My Material Life

A Tale of Two Tea Cosies

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I never would have thought of making a tea cosy (or cozy for those of us using American English) if I hadn’t seen this simple/modern/fun version below at the Knit Midleton blog from Ireland.  I took one look at it and thought, now that’s a job for a popsicle stick spool knitter.  And then I filed away that idea with all the other ideas I have filed away in my brain and sometimes remember to write down.

Super Chunky Tea Cosy (courtesy of Knit Midleton)

Super Chunky Tea Cosy (courtesy of Knit Midleton)

I’ve been experimenting with more handmade spool knitters this week.  My house is littered with all kinds of sticks and embroidery hoops and plastic bottles and yarn and even wool for a needlepoint project I hope to share with you on St. Patrick’s day (it’s green).  I did not, however, plan on making a tea cozy this week.  I planned to show you how to make a hat with a popsicle stick spool knitter before winter got away from us.

But the hat turned out a little too small, and I have issues with the rim, so the hat will have to wait.  (Also, it’s supposed to reach 80° where I live this weekend!)  As it happened though, this hat was about the right size for a tea cozy – if only it had the proper slits in place – so I wasted no time in putting my 6″ embroidery hoop 30-short-popsicle-stick spool knitter to work on something else.  I used a Lion Brand Alpine Wool in Barley to complement my sweet little pink English teapot that I picked up at Cost Plus years ago.

Of course, you don’t have to go to the trouble of gluing 30 short popsicle sticks to an embroidery hoop in order to knit a similar kind of cozy.  You can buy the Knit Midleton pattern on Ravelry (you’ll find a link in the blog post mentioned above).  But if you are so inclined, it’s a lot of fun to make your own loom knitters.  I’m not sure why; do you think it could have something to do with the power that comes from controlling the means of production?  I do know that I am constantly surprised by how well things I knit on them actually turn out.

Just a couple of notes on the making of this one.  I knit the cozy from the bottom up.  I looked at my pot to determine how long my slits for the handle and the spout should be and where they should start.  I needed about an inch of knitting before both splits would begin and then I split my one round into two pieces moving beyond that inch (see photos above).  From my original starting point, I knit in the reverse direction for 15 sticks (or stitches) back and forth on one side of my knitter, and I joined in a second ball of yarn to do the same thing on the opposite side of my knitter.  One slit was 2-1/2″ long and the other was 3-1/2″ long , so I closed off the shorter of the two first, just by going back to knitting across the divide I had just created and using only one ball of yarn.  When I reached 3-1/2″ for the other slit, I closed off that divide as well by knitting across it again in complete rounds until my knitting measured 7″ long.  Then I cut a very long tail of yarn and used a needle to put it through each remaining loop on my sticks.  I pulled this tail to gather those stitches together and close the hole on top, but then I discovered if I didn’t close it completely I could kind of button down the cozy …

So I’ll call this one a button-down cozy.  (My husband calls it Hairy Teapotter because the yarn is so fibrous and it does shed a bit – clever man.)  But I originally planned on using a topper something like the Knit Midleton pom-pom.  In fact, I found the coolest felt balls from Nepal at Michaels.

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Not sure how I would attach it, but I like this idea too.

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For additional spool knitting posts and projects, please click here.  In particular, my post on the skinny scarf has a little more information about back and forth spool knitting.

5 comments

  1. This is just the cutest cutest thing! I just finished cleaning out my tea press and was just thinking how the poor thing needed its own little cosy 🙂

    Did you knit this one? It’s just too adorable for words!

    • Thank you so much; unfortunately I pressed “publish” instead of “preview”, so you didn’t get to see the text and additional photos that go along with the post, but I think it’s all there now 🙂 Take a look at the link to the other cozy I wrote about. Maybe one of these will inspire you for your own tea press. Mine took a couple of hours to make, plus about another hour to put the loom together. Either way a pretty quick project!

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