Thursday, March 6, 2014

Free Knitting Pattern: Nobunaga's Tea Kettle Cozy

There are many tea kettle cozies available on the internet, but almost none which will fit a tetsubin, a Japanese tea kettle. Mr. IT Guy and I have both been obsessed with Japanese culture since high school, and even had a shinto inspired wedding, so it was a matter of time before we bought a cast iron tea kettle (technically, we bought it before we got married). Though cast iron pots can keep the heat quite well, I'm a slow drinker. A sipper, really. I pour myself a small cup of tea at a time, into a thick, crock tea cup made by a Korean artisan. As the tea goes into my body, there is less in the pot to keep the pot warm.

It was time to make a tea cozy. The shape/style of kettle used in the 16th century became flatter, and not as plump looking as they used to be. They were designed for traveling around in a pack, so their compact size would make repacking easier. Now, why Nobunaga? Oda Nobunaga was the primary initiator of the unification of Japan in the 16th century, and given that the tetsubin shape developed at this time, I'd like to fantasize that Nobunaga carried one around in his pack while unifying Japan.

This pattern will fit a smaller, 16 ounce (.5L) kettle. That said, you can make some size adjustments to make it go around a larger tetsubin, or even an ornate, English-style kettle. I used several sample yarns to make the cozy, but you can choose whichever style you want: solid, striped, or any combination of colors. For the pattern, you'll need US 9 needles and any heavy worsted weight yarn (8-9 WPI).

A quick tip for those interested in using scraps, but also wanting balanced stripes which are mirrored over the origin (A B C D C B A <--that kind of pattern). Hold your yarn end to end, find the middle, then make a loose knot to mark the middle. As you're knitting your stripes, keep track of the knot so you end up making equal stripes for each side. Another tip is to add in a new color on the right side (RS) of the pattern to prevent a zigzag of color where you joined in the new color on the wrong side (WS).

Find the download link for the pattern here: Nobunaga's Tea Kettle Cozy Pattern

Enjoy the pattern, and as always, feel free to share via email or on the FB Expertly Dyed fanpage!