Friday, 25 April 2008

Grannie's Traditional Tea Cosy

Grannie's Traditional Tea Cosy is my copy of grannie's traditional tea cosy:

IMG_2837 IMG_2846 IMG_2848 IMG_2842

I wanted to make a new one like the old, which must be at least 80 years old, and still keeping the tea warm, although starting to disintegrate gracefully:

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But I entirely failed to find a pattern for the traditional style, with the yarns used alternately, pulled across wrong side when not in use to form the pucker, and making the double-layer that keeps the tea, literally, cozy. So I made this one up as I went along by interrogating the original. I couldn't bring myself to top it with a pom pom. I hate pom poms. But it needed something, so I added some loopy flowers instead.

It's mostly Sirdar Eco Wool, which is lovely to knit with, although needed the occasional twist as I went along to keep the strength. For anyone who's searching for something similar.... here's the pattern. I noted down what I did as I went, but this pattern has not been tested. If you find any mistakes, please contact me to let me know, and I will correct them!

PATTERN for a 4-cup/ 2-pint teapot

2x 50g ball Sirdar Eco wool dk in shade 203 Brown (main colour MC)
1x 50g ball Sirdar Eco wool dk in shade 200 Natural/Undyed (contrasting colour CC1)
1x King Cole Merino Blend Superwash wool dk in shade 118 Red (contrasting colour CC2)
1 set 4mm needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Or any equivalent double-knitting yarn.
Gauge: 22 st and 28 rows / 10cm or 4"

The cosy is knitted in garter stitch throughout. Two colours are knitted on every row, and the pucker is formed by pulling the yarn not in use across the wrong side of the work. At each end the strands of yarn need to be twisted together before turning and knitting the next row. Two pieces are made and sewn together at the sides, leaving gaps for the handle and spout. The pucker at the edge of each piece has an extra stitch to allow them to be seamed more invisibly.

The pattern looks complex, but it isn't once you get your head around the colour changes!

Make 2 Pieces:

Cast on 98 stitches in MC using long-tailed cast on (thumb method).
Row 1 (WS): with MC k all stitches

Row 2 (RS): with MC k9, *with CC1 k8, with MC k8*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with CC1 k9. Pull the unused yarn across the back of the work as you knit. Twist the 2 yarns together at the edge.

Getting the tension right when pulling the unused yarn across the back of the work is not too easy. The first time I attempted it I pulled too tightly and the result was very narrow! My best advice is when taking up and using the next colour each time, first knit one stitch, and then gently pull the yarn until there is no slack (i.e. no loop of yarn at the back), but neither is it too taught, and still has some give in it. You are aiming for a width at the bottom of each piece of about 26cm/10".

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Row 3 (WS): with CC1 k9, *with MC k8, with CC1 k8*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with MC k9. Remember to bring the yarn forward between the needles, and pull the unused yarn across the front of the work when knitting the WS. Twist all three yarns together at the edge.

Row 4 (RS): with CC2 k9, *with MC k8, with CC2 k8*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with MC k9. Pull the unused yarn across the back as you knit, and twist the yarns together at the end.

Row 5 (WS): with MC k9, *with CC2 k8, with MC k8*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with CC2 k9. Pull the unused yarn across the front as you knit, and twist the yarns together at the end.

Repeat rows 2-5 14 times, and then repeat rows 2-3 once. You will have 63 rows knitted, and end with a WS row.

Begin decreasing, staying in the colour pattern:

Row 64 (RS): with CC2 k1, *with CC2 k2tog, k4, k2tog, with MC k2tog, k4, k2tog*, repeat from *to* 6 times, with MC k1.

Row 65 (WS): with MC k7, *with CC2 k6, with MC k6*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with CC2 k7.

Row 66 (RS): with MC k1, *with MC k2tog, k2, k2tog, with CC1 k2tog, k2, k2tog*, repeat from *to* 6 times, with CC1 k1.

Row 67 (WS): with CC1 k5, *with MC k4, with CC1 k4*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with MC k5.

Row 68 (RS): with CC2 k1 *with CC2 k2tog twice, with MC k2tog twice*, repeat from *to* 6 times, with MC k1.

