Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sharing the tea cosy love!

Ok, so it started with one tea cosy and now there have been three more!  One for a gift, one ordered by a friend and another to pop into my shop.  They are just so lovely to make and seeing them sitting together with their different coloured roses makes me smile.

I've had quite a few emails asking if I have a pattern for these and until now I'd just made them up as I went along.  But after making several more, I've finally written out a pattern complete with a gazillion photos!  So if you fancy making one of these sweet cosies, you can.  These instructions can be worked to suit any teapot no matter what size.  As mentioned previously, I always have my teapot beside me as I'm making a cosy, that way I can keep trying it on for size, so you get a perfect snug fit for this particular pattern.

Here are the things you'll need to get started.  I use my favourite 4mm hook and double knit wool/yarn.  You will also need a stitch marker, a needle for sewing in ends and your teapot of course.  You will also need a small button for fastening the cosy.
To get started, make an initial chain just long enough to go around the base of your pot so it sits just to the sides of your handle. The chain will need to be an odd number of stitches so you have a perfect centre stitch.
Then Ch2 and work one HDC into the third chain from hook.  Continue working across into all spaces in HDC.  Ch2 then turn.

Work enough rows of HDC (always adding a Ch2 before turning) so that your cosy sits just below the base of your spout.  Don't worry about it fitting the handle as this is joined at the very end.
Now place a stitch marker in the centre stitch.
If your pot is like mine and has a fairly wide spout I leave a space of 5 stitches to accommodate it.  You could leave just 3 stitches for a more slender spout.  For the next few rows you'll be working up one side at a time.  As before, always Ch2 to start the first row and then at the end of the row before turning and continue working your rows until you reach the same level as the top of your spout base.  I find it best to stay level with your spout at this point so that once your cosy is finished, the hole isn't too large.
You can now fasten off this section.
Now it's time to start the other side, working from the middle of the cosy now.  So if you are using a 5 stitch  gap, you will now start in the 3rd space to the left of your stitch marker.  Pull your wool through and chain 2, then continue working across in HDC.  Remembering to Ch2 before turning.


 Continue working in rows until both sides are the same height.
Just tall enough to reach the top of your spout where it joins to the pot.  Don't fasten off this time as you are going to work it as one piece now.  Ideally the next row will be Right Side Facing - this always seems to work out by fluke with my teapots but you may need to add an additional row so bear this in mind.
Now work across the next row until you get to the middle gap.  This is where you join it up with the other side.  I have tried various ways of joining up here, and you may like to try a different way, but this is the way I like to do it!
If your gap at the base of your spout was 5 stitches, you now want to add 3 stitches back in to cover the top of your spout.  Instead of using a regular chain stitch here, I like using a Single Crochet chainless foundation stitch which is a bit more substantial for this part of the cosy.  Keeping your wool nice and tight here to avoid a gapey stitch, start with a chain 2 ....
then working into the first chain (making sure to insert through both posts/strands), YOH, pull through stitch (2 loops on hook), YOH and pull through first loop, YOH and pull through both loops.  Repeat twice more.

There it is - nice and chunky. The single crochet here ends up being level with the HDC in the rest of the row.  Now I join to the other side with an HDC into the first space.  Make sure you keep your wool nice and firm for this part so you don't end up with a gape in this stitch.
And carry on across the rest of the row.
Continue on in HDC rows  ...
... until you are sitting just above the top of your teapot where it starts to shape in towards the lid.
From here on you still work in HDC but only into every 2nd space.  Keep working in rounds until you get to the top of your lid.
You could stop here and add a little picot edge or leave it plain.
If I plan on covering the cosy with flowers I prefer to crochet right to the top so it gives me more of a base to secure my flowers to.
I should point out that you can also join your sides together just about the handle height and continue on in rounds if the top of your cosy is going to be visible. This gives a lovely finish and I do this with my non-flowery cosies.  But if I'm piling mine up with flowers and leaves, I go with this slightly lazier option and join at the end.

So now you've reached the top you can fasten off and leave a nice long thread to sew in your ends.
Then it's just a case of sewing down this seam until you reach just above the handle.  Fasten off and weave in your ends.
Now you can make a wee loop at the base of your cosy which will secure to a button on the opposite side - making it a breeze to remove the cosy from the pot.
Insert your hook into the edge of your first row and Ch5.  Slip stitch into the row above to create the loop and fasten off.  Sew in your ends.
Sew a button on to the opposite side ...
... and wackydoo, there you have it, one snug little tea cosy!

Now you can go crazy and add flowers, leaves, hearts, stars, pom poms or anything else you fancy!!
I have played around with lots of leaf patterns but this is one that I came up with that gives a nice shape and is super fast to make.  I always use the same size hook and the same thickness wool to match the flowers I am making. That way your leaves are always the right proportion to match your flowers.

Ch10, DC into 3rd chain from hook, HTR in next chain, DC in next chain, HDC in next chain, SC in remaining 3 chains.

Now working the opposite side, SC in first 2 chains, HDC in next 2 chain, DC in next chain, HTR in next chain, DC in next chain, SC in last chain and fasten off.  Sew in ends.

