Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


A cosy for a Japanese teapot

A very dear non-knitter friend of mine recently made a wish for a tea cosy. And the Knitting Fairy decided to grant her request.

The Knitting Fairy thought that the tea cosy in question would be a simple four or six cup teapot, of ordinary design, and be readily knitted from one of the many tea cosy patterns she knew she had in various knitting magazines lying around the house. However, the teapot in question turned out to be an eight cup Betty Brown Teapot.

What size is an eight cup Betty Brown? It’s rather large – about 53cm round, and 18cm high.  Of course, there were no eight cup tea cosy patterns in her library of magazines. So the Knitting Fairy decided to design one. In any event, all the tea cosies she saw were generously decorated with bobbles or pompoms or flowers… not quite to the very classy friend’s taste.

But when the thought-of pattern was compared against some of the tea cosy patterns to make sure it was proportionally correct, it didn’t look like it would be right.

Given the teapot was similar to a squat ball in shape, wouldn’t it be right to design a reasonably ball-shaped pattern? But all the tea cosy patterns indicated a tarted-up beanie in basic shape, with wide brim. Was that right?? Of course, thinking about it logically, you’re probably all thinking “yeah… what’s your point?”

But the Knitting Fairy was fixated on ball-shaped.  There was nothing for it but to make a mini-version for her own teapot just to make sure. Of course, now she thinks of it, a smaller base would have trouble fitting over the widest part of the teapot, being its middle…

Because the Knitting Fairy’s teapot is of Japanese design, she decided to make one in rustic Japanese colouring – a natural pumice and a lovely indigo blue, using yarn from The Wool Company and The Little Wool Company. It looked very pretty as she gleefully knitted it up. She even mastered a new technique and knitted some of the colour work by holding a yarn in each hand! (As opposed to picking up and dropping the alternate yarn every time.)

Now, the thing the Knitting Fairy did not consider was that her teapot is a Japanese teapot. The difference is that the handle of said teapot sits over the lid – as opposed to being placed the side on an English one. This didn’t seem to be a problem until the time came to finish the top, and the work in progress was fitted over the top of the teapot to make sure it fit. It didn’t. The opening for the top had to be very wide to accommodate the handle.  Whereas on a classic English teapot, the top is closed, as in a beanie.  Bother.  How to make sure the proportions would be right for the top then? 

Ah well, the main question had been answered – a wide base was the answer.  But how now to finish this sample? How would it stay up given it was so bandana-shaped and wide at the top? I know! A slightly closed-over top, with a bit of a frill to keep it tight.


Knitting Fairy, that doesn’t look good. Stare. Rub chin in a perplexed fashion. One’s knitting confidence is rapidly going down the rabbit hole… 

Hang on, what if we turn it upside down:

Hehehe. It’s perfect! Serendipitous, but perfect!

The tie-top was added after further deliberations on what to do about closing it up a bit more. You could, of course, go with something totally Japanese in concept, and use a polished bamboo or wooden twig and a crochet or i-cord hoop to close it up.

So, thanks for a very good friend, the Knitting Fairy now has a tea cosy of her very own, which does, amazingly keep the tea incredibly hot for a very long time (you know how knitters make a cuppa and then wander off while it steeps, knit a few rows, and 30 minutes later remember they have a now-cold cup of very strong tea sitting mournfully on the kitchen bench…?)

The Knitting Fairy knew that wool is a good insulator, but this has been a very good practical lesson in wool’s thermal properties. Perhaps she’ll even give up the lazy tea-bag-in-the-cup habit and indulge in some good quality tea making for a change!

Now that she has convinced herself that a tea cosy really is a beanie shape (and in my friend’s case, it really will be beanie-sized, given the teapot’s size), the Knitting Fairy can confidently go about knitting the actual promised tea cosy!  It won’t look like this one, as the Knitting Fairy has a different colour scheme and design in mind, just in case you’re wondering.

If you want the pattern for this tea cosy, here it is: Free pattern – Cosy for a Japanese teapot. Bear in mind it’s transcribed from basic scribbles noted down as it was knitted, so it might not be completely mistake-proof.

Happy Knitting!