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Tuesday, 2 July 2019

The Vicar's Tea Cosy

I promised you another surface crochet pattern and so I have the perfect excuse to finally get round to making myself a Tea Cosy. After all there is nothing worse than a lukewarm cup of tea.
I'm so useless at naming crochet patterns. When I started to think about what to call this one I remembered whose fault it is that I am now an Earl Grey addict. So the name of this pattern is a bit of a private joke. My Dad was a vicar and maybe he spent a great deal of time drinking badly made tea when he was visiting his parishioners. In any event we all started drinking Earl Grey tea at home, so Dad, this one's for you! (If you're not from the UK you might not get the reference to tea, vicars and the phrase 'more tea vicar?')
I've gone a bit mad with this pattern because I've decided to use Slip Stitch Crochet as well as Surface Crochet. If you've never tried slip stitch crochet before, please don't be put off! We are using a giant 7mm hook and a worsted weight yarn. If you've never tried before I suggest you start with a gauge swatch. You can always pull it out and reuse the yarn. By the time you've finished your swatch you'll be an old hand at Slip Stitch crochet.
You will want to pull up oversized loose stitches that will feel far too big, but you'll be surprised by how much they tighten and even themselves out.
The stitch I've used is Slip Stitch Rib. Notice how the top of the stitch falls forwards as you work the row. So that when you turn for the next row, the top of the stitch is now falling to the back of the work.
The yarn I have chosen is Scheepjes Bloom. It is 100% cotton and has a knitted structure, giving it a light weight airy quality. When worked in Slip Stitches it produces a thick stretchy fabric that will keep the teapot cosy!
When you think about a tea cosy, it's basically a hat with two holes for the spout and the handle. You would expect to make it in the round but as we are using Slip Stitches we are working in rows instead. I have given you a schematic so that you can visualise what you will be doing and understand the pattern more easily. I've also put in plenty of photos too!
First of all you will create the Slip Stitch base.

Then you will work the Surface Crochet decoration. 
I've given you full instructions in the pattern to copy what I've done but you may want to try something else. If you stretch your fabric open you'll see a backwards facing rib between each of the forward facing ribs. You'll also see spaces between each rib. So you can work into the spaces, or into the ribs, or even over the ribs.
In order to navigate more easily you may like to run tacking threads through the base.
You can work horizontally...
Or vertically.
I've used zigzag surface chain stitches in this example. This post tells you all about zigzag stitches. 
Have you spotted that some of these pictures show the cosy with more sections than others?  I've given instructions in the pattern so that you can adjust the size of your cosy. The picture above is made with 8 sections and uses 70 grams of yarn, where as my pattern is worked in 6 sections using 54 grams of yarn.
When I was a child I had an old fashioned wooden Tea Chest which I used as a bedside table. It was covered in some left over kitchen wall paper. The wall paper lasted longer on my chest than it did in the kitchen and so it is indelibly imprinted on my memory. The design I have chosen reminds me of that blue stripey paper and I thought the link with the old tea chest was a kind of synchronicity!
This link will take you to the downloadable PDF. I hope you enjoy doing something a little unusual.

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