Keep Tepid Tea Times at Bay with Your Friendly, Neighbourhood Owl Cosy

Being avidly into knitting and seriously short of cash, I decided to make a tea cosy for two lovely friends as a housewarming gift. If you are keen to make one yourself, there are several notes below about the pattern and method.

*The items I’ve blogged so far have been free downloads, but I bought this from Debi Birkin, so I’m not able to pass on the pattern. This and other designs can be found on her website. When checking this link I noticed that the pattern price is greatly reduced.*

Colourful character with (tea)bags of personality

I used four different wools: chocolate, rust, tan and white. These were twisted into each other to create a mottled, flecked effect. The double strands make the body thick and firm, and aid insulation but the colours can sometimes appear too uniform. I recommend using two strands of a pre-mixed wool instead. Of course, the selection can be replaced with any number of variations, in order to change the species of owl, or simply make up whatever you prefer.

The pattern states a white/orange square for the owl breast, edged on both sides by the brown blend. This looks fine but while knitting I had a better idea: rather than separate the colour blends and take the yarns upwards, I stranded them across. This made a very interesting pattern on the wrongside, which was far more appealing and feather-like. As it is on the reverse, it is hidden, but could easily be worked on the rightside, if preferred.

Wrongside on front panel showing stranded wools

The eyes were fun to make, as it involved assembling five separate elements: white background area, orange base, orange lid, button iris and then stitching it all up. I’m not experienced at knitting in rounds so, for the large white circles and smaller, orange ones, I made a trapezium shape and joined the sides together. This was fidley and the magic loop technique would be far quicker, if you can crochet. The white backgrounds were attached using brown wool in an irregular blanket stitch. Selecting the appropriate eyes was a big decision, as I wanted to give him the right character and expression. I tried to get stemmed orange eyes with back stoppers, but my local supplier can’t get them and I was on a time limit. The next best thing was buttons and these green ones complimented the brown tones.

Down turned eyes for a sleepy, sad expression

The front panel finishes straight across. I thought the owl looked rather plain with a horizontal head, so I pinched the middle downwards and sewed this to the back panel, then pulled out the ears as much as possible. I’d recommend using short rows to accentuate the ears.

The beak was a disappointment; I followed the pattern and found it came out wide, lumpy and too thick. Again, I would give preference to crochet over knitting the next time.

Lovely fit on a two-pint teapot

To assemble the body, I draped the pieces over the pot and pinned it in place around the handle and spout. It was then removed and joined with a whip stitch along the inner edges, or selvedges. I left a small amount of ‘give’ for slipping on and off.

The back panel is far shorter than the front and unattached, leaving a large gap so you can reach the teapot lid. I thought this looked a little unsightly so I sewed them together. The whole piece must be removed to use the pot. An inconvenience, but it looks far better and feels more sturdy.

A jolly adornment to any coffee table or tea service

And that’s the fellow finished. A delightful character and I hope he’ll be well used and a point of conversation in his new home.