Now that the moment as passed I can tell you all about the project I was attempting for yesterday. One of my friends is getting married in November and her three bridesmaids organised her hen night (or day really) for yesterday. One of the bridesmaids (also a friend) mentioned some time ago that it would be rather fun if I could make a tea cosy in the shape of a wedding cake which could also double as a hat for the hen for the occasion (I should perhaps explain that the hen is a big tea drinker so this is perhaps less odd than it sounds). I thought the idea sounded entertaining and set to.
I managed to find some nice white yarn which reminded me sufficiently of royal icing (Sirdar Spree, 60% cotton, 40% acrylic, chunky weight). I did a nice big test swatch to see what the fabric it produced would be like. The ball band recommends 6.5mm needles, but I wanted a very firm fabric, I was thinking I would probablyÂ make an internal skeleton out ofÂ plastic canvas (so keeping it washable and stillÂ flexible) but still wanted the knitted fabric to be quiteÂ dense, so I went down to 4mm needles. Being mostly cotton, and also being quite loosely spun it is a very inelastic yarn and knitting it on such small needles was what had been hurting my left hand. The way I knit means that I push the knitting along with my left thumb, and dealing with such resistance from the fabric (even though I wasÂ using myÂ KnitPicks needles – nice and slippery, but the pointiness means I also have a sore spot on my left index finger!) gave me a pain in the base of my left thumb. Thank you for all your comments and suggestions on this. I am very happy that now I have stopped knitting on this my hand is fine, and no other knitting causes any problems.
So anyway, armed with the tension measurement from my swatch, I measured my collection of teapots (I have 6, I thought this would be a representative sample 🙂 ) and I also measured my head,Â with aÂ thought to it doubling as a hat for the festivities. AÂ few calculations were made, and I cast on for the bottom tier. My planÂ was for a three-tier cake made all in one piece, large enough to fit over a teapot, so it wouldn’t have slits in the sides for handle and spout.
I made a nice reverse stocking stitch hem, and worked in stocking stitch for the first tier, again with a reverse stocking stitch roll before the flat section to go into the second tier. I fiddled around a bit to get a good stitch to make the delineation between theÂ horizontal top of the first tier and the vertical side of the second tier, and in the end decided on a round of purl, then on the next round I picked up the purl bump from the front and worked it together with the next stitch on the needle through the back of the loop. This bent the fabric forward on itself and created a good 90 degree fold line. So I motored along up the second tier, and had done about 20 rounds when it became apparent that things weren’t working out.
The proportions were all wrong and it wasn’t looking like a wedding cake. The top tier was too narrow, the diameter was too small, but even apart from that I could see that it was going to be too tall for its width. The difficulty was that the bottom tier needed to be that tall to go over the shoulder of the teapot, but that meant that the upper tiers would also have to be tall to balance the lower one, and it all got out of proportion. To counteract this I could have made all the tiers much wider, which would have made an abnormally large teacosy, rather scuppering the option of it doubling as a hat. Also time was running out and so I reluctantly admitted defeat.
However, I have never been particularly good at letting go of something once I start thinking about it, and so today I sat back down and finished the tea cosy off.
It may not look like a wedding cake but it is a perfectly functional teacosy so I shall keep it. It rather reminds me of a strange bit of architecture. It was certainly fun to experiment with even though it wasn’t a roaring success.
The hen day itself was great fun, we made chocolates at My Chocolate, and then went for tea and sandwiches. The others then went onto dinner and a club and I came home.