Friday, February 1, 2013

Tale of the Tea Cozy

I looked at lots of pictures on tea cozy patterns. They were all cute. I glanced at the actual pattern on some of them, and decided a couple of things:
1. I did not want to make two sides of the same thing and then stitch them together
2. I did not want some kind of bag cozy. That would be called “tea bag” and that would just confuse all sorts of terminology, and that sort of thing is unneccessary (also I usually end up with a puddle under my tea pot when making tea for some reason, and a wet tea cozy is not terribly cozy.)

One nice thing about all of the patterns I looked at was that they all recommended measuring against the tea pot as you worked, just to make sure it would fit. This turned out to be the best advice I got during the whole endeavor.
I went to the store, bought yarn that would “match” my tea pot, and I started making one, excited that my tea would soon be nice and cozy. This particular pattern worked up from the bottom, left a space for the handle and the spout, with a button added at the back under the handle to get the cozy on and off.
I ran into a snag right away. My tea pot is from a fancy tea store called Teavana, and since it’s so adorable, it isn’t like a typical tea pot. This first pattern called for a space to be left for the spout a couple of rows into the pattern, but the spout on my tea pot is near the top, so I would have had to make severe changes to the pattern to make anything fit.
So I went back to looking at pictures on patterns.
I’d initially dismissed the second pattern I tried because it looked a little too simple, but then I thought, “if I need to make any changes, simple is better.” This pattern started from the top of the pot, and worked in the round down to the sides. The person who made the pattern had a fancy tea pot that was nice and skinny, and of course mine is short and fat. So the straight sides that her pattern called for wouldn’t work.
I was a bit annoyed. I had undone one third of a tea cozy already to start again from the beginning, and I really thought that I could make this pattern work. So I kept the work I’d done so far (mostly just the very top) and started to alter the pattern.
I got as far as Row 7 before I had to change things to fit my fat little tea pot. This particular pattern calls for the crafter to make one side completely and then make the other. I was a bit concerned about that; how would I know if the cozy would fit if I did it that way? I dug around in my yarn box for some leftover yarn and paused one side while I went ahead and worked the other side, knowing that I’d have to pull that side out when I was finished and redo it in the actual yarn that I wanted to use.
I’m glad I did, because I noticed that the pattern the way it was would be too narrow for my tea pot. I unravelled the two sides, in their different colors, and started again. I shortened Row 7 so that it would stop at the right spot, to give the handle and the spout plenty of room. The other side wasn’t so easy to figure out. I wanted to mirror both sides, like the original pattern, so I eyeballed where the other side should start and did as many stitches as I had on the other side. It wasn’t quite right, so I pulled it out and scootched everything over one stitch.
That looked better, but now my concern was that the green leftover yarn I was using wasn’t quite the same as the yarn I wanted to eventually use: it was a bit thicker. I tugged the green yarn out and went back to digging in my yarn box.
There had been an imperfection in the skein when I’d first started using it: it was severed and had been tied together. Those who work with yarn will agree with me when I relate that this is not an ideal state of being for yarn, so I had untangled it, and rolled the little bit that had been tied on into its own tiny ball and stashed it for later. I found this little ball hiding in my yarn box, and decided that this would be the best thing to use: it was actually the kind of yarn I would be using, so there was no way that using it to try the size would throw off any of my measurements.
I went ahead with the next row, which was more like Row 14 than Row 8, but I was so far off the reservation by now that it really didn’t matter.
I went ahead and kept working with the tiny ball of yarn until it ran out, which was about two rows in. Then I took a look at my tea cozy. I thought, “What if I continued the row around the spout now, and joined one side to the other? Then I won’t have to undo any more stitches or sew anything together when I’m finished!” I had convinced myself. I chained across the front of the spout and joined the two sides together.
Things went pretty well from there. I had to pull things out and redo a couple of times just to make it look nice, and it still looks a bit weird here and there, but I’m fine with that. Once I hit the middle of the tea pot’s fatness, I started to decrease a bit, and at one point decided to add a little flap across the back by the handle like I’d seen on so many other patterns. I even asked my yarn-genius sister-in-law what she thought, and she nodded and said she thought it looked nice, so I felt I was going the right direction.
As I finished it, I fit it onto the tea pot and saw that it has all the touches of imperfection that make it just right. Even though it was kind of a pain to make, everything turned out all right in the end: it’s perfectly cozy.

I will have the coziest tea ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment