Hey, all you cool cats and kittens!
I don’t know about you guys, but this week quarantine hit me hard.
The house looks like we’ve been losing a battle with a poltergeist.
The kids have pretty much gone completely feral.
And although I love my spouse to death, we have spent enough time breathing on each other over the last few weeks that I‘ve found myself contemplating pulling a Carole on his a$$.
Anyone have a tiger I can borrow?
I think what has truly gotten me down the most this week, though, is how utterly helpless this whole situation has had me feeling.
I know that staying home is the best thing my family and I can do right now but I still feel like a useless boob.
Especially when I consider all of the awesome frontliners out there keeping us safe, healthy, and fed.
So rather than wallow in the existential dread, I decided to roll up my sleeves and figure out something I could do to keep myself busy and make a difference in my own small way.
It turns out, a common problem that a lot of frontline workers are having (aside from battling the rona) is sore ears. A lot of folks are now wearing masks for a large part of their day and are ending up with chaffing due to the pressure of the mask elastics.
So I hit the internet…
And found a super simple way to crochet a solution to this pesky problem.
So if you, like me, need something to make you feel useful and keep the crazies at bay, give these a try. I promise even if your level of “craftiness” maxes out at taking the tag off your kid’s store-bought Halloween costume, you will be able to make these.
DIY Ear Savers
These crochet DIY ear savers are super simple to make. So even if you have never crocheted before, you can totally tackle this. They are also super quick, so even if your offspring are keeping you running all day, you might be able to squeeze in some time for these.
What You Need:
Yarn: Preferably 100% cotton (or mostly cotton). You want something that can be easily washed and dried and that doesn’t have too much stretch.
A crochet hook: I am using a 5mm hook in this tutorial but, in this instance, size doesn’t really matter. You’ll see why later.
A yarn needle: or large-eye blunt needle. You will use this for adding buttons and finishing off your DIY ear savers.
Buttons: in this case, bigger is better. I suggest “nickel-sized” or larger to make sure they will hold the mask elastics securely.
Scissors: any old kind will do as long as they cut yarn
Measuring tape: again, any kind.
The crochet skills needed for these DIY ear savers are super basic. Check out the links for each if you are unfamiliar.
Chain: This is how you will start your work. Consider it the foundation of the little crocheted house you are constructing.
Half Double Crochet (HDC): yarn over your hook. Insert hook into stitch. Yarn over and pull a loop through your stitch. Yarn over and pull through all three loops on hook.
Slip Stitch (SL): insert hook into indicated stitch. Yarn over and pull through stitch and loop on hook. The type of slip stitch used for this tutorial starts at 1:30 in the video.
What You Do:
For those of you who, “ain’t got no time for dat” I have created a quick video tutorial to show you how to work these little bad boys up.
But for those of you who are enjoying a more “leisurely quarantine” (a phrase no parent has ever used) or who prefer a written pattern, I have created a step-by-step tutorial below.
Scroll on my friends!
Step 1: Create Your Foundation Chain
Chain 20. If you are using a larger or smaller hook than recommended you can change this number. You want your ear savers to be about 5.5-6 inches long when complete, so chain as many stitches as you need to to reach approximately that length. If you are using a smaller hook you will need to do more. A larger hook will be less.
Step 2: Make the Ear Saving Strap
Half double crochet (HDC) into the 3rd chain from your hook.
Then into each chain across until you reach your second last chain.
You are going to do 4 HDC in the last chain.
Do not turn. Instead, rotate your work and work into the bottom of your foundation chain.
Usually, you would flip your piece and work back across the top of the stitches you just made. Instead, you are going to rotate your piece and work back across the bottom of the stitches you just made.
Work 1 HDC in each stitch across.
And 3 HDC into your first stitch from the previous row (where you worked your first HDC).
Slip stitch into the top of your first stitch…
Make sure to slip stitch into the top of the first actual stitch that you made. Ignore that first tempting loop (it is full of lies)! That is your chain from the beginning and slip stitching in there could make things a little saggy when finished. And none of us needs more saggy in our lives.
and tie off! Make sure to leave your tail a couple of inches long. This will make finishing easier.
You made a thing! High five!
Step 3: Add Buttons
Using some more yarn and your yarn needle, sew one button to each end of your strap.
Step 4: Finishing
In order to finish off your DIY ear savers, you will need to hide the loose ends of the yarn. Using your yarn needle, you will weave these loose ends into the stitches of your work. Check out a good video on how to do this here.
So there you have it.
These DIY ear savers have been a hit with everyone I’ve sent them to. I’ve given them to friends and family on the frontlines but also donated them to local hospitals, long term care homes, and even grocery stores.
Plus, making them up has given me a reason to take a few minutes to myself and immerse myself in a task that doesn’t involve feeding, entertaining, or cleaning up after someone else.
It has also likely saved the life of my (in)significant other, whom I love more than life but whose insanely loud chewing may yet send me over the edge.
What do you think? Will you give these a try? What else are you doing to save your sanity and stay productive in the midst of physical distancing? Let me know in the comments!