Apologies to anyone who has been trying to use the link I had provided for the large rose pattern. It seems the original source is no longer active. And thank you for all your lovely emails asking questions about the pattern. I hope the written pattern below helps!

Large Crochet Rose Pattern

(US)  4mm hook

Leave a 10”tail. Chain 57.

Row 1: (wrong side) (DC, Ch2, DC) in 6th chain from hook.  (5 skipped chains count as first DC+Ch2).  *Ch2, skip next 2 chains, (DC, Ch2, DC) in next chain. Repeat from * across to end.  36 spaces.

Row 2:  Ch3, turn.  5DC in next ch-2 space, SC next ch-2 space.  (6DC next sp then ch-2 space, SC in next ch-2 space) 5 times. (9DC in next ch-2 space, SC next ch-2 space).  5 times. (12 DC next ch-2 space, SC in next ch-2 space). 7 times.

Finish off and sew in loose ends.  With the 10” tail, thread a needle from beginning chain. With right side facing and beginning with first petal made, roll rose, sew to secure as you roll with stitches on the back of the rose. Make sure you're rolling it evenly, layering the petals to give a nice full rose when you're finished.

Enjoy!

Hope you all have a fabulous week.
Leah
xxxx

Friday, April 6, 2012

My addiction continues ...

I know I already have plenty of tea cosies but as I love making them I decided that a few more would be made to sell.  Unfortunately by the time this one was finished I had well and truly fallen in love with it so it will have to be added to my personal collection!!  I haven't made a solid coloured cosy for ages so it felt fresh and new for me.  I spent a while looking for a new rose pattern as I was never that thrilled with others I'd tried over recent months.  I found this one here and I love it!!  It makes such a pretty flower with a gradual increase in petal size.  I used a 2.5mm hook and it still made a flower about 6cm across.  So pretty that I had to make an extra one to use as a brooch.  Gorgeous!
Nice and simple, but lovely from every angle!
I've had it sitting on my shelf for the last few days trying to decide if I could bear to pop it into my shop.  The answer is most definitely no!  I'll just have to make some more and be firm in my decision to sell them (yeah good luck with that I hear myself saying!!).  I'm just finishing off some red roses to add to another cosy that is almost identical to this which is for a friend as a housewarming pressie.  Such fun!
Easter treats were made for kindy and school teachers.  Any excuse for my small folk to 'taste test' the choccies!
I love these wee chicks.  I can remember keeping one for years and years when I was smaller because it was so cute.
I had a super exciting morning this week when I got home and spotted a parcel in my letterbox!  I got all squeely when I saw the stamp and couldn't wait to race inside and open it.  I was so lucky recently to win a fabulous giveaway at Karen's gorgeous blog!!  If you haven't discovered her beautiful blog you must whiz over there immediately!  Gorgeous crochet, gorgeous quilting and always full of colour and inspiration.
 Inside was another wrapped package ....
Wow, wow, wow - look at all these stunning treasures Karen sent!!!  A beautiful, beautiful cushion cover, a notebook with a gorgeous cover, a stunning heart to hang on my wall, and a pretty tissue holder!!  I could hardly believe my eyes.  I have admired her lovely quilting work, now I'm the lucky owner of some lovely pieces - yippee.
Thank you so much Karen - it truly made my week!  I am just in the process of painting and redecorating our spare room (my craft room) and this cushion cover is going to go perfectly in there (so is the heart for that matter)!
In recent posts I've mentioned how weird our weather has been, freezing one day and lovely the next.  We were forecast to have rotten weather over this long Easter weekend but now the sun has decided to come out and we're apparently in for some nice weather.  So no excuse not to weed my vege garden and get the winter plants in.  These pics were taken earlier in the week on a chilly but gorgeously still morning.  We were racing to swimming lessons but I had to pull the car over and get a few quick pics.  Too pretty to ignore.  This is just at the bottom our 'our hill'.  I love that wherever you live in Wellington, you're never very far from the water.
Remember a few weeks ago I showed you this picture of our monarch caterpillar and his progress to a cocoon?
Well the poor we fella didn't do so well in a recent storm and he got completely blown of his perch.  I found him amongst the grass and brought him inside to our laundry.  He's been lazing in a bowl on the windowsill for a few weeks now, then this morning I spotted that he had changed from green to see-through so I rushed him into the kitchen so I could keep an eye on him.  Within no time at all he had started to pop out of his little house.
The whole family took him outside, placed him on the table and sat and watched.  By whole family I mean Bella the cat too, but we soon realised that was not a good idea in case she decided to eat him so inside she went!  The poor wee guy was really struggling and we finally figured it was because he wasn't in his natural upright, hanging position.
So my husband played midwife, gently holding the top while Mr 7 had his hand ready to catch him if need be.
 Out he came ...
... straight up for a rest on hubby's hand.   We thought he should probably rest on something more leafy so we found him a new spot in the garden.
And here he is in all his glory - the very first time his wings opened.  I am chuffed to bits that we were here to see it all and that he didn't hatch in the laundry all on his own!
That's me for another week.   Have a wonderful Easter everyone!  It's the school holidays here now for the next two weeks but hopefully I'll see you again soon.

Leah
xxxx