I took three tea cosies along to a craft fair I attended last year and I sold all three. They were two sheep cosies in natural wool (Corriedale) and the third was a blue Merino cosy.
I have plans to attend more fairs this year so I thought it was time to replenish my stock.
I had an ample amount of Duck Egg Merino from World of Wool, so I thought this would be my main body colour. I then chose the rest of the ‘pallet’ to compliment it, picking out white and blue silks, blue and orange nepps, and Clementine, Turquoise and Denim blue Merino. This was just a starting point, embellishments could be added or changed along the way. It is always work in progress.
I cut a resist from my favourite product for this kind of project and that is pond liner. The resist measures 15” along the bottom and 10.5” up from the bottom to the highest point.
Firstly I needed to make the loop that will sit on top of the tea cosy, as this has to be added part way through the laying out process. This is achieved by taking a length of the wool, this was about seven inches end to end, and adding a few of the colours that will be used on the main body to the middle section. It is important to keep the ends of the wool dry, so I wrap mine in cling film, roughly two inches at each end.
The middle of this parcel now has to be wet felted to create a small strong loop. Try to keep water away from the cling film sections. You have to start felting it with light hands or it will squash flat. I normally put a little water on my bubble wrap, rub the soap through the wetted area and carefully roll the parcel backwards and forwards very carefully until it forms a ‘skin’, then you can continue with normal pressure and felt it into a hard rope.
I weighed 100g from the ball of wool. At this stage you could split it in half to ensure both sides have an even amount of wool, but because I prefer to keep turning the piece over, I do mine by eye. I put down two layers, wet it all down, flipped it and did the same on the other side. Before adding the final two layers each side, I took the cling film off the loop ends and fanned out the wool. I then placed the fanned out wool over the front and back of the cosy ridge, and finished adding the final two layers of wool each side, adding more wool over the fanned out wisps of wool. You could also position the loop back to front on the cosy instead of side to side, as shown on my blue spotted tea cosy above. If you didn’t want to make a loop, you could wet felt a small ball in corresponding colours and then sew it onto the ridge of the cosy when it was dry. Both options work well. Here is a tip for the felt ball option. As you will be sewing from the inside of the cosy to attach the ball, and you will be bringing the needle up through the ball to secure it to the ridge, because you do not want to see your sewing thread anywhere on the ball, you could bring the needle and thread right out the top, slot a small bead on and take it back down and through again to secure on the inside.
I then added a design back and front using the other wools and embellishments and continued felting.
Once it passed the pinch test I cut it open along the bottom, took the resist out and fulled it. The opening always needs more attention after you have done this, cutting it straight and then re-felting the cut raw edge. A method I have adopted is to not pay too much attention to the opening until the cosy is dry (mine take a few days, even on a radiator) I then steam iron the whole cosy, re-wet the bottom and re-felt the raw edge.
Here it is finished.
I am sure it will keep someone’s tea warm for a while!
UPDATE – I took this along to a gallery and it sold at the start of February – very happy!