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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tea Cosy for Grandma

I made pom poms! You only get to see one, but I bought a set of these at Mary Maxim yesterday and the kids and I have been having a BLAST cutting up all my yarn :)  There are pom poms everywhere. I may have to take up cheerleading. I may never be allowed to knit again. All of my yarn will be gone.......hmmmm, maybe not such a brilliant plan? 

There is a running joke in our family about Tea Cosies. My Grandma loves them and is offended by the fact that I usually just wrap my pot in a towel. She loves them. And she makes tea at least twice a day. However, she regularly sets them on fire. Seriously. ON FIRE. That's where I learned that acrylic burns and wool doesn't. After watching yet another of my projects go up in flames I told her that I wouldn't make her any more. She can knit. She can make her own. Maybe she'll take better care of them? Not so much. I haven't made one in years. Despite many pleas and bargaining. Including one that offered babysitting in exchange for a tea cosy. I turned her down.

 Then last summer I discovered Loani Prior's book How Tea Cosies Changed the World and I just knew I had to get her a copy. My favourite bit in the book (very cute intro) reads:

"It was Joan that let me in on the secret of the tea cosy. I met Joan at the launch of the first book, Wild Tea Cosies, at the book-signing end of the evening. She handed me her copy and then pulled out her own tea cosy to show me. It was old and more bare than threadbare but she held that tea cosy like it was her favourite thing in the world. And she told me a story. Joan's Grandmother had knitted the tea cosy with her own young hands when she was a new bride. She had used it every day of her married life and when she died, Joan's mother had taken the cosy and used it too and now that she was dead, it was Joan's. That funny old thing was almost eighty years old and it was filled with all the love and memories of three lifetimes. A proper heirloom"

Like I said, my Grandma lights them on fire. She sets them down on hot stove burners and they turn into cinders. I've rarely seen one last more than a few seasons. No heirlooms in our family. But it is possible that a tea cosy was one of the first things I ever knit or crocheted, after a scarf. Grandma would most certainly have put me to work. I know I've made dozens. They are all gone. And until now I've only made them from an old black and white pattern book from the 50s. It includes patterns for poodle-shaped toilet paper roll covers. You know what I mean.

But I wanted to make one of Ms. Prior's crazy concoctions. I found some great yarn - really itchy wool from my Mom's neighbour's sheep. Beautiful yarn and lovely animals but not good yarn for wearing. But a tea cosy? Perfect.  So I got to work and made the basic pattern. Double layered. Good to go. I was planning to make Eugenie but got panicked with all the Christmas knitting I was trying to do and couldn't find interfacing and it just wasn't coming together. I also am totally my Grandma's girl and wanted to give her something she would USE. She would love Eugenie but she would be flustered by her extravagance and it would sit on a shelf. That doesn't fly in our family. Plus, if she did use it and set it on fire....I can only imagine. The wool might not burn, but what about the interfacing? It might take out the house. I didn't want to risk it.

So, inspired by my new cousin-in law's hilarity over the fact that our teapots wear toques and my desire to get my kids involved I decided on Pom Poms. And they were SO much fun. I could have gone crazy and stuck them all on there (Loani would have approved) but I restrained myself and just picked the biggest one that hadn't been turned into a meteor attacking the Millennium Falcon

1 comment:

Knit and Purl Mama said...

Oh, that's adorable!