Sheep Carousel

It’s time to show you the second design I’ll be launching at Woolfest. . . I confess that this one has been quite hard to keep quiet about . . .

Dear tea-obsessed knitters, I present to you . . .

The Sheep Carousel Tea Cosy!

I suppose it was inevitable that at some point I would combine two of my favourite things – sheep and tea – into a single design.

The tea cosy is designed in the shape of a stripey merry-go-round upon which eight jolly Shetland sheep seem to be having quite a bit of fun.

Why not put the wool of your favourite sheep to good use warming your teapot?

In his History of Hand Knitting, Richard Rutt dates the appearance of the knitted tea cosy to 1867 with the first “batchelor” cosy (incorporating openings for spout and handle) being published in Weldons in 1893. I’ve long been intrigued by Rutt’s remarks about tea cosies – he seems simultaneously fascinated by, and dismissive of, them. Perhaps he had a large, secret cosy collection squirrelled away somewhere:

“Crinoline dolls, thatched cottages, beehives, brooding hens, pineapples, even television sets and electric toasters have been the models for knitted tea cosies that hover uncertainly between trivial novelty and serious pop art.”

Oi, Rutt! We’ll have less of the “trivial novelty” – – I’ll have you know that this particular cosy has a serious technical purpose, acting as a miniature sampler upon which one can practice many different knitterly techniques: stranding, steeking, vikkel braids, centred decreases, i-cord . . .

. . . and the design has, of course a second crucial function in keeping your pot toasty-warm while you are waiting for your TEA to brew.

The Sheep Carousel is pictured here with the lovely Mary Kilvert mug that Felix sent to me last year.

mmm . . . tea . . .

I will be launching the Sheep Carousel pattern at Woolfest in kit form which will enable you to knit it with my favourite sheepy wool – Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme. One kit contains enough wool for two projects, so you could easily make both of the moorit-on-white and white-on-moorit versions pictured here.

Each carousel kit comes complete with wool, printed pattern, a professionally printed project bag and, in honour of Cumbria (where Woolfest is held) a card depicting a noble Herdwick ram whom I met and photographed at Woolfest in 2009.

The Sheep Carousel now has its own ravelry page, and the digital version of the pattern will be released when I return from Woolfest on the 24th June.

I had a total blast with this design – I hope you have as much fun knitting it!

99 thoughts on “Sheep Carousel

  1. I don’t know what to say except, really, this absolutely ROCKS. Kate, you’re responsible for the huge grin on my face (which never happens before 8am). Simply adorable.

  2. Is the whole kit, plus bag available, or just the digital download?This is great!! The mug is awesome as well as Luke Lin’s scarf (which I’ve not been able to find anywhere–hw doesn’t answer emails!!)

  3. Oh my goodness! This is utterly lovely! Squeak!
    Sorry, have now taken a breath. Oh but I do wish I was going to Cumbria, to the Woolfest, and to your stall. Please, tell me, will the kit be available to those not going to the Woolfest, at all? Or, will it be available in any place that I may order it via the internet and have it in my little mitts?

  4. One of the most endearing little projects I’ve ever seen! I predict many, many folks too far away for Woolfest will be anxiously at the ready for these two new patterns when you return.

  5. Well talk about synchronicity…. I’ve just come back from a trip to the north of my adopted island home in Tasmania, where I stumbled upon a deliriously delightful collection of handknitted cosies in a wee gift shop – I bought one, even though I knit for England, and came home itchy to knit a few of my own. So far I’ve mastered the Jamieson and Smith fair isle tea cosy – now for the sheep! Thank you yet again…. for perfect timing, and perfect cosy! x

  6. Oh…my….Gosh!!! So totally incredibly magnificently wild and wolly! You have outdone yourself! I see myself knitting one of these for all my tea loving friends!! Superb!!!

  7. I was wondering what the second design would be – oh my! I love tea too!…..and will wait patiently, tea cup in hand, for your return from Woolfest…..congratulations on a beautiful, whimsical, yet totally practical design. It’s early here in Canada….you’ve started my day off with a huge smile. Thank you.

  8. I think the only response can be “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”. That is just marvellous. Can’t wait to knit it up!

  9. Just wonderful Kate! So clever. I can’t wait to knit this. Have a wonderful time at Woolfest!
    Hello to Bruce.

  10. I love this tea cosy but I don’t have the expertise to knit it. I do use a teacosy all the time and the one being used at the moment was knitted by my mother some years ago but is looking the worse for wear these days. Maybe I should try to extend my knitting capabilities!
    Another beautiful design Kate.

  11. What a charming tea cozy! I’ve been wanting to make a tea cozy and your design is perfect! I love that you incorporated lots of knitting techniquesin the pattern.

  12. There’s me , buying your pattern for this outragiously adorable Object De Arte, as soon as it’s available. Kate, I don’t know how you feel about this, but it just seems there are so many parallels in your life and my own. For instance, (aside from the general penchant for mountains and knitting, and sometimes both at the same time)… I have been designing a tea cozy myself… and for instance, I have composed a tune I have named Caroussel, and well, for instance, that largely because of you, HOW I LOVE TEA… and by the pint !!! This one is too brilliant to pass up.. just look at those darling sheep, and the spritely vikkel braids and i-cord… all your tricks in one little go. I love it to bits.

  13. I just need to learn to knit faster so I can keep up with your pattern releases. This absolutely slays me with cuteness. I must make them for all my knitterly friends, especially the lucky few with sheep! Thanks for a great design, as always.

  14. OH, did you hear me scream??????????? i love it and look foreward to getting the pattern, July where are you :) And Mary Kilvert’s shopand sheep are totally adorable/cool….oh to be in London again! Enjoy Woolfest……….and try not to overdo……….HA

  15. I have a nice cast iron tea pot that keeps my tea warm for more than an hour. I don’t use my ceramic pot much anymore, but now i want to make this cozy and just leave it sitting on my table – maybe I can work up matching mug cozies as well. It’s fantastic. Is there any way of purchasing a kit outside of woolfest?

  16. An exemplary tea cozy! I