Row 69 (WS): with MC k3, *with CC2 k2, with MC k2*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with CC2 k3.

Row 70 (RS): with MC k1, *with MC k2tog, with CC1 k2tog*, repeat from *to* 6 times, with CC1 k1.

Row 71 (WS): with CC1 k2, *with MC k1, with CC1 k1*, repeat from *to* 5 times, with MC k2.

Row 72 (RS): with MC k1, k2tog 6 times, k1.

Leave these 8 stitches on a holder, break yarns leaving long tails and repeat pattern to knit a second piece. When both sides are completed, draw the tail of MC yarn through the stitches remaining on both pieces and draw together. Knot discretely.

Use the yarn tails to sew together the pieces using mattress stitch, leaving a gap at both edges for the teapot spout and handle.

IMG_2856 IMG_2859 25th April

For the Top of the Pot:

Make a large flower with MC yarn. CO 97 st.
Row 1: k all stitches.
Row 2: *k1, BO15*, repeat from *to* until 1 stitch from the end, k1.
Break yarn and draw tail through the remaining stitches on the needle, and gather together, forming a 6-loop flower. Knot and use tail to sew to top of cosy.

Make a smaller flower with CC2. CO 67 st.
Row 1: k all stitches.
Row 2: *k1, BO10*, repeat from *to* until 1 st from the end, k1.
Break yarn and draw tail through the remaining stitches on the needle, and gather together, forming a 6-loop flower. Knot and use tail to sew to top of cosy, on top of MC flower.

In CC1 CO 3 st. Knit in i-cord to the desired length of loop, approximately 20 rows. BO and sew both ends of the loop to the top of the cosy.
There is a great video tutorial on i-cord at knitting

Weave in ends on the wrong side, and there you have one Grannie's Traditional Tea Cosy, and your tea will be happy!


Harrysmum said...

Thanks for this awsome pattern - my MIL used to make tea cosies *just* like this and she dies before I took up knitting again so I never got her pattern off her!
I think I might make a few of these for faimily gifts!

Cindy said...

Beautiful colors!!
Beautiful photographs!!

Keren said...

Thank you! I hope this pattern is useful to someone. Any comments, or errors spotted, or new cozies made, or suchlike gratefully received!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Keren,

You're a great knitter. I was looking for something just like this. Thanks for sharing your talent. I think I'll use the pompom!

Lesley said...

Just found this great pattern via ravelry — thank you so much for all that hard work! I'm starting one straight away. I too have happy memories of the old family teapot. Must have been a time when there was a cosy like this in every household!

Stevie said...

This is also like the tea cozy my great-aunt made, which we have been unable to find since my grandmother's death. Hers was a checkerboard pattern, so I'm going to attempt that and hopefully recreate it. Thank you!

OzWeaver said...

Almost a year since you've posted this, but I've just discovered it and want to say "Thank you!" This pattern is so clever and so pretty too! A perfect combination of form and function!

Can't wait to start knitting it!


Fiddling Granny said...

I've been looking everywhere for this exact pattern, thanks for posting it!!

Stitch'nbitch with litch said...

Just joined Ravelry today - and found this! So amazing to find a pattern for the tea cozy we had at home since at least the 50's, although ours was graced with a china lady in colours that sort of matched the wool. I was so sorry that I had discarded it when clearing my Mum's flat after she died. You have made me very happy, and nostalgic. Thank you

Anonymous said...

This really took me back to being
at grans house. The exact Tea Cosie
a really lovely memory of my childhood and having tea with Gran
Thanks for a lovely memory from

Anonymous said...

This is great, thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

thank you - have been looking for a good pattern and this is perfect :) Cant wait to start knitting!

franney said...

I found your pattern on Ravelry and just wanted to say "thankyou"!
I just hope i get the amount of pucker right! ;o)

randi K design said...

I love this cosy! Nice technic! Thank you for the pattern, I might try to make it sometime!

clicking needles said...

Dear Keren,fantastic pattern. I need some help with the abbreviations i would like to make the flower topping but cannt work out what bo stands for hoping you can explain thanks again for the pattern

Keren said...

