Quick Crochet Ear Warmer

The quick knitted ear warmer had been such a success that I decided to create another one. This time how ever it is crocheted.  I haven’t been doing much crochet lately and thought it was about time I did!

Plus, the knitted one I made has been claimed by my youngest daughter. She seems to think it is hers now, so I need another one for my ears too.

I have used the same yarn as I used for the knitted ear warmer, Mirasol Sulka, but in a slightly different colour.  It is a lovely chunky yarn, made with a blend of wool, alpaca and silk.  It’s really soft.  Mmmmmmm.

So, here it is, ear warmer pattern number two!  It’s a slightly shaped pattern again, to fit around your head nice and snug, using just a few basic crochet stitches.

Off we go.

Once again, I suggest you measure your head, or the head that you are making the ear warmer for if it’s not your own.  The one I am making is designed to fit a head of between 55 and 58cm.  This is measured around the head from the back, just above your hairline, over the tops of the ears and to the front, around the hairline.  Or, if you want your ear warmer to sit differently then measure around where you want it to sit.  I find it is best to reduce the size by a small amount so that it fits nice and snug and doesn’t fall  down – not too tight though! Then if you need to make it bigger or smaller you can add in or take out some rows on the widest part.  I have pointed out where to do this in the pattern below.  If you are not sure how to work out how many rows you need to change by then have a look at my previous blog on the Quick Knitted Ear Warmer.  All the calculation detail is there.

The tension I am using for this pattern is approximately 14 stitches and 15 rows per 10cm square, using double crochet stitch and a 5.0mm hook.  You can create a small square and count your rows and stitches to check this if you think you need to.  Your tension does not need to be perfect, but it needs to be close enough that your ear warmer works out roughly the right size.

Firstly, you will need some chunky yarn and a 5.0mm crochet hook.  Any yarn can be used.  I used the skein of Mirasol Sulka above, which is lovely and soft and warm, but you can use any chunky weight yarn you fancy. You will only need about 50g.

These are the abbreviations for the stitches used in the pattern;

ch  –  chain           dc  – double crochet  (this is sc, single crochet in US terms)           

dc inc  – do two dc stitches into one stitch  (increase)

dc2tog  – work two dc stitches together into one stitch  (decrease)

st / sts   – stitch / stitches

I will show you how to do these increases and decreases later on.

Let’s get going.

 

With your 5.0mm hook, create 9ch sts.  (Not too tight)

Turn your work and start to work back down your chain sts.

Row 1 –  1dc into 2nd ch stitch from hook (see picture), dc into each of the remaining 7 ch sts, 1ch , turn.  You should have 8 dc sts and 1ch.

Miss out the first chain (1) and start working into the second chain (2).

Row 2  – 1dc into the second stitch on the row (see first picture below), dc into each st across the row including a st into the ch you missed at the beginning of row 1 (see second picture below) , 1ch, turn.   (you should have 8sts all together – the turning chain at the end of each row counts as 1 stitch)

Start by working into stitch 2
Do the last stitch on the row into the chain stitch at the end of Row 1

Repeat row 2 a further 10 times.

Row 3 – 1dc inc into 2nd st on row (see picture below), 1dc into each of next 4 sts, 1dc inc into next st, 1 dc into last st on row( turning chain st from previous row) , 1ch, turn.    (you should now have 10sts)

dc inc – do your first stitch in the row below, then do another stitch in exactly the same place, so you have 2 stitches together

Row 4 – 1dc into the second stitch on the row, dc into each st across the row including a st at the end into the turning ch from the row below , 1ch, turn.  (10sts)

Repeat row 4 another 2 times.

Row 5 – 1dc inc into 2nd st on row (increase same as Row 3), 1dc into each of next 6 sts, 1dc inc into next st, 1 dc into last st on row( turning chain st from previous row) , 1ch, turn.    (you should now have 12sts)

Repeat row 5 another 44 times.

This is the part of the pattern where if you want to increase or decrease the size of the ear warmer then you can add or subtract your extra rows.  All you need to do is change the number of repeats of row 5 by the number of rows you need to adjust by.

Time to decrease again.

Row 6 – dc2tog (this is done using the 2nd st on the row and the 3rd st on the row), 1dc into each of the next 6 sts, dc2tog (using the next 2 sts on the row), 1dc into the turning ch from the row below , 1ch, turn. (you should now have 10sts).

Here is a little help with the dc2tog in case you have never done one before.

So, at the beginning of your decrease row, you are going to start by inserting your hook into the 2nd stitch on the row, just like every other row, wrap your yarn around your hook and draw it back out so that you then have 2 loops on your hook (pic 1).     Next, insert your hook straight into the next (3rd) stitch on the row, wrap your yarn and draw out another loop so that you now have 3 loops on your hook (pic 2).   Then wrap your yarn around your hook again and draw it through all three of the loops on your hook (pic 3).  You then have a finished decrease stitch (pic 4) and have reduced two stitches into one.

I hope that made sense!   If not then have a look at the video in the learning zone, it might help.

Let’s carry on with the pattern again.

