Sunday, April 29, 2012

Zill Mufflers

I didn't think I was going to get a pattern up this weekend because I've been working on a bunch of stuff but nothing was really ready for posting and my weekend is packed.  Then I got my zills.  "Zills" is the Turkish term for finger cymbals and is the most common term that I've heard used for them.  They can also be called "sagat" which is the Arabic term.  They aren't something there's normally much call for, the interwebs keep telling me it's a dying art, but one of my many hobbies is belly dancing and adding zills seemed like it would be a neat thing to do so I got a set.

A full set of zills is 4 pieces; one cymbal for each thumb and each middle finger.  You play them by bringing the thumb and middle finger together and striking the zills against each other.  As I did just get my zills I'm still in practice mode.  There are a bunch of techniques and rhythms that I need to learn and I have to figure out how to keep my fingers going while I'm dancing which means even more practice.  I've never liked practicing anything, but unlike learning the clarinet I don't have a class to go to where I get drilled so there is really no choice.  I have to practice on my own if I'm ever going to get anywhere.    

I discovered very quickly that practicing wasn't going to be the problem, the learning process is really fun, but the noise of it disagreed with my cats.  Zills are loud and the metallic ringing sound they can make upset the girls so badly that Cass started going after my hands.  You can practice without the zills by tapping your fingers together but it feels really different and I've not found it to be a good substitute.  What I needed were mufflers and I needed them fast.

Mufflers are little covers that you can put on your zills to keep the metal from contacting.  That way you can still practice with them on but you don't annoy anyone.  There are a handful of zill muffler patterns online but the ones that don't call for baby socks (thin on the ground in my house) make lacy crocheted mufflers that need elastic.  I'll probably be making a set of nicer mufflers but at the time I had no elastic and I wanted to get on with the zilling, and lace takes time, so making lacy anything was out of the question. 

My solution is today's pattern.  It's by far one of the simplest things I've ever done.  Again, I wasn't going for fancy I needed fast.  I was able to bang out these zill mufflers in maybe 2 minutes a piece and they get the job done.  They also don't need elastic.  My mufflers and very different from the patterns I've seen because they don't rely on something to hold them in place.  I based the design for them off of my steering wheel covers so that you don't have to use anything but yarn to make them.  They aren't very pretty but they are extraordinarily easy and very quick to make and they alerted me to something else.  Most zill muffler patterns will tell you that you only need 2, one for each hand, to muffle the zills effectively.  That's mostly true, but when I was playing with just one muffler per set the uncovered zill would periodically hit a bit of metal on the other zill and that would make the uncovered zill ring.  I can see that being a big issue for lacy mufflers (with lots of places where the metal shows through) so if you're looking for absolute silence making 4 mufflers from my pattern may be a better alternative. 

2 Minute Zill Muffler

Patons Classic Merino Wool- I'm not exactly sure how much, the amount was too small for my scale.  It doesn't take much yarn so this is a great project to use up leftovers.
I hook

Gauge:  About 4 sts per inch

The pattern as written makes mufflers for zills with a 2 3/8 inch diameter.  However, you can easily modify the pattern by changing the number of chains you make at the start.  Each muffler is only 4 rounds and they go really fast so if your first try doesn't fit the way you would like it to you won't have wasted much time if you rip it out and try again.  If you aren't sure about the sizing, err on the side of too small.  You'll be stretching the yarn to put the muffler on the zill so tighter is better.

ch 15, join in a ring.
Round 1:  Ch1, 1 sc in each stitch. Join and turn. (15 sts)
Round 2:  Ch 1, (sc, sc, 2sc) around.  Join and turn. (20 sts)
Round 3:  Ch 1, (sc, sc, dec) around.  Join and turn. (15 sts)
Round 4: Ch 1, sc around.  Join and break off.  (15 sts)
Weave in ends.

To put the muffler on your zill, slip the edge of the zill into the little "groove" of the muffler and hold the muffler in place.  Then pull the rest of it over the edge of the zill.  It really is exactly like a steering wheel cover.  The starting edge doesn't stretch as well so you'll want to stretch the ending row over the edge of the zill.

That's it.  It really is that simple.  I had 4 of these buggers made in less than 10 minutes and that was even with pattern modifications (my first attempt was too big).

Happily, the pattern was simple enough that I had time to get the pattern post worthy.  I expected to have to put up a no-pattern filler today because I knew I wasn't going to have time to finish up any patterns this weekend.  I've had to do some serious cleaning up around the house and I'm still not completely done.  My hobbies have taken over and it finally got to the point where I couldn't do anything because there was stuff everywhere getting in the way.  I haven't even gotten to my office/sewing room.  I can barely get to my sewing machine, I certainly can't use it, and that's a problem because I need to make a new skirt for dance.  And that's the least of the mess. 

Since this pattern is simple I figured I'd show off some of the dance gear that I've made in the last year(ish) which I had never made a post for.  I don't have any details for the making of them, it was too long ago for me to really remember what all I did, but I'm really proud of the masochistic level of hand embroidery I did.  So, for your enjoyment, here are some pics of my tassel belt and temple skirt which I designed and built from ideas in my head.

And now, back to the omnipresent house work...

1 comment:

  1. Just thought I'd share that "Zills" is not Turkish for finger cymbals, but rather, short for "Zildjian", who is one of the more famous of the suppliers of finger cymbals. :)
    "Zills" are considered of the highest quality, and now its common to refer to all finger cymbals as Zills, even though Zills are specifically Zildjian brand.