Organic cotton tea cosy

16 November 2009
It getting towards that time of year when things start getting very busy. I spent some time on the weekend working on my Christmas gifts but I'm not sure my ambitious plans will result in me finishing everything on time. Despite the extra work, I love this time of year, especially now that my boys are happily settled with their girls and our expanding family gives us more reasons to celebrate.

We had a visit from Shane and Sarndra yesterday, Kerry and Sunny will drop in today. Sarndra is a real family girl. She is happily connected to her own family and is making a real effort to get to know all of us now. She looked gorgeous yesterday in her blue summery dress - she usually wears dresses or skirts (just like me). She is an absolute joy to me. Sunny is a shy girl with us and not confident with her English but she really is a good fit with our family. She is a beautiful girl, an excellent cook and is very close to her mother. That's a good sign! I am truly blessed to have these two girls in my life now.

Sarndra is teaching herself to sew and knit. It's quite the thing now apparently. No longer seen as the domain of us oldies, sewing and knitting are cool again. Thankfully these things go in cycles and each time they come around new techniques, as well as the traditional methods, are discovered by new eyes. And what a wonderful world it opens up - being able to make beautiful and unique items for yourself, your home and to give to friends. You can always pick the home of a crafter - you'll find things there that you won't find anywhere else. These homes stand out as warm and inviting because they are decorated with the simple finery of a creative mind.

This is what I was working on this weekend. It's a tea cosy knitted with organic cotton, topped with pure wool felt flowers. It's a very simple project that I started knitting last weekend and almost finished yesterday. Actually I thought I had finished but when I put the cosy on the teapot, I realised it need more flowers. So that will be completed later in the week, but you'll get the idea from these photos.

I didn't have a pattern, I just cast on enough stitches to cover half my tea pot. It was 40 stitches for each half. I just measure it as I knitted and half way up, I started knitting two together to reduce the size of the top. Then I cast off and sewed the two sides together with a wool needle and more of the organic cotton, making sure I left the appropriate holes for the spout and handle.

Next came the felt flowers. I cut strips of felt, then cut them into squares, and the squares into circles with wavy edges. Then it was simply a matter of curling the felt up so it resembled a flower.

Each flower was sewn onto the cosy with embroidery floss in a colour matching the felt.

In no time I had what I thought were enough flowers, but when I tried it on the tea pot, I realised I still need probably another three flowers over the top of the spout.

I wonder how many of you are working on handmade projects at the moment. If you're new to all this, I would love you to tell me what you're working on and how you feel about your work. And for those who haven't yet taken up the needles, and for those who have, here are a few sewing projects that are suitable for a beginner or as a second or third project. If you have some photos of your projects you'd like to share with me, please post them at the forum. I'd be delighted to see what you're working on.

It gives me great pleasure to be able to encourage you in your needlework. In days gone by, women always did this. They encouraged each other, taught the younger girls and they socialised with their crafts in sewing circles and quilting bees. We might not be close enough to walk to each others homes, but we are creating a world-wide sewing circle here, and we can see each other's projects and talk about them. You will be enriched by the time you spend on hand made items and it's more than likely that you'll delight the person you give a handmade gift to. All it needs is for you to start.

Machine sewing
Crochet roll
Patchwork sewing machine cover
iPod or camera case

Hand sewing
Queen Anne's Lace pillow slip
Snowflake pendant or Xmas decoration
Felt tea cosy
Apple hoop picture

Buying a sewing machine


  1. Gorgeous tea cosy Rhonda. Will have to archive this one. Thanks so much for sharing this. I am currently working on or should i say trying to conquer knitted socks. I promised my grandson when he was visiting from Texas this year, and although i feel confident enough i am afraid i just do not have the skills to get too far at this stage. I will go back and read the book one more time then perhaps seek some help...but i do enjoy trying new things...anything fibre related is a joy and yes it is such a lovely heartfelt feeling to give handmade. :)

  2. Morning Rhonda
    I have also been working on my Christmas gifts this weekend. I finished two sewing kit rolls for my girls and made two more of the tea towel bags for my best friends. The dishcloth pile is still growing and I've started hemming the hankies for Pampa. I have found lots of really nice projects on the sew mama sew blog, one of my favourite.

  3. Hi Rhonda, I am working on a tablecloth and napkins for Christmas Day. I bought 2 and a half meteres of damask at spotlight on Friday and am hemming them up. I read on the forum or a blog how one family embroidered the names on the napkins, so they double as place cards, so I am going to do that. I realy like that idea. Then I am starting a bespoke toiletry roll for my sister and her husband who are travelling to India for the Christmas holidays. I need to hurry up on that one. I am making hand towels with crochet tops for our best friend, and my son and his partner tablecloth and napkins too. Everyday ones..running low on time! I am sure we will all get our projects done! Thanks for the encouragement, Julia in Mackay.