Row 7 – 1dc into the second stitch on the row, dc into each st across the row including a st at the end into the turning ch from the row below , 1ch, turn.  (10sts)

Repeat row 7 another 2 times.

Row 8 – dc2tog (this is done using the 2nd st on the row and the 3rd st on the row), 1dc into each of the net 4 sts, dc2tog (using the next 2 sts on the row), 1dc into the turning ch from the row below , 1ch, turn. (you should now have 8sts).

Row 9 – 1dc into the second stitch on the row, dc into each st across the row including a st at the end into the turning ch from the row below , 1ch, turn.  (8sts)

Repeat row 9 another 9 times.  Fasten off yarn.   Leave a tail long enough to sew the ends of your ear warmer together.

There you go, you have finished your ear warmer.  You just need to sew the ends together and then sew in any loose ends and it is ready to wear.

It’s keeping my ears warm today – whilst I do a spot of gardening in the cold and damp.

Opuntia Cactus

As you may have realised by now, not only do I love crochet and knitting, but I also love cacti and succulents.

So, I thought I would start to create some patterns to go with my cacti, as well as giving you a bit more information about the plants themselves. Whilst I was thinking about doing this recently an old customer got in touch with me completely out of the blue, to see if I had created any cactus patterns yet.  What a pleasant surprise and  coincidence. 

She asked if I would create a pattern for an Opuntia.  So, that was my plan, but then as I started to look around, I realised that there were so many knitted and crocheted cacti patterns already out there for free that it would perhaps be a better idea to just have a look at some of those instead and see if any were worthy.

First thing is first though.  

I have to tell you a little bit about Opuntia.  (Sorry it’s the cactus geek in me)

So, the cactus genus Opuntia contains many different species, with many different common names, such as the prickly pear, bunny tails, beaver tails and the barbary fig.  You must have heard of some of them at least.  It’s really widespread, originating throughout the Americas, but with man’s help has now been spread worldwide.  In some places it is even considered to be a weed.  They do grow exceptionally easily.

This is a cutting I planted in January this year. It was just a couple of paddle shaped leaves then, but started to sprout new segments straight away. (Sorry about the sideways picture). This is how much it has grown up to now (June).

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 It might not look like much to you, but it’s fast for a cactus.  

 

Opuntia are easily recognised by their usually flat, paddle, oval or round shaped stem segments.  The spines are often densely clustered on the areoles.  These are the areas on the cacti where you usually see the spines coming from  (the spotty bits on the pictures above) and trust me, you don’t want to touch them.  They often look like soft, fluffy little pads, but really, they’re not that soft, they are composed of hundreds of tiny spines which will almost definitely get into your skin and they are really, really, really irritating!   Some of them also have long, deadly looking spines in addition, as if they needed the extra protection!?

Like most cacti, they do have the redeeming feature of beautiful flowers and they come in an array of colours. Some of the species also have fleshy fruits, which can be harvested and turned into deserts,  jellies, drinks and delicacies.  (I think this is where the name prickly pear came from).  In many places, especially Mexico, the flesh of the cactus itself is also eaten like a vegetable.  I can’t say that I have ever tried it, but there’s a first time for everything…

    

(Images courtesy of Pinterest – please click links to original posts)

Here are a few of my old Opuntia cacti:

 

So, now you know what an Opuntia cactus looks like.  I have done some research for you so that you can make your very own. (Without the prickly bits)

Here are some of the best Opuntia crochet patterns I found. The first few are free too, which is always a plus!

 

www.paperandlandscapes.com/crochet-cactus-free-pattern/

 

 

 

 

I think this one is my favourite.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/opuntia-cactus  

 

 

 

 

 

www.coolcreativity.com/crochet/10-desert-cactus-amiguru

mi-crochet-patterns/3

 

This one is nice, but one you have to pay for.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cactus-03

 

 

 

 

This is a nice pattern, but I’m not sure what language it is in.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cactus-fico-dindia

 

 

 

This is really nice pattern too,  but it’s in Spanish or Portugese (I think). 

https://www.tejiendoperu.com/amigurumi/cactus-nopal/

 

 

This is quite a chunky opuntia.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cactus-18

 

 

 

 

These patterns are super cute, but you have to pay for these.

https://www.amigurumipatterns.net/shop/Super-Cute-Design/Cactus-Friends/

 

 

It turns out that there aren’t that many knitted cactus patterns that are particularly Opuntia shaped, most of them are crochet patterns. Here are a couple that I did find and at least they are free. 

 

http://sewingbarefoot.blogspot.com/2012/11/knit-cactus.html

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/woolly-cacti-one-pattern-three-looks

 

 

 

 

If any of you are desperate for a knitted opuntia pattern which is better than these then let me know and I will write one.  In the meantime I hope you enjoyed the opuntia!   

(now, which cactus to do next…)

 

 

 

Construction almost complete

The Wool Monkey is coming back to you full throttle very soon.

We are very nearly finished building our new site now and transferring everything from our old website, www.woolmonkey.co.uk across to here.

We hope you like the new site and we hope to bring you some new and exciting stuff very soon.