I blame Loani Prior. Ever since that first encounter at Mittagong where she corrupted my tea cosy soul forever, I can't do boring. It's a dis-ease of the creatively enervating recreatively reborn kind. It nips any sane tendencies in the bud and tells you that a teapot is just an art canvas that has been waiting to be discovered for four centuries or so.
Perhaps I should really also be blaming my gorgeous daughter Neisha. She gave me Loani's first tea cosy book in the first place. But, confession time. I never actually make Loani's tea cosies. I just use them for glorious inspiration. And I couldn't do a thing without her basic pattern instructions. I'd be lost, up that proverbial creek, fishing around in the murky water and groping blindly for the paddle.
For this tea cosy I used an eight ply New Zealand wool mixture of Alpaca and wool.
Inevitably, being me, I wasn't concentrating at the beginning and I made a mistake in counting. I don't really like to use the word 'aborted', but this tea cosy was a stillbirth. I may be able to bring life back into her yet. But it will be a challenge and it will be a teeny teapot, not the four cup pot that our Miz Strawbella will grace.
You can see where I had failed to check that I had an equal number of stitches on either side and where I was not using the teapot to constantly check.
I am one of those who struggle with knitting instructions in a book, and the YouTube videos are tremendously helpful. However, I could not do any of this without Loani's basic patterns and inspirational ideas.
British artist Grayson Perry recently designed a house in Essex based on a fictional everywoman called Julie. I watched a programme on it last night on the ABC and was uplifted and inspired. Miz Strawbella is MY 'Julie'. However, Strawbella is unique.
Strawbella is a Christmas present for a friend safely not on Facebook and definitely not a blog reader! Her strawberries would have been traditionally red, but there would have been a ghastly colour clash so this sixties-souled hippy girl had a chance to relive the vibrant psychedelic colours of her mock-youth and see strawberries in shades of purple, pink, and green all set about with Swarovski crystal beads and Swarovski crystal butterflies. Every time she pours a cup she hears the tinkling bells of the fairy spirits whispering in her head, in her attic, whispering reassuringly to her that she's still there and life goes on and all is well. She's had a hard life already for one so young with an old soul, but this tea cosy is designed to fill her world with colour, precious sparkly moments of joy, and comfort around the rituals of tea, already known for bringing such solace in times of pain and need. Delight for her eyes, her ears and her palate.
The present is going to be accompanied by High Tea bunting, but I need to go out this morning and shop for more tassels for that.
Look on this blog for Miz Strawbella's Photograph album, in the sidebar, to see her photographed from every which angle.
So, thank you, you Grand High Purl Baa Gorgeousness, I seem to have started knitting tea cosies again. Mwah. Mwah.