Thursday 4 July 2013

The Tale of Brown Betty or The Tale of Two Tea Cosies

Did you know that those lovely old round brown teapots actually have a special name and a long history? Old brown teapots just like this one...this 4 cup pot is over 30 yrs old...

While mine is a cheap Chinese replica the first Brown Betty's originate in England and were made from a special brown clay discovered in 1695 which held the heat better than previous clays used. It was in the Victorian era that their lovely roundness was developed to enable the tea to swished around to make it brew better. They had a special glaze known as Rockingham glaze which is nice as we live near Rockingham in WA.
On Monday I told you that I was again using this teapot as I'd run out of teabags and that I was very pleased with the better, stronger tea I'd made in it. However it has been rather cold this week and it became obvious that dear Betty needed a new coat.

I found some lovely very chunky/12ply wools in my stash and measured my teapot...

Using 5mm needles to make it a tight knit for heat retention

Cast on 25 sts
Knit 5 rows; increase once in the middle of Row 5
Change to stocking stitch and starting with a purl row work another 17 rows or as required to fit your teapot.

Row 23 (K3 K2tog) to the end of the row
Work 5 rows in stocking stitch
Row 29 (K1 K2tog) to the end
Work 7 rows in stocking stitch
Row 37 (K2tog) to the end
Row 38 Purl to end
Cast off

You simply make two of these and stitch them together leaving room for Betty's handle and spout, or what-ever your tea-pot is named :D Each half will look like this...


Doesn't she posh now? I added some short pieces of twisted yarn to the second one but you could really go to town with knitted or crocheted embellishments, fancy buttons or perhaps some embroidery ...

I'll put the kettle on.

Billy Connelly's quote, "Never trust a man who when left alone with a tea cosy does not put it on his head!"

Last September was the very first National Wear A Tea Cosy Day and it raised lots of money for charity.

Twitch was very pleased to see some fresh kale in the shopping bag today, he really loves it. I also filled a bag with cauliflower leaves at the shop and have washed them as I expect they have been sprayed with pesticides etc.

My first pet rabbit, Snowy, enjoyed eating rolled oats with used tea-leaves mixed in as well as fresh vegetables, each to his own I suppose. This was in the early 1960's.

Dear Rose is also thinking and drinking tea this week, have a look at her blog here

Bye bye for now,


  1. Twitch is certainly a beautiful bunny I bet he is enjoying the kale , think I would like to try growing some for mine, the chooks love it too.
    Love your tea cosys x

  2. That is one sweet rabbit. I am curious about how you developed the recipe for Snowy.

    1. Hi Juds, I googled oats and tealeaves and found it was common in the UK in older times. I was only 7-8 yrs old so Mum organised Snowy's meals(I foraged wild raspberry leaves for her) and as Granddad kept rabbits for meat during the 1930s and 40s I expect that this is what he fed them too.

  3. I really need a knitted tea cosy. It has been years since I've had one, and I remember my mother's so well. It was brown and ugly, but did the trick... thank you for the pattern!

    1. Hi Lois, with the really thick wool I used I made both cosies over 2 afternoons. You could use 2 strands of double knit wool if you don't have any chunky/12 ply

  4. I love those tea cosies Sue!

    1. Ty Rose, they're pretty and practical and a very quick knit. The coffee plunger is next on my list ;)

  5. I need to make a tea cosy too, Sue. I just do basic knitting stitches but I think I might be able to make this one. Outback Tania made one by joining two granny squares which looks cute too. My teapot is small so I might have to experiment. I love the ones you have made.

  6. The purple/silver cosy is my choice. Lucky twitch.

  7. Oh my your post reminded me that my OH's mum gave me one of those brown tea pots once ... have't seen it for a while. Love the cosy.