Clicking Needles - thank you! BO is the usual abbreviation for "bind off" (or "cast off" if you like, but not to be confused with the abbreviation for "cast on"!) Hope that helps, enjoy your cosy! Keren

Carolyn said...

I just stumbled across your wonderful blog and this fantastic tutorial!! Thank you. I can't wait to get started but only after I have a good snoop around your place.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what I was looking for, thank you.
I must be one very lucky lady though as I sent the details to my best friend Raymond, who worked his socks off to secretly make me one for Christmas in my kitchen colours! How fab was that? Best present ever!!

Vivienne said...

Hi Keren! I don't seem to be able to print the pattern for your tea cosy. I get the first four photos and then blank pages! Can you help? Vivienne

Keren said...

I don't think it's a blog problem, I can print it fine. Have you tried copying and pasting what you need into Word or something similar and printing it from there?

Jo said...

This is such a fabulous pattern, simple to follow and the finished product is amazing. I have doen several as presents and everyone comments on how great it is to have a proper tea cosie (reported to keep tea hot for half an hour by my Mum) and nice memories of their Gran or someone similar having one. THANKS KEREN!!!!

Anonymous said...

had been looking for a cosy for my teapot for some time and your pattern and colours were perfect. knitting it and popping it on the teapot was another pleasure. smiles all round. thanks so much Keren

Helen said...

hello - thank you sharing for this ace pattern. i was looking for one to make as a present for a fellow tea addict and this turned out perfectly and has been much admired. so much so that my mother in law has been inspired to make one for herself. i didn't quite get my pattern right but it fits perfectly and keeps the tea lovely and hot. Who could ask for more?!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing the pattern. I made mine and it really works great at keeping the pot hot!!

My family did rib me for knitting "granny" style, my thought was possible toaster cover next? Ha!

Mine is pink, white, and maroon. One side ended up different color, because I was running low on the main color, and since it is so colorful it is hard to see the change. I love the top. I made mine like yours and it really did finish it off nicely!

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Keren - thank you so much. I just made a smaller version of this for my 2 mug tea pot.

I love it & I love the nostalgia of the pattern. I'm sure one of my Nan's had this tea cosy.

Mine is navy, hot pink & lilac blue. It looks fabulous.

Once again - Thanks!!!

Regards, Sue

Anonymous said...

Hi Keren
Like all of the above comments I am very grateful to you for sharing this pattern with everyone. I do have 2 very old tattered cosies like this which I inherited but now need replacing.I made the mistake of knitting a cosy which looks nice but is no way as warm as these old fashioned ones so looked on internet to see if I could find a pattern and fell upon yours - brilliant. I need a smaller version for my 2 cup pot so could you advise me about stitches. Would 50 or 60 sts be about right do you think? Thanks for any help - I'm a novice when it comes to knitting!

Keren said...

I am knitting one at the moment for a smaller pot, but probably not as small as yours. For a 2-cup pot I would hazard a guess at maybe cast on 66 stitches, which at 8 stitches per pucker gives you 8 puckers on each side, with an extra stitch in the ones at the edge to allow you to sew them together.
Good luck! Keren

ilikeewoks said...

Hi Keren,
Thanks for the great pattern! I've already made one for myself. And I'll definitely make more for friends and family!

Anonymous said...


My grandmother taught me how to make this style of tea cosy when I was quite young, and I could not remember the pattern as an adult at all. Thanks for make the effort to reproduce it.

winifred said...

I have one just like it and am so pleased to see this pattern as I need a 2nd one. Also I would dearly love the same patterin for a smaller pot for one person. Can anyione help with way to adjust.i.e. stitches and rows for decreassing etc.

Anonymous said...

I adore this pattern! I knitted it last year with some leftover wool from my stash, and my friends are all so jealous that i've got a backlog of demands for birthday tea cosies to make! Thank you so much for sharing this. My teapot and my husband are very grateful!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for this pattern ,and straight aaway found yours. I am going to make this tomorrow and will let you know how I do...thank you so much Karen. Jean

Anonymous said...

Love this pattern! Added to my list of things to knit for housewarming presents :)

Kathleen said...

