A Christmas tea cosy

I remember learning to knit when I was fifteen, later than when I learned to sew. My first knitting project was a cream Aran jumper (sweater), which I still have in my wardrobe. I do not wear it often, but it is kept for sentimental reasons. In a manner that is typical of me, I decided to pick a complicated project and just figure it out as I go. Since then, I have never really enjoyed knitting large areas of plain stocking or garter stitch. However, I do remember needing to unravel  a lot of that first jumper and reknit it to get the stitches and cables right, but I did get it right eventually (apart from one annoyingly wrong stitch halfway up the left sleeve).

I knitted quite a lot of jumpers until my early twenties – for me, for family members and for friends – and then I went to live overseas, leaving my craft supplies behind in storage. In a knitting drought, I fell out of the habit of knitting. When I returned home, I even donated all my leftover yarn to a charity that was making blankets for something or other. Now, I am back and enjoying it again, I think, in part, because of all the lovely knitting books now being published. (I have collected so many craft books over the years that the weight of them recently bent a shelf in my sewing room. Needless to say, they have been moved to a stronger shelf and the bent shelf has been repaired.)

A big source of the inspiration for this tea cosy was Lesley Stanfield’s book 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet. I added a peony and two large leaves from her book to a simple cosy modified from the Guild of Master Craftsman’s Tea Cozies. The cosy is lined so it really will keep the teapot toasty warm.

I usually try to choose natural fibres, but I overlooked the 50% acrylic in this King Cole wool-blend yarn as the colour and texture really appealed to me. The cosy and the flower are both knitted using the same brand of variegated yarn, lighter and darker in places. By sheer luck, the colour variations on both sides of the cosy match rather nicely. The leaves are 5 ply wool (Patons Bluebell).

The flowers are loads of fun to make and not at all difficult if you follow the instructions and are patient with yourself while you figure it out. The most daunting part was assembling the flower from separate components. The peony had twenty-two loose ends to weave in. Yes, twenty-two! Before this, I had not been terribly confident about weaving in ends without a seam to hide them in. The straggly tangle of loose ends did not look terribly promising to begin with, but it all came together.

With Christmas just around the corner, this cosy was made as a gift for the parents of my stepdaughter’s boyfriend. In these days of teabags, they always have a welcoming teapot in their kitchen.

Peony tea cosy

Will I now have to knit another one to keep for myself?

A close-up of my knitted peony.

Here you can see a close-up of my knitted peony.

I also have Lesley Stanfield’s book on how to knit birds and bugs. I can see lots of potential fun in that too!

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