When in doubt, make it a tea cozy

I think I’m going to adopt this as my new knitting motto:  ‘When in doubt, make it a tea cozy’.

Once upon a time, I bought a bunch of a favorite yarn when it was on sale.  I think we’ve all been there, where the prospect of great yarn overwhelms all rational decision-making and prudent project-planning.

It was Rowan Chunky Print, and I bought it in several colors including this muted medium gray which absolutely (still) gives me a thrill.  I had a slumpy sweater coat in mind when I bought it, but I had made the novice mistake of forgetting that a pattern’s “x balls of yarn” needs to be translated into yardage before substituting another yarn of similar gauge.  I also realized in a couple of months that the style was very fleeting, and no longer interesting to me.  It never got cast on.

So fast-forwarding to 2009, I cast on this same yarn for the Helsinki Hat Scarf, and was on a roll… for about six inches.  Here were the two big flaws in that plan:

  1. I once again was smitten by a pattern whose style (I later realized) had a finite appeal for me.  I mean, when am I going to wear a hat-scarf?  I don’t even like hoods!
  2. I once again matched the yarn badly to the pattern.  Although it was making a wonderful squooshy texture with gorgeously stand-out cables, it was pretty firm and “free-standing” for a hat-scarf… and due to that density I kept having to revise the intended length.  Bad signs!

So then, with the creeping sense of “this is not going well”, I put it aside in favor of other things.  When I got bit by a desire to finish things, I’d pick it back up, remember the cable pattern wrongly, make mistakes, get frustrated, put it aside again…

Cabled swath

Cabled beginnings

So then I decided that I would rethink it, and create something else.  I couldn’t stand to give up on that wonderful, squooshy, beautiful cable.  I’m also really stubborn about frogging.  So stubborn that I took the piece, now developing the y-shape necessary for the hat-scarf armhole, and decided that (cable mistakes and all), I was going to just design a back for this and make the existing piece the front of a vest.

While this may sound like an admirable creative shift, in retrospect I think this was elaborate denial.  I still felt the creeping sense of “this is not going well”, I still kept putting it aside in favor of other projects, and I still picked it up rarely only to make cabling mistakes because my heart just wasn’t in it.

After several more starts and stops in the last two years, and much soul searching about frogging the whole thing, I was enjoying some tea recently and chastising myself about being the only knitter + tea-fanatic that doesn’t have a tea-cozy when it hit me:  I could rip this project back to the first 6 inches, add a hole for the spout, seam in a space for the handle, gather up the top, and voila!  Tea cozy!

Cabled tea cosy

Cabled tea cozy

I am so happy that I have found a way to show off the beautiful cables, enjoy the beautiful yarn, keep my tea warm, and I didn’t even have to rip out the whole thing.

So the next time I have such a knitting dilemma, or a good 6 inches followed by a million problems, or yarn that doesn’t seem to want to work in any project, I am going to remember:

‘When life hands you lemons, make tea-cozies.’  er, something like that.

Do you have any good knitting mottos or wisdom one-liners?

Until next time, keep those needles clicking…


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