I can't wait to try this pattern! Exactly what I was looking for!!
Thank you.

Laura said...

I am very proud of my cosy - thanks for the pattern it is exactly what i wanted. now i am going to make one for Avoncroft museum of Buildings who are having a cosy knitting competition to raise funds -


Beki said...

I've just finished this as a present for my friend and it's AMAZING! Thanks for posting! (p.s. I put a pile of pom poms on the top of mine :))

Melyssa said...

Thanks for reinventing this pattern! I have been trying to find one to make for my mom's tea pot and yours looks just like something she would love. The only problem is, she has a 6 cup pot...any suggestions on how to modify it to make it bigger? I'm relatively new at knitting so I don't want to just guess:) Thanks again for all your hard work!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the pattern, its perfect. Its become very fashionable to have a 'retro' tea-cosy gracing the kitchen table. My 23 year old son has even requested one for his new flat!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this lovely pattern. I just completed one for my mom.

Anonymous said...

Love your pattern and mine looks beautiful. However, I have a problem with the abbreviation BO. I know CO means "cast on" but what about the "BO". Hope you can help. Sorry for being so dumb!

Keren said...

Hello! Just to confirm, by BO I mean "bind off" or "cast off". I use the abbreviation for bind (rather than cast) off just to save any confusion with CO for cast on. Hope that's cleared that up! Happy knitting.

Keren said...

Hello All. Several of you have asked for specific numbers of stitches to cast on for a particular size of tea pot. I am sorry I haven't got back to all of you individually. I have in mind to write a post giving a calculator to work it our for any dimension of pot. I make no promises, but watch this space!

Anonymous said...

Hi Keren, not to pressure you, but I need to make a one cup cosy for our granddaughter, so something to help me figure out the specs would be very helpful. I just love this cosy, thanks for posting the pattern

Sandi Remedios said...

Thanks so much for this lovely pattern. I am adding it to my to do list.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant pattern! Plan to make one for overseas family with teabag from Bury St Edmunds tea shop! Love the elephant by the sea story too!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this wonderful pattern!

I modified it to fit a 2 cup pot - pictured here on Ravelry:

Anonymous said...

Thannkmyou for sharing your pattern. The Wedderburn Patchwork Group are having an exhibition in June which revolves around tea parties, tea pots, tea cups raised wil go towards breast cancer and biggest morning tea. For more information about our group visit
Thanks Michelle

Jenn said...

Thank you so much for posting a free cosy pattern! I don't knit, so I am asking a friend to do this for me. I need a smart cosy for my son's first tea pot, which is red. Your pattern looks lovely and will suit very well.
Isn't the internet wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was so grateful when I put in "teacozypatterns" and this one popped up immediately. I have an order to make one for a customer and didn't know how I would make it. I have a pattern of this, only for slippers and was going to see how I would tackle it. Thankyou, thankyou. Gloria

Anonymous said...

Delighted to find this pattern and can't wait to make it. Just one question: for the flower on the top what does the abbreviation BO mean?
Many thnaks

Anonymous said...

Sorry Keren
Have just seen that you have already answered my question about the abbreviation BO. Really looking forward to making this.
Many thanks. I'll definitely be following your blog from now on.

Eileen said...

My Mum knitted used this pattern many years ago and I am so glad to have found it on your web site, many thanks.

Midice said...

Bought a tea cosy le this, then mum in law requested one two, so delighted to find this pattern. Would be good to size up for a six cup tea pot too.

louise said...

we had one like this when i was growing up.i used your pattern to get the general idea, then made a few changes of my own, mine is 2 colour so i got a stripy effect, and i knitted a rose for the top. the only trouble is everyone wants one! great for birthday and christmas prezzies. thank you x

Anonymous said...

Great pattern friend was looking for a tea cosy and we could not find one so looked for a pattern and started this one straight away loved doing it many thanks

young60 said...

This is a real blast from the past! I first knitted one like this in 1960 when I was eight years old. It was a first project while being taught knitting at school although I had been knitting since I was five. Wonder how today's eight year olds would cope with it? I'm making it for a friend that bought a kit for a tea cosy but could not do it.