  4. Hi Rhonda,
    Love the tea cozy, especially the flowers on top! Cute, cute, cute.


  5. I'm working on Christmas ornaments and prezzies, like and

    I'm also glad I've found people to swap things with this year, such as - it's so nice to share our talents & gifts in that way.

    It's so nice that you treasure the 'homemaking' aspect in your daughter-in-laws! Bright blessings to you. Have a wonderful week! I love reading your blog.


  6. I was very excited to finally finish my very first knitting project last year - just a scarf. But to me it was quite an accomplishment. This year, I am tackling......another scarf, different colours this time. My husband is mortified when he finds my on my rocking chair knitting ....but it is so much fun, and relaxing.

  7. This is sooo pretty! I love the colors. This looks just like something my mother-in-law would love:)

  8. I enjoy seeing what you are creating each week, Rhonda. I have a few projects on the go at the moment. I am knitting socks, and today I plan on making myself a great big beach bag to take to a family wedding in two weeks time.

  9. Hello Rhonda,
    Love the teacosy! On the weekend I've been busy embroidering a small Christmas wall hanging to give to my mother. Every Christmas I make a few handmade items and cards and it really gives me the festive cheer. It doesn't have to be about the shops!

  10. I have spent this weekend making lotions, scrubs, & deodorant. This evening I will either paint or pick up my embroidery needle for more gifts. Busy, busy me!

  11. Hi Rhonda! I'm teaching myself to knit right now and am working on my first scarf - difficult and exciting! Also, my envirosax finally arrived, I'll do a thank you blog post soon and let you know! :)

    Thanks again!

  12. I'm new to knitting (inspired by one of your blogs). So some of my christmas gifts are knitted dishcloths, but I am also growing herbs and seedlings to give as gifts as well.

    Soon I will start baking to round out the rest of my christmas pressies. Next year I hope to move onto knitting a blanket :-)

  13. Because of you, I'm crocheting some dishcloths. I have two purchased ones but have dusted off the crochet hooks and finished one in Christmas colors and am working on one in beiges and blues. I also just finished some embroidery on a tea towel. My love though is quilts.

  14. Rhonda, thank you for asking. I am actually so pleased that for some reason, at the age of 45, I found myself with the patience to hem a pair of pants for my daughter. That this is a first for me, I attribute in some part to your lovely, homey inspiring blog.
    Sonja in Michigan, USA

  15. Hi Rhonda, I haven't seen that cotton before, is it a Spotlight one? I'm currently working on knitted lace gift bags and a cotton "bain" bag. I had a lovely hour in the afternoon yesterday with my knitting and Hugh of River Cottage. :)

  16. Lovely tea cosy Rhonda, you are clever! I am currently attempting to make a small stuffed bear from last months issue of Better Homes & Garden (the subscription of which was a gift!) and he has already started to look very homemade and wonky! lol But I will love him just the same. I knitted two things this year, a scarf and a beanie, which was heaps of fun as I thought I could not knit. I also have crocheted some dishcloths and need to make lots more!

  17. tea cosy is so cute!
    I made some last year, but I can't knit so they were sewn ones, everyone said they liked them!
    This year I'm doing a variation on 'story stones' and some mobiles with beach combing findings.

  18. I just finished a wool scarf and matching wool hat... winter is coming and now I am ready :) I always have a dish cloth on the needles too ready to go with me in case I have some down time in a waiting room, etc.
    Gorgeous tea cozy... I am a tea drinker and this is something I should make soon.

  19. Hi Rhonda,
    I currently have three projects in the works (this is my first year trying handmade stuff in earnest)
    1. An alternative style Advent wreath. I found the basis for the idea on another blog. I'm taking 4 votive candle holders, just plain glass cylinders, and embroidering translucent fabric tubes to slide over them. The designs are loosely flower/vine based - 3 are purple with green, one is pink with green. It looks pretty good so far, except without additional lighting you can't see the color of the threads. I wrote a bit more about it on my blog.
    2. A knitted wrap sweater-vest using seed stich and thick yarn and size 13 (6.6 mm I think) needles. Christmas present for my sister. It has to be really basic because I don't know what I'm doing that well.
    3. A knitted beret following a pattern online.

