Tasteful or tacky? Homemade knitted tea cosies
The tea cosy. A common every day object that doesn’t seem very interesting to anyone other than your grandmother and her knitting club.
In fact, many people see tea cosies as an unfashionable accessory for the home which should be shoved in the loft with all the other bits and pieces we never use; when in fact the history of the tea cosy is a rather interesting one.
Now we at UlsterWeavers.com are proud supporters of the tea cosy and are not afraid to say it. And to help sway your ideas of the tea cosy world, we have the history here in our hands and a few funky knitted tea cosies designs along the way!
Dating back to Nobel origins, the tea cosy was not only brought about to keep the teapot and its contents hot, but to extend social activities!
The tea cosy time line begins when tea was first introduced to Britain in the 1660s, when King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza. Catherine brought to court the pleasure of tea taking. However, the importing of this then luxury item was very costly and a pleasure only the aristocracy could afford until 1750 when tea became Britain’s national drink. Colonialism and the ever-increasing empire meant that more exotic goods were being brought to Britain more often and more cheaply.
However, it is probably the Duchess of Bedford who brought about the popularity of the tea cosy.
In 1840, the Duchess of Bedford established the activity of ‘Afternoon Tea,’ an event that became so British that we still refer to 4pm as ‘Tea Time.’ During this era ‘well to do’ ladies didn’t work, so the introduction of afternoon tea was a welcomed occupation. Unlike today, afternoon tea was a rather posh affair; the best china (usually fine China tea services imported from China) would be used along with fancy cakes and pastries to accompany the tea.
The tea party would be served at the table, often in the garden during the summer months. Afternoon tea was a time for networking and keeping up to date with the latest gossip and topical news, and of course with all the chatter at the table, the teapot would get cold. Usually this would cut short tea parties giving reluctant guests an excuse to leave instead of sending for a fresh pot of tea. And so that is where the tea cosy came about; a little warm jacket to keep the tea pot piping and the chatter continuing.
The tea cosy started to be used in North America in the same period. Newspapers at that time where saying that tea cosies enjoyed a “sudden and unexpected rise in public favour” among women who hosted tea parties. Newspapers of the time even included advice columns on how to make one.
The tea cosy craze died for a while, but since the boom of arts and crafts around the globe, many people have taken to knitting their own tea cosies to accompany their tea pot in the home.
And have we found some cute little designs out there that you have made. Here are our favourites.
Sweet little knitted flower basket perfect for the gardener in you.
We love this quaint tea cosy, ideal for a sophisticated tea break between you and your friends.
Themed tea cosies also go down a treat. We found Christmas Puddings, Santa Clauses and Easter Bunny knitted tea cosies too.
We aren’t really sure what this is meant to be but it’s a funky design that will definitely keep your tea toasty hot!
If we tempted you into tea cosy land but knitting truly isn’t your forte, then why not visit UlsterWeavers.com to view
a range of modern and professionally designed tea cosy collections.
The home furnishings store has many different styles and designs to choose from including an adorable Thomas Joseph Red Knitted Tea Cosy. The red and white striped design finished with a while bobble on top is the perfect accessory for your kitchen.
For more information visit UlsterWeavers.com today.