Anna Davidson said...

Our drama group is performing 'Calendar Girls" in May and after the shows, Thank you so much. we are raffling hampers full of WRI goodies for a cancer charity. We wanted to include a traditional 'WRI' style tea cosy and this one is just perfect ! Thank you so much!
Anna from East Lothian.

Jea said...

P.ease can you tell me how many stitches for a tea cosy for a 1 to 2 pot . I would love to knit this but smaller. Thank you

Inge said...

Hi Keren, What a beautiful pattern, such lovely colours. I've only found it 5 years on since you posted it. But it's absolutely timeless, so thank you. My question is: How do you make it fit snugly round the bottom of the teapot? Is it just naturally tight, or do you need an elastic? Thank you, Inge.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this! I wanted to find a pattern for an old tea cosy I rescued from being thrown out years ago. Love it - just want it in a different colour scheme - so thank you, thank you!!!


Calee said...

I can't wait to make this cosy, it looks like one that my Nan used to make back in the day. She taught me how to knit when I was 8yrs old. . . thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I was trying to find a traditional tea-cosey for my sister-in-law who'd asked for one for her Birthday. I came across your pattern and asked my Mum to make me one. She did a great job (and she's not an expert!) and my sister-in-law was thrilled so thank you! I have a photo but don't know how to post it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you from me too for posting a reminder of what 'little old ladies' used to have on their kitchen mantlepieces lined with scalloped newspaper.
Your instructions were fairly easy to follow when I worked out the initials. But what is CO and BO? - me as a retired nurse will always associate that with "bowels opened" I got stuck with the top of the pot because I can't work it out.
AS au

Anonymous said...

Had a request to make one of these to replace a cosy that was past retirement age. Didn't know how to go until I saw this so better get cracking on this as a Christmas pressie-thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great pattern, made a lovely snug tea cosy and easy to adapt to fit your teapot perfectly. Thanks!

Jenny Simmons said...

Going to knit a cosy for the Cwmtwrch Womens Coffee Morning Group. Thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

I have been working on this cute little tea cozy for a few days now. I chose purple as my main colour and white and pink as my accents. I am almost finished the first side and I just can't wait to finish. My tea will be warm or hours!

Thanks for the wonderful pattern! Love it!

Gina Vertrees said...

Just finished mine, and it's awesome! I have a small vintage Hall teapot, so I only cast on 62 stitches and made each color section 6 stitches instead of 8. Thank you for posting this!

carolina said...

Just what I am looking for. I first made a tea cosy exactly like this when I first started knitting - 40 years ago! I have started knitting again and wanting to make another just couldn't remember what I did. Now looking for matinee jacket patterns - grand children on the way!

Miriam said...

I'm almost finished knitting this, and it has come out really beautifully, thank you so much for the pattern!
I know other people have asked about resizing, but i'm going to add my voice .. I want to knit one of these for my mum, and she has a 6 cup tea pot. Anyone have any tips on how to make this larger? ( Add more multiples of 8, and make it a bit higher? )

Silvia said...

Hi! I love your pattern, I want to make it! My problem is that as english is not my main language, It comes a bit difficult to understand. I cannot figure how you pull the threads, do you have a video by chance? Do you know if there is any in youtube? Do you know the name of the stitch?
You kow, for us knitters, when a pattern gets in your head you MUST learn it! Thanks...Silvia from Argentina (

Francoise Herry said...

I love your pattern! My grand grand-mother used to knit a doll tea cosy, like a female version of the London Tower beefeater.
Would anyone have the pattern for this tea cosy and know where to find the doll which is included in it?

Pat said...

Hi there, love your tea cozy pattern you have explained the steps really well making it very easy to follow. I am at the flower stage but for the life of me I can't think what 'bo' stands for? Can you tell me please? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work Keren, One question tough: how do you keep the tea cosy tight at the bottom and fitting round the base ?

Victoria Wilcox said...

Fabulous pattern! Now just finishing my fifth! Xmas presents were so admired in 2013 I have knitted more for those who dropped not too subtle hints! I love stripes so each time I knit a new colour combination I am amazed by how good it looks. A big thankyou !