Friday, January 23, 2009

Work in progress: tea cozy

larger sized photos available here

This is a project I started that has been interrupted by my elbow problems. I'm working on a tea cozy sized and shaped to fit my 14 cup teapot. The yarn is Lily Sugar 'n Cream, 100% cotton, in coconut. I'd bought a 400g/14 oz ball and had started using it to make a tank top but ran out and couldn't find any more - it was a discontinued line, I discovered. Considering how short a time I've re-started crocheting, I've had that happen too often. *L* I frogged the pieces I'd done so far and am using it for other things. I find I really like how well it holds its shape when I use smaller than recommended hooks (the label recommends using H/8 - 5mm hooks) and sc stitches. It's great for can cozies, which is what gave me the idea to make a shaped tea cozy. The pot is big enough that, even with 3 or 4 people drinking tea, we're not constantly running out. That means we tend to take more time in drinking our tea, knowing we don't have to beat each other off for a second or third cup. Unfortunately, it also means the tea in the pot sits long enough to actually get cold.

So this is the tea cozy I'm NOT working on because I'm NOT supposed to be doing crochet until my arm heals. *ahem*

Using a size F/5 - 3.75mm hook, I started off with a "magic ring" and 8sc into the ring. The next rows were done with increases to make a flat disc until it was as wide as the knob of the pot's lid. To make a nice, crisp angle into the side of the knob area, I did the first row without increases into the back loop only. When I got the depth matching the height of the lid's knob, I continued increasing into a flat disc, with the first row being done into the front loop only for the direction change. Working in 8ths, the disc was a handy octagonal shape.

Here's the inside of the knob area, where you can see how working into the front loops only makes the directional change nice and crisp.

Once I got the disc the same size as my pot lid, I started alternating increased rows with rows that had no increases at all. This gave a gentle curve that matched the curve of the top of my pot.

When I got to a point a little above the handle, I stopped working in the round and, leaving one side of the octagon unworked for the handle space, began working the rows back and forth, still increasing every other row.

When I got to just above the spout height, I started a length of chain at a point where two sections of the octagon met, long enough to fit snugly around the spout, then re-joined at the other end of the same section of the octagon. When doing the next row back, I continued the sc into, rather than around, the chain, as I plan to do a finishing edge around the spout itself.

When I reached the top of the pot's widest point, I stopped the increased rows completely, except on either side of the handle (which you can see in the above photo) to keep the sides of the handle opening straight.

With my arm starting to bother me a lot, I found I could only do a few stitches at a time. Since I'd like to actually use this cozy some time soon, I decided to start alternating rows of dc and sc. This way, it would work up a bit faster, while adding a bit of textural change to the cozy. Here you can see where the pattern changes, with dc worked on the right side and sc on the wrong side.

After only one row of dc, the cozy had reached the farthest point of the spout. I marked the center of the spout section and, in the sc row, reduced by one stitch. The next dc row was reduced by one stitch in the same spot. I was now past the depth of the spout, so I marked stitches on either side of the spout in the dc row and, in the next sc row, did a decrease at each marker.

I was now past the widest area of the pot. I then placed markers to match the increases at the top of the pot, working out where they would be on either side of the spout, since that area is now wider than the other sections.

Then I stopped to give my arm a break.

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