How to Knit Ear Savers for Wearing with Face Masks

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Knit ear savers are a simple solution for people who wear face masks with elastic bands that go around the ears.

Now that everyone is supposed to be wearing face masks outside the home, you might have noticed that they’re not always that comfortable. They fog up your glasses and, if they have bands that go around the ears, can be really irritating if you have to wear them for long periods.

I can’t help with the fogging (though I have heard anti-fog spray can help) but I can share this super simple pattern for knit ear savers.

How Do Ear Savers Help?

If you’re using a mask with elastic bands, the bands can rub on your ears and cause irritation.

An ear saver is a piece of fabric — they can be sewn, knit or crocheted — with buttons on each end that you place at the back of your head before you put your mask on.

The elastic bands stretch and are looped on the buttons, taking the pressure off your ears while maintaining a secure fit.

How to Knit Ear Savers

Making knit ear savers is really easy and takes just a few minutes and a few yards of yarn. Seriously if you are just learning to knit (and now is a great time for a calming new hobby!) you can make this because it’s just the knit stitch.

I recommend basic cotton yarn for this purpose because it’s washable at high temperatures (acrylic yarn can melt; ask me how I know).

Bonus: you can buy cotton yarn at Walmart if you’re out shopping for other things, or it’s easy to buy online. You can make a ton of these with one ball of yarn. You will probably run out of buttons first.

For each one you will need:

  • about 5 yards of medium-weight cotton yarn (I used Sugar ‘N Cream, because that’s what I had at home. If you need to buy online as of this writing Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton is in stock in several colors at Amazon)
  • one pair size US 6/4mm knitting needles
  • yarn needle
  • sewing needle and thread
  • two 3/4 inch buttons

Ear Savers Knitting Pattern

You can knit these either horizontally or vertically. The goal is to knit a rectangle about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long.

If you start with the short side, cast on 6. Knit until piece is 3 inches long. Bind off.

If you start with the long side, cast on 18. Knit until piece is 1 inch long. Bind off.

Weave in ends using yarn needle. Place a button close to the short edge, but not hanging off the edge, and sew it down. Repeat on the other side.

I also had some heavy-worsted weight cotton yarn hanging around, and since this is a great use what you have project, I made some knit ear savers out of it, too.

The one knit from the short side is 5 stitches (it really should have been 4); the one knit from the long side is 10. Making them the exact right size isn’t that important. I’ve seen bigger and smaller ones and they will all work just fine.

Donating Ear Savers

If you’re not using a face mask with elastic, you might not need knit ear savers for yourself, or at least not as many of them as you are likely to make.

Ask around online to see if anyone you know is making such masks to donate and could use some of them, or contact a local hospital, doctor’s office or other healthcare provider. You’re likely to find some takers.

Incidentally I’m making masks and doing some social media work for MasksNow, a national organization that’s fielding requests from all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico. If you have sewing skills and time to help we’d love for you to join us. Donations of materials and funds are also accepted. Check the website for details or text masks to 50409 for more information.

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  1. Would it be possible to post a photo which shows how these work with the face masks? Am having no luck imagining how these work. Wouldn’t they fall off? Thanks!

  2. Hi, I am trying to make these for local schools and don’t know what sizes to make for the different aged children. How far apart would buttons be for each age? So far I’m thinking 4, 5, or 6 inches. Does that sound right?

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