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On Knitting at Electronic Music Concerts

On the first night of MUTEK (the yearly electronic musical festival in Montréal), I may have forgotten my earplugs, but I sure as hell didn't forget my knitting project!  After all, I suffer from that knitting disease where any spare time waiting around, any at all, must be spent knitting.  Even when it's pitch dark.  Even when the strobes are spazzing me out.  Even when the bass is so thunderous that my heartbeat is being reset.... I. am. knitting.

But obviously if I ever wanted to listen to any more music, ever, I needed to conserve my hearing.  Remember the knitted hair cell I showed you a few weeks ago, the type of cell you need to hear?  Well, once you kill one of those my friends, it's gone forever! (And by the way, would you believe that one of the top scientific journals, Science, highlighted my knitted hair cell on their website?  It's the pinnacle of my scientific publishing career, honestly!  I will probably never publish in Science with my actual research, how bizarre.)

Thus with my intimate knowledge of how hearing works and during a particularly ear-walloping concert, I stood in front of a set of sub-woofers creating hurricane-force winds and started winding myself a set of earplugs out of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted.  No joke!!  And what do you know, they worked really well.  I was impressed.  The guy next to me was as well, he kept looking side-eyed to try and figure out what the hell I was doing.

I don't meet a ton of crafters that listen to electronic music, and I realized at MUTEK that not a lot of electronic music lovers ever thought about crafting at a concert.  I've been going to MUTEK for 8 years on and off, and this was my first time trying to knit.  My first observation was that only men commented on what I was doing.  Fine, as you can imagine my husband has a theory about that!  My second observation was that every guy who approached me knew exactly what I was doing, which I found unusual and satisfying.



Man 1: "No time to waste! Whatcha knitting?"

Man 2, German: "Are you ka-nitting?"

Man 3, stoned: "Do you mind if I smoke?  Hey, do you sell what you knit?"

Same Man 3, 2 nights later: "mumble mumble knitting mumble?"

Man 4: "Elle tricote!"  Man 5: "Non, elle fait du crochet!"  Man 4: "Non, tu ne sais rien.  Elle tricote."

Man 6: "I just wanted to say that you are my inspiration!  I never knew you could knit during an electronic music concert!!"  That guy really made me smile, especially since he immediately turned away and didn't even want a reply.


He's right though -- can one really knit during an electronic music concert?  Well, the choice of projects is key.  I actually lugged 2 projects around (despite needing to travel light for dancing) and I'm amazed how much I got done.  First, there was the neverending Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL squares (which donated their cause to my eaplugs).  These are so portable and repetitive I almost wish that MUTEK was as long the KAL!  The trouble was that there was a cable row this week to maneuver, so I really could only work on this when there was some light.

Clue #7, free download here, but only do 9 cables, not 10.

The next project was the true "I don't have to see anything project", my stockinette in-the-round Summer Sling bag.  This is a free pattern from the Espace Tricot blog that uses Quince & Co.'s 100% linen Sparrow.  I made it from this bottom...

Right is the pattern picture from Espace Tricot

to this... in the complete dark!  

I couldn't see at all when I added in the new color, I was at this mind blowing laser show by Robert Henke which required beacoup de fog machine.  It wasn't until the next day that I could see what it all looked like.   There's some wonky stitches, for sure.

But I like the charm of that, reminds me of where I made it.  The festival did sell a really flimsy project bag for $10 that I was too dispirited to buy.  The only reason would have been to have some kind of cute picture for this blog, oops, am I really starting to think that way?  So I thought that maybe I would duplicate stitch the logo on this one when I was done, as a really "on point" souvenir.

Are any of you electronic music fans?  I realize some of you might not even know what I mean when I say that. Techno is definitely electronic music, but I like the more "intellectual" stuff, to use a poor term.  Crazy sounds, arrhythmic beats, stuff that makes you think, jars you.  Little or no voice.  I got into it in college when I listened to my first Aphex Twin album, and I've never really looked back.

I get a bit overwhelmed when people ask me for examples or a song list -- I love so many different types that I'm not sure how to even provide a primer for what I listen to.  Feel free to follow me on Spotify (dkrawchuk5) to see the kind of stuff I am exploring!  I'm going to recommend you this excellent podcast from XLR8R by Nicolas Jaar, who played on the last day of MUTEK.  I feel like he's an artist that can bridge the gap and invite people down into the beautiful pulsating abyss of electronica.  Hope you like it.

Download my Knitted Earplugs pattern on Ravelry -- JUST KIDDING ;)

MUTEK let me pick my own photo, and of course it's from knitting!


  1. So neat learning about the music fest! Will definitely have to check out some of your links. And the comments are great - I like Men 1, 4, and 6!

    Also, it looks like your mistakes were SSK and K2tog? If so, at least you did a matching decrease pair ;)

    1. Ooh, you have a keen eye. Actually in close inspection those wonky stitches ARE actually the intended decreases, so maybe not so wonky. One of my problems was that I didn't have a short enough needle, and I didn't have a long enough needle for magic loop either. So I basically tried magic loop, but lost the loop often. AND the decreases surrounded that loop so I have a ladder a lot of the time. Oh who knows really. I should just blame it on the linen and not my mad electro knitting skillz... ;)

  2. hahaha !! Super fun Dayana !! Loved this blog of urs !

  3. I like that all the guys knew exactly what you were doing - except for Man 5, who doesn't know anything, like his friend Man 4 said. And I, too, am very impressed that you could knit in the dark at a concert!

    I've dipped my toes briefly into electronica in the past, while exploring different genres, but nowadays the most adventurous I get is listening to Glitch Mob once in a while. I need to start discovering more music again!

    1. Keeping up with music is a JOB, seriously! Also, if you're not in school or surrounded by people who like your music (this stuff isn't regularly if ever on the radio), you get isolated. My tricks: mp3 blogs, sign up for a newsletter from a music store you love (I use Other Music), use Spotify to quickly check the recommendations.

  4. I misread tour original post on fb and thought you'd knitted KAL Hawthorn earRINGS! ! I thought there's a girl who doesnt like to be without accessories! !

  5. I feel like I need a pair of knitted ear plugs as well.
    Amazing knitting in dark :)

    1. I taught myself how to knit for TV shows by turning off the lights and trying to knit. It was great training!

  6. This post was too funny !!! Props to knitting at a music festival! i will be knitting at the movies tomorrow!

    1. Cool! I've knit at movies, but I get a little self-conscience if my needles make any noise... and I love metal Addis. Maybe I need a bamboo 'movies' set.

  7. I don't know about electronic music, but I sort of like Kraftwerk. Are they considered electronic music? They are ancient, but so am I.

    1. Kraftwerk is absolutely electronic! :D Old school, but there's tons of electronics from the 70s that are classics. What I love about Kraftwerk is that they fit in really well with this post, and I wish I had mentioned it: CRAFTWORK! hee hee

  8. Congrats on getting your knitted cell on the Science website! That is totally fabulous!!! Kudos to you!

    Heh heh I was chuckling all day about the "ear plugs" you created out of worsted yarn. I will have to remember that next time I go to the Movie Theater. :-)


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