I just love the retro vibe of a knitted tea cozy and the nostalgic and dainty manner of ‘pouring your tea’. A vintage style tea cosy knit was a must!
As it is my first tea cosy I thought it would be a good idea to follow a pattern and was lucky enough to come across these 1950s pleated designs published by Patons and Bellmans.
For those of you who like to ‘follow-along’ and have a go yourself, I have managed to source a pattern that is still in print. It’s called ” Pompom Fancy” by Jean Hubbard and can be found in this Tea Cozies book published by the Guild of Master Craftsman Publications.
Although the pattern looks complicated, it’s really easy. The tea cosy consists of garter stitch (where you knit every row) and the pleats are simple formed by pulling the yarn firmly across the back of your work when you change your colour.
You only need 2 balls (approx 100g of each) of double knitting yarn (1 x colour A – that’s my purple and 1 x colour B – that my pink) for this beauty so it’s pretty cheap to make as well.
As I don’t want to infringe any copyright laws, I’m afraid I won’t be giving you a set of instructions for this make, you will need to see Jean Hubbards pattern for this. My photos are being taken as a record of my tea cosy making journey, so this is really a “try and test” post!
The fun bit starts when you add in your second colour. The pattern is made by taking your yarn across the back, wrong side (1st photo below) of your work so that the front or right side (2nd photo below) is all neat and tidy!
When you are knitting with the right side facing you, the row is pretty straight forward as the yarn is already at the back of your work (which is just where you want it for a knit stitch). However, when it comes to knitting with the wrong side facing, you will need to take your yarn to the back to make your stitches and then bring it back to the front before you pick up your next colour to use. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a loop of wool showing on the right side. I managed to do this a few times and had to unpick a few stitches!
As you will see from this photo, I have just finished knitting with the pink, so I have brought it through my needles to the front and taken the purple through my needles to the back of my work as I want to use it next.
You continue to knit your rows until your work is a tall as the pattern says – it took me around 2 hours to get mine to measure around 14cm which is the height of my teapot. If your tea (or coffee!) pot is taller, work some extra rows. If it’s shorter work less.
The first photo below shows the wrong side and the second the right side of my work at this point. When I take the yarn across the back of my work, I pull it firmly enough to cause the pleats. If you are after deeper pleats, pull it in even tighter!
To decrease (or knit two together), insert the tip of your right hand needle through two stitches on your left needle – you need to slide your needle through the 2nd stitch first and then through the one nearest the needle tip. Next wrap your yarn around the tip of your right needle (like you would with a normal knit stitch) then draw the yarn through both loops before you slip your old stitches off.
(I have just noticed I was knitting with an odd pair of 4mm needles – must have been dark when I grabbed them!)
As you decrease over your next 7 rows your tea cosy develops its shaped top. Once you are down to your last 14 stitches, do not cast off. Just break off your yarn, thread it through your remaining stitches and draw them together to give your tea cosy side a curve to fit around your pot.
Front / Right side
Back / Wrong Side
To make it up, lie your tea cosy sides on top of each other, right sides together and use a running stitch to join them across the top and lower sides – remember to leave an opening for your handle on one side and the spout on the other.
To help make sure you get the openings in the right place it helps to try it on your pot!