Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ear warmers

Well, I've been busy for the last while. I'd been preparing for my first ever craft sale this past weekend. It was just a small sale within the housing co-op we live in - I didn't know until I set up my table that they hadn't even advertized it outside the co-op. I sold enough to pay for the materials I bought to make the stuff, plus a bit of profit, so that's encouraging.

One of the things that went over well is an ear warmer design I came up with for my husband. He's the sort that can't really wear hats, because his head overheats. He needs to keep his ears protected, though, because he gets massive earaches if the wind gets into them (a problem I have, too). Since he likes to walk to work every now and then, good ear protection is important this time of year. I tried a couple of different ideas before coming up with the pattern I'm happy with, and here's the final result.


The yarn I'm using for these is Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick super bulky (6) yarn. I really enjoy working with this yarn! The hook size I used is a 9.00mm, and it's made using sc in the back loop only. Whatever size yarn is used, the narrow band at the forehead should be about 4 inches wide and about 6 or 7 inches long, depending on whether it's adult or child sized.

Hmmm... I'm doing this backwards. It actually starts in the middle of the back. More on that later.


The ear flap at its widest point is twice the width of the forehead band, and about 2/3 the length. The row closest to the forehead band, however, is shortened by a stitch to give it a bit of a curve when it's finished.


The back was the final tweak that made all the difference in this design. One of my husband's complaints about a prototype he tested for me was that the band would ride up at the back, and his ears would get uncovered. To solve that, I made it narrower at the back. The pattern starts in the middle of the back, is about half an inch wider than the forehead band (approx. 4 1/2-5 inches), and gradually increased to the full ear flap width.

So with the super bulky yarn, that meant I started at the back with 3 rows 8 sc wide, increased at one side of the next 4 rows to 12sc, did 7 rows at 12sc, reducing to 11sc in the 8th row, then doing rows of 6sc for the forehead band. There are 12 rows in the forehead band and, after the last row, I added a 5 ch foundation to work the 11 sc row of the ear flap, did another 7 rows at 12 sc, reduced over the next rows back down to 8sc, doing a total of 3 rows of 8sc to finish. If using a thinner yarn, just make sure the dimensions match, with one half being a mirror image of the other, and there is an even number of rows in total, so that the hills and valleys line up properly at the end.

To finish, I ss the two ends together, then did a round of sc around the edge with 1 sc into the end of each row. Then I cut and finished off the yarn, and re-attached on the other side to do another round of sc along the outer edge. There are no extra stitches when turning the corner at the ear flap (the 11sc row). This way, the flap hugs around the ear, keeping out all drafts. The woman who bought this earwarmer in particular wore it while out walking her dog. She came back to the sale to tell me how much she loved it - it really does the job!

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