a new podcast to celebrate one year of vlogging about knitting and yarn. Go check it out here:


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:
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?

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:

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!

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:
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.)


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.)