My friend Maria has an implacable dislike of tea cosies. So I worked really hard on making my new one as enticing as possible. She is unmoved.
I’m pleased with it though. It’s my second attempt, design-wise – the first one in bright stripes just didn’t feel right for the teapot. I had a bit of a think, then remembered the old decorating adage to look for something that gave you the feeling you wanted and use that as your inspiration. My favourite teacup (by PiP Studio) makes me feel like I’m treating myself every time I use it (perhaps partly because I’ve already broken the saucer so tend to only use it now when I’m not running around trying to do a hundred other things at the same time). So I took both colours and pattern from that.
This didn’t feel like the kind of pot that should have a traditional cosy, and as it only holds three cups, it doesn’t need to keep it warm for too long. So I opted for a sleeve cosy rather than a full ‘woolly hat’ type. I’ve made several of these before for mugs and cafetieres and it couldn’t be easier – make a rectangle that wraps almost all the way round, add bridging sections top and bottom to make a space for the handle, join the ends together to make a tube. Making it double-layered keeps the heat in better and gives you a template to work out the decorative top layer. Easy.
African flowers teapot sleeve
NB All stitch abbreviations are UK. US readers will need to convert: dc to sc, htr to hdc, tr to dc, dtr to tr.
First make your inner layer. This is worked in a single colour in plain treble crochet. I used a black Aran yarn with a 4.5m hook: 14 trs (i.e 16 ch to start) for 26 rows. You could use a different thickness of yarn: just adjust the number of stitches and rows to fit your pot.
For the outside decorative layer, I made three African flower motifs. I used a slight variation of the usual pattern (did it wrong and liked it), and worked the first four rows only. There’s a good photo tutorial of how to crochet one of these, and turn it into a pincushion which seems like an excellent idea to me at Cherry Heart. I used double knitting yarn from my stash and a 4.5mm hook.
Turning them into a rectangular strip involved a bit of faff but it’s not hard and it is worth it. Take a motif and, using your chosen background colour yarn, rejoin the yarn in the 2nd dc after the dropped stitch in between petals, as shown below.
Work 4 ch, then into following sts work 1 tr, 3 htr, 1 tr, 1 dtr, 1 tr, 3 htr, 1 tr, 1 dtr. That should bring you back to the equivalent place on the other side of the second petal. Fasten off. Turn the motif around and work the same on the opposite side.
Do the same on the next motif, but instead of fastening off, work 1 ch, turn the motif and join it to the first motif with a row of dc through both thicknesses. Continue working straight sides and joining motifs to make a wobbly strip. Do not fasten off when you finish the last straight side.
Now even up the edge of the strip. Make 3 ch, and working along the edge work 2 more tr into side of dtr, then working into dc on motif, 3 tr, 1 htr, 1 dc, 3 ss, 1 dc, 1 htr, 3 tr, then 3 tr into side of dtr and 1 tr into joining row between motifs. Continue like this to end, then work the other side the same. Do not fasten off.
This should leave you with a strip the same length and width as the inner layer. Now place these two together and work a row of dc all round the outside through both thicknesses to join them together. At the end, work 1 ch, then 3 dc in first three sts on short end; turn and repeat for three rows in total. This makes the ‘bridge’ for the handle. Join this to the other end of strip to form a tube, and work the same to match at the other corner, joining with dc or slip stitch to finish.
You could adapt this to any pattern you like, whether it’s square motifs or a pattern worked in rows. Or copy something from a favourite cup, like me. Tea cosy and teacup – matchy matchy.