Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tea for Tuesday - Crochet Tea Cozy Tutorial

Today we're learning how to decrease for crochet, and start a really cute flower basket-type tea cozy...

The pattern we will be using is from Cute & Easy Crochet by Nicki Tench, and it starts on p. 92.  If you don't already own this book, you should pick it up.  I got mine at JoAnn's with a 40% off coupon, and I used my teacher discount.  I'm sure you can find it online as well.  There are lots and lots of really simple patterns in it, they are are all meant to be quick and easy, and yes, they are all quite adorable.  Many of the patterns call for little bits and bobs of color, so they are a great way to use up stash yarn.

So let's get started...

You can use the yarn the pattern calls for, or something of a similar weight.  I don't have wool yarn (I'm allergic), so I used two strands of regular worsted weight acrylic in a white and a pale blue.  I will also be using yarn from my stash for the roses and the leaves that are stitched onto the "basket".

For the two colors of the base, make 2 balls of yarn because you will be working with two strands throughout.  Choose one color to be the "basket" and the other to be the "filler" behind the roses.  You can use your stash to make the flowers as in the picture in the book, you can make them all one color, you can make them shades of the same color - use your imagination!

You will also need size F(5/4mm) and J(10/6mm) hooks, safety pins, and a yarn needle.

Today, we're just going to work on the base of the tea cozy.  I know you're busy, and don't have a lot of time, so we're going to break this down into some evening-size, manageable pieces.  We're also going to notch up your crochet skills a bit by learning to decrease and change color.  Next week, we'll learn some new stitches - don't worry, they're very easy.

With whatever color you choose to be the base of your tea cozy (now referred to as color A) and two strands of yarn, chain 29 with the J hook.  Measure to see if this will go round your tea pot.  Twenty-nine was fine for my tea pot.  Yours may be smaller or larger.  Feel free to add chains or make fewer chains.  Then, following the pattern, sc in second ch from hook, and each ch across.  Ch 1, turn.  Work rows back and forth until piece measures 2 1/2" (6.5 cm).  For me, this was 8 rows.  For you it may not be.  The important thing is to keep your tension even to be sure your stitches are all nice and even.  Ch1, turn.

Here is where we work the decrease.  Basically, a decrease is combining two stitches into one.  Yep, it's really that easy - let me show you.  Insert your hook into the first stitch and pull up a loop.

Just keep that loop on your hook for a moment - we're not doing anything with it quite yet.  Insert your hook into the next stitch and pull up another loop.

Now, the final step:  yo, and pull through all 3 loops on your hook.  See how it combines the two stitches into one?
Continue across the row in sc, until the last 2 stitches, then work another decrease.  It will look like this:
And here is where we will work the color change.  Go ahead and ch 1, like you are going to turn.
Pull on the loop, to make a very large loop.

Snip the top of the loop with scissors.
Remove the ends that are attached to the balls of yarn, and pull the ends on your piece tight.

To add the new color, insert your hook into the chain space.  Pull up a loop of Color B.
Ch 1 with color B, turn, and continue to work the pattern as directed in the book.  Be sure to keep your ends on the wrong side (back) of your piece, and crochet over them to work them in.  When you get to the top of the base, it will look like this:
Now, make one more, so you have 2.  Hold one of them up against your tea pot (I used my little kettle), and mark where your openings will be for the handle and spout with safety pins.
The last part of today's tutorial will be the little tab at the top.  You will only use one strand of yarn, in color B, and the size F hook.  Very simple - make a chain of 5 stitches, sc in 2nd ch from hook and across, to make 4 stitches. Ch 1, turn, and continue back and forth until your tab is 6" long (approx. 15cm).

And that's where we'll stop for now.  We'll make the flowers and get the whole thing put together next Tuesday.  Also, tomorrow, I'll be starting a ***FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY***!

1 comment:

tea cozy said...

Nice, this looks very cute!