Monday, 30 January 2012

Crafty Tribal 1 : Zill Muffs

Do you love your zills? We do! Some of you may know already that we have pretty strong feelings about those devilish wee discs of metal that lurk tantalisingly on your fingers, doing their best to clank inappropriately at key moments .... if not, then check out our earlier post, 'Don't Be Zilly', right here.

Now, as any would-be ziller knows, the key to competent zilling- as with anything worthwhile - is quite simply Practice, Practice, Practice. Sorry folks, you may not want to hear it, but it's true. Little and often - daily if possible - you need to get out those little metal minxes and have a good old clatter (which will hopefully not be half as clattery by the time you've finished!). One big advantage of zills is that they're small and easily transportable so you can literally take 'em anywhere. So there are NO EXCUSES!  'Aaah', some of you may cry triumphantly, 'But my husband / children / neighbours / cat / dog / Great Aunt Betty can't stand the sound of my zilling! So I CAN'T practice!' Sorry my loves, that won't wash! Firstly - you obviously just need to educate your husband / children / neighbours / cat / dog / Great Aunt Betty about the joys of the humble finger cymbal, and get them all zilling along with you. And if that doesn't work then we have the solution, right here, right now!

Zill Muffs!

Yes, it's really quite simple! All you need to do is to cover your zills with some type of fabric - old baby socks are a tried and tested means - and hey presto! The sound is muffled and you can clank away quite happily whilst the rest of your family heave sighs of relief! However, if you love your zills as much as we do, you may want to pamper them and take a bit of time to make something really special ...... in their own special colours!!! And so here you have it - a pattern for your very own crocheted zill muffs.  Get those hooks out girls and boys - ready, steady ... GO!

Woah! I know you're all desperate to get started, but first of all, can you crochet? Do you have the materials you need? Do you have the pattern? Fear not .... everything is right here on one of our pages. You can get to it by clicking on the relevant page on the right hand side of this blog --- it's under 'Dance Articles By Us', quite a way down --- or more simply by just clicking here. Yes, I know, I'm so good to you all! This pattern was adapted by our friend Jo from one on Shira's site,  http://www.shira.net/advice/menu-zills.htm - which, incidentally is an excellent resource site for all things bellydance (you can also see photos on there of how your zill muffs should look when you've finished. No, not SHOULD look, but WILL look!). Jo has explained all the different stitches you will need but, like the rest of the pattern on our page, these are all UK descriptions, as is the hook size. If you're in America then use the pattern on Shira's site as otherwise your finished muffs won't fit your zills. 

Yes, I know - it's all most complicated! If you're quite new to crochet then I would wholeheartedly recommend the book 'The Happy Hooker'  by Debbie Stoller. It's readily available on sites like Amazon and The Book Depository and apart from being quite funny and an easy read it also gives really clear step by step instructions of the various stitches, hooks, yarns and so on. There are also some great patterns in there, and lots of photos and diagrams. This book uses the American stitch descriptions so just be aware of that .... remember, UK pattern is on our page, American equivalent is on Shira's site. Yes, I know, I know .... whose bright idea was it to make them all different? Sigh .... But honestly, once you get your head round it, it's fine!

Now all this American/UK difference thing may have put some of you off completely. Don't despair. Bellydancers are a crafty lot and you'll probably be able to find a friend to make you your very own set, in exchange for chocolate/wine/Kuchi. If not, you can sometimes buy them ready made. Our very own Gingerbread Bunny, Sarah, has sold them before now and has made a few custom sets - you can contact her via her Gingerbread Bunny Facebook page here or through her blog here if you're interested.

Well, that's about it for the old zill muffs. If you decide to go for it, do let us know how you get on!

Later this week we'll have another 'Guest Blog' from our friend Jo (you may remember she wrote here about the Wendy Allen workshops in Devon last summer). She had a fab time at Pauline Qu's 'Close Encounters of the Tribal Kind' in Haxby this weekend, and is going to tell us all about it!

Until then, happy dancing!  

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