Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Time for tea?

Today ... its a 'lite' post, all about a tea cosy, and bags. First the cosy, I belong to a Knitters Study Group, we meet every five weeks during the year for a 3 hour class on various knitting techniques. And every year there is a recommended project, this year I'm doing my best to participate fully, and be one of the team players,

Last year the Knitters Study Group project was a vest. We were all asked to work on a vest and bring it for show and tell for the December meeting. Early in that year I did a lot of researching and thought I'd knit a EJ vest - Deep V Arglye in particular, I even bought the pattern, but it didn't happen. I had other things I wanted to make faster, sooner, and the yarn had to be ordered from overseas .. and well it just fell off the things-to-do list. Truth is I'm probably one of 'those' knitters, or even more honestly one of 'those' people, the ones who don't like to be told what to do. Oh if there is a burning building and some one yells fire - I'm on my way out the fire exit, if its a nice meal and some one says don't wait - start, I have no problem with that. But when its my hobby, and my time, and my interest ... well I'd rather knit what I want to knit. This year the group project is a tea-cosy, and its December, can you see where this is going. Just like last year I did a lot of research - I got Killer Tea Cosy's out of the local library (my favorite was the one in the form of a large tea bag complete with string and tag) - but the majority were sewn not knit. I Googled tea cosys, and project/pattern searched Ravelry for tea cosys. I found a few stylish ones .. but some how they never got knit. Odd really as we like our tea, and we use a pot - several in fact, and cold tea is abhorrent. Long story short, I've finally knuckled down and started my tea cosy - with less than one and half weeks until the tea party - I feel like a naughty student craming and swotting just before the final exam.

So these past few days I've hunted, and selected and cast on, and rejected and frogged, and hunted and selected and cast on and rejected again and again. For some confused reason I wanted to knit the tea cosy in the round, and I wanted it colour work, for the thickness it would give, the added insulation. Let me explain, I wanted it in the round - because that is what intelligent knitters do - they knit in the round when the thing they are knitting for is round - and tea pots are round. And yet ..all the patterns I liked were knit flat, they were from an era where needles were straight and knitting was flat and seamed. I converted them to the round and tried an i-cord cast on and double knitting in the form of a checkerboard .. but knowing I'd have to steek the handle and spout openings and that they would be bulky worried me. I frogged that version.
Then a moment of clarity - I realized that sometimes flat is ok, in fact sometimes its best .. and two tiny seams either side of the handle and spout were nothing to be ashamed of. So I revised my favorite tea cosy list on Ravelry, and found Tea cosy by Yasmin. Its free, the pattern has history - her Nan knit it, its thick and is worked with two colours and stranded - sort of. That is where it gets interesting, its stranded tightly, breaking all the rules of standard stranded colour work knitting, the strands are pulled so tight the fabric puckers up into insulating corrugations. I love it! Stranded distortions - deliberate stranded distortions.

...and I've been sewing, stitching not knitting. I've made another batch of bags, in 100% cotton needle cord, soft and velvety and fun. Now this wouldn't suit trousers but it is perfect for little project bags. Ngaire picked the fabric from the fabric stash, ask for a bag that would take 2x50g cakes of sock yarn, and requested something fun on the inside,

I hope I have not disappointed ... a mock 1950's circle print - Op-art or is that Pop art?
I might just have to keep one for me:D

Take care - knitting next post I promise even if only my tea-cosy home work.

take care
na Stella


Suzanne said...

What a perfect tea cozy! Cute, vintage, cuddly...the works.

Of course, you do not want to hear this, but double-knitting would have been perfect for what you wanted. For example, you could have started with an inch or so of rib (corrugated or plain)in the round, then divided the stitches in half and begun double-knitting flat in two colors (thus forming the sides while leaving slots for handle and spout. This portion should include both increasing and decreasing to form the round portion of the pot. Then you could resume knitting in the round (double or single thickness - your choice) and use whatever method or patterning you like to form a conical top.

KathyR said...

I know what you mean about not liking to be told what to do! I was exactly like that at school with reading. Now, I have always loved reading and had a library card from before, or just after, I started school. In high school, though, I did not read ANY of the required books right through. Read plenty of my own choosing, though. Passed all my exams, too!

The tea cosy looks smart - the light and dark contrast should be lovely. I hope that you can make the deadline! The bag is really cute, too. Needlecord takes me back a few years!

me said...

Those bags are so cute - love the suprise fabric inside ~ very fun, indeed. Bravo for being so clever!

Knitting Linguist said...

I love that cosy! I've been keeping my eye out for one, in a desultory kind of way, and I think I've found it. I truly recognize your description of "that kind of person"; I know exactly what you mean. I always thought of you as being very good about participating in classes and doing your homework, though! Now my illusions are shattered ;)

genny said...

lovely cozy! Funnily enough I bought a pattern for that exact kind of tea cozy several years ago on trade me but never actually made it yet.