December 14, 2015

Sister Earwarmers

Sometimes I worry that I will run out of crochet projects. Inevitably, every time I start thinking that, I get a request. This time is no different.

I was sent a few images of some earwarmers by my sister, who found them cute and who assumed that I could make them "in my sleep". True, to a layperson they might look simple enough, but there were some questions I had about their construction, and images alone aren't really helpful. But she's four hours away, so it's not like I could go pick them up.
I kinda think this is knit...
Going off her picture, I tested a few stitches to see what would look the closest. Though the easiest way in crochet to get ribbing is to work in the back loops only, I knew this was not the case because when you do that you only see one loop on the surface, not the pair like you can see in her pictures. I used a 4.00mm G hook since the rows look pretty small.
stitch options, ended up using a modified version of #1
1. I first tried working alternate rows of back post single crochet and front post single crochets. This stitch forces the top of the stitch to face forward. I'm not sure I liked how the rows had a bit of space between them or how that in my swatch you can see they face different ways each row, though that would be solved by working in the round and I could then use just back post sc, which is what I ended up going with.

2. Next, I tried a free pattern by Little Monkey Crochet for a ribbed earwarmer that I thought might be similar. It uses a foundation half double crochet start with rows of half double crochet worked into the third loop created by the half double stitch. After working a few rounds in my swatch (as this doesn't work well in rows), I realized this was actually pretty close, but I didn't like the space between the rows.

3. Doing a quick internet search for crochet ribbing stitches I also tried a pattern where you alternate rows of single crochet and slip stitch, working into the back of the slip stitch to pop the top of the sc rows up to the front. These ribs looked a bit less pronounced than what I was created by the other option and had an even wider space between rows.

Now I just needed some yarn and some pretty appliqués. I went to Joann's first since they always have the best coupons and sales. After picking out a pair of cream flowers with little clear beads, I chose Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Fisherman, a light cream color, to match.

For some reason, once I had the yarn, I started working up option 3 with my G hook, and once again decided it wasn't right. Then I tried option 1 again, but this time in the round, which meant that I only used back post single crochets on each round, and this time I think I landed pretty dead on the correct look. All the v's are facing the right way and the ribs are snug right up next to each other with no space between. Although this time I thought my G hook was too small, so after pulling out my swatch, I started into the first real ear warmer with a 5.00m H hook.

Ribbed Ear Warmers
With I 5.5mm hook (after doing three, I feel like the extra stretch is needed from an I hook)
Rd 1. Foundation single crochet 80 stitches. Sl st to first, ch 1.
Rd 2-18. Back Post single crochet around each stitch. Sl st to first, ch 1.
Bind off leaving a long tail. Don't forget to use your starting tail to close the foundation row.

Thread your tail onto a yarn needle and connect the bottom of the first row of foundation single crochet and make a knot. You should still have plenty of tail left to now make the cinched area. Fold your wide band on itself a few times then sew the cinch in place going through all the folded layers. Wrap the yarn around the inside and go through your cinch a few more times to secure. Knot and hide your end.

Note: Feel free to adjust the number of stitches in the foundation row or the thickness of the band by doing less rows. It does have a good amount of stretch, but she specifically requested that it not be tight on her head. I know 80 feels loose without the gather, but once you add it, it's good.

I worked up a second one, as my brother's girlfriend also wanted one. And then I made a third to see if I could use of the rest of the yarn. So I got three bands from two skeins, with even a little left over.

Once they were finished, I then attached the appliqués. I used a bit of off white thread and a needle to tack the flowers down over the cinched area. I tried to leave the edges free while securing most of the appliqué down securely. This is because once you add the flowers on that area has next to no stretch anymore. I ended up using the smaller of the two in the package after doing the first with the rose design and it took up so much space that the stretch was significantly hampered. It still fits, but very snugly.

These are pretty cute and easy to make, but sometimes I feel like maybe just handing over the $20 bucks might be worth it. Of course if you have stuff on hand give it a go!

Difficulty: Easy
Time to compltete: Each band took about 3 hours to crochet. Then maybe another hour to finish it off, make the gather and sew the appliqué in place.