One of my favourite crafts to do is to crochet. I am even a teacher, certified with the Crochet Guild of America, and quite enjoyed doing classes, back in the day.
These days, I don’t crochet very much, partly because my hands have become so rough, most yarns catch on my fingers, even pulling the loop off my hook at times. I don’t like the idea of working with high end, $30 skeins of yarn, only to have my hands catch on the strands and tear them apart. And no; working with gloves on is not an option!
Also, hand lotion does butkiss.
One kind of yarn that doesn’t do that is cotton. So when my daughter came to me with a request for a basket cozy for her teas, it was the perfect project for some nice, sturdy cotton!
For her birthday, we got her a set for making matcha, so of course she had to get a nice selection of matcha blends to use it with. Taking advantage of a sale at David’s Tea, she was able to get a whole bunch of mixes, plus some straight up matcha. I didn’t realize the basket was for just her matcha teas, and used what colours I had. They just happened to suit the intended contents!
This was done with two strands on the hook, with the main colour a darker green, because I had enough of that yarn for the entire project. The other colours I had were in much smaller amounts.
To make this box, I started by making a flat rectangle for the base, a couple of rows smaller than the size I wanted, in single crochet. Then the base got a round of single crochet on all sides, which brought it to the desired finished size. Then, a loose round of slip stitch was worked into that last round. The slip stitches formed the base the sides were worked from. Each side was worked individually. I did the long sides, first, using a mint green I had just barely enough of, then switched to a sort of periwinkle blue for the short sides. I used just the main colour, in a single strand, to stitch the corners together with a modified single crochet. Then I went back to the blue and green combination to go all around the top to tidy it up. Finally, I used a single strand of bright green and a smaller hook, to tighten up that top, so it won’t flop around as much. To keep the corners from becoming rounded, I just added a little picot that doubled as decoration.
As the sides were worked from the slip stitched loops on the base, that left open loops facing outwards. Switching back to the larger hook and using the bright green with the main grain, I did one last round of single crochet into those loops, to make the base a bit more stable, and balance out that bright green at the top.
My daughter was very happy with it!
It was so much fun, today I made another tea cozy. This time, for one of my tea cups.
I think these were actually sold as soup cups. It’s about twice the size of your basic coffee mug.
Normally, when I make cup cozies, I make them with a strap that goes through the handle and buttons into place on the other side. It not only holds the cozy in place, but it protects your fingers from coming in contact with a scalding hot cup. Which is a big deal for people with nerve damage in their hands that prevents them from feeling heat!
That design works great with regular mugs, but with a cup that’s short and fat (like me!), they would slide off on the side opposite the handle.
So for this one, I made an over-the-handle loop. I started with a round, flat base that was just barely the same size as the bottom of the cup, then worked a couple of rounds without increasing, to start building up the sides. After that, I worked in rows, leaving a 5 stitch gap for the handle. I had very little of this yarn, and Nosencrantz had gotten to the purple, chewing through in several places, so I used the little bits for the stripes. Between the two colours, I managed to finish it. 😀
After finishing with the last two rows in blue, I joined the purple at the handle gap, working down from the right hand side, then around to the top of the other side. This closed up the handle gap from a 5 stitch opening to a 3 stitch opening. After making a little 3 chain loop at the corner, I then slip stitched into the last row of blue, all the way around, with the last slip stitch worked into the first stitch in purple. Next, I made a chain 3 to close the gap, slip stitching into the 3 chain loop at the opposite corner, then finishing off the yarn.
The slip stitches keep the top edge from being too stretchy, and the loop stretched over the handle pulls it all in. There is no way this cozy is going to slide off the other side!
I’m using it right now and, in retrospect, I would change one thing. I would make it one row shorter. That would require making the handle loop a chain or two longer to reach over the handle, without too much strain on the strands. When drinking from the cup, the cozy is juuuust tall enough that it gets in the way of my lips a bit.
We have three more cups like this (alas, our fourth one broke). I think I have enough cotton yarn to tweak it a bit and make a couple more. 🙂
I really love doing structural crochet. I also love making useful, rather than decorative, things. I’m glad I can still work with cotton, because it’s perfect for both.