  20. I'm crocheting a granny square blanket for my daughter as a graduation gift. I'm very exited because my ex-husband's family is very keen of money or pricey shiny things for gifts... I feel very strongly I am doing the right thing, I mean, I am old fashioned and I am not pretending something else any more.

  21. Hey Rhonda,

    I am working on my very first knitting project right now- a scarf haha. It's for my Mum in the Northern hemisphere for Christmas. I am using 3.5 mm needles and some yarn from the op shop. I am only doing knit stitch- not purl yet. I really want to knit an easy little hat fo ra newborn that is due in a month but I thin kI need to buy those needles with the cord attached to them... Am going to make the washcloth you posted a few days ago soon. Thanks for the support and encouragement. xoxo Meagan.

  22. Great gift idea!

    This weekend I worked on making "I Spy" bags for the kid's Christmas gifts.

  23. I just discovered loom knitting. My favorite fabric shop had the looms on sale and I couldn't resist adding just one more craft to my list of "fun things" to do. I love this method! I am almost finished knitting my first scarf. It is a practice piece, but it has turned out beautifully and I know it will be warm throughout our winter. My oldest daughter already wants to learn how to do this new method I have found and learned. She was hovering over me as I stitched away last night. Let me tell you, this pleases me more than anything!
    I love your tea cosy! You are so talented and I am so happy that you like to share with us!

  24. Love the Tea cozy! We don't use them to much in the US but, I think it would be a great gift for my DILs' family in Poland. I'm working on a few knitted gifts & ornaments. I also have a quilt or 2 to complete for gifting. Busy time of the year for most! Sounds like you DIL's are wonderful additions to your family!

  25. Absolutely love this post. With the help of my grandma I discovered knitting at an early age and was fascinated by it. I now have 2 bags and a basket full of yarn, knitting needles of all sizes, and a couple looms...not to mention all else that's in there. I love your tea cozy! The flowers on top were a nice touch- I'm going to have to try that. At the moment I'm still working on my set of cup cozies, making a tea cozy to match. Once I get the pattern down pat, I'll make a set for my sister. I've actually had my eye on a pineapple tea cozy pattern...looks a little tough though, so I'll wait.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  26. Hello Rhonda,

    That is quite possibly one of the cutest things I have ever seen :)

    I am learning to crochet. I thought I was doing good but then I realized my blanket was getting bigger. Sigh, I don't have the heart to take all the stiches out and start over. I am so frustrated, my Mother tried to teach me this stuff when I was growing up...but I wanted to play soccer instead :)

    Now I can play soccer, but I am too old and am just starting to learn the homemaking arts. What a waste.

    Thanks for helping to educate me. I would love to knit and hope to learn that one day too.

    Many Blessings :)

  27. What a lovely teapotcover!

    And as a new-sewer I really like to give other new-sewers this tip: take a easy look at

    I found myself a really simple quilt to make and hope to finish it before Christmas. If I am able to do that? I'm not sure. But I'm sure willing to try!

    How nice to read about spring in your country. We are now hughing and warming ourselfs with quilts and blankets ;o)

    Have a nice season!

    Greets from Holland

  28. Great tea cosy!

    I'm working on two aprons for my mother and sister, both of which will have a copy of my grandmother's recipe for red cabbage in her own handwriting. I found out recently about ink-jet printer cotton so I can scan anything I like and print it off onto the fabric!

    Then I'm doing gloves, hot water bottle covers and lap quilts from a pair of new curtains I found at a car boot sale. I have a small piece of 1930s patchwork to make into cushion plus I hope to complete a stitchery by then to frame.

    Once complete I have in mind to do some homemade Christmas decorations for the tree - patchwork hearts, ribbon 'paper' chains and gingerbread ornaments.

    I think I'd better get a shift on!

  29. Rhonda,

    I am trying to make many dish towels for family gifts...although I am still having trouble on how big or small to make of now I have been putting 45 stitches on a 5.0 mm is that to many?

    I would love to see some of your dish towels:) I should look and see if you have any pictures in your archives.

    Have you heard when your book will be out?


  30. I absolutely love these cozies (just pages of them)
    Your felt flowers would work up so much faster. I think I'll try putting together a combination of the two ideas.

  31. Hiya Rhonda,
    Your tea cosy is gorgeous! Being less aesthetic than you, I simply cut up old holey jumpers that time, moths and silverfish have made an end of. I shape and sew the best bits into tea cosies, then cut up the rest to add to the compost bin. I hope this will be of help to some others of the less aesthetic and creative people, like myself. It is also a magnificent way to recycle.



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