Thursday, 25 July 2013

Old MacDonald had a Farm E- I- E- I- O

Earlier this year I injured my thumb, making it rather difficult to make things. After some attempts to knit and crochet with my left hand,  I realised that extended rest and a thumb splint was inevitable. My patience and sanity only extended to about two months before I was back into making items of substance. My first commissioned piece came in the form of a tea cosy for a woman who lived on a farm who was soon to turn 60.  Yay, my favourite tea cosies. My brain when into overdrive thinking of all the options for making a farm themed tea cosy. The idea I pitched was for a green tea cosy with little farm yard animals sitting on top.

So first things first. Lets see if I can make little animals.  I found crocheted patterns for a cute cow and sheep. Originally the pattern was for 8 ply yarn and a 4mm hook to make animals 7.5cm high.  I can't put animals this big on a cosy, the animals wouldn't stand up properly. So here came thumb test number one; lets make them out of 20 mercer cotton with a 1.5mm hook. The sheep was first and here is a little picture of her.

 Yippee it worked! She ended up being about 4 cm long and about 2 cm tall. Perfect size to put on a tea cosy.

The excitement continued with the addition of Betsy the cow.

Then the tricky, chickens. All of the patterns I could find resulted in chickens the same size as the cow. It was looking like, I would be rewriting the nursery rhyme... "old macdonald had a farm E- I- E- I- O, and on that farm he had a super mutant chicken....". But with some even finer work and felt, three chickens were made to make the little family complete.

Ok, animals check, cosy hmm, what and how. To which I thought, wouldn't it be great to make it like a field with tussocks using a moss stitch. Turned out this is not as easy as you think. Moss stitch is made using an uneven number of stitches, tea cosies knitted in the round are made in multiples of two. These concepts cant really exist together. But with the use of my science and creative brain, a plan was hatched (ha ha bad pun). Admittedly there was quite a bit of refining as the cosy developed. But here it is, the finished one piece moss stitch knitted cosy.

So with the blank canvas made, the animals of Old MacDonald's Farm were going to make their debut. With only the animals on top, it looked a bit sparce. So with some tiny flowers and grass it was starting to take form.

It still looked a bit sparse, so more grass tussocks were put on the top.  With the final touches made, Old MacDonald had a Farm E- I- E- I- O was born.

Update: I recently posted this on Facebook and I am very chuffed with all of the lovely words people have said about this cosy.