Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Warm Ears, Happy Cyclist

Last week my Sockapaltwoza pal, the phenomenally talented Lou, sent me some of her own hand-dyed and solid yarn leftover from the absolutely brilliant socks she made for me. Thanks, Lou!

I reserved the solid for sock repairs and immediately knit up a pair of Amy O'Neill Houck's Bike Helmet Ear Warmers out of the hand-dyed. (See them with the sock.) These odd little funnel tubes are meant to slip over the straps of a bicycle helmet, to cover the ears. For some odd reason, they remind me of sea fans.

The pattern calls for knitting two flat pieces for each ear warmer and seaming up; I just knit in the round. I also reversed the order of the decreases (k2tog in place of ssk, and vice versa) for a neater appearance. These were worked top down; next time I'll try knitting bottom up and adding some decorative stitchwork or reflective piping. The center would be a fun place to work a small shadow pattern. Hm... I wonder if a shadow pattern in reflective piping would work.

Knit ear warmers are a perfect accessory for equinoctial riding. It's far too warm now for a winter helmet liner or heavy duty 180s Ear Warmers, and yet that spring wind can still be uncomfortably chilly on the ears. In colder weather, these ear warmers could be layered over a balaclava. In field tests, they are lightweight and comfortable, sit securely on the helmet straps, do not obscure vision or hearing, and are quickly and easily placed or removed.

So practical, so versatile – and what a way to use up stash oddments! I'm going to make lots more for myself and as small gifties for riding buddies. (Hey, Team StillSpeaking and Team Spare Tyres – want a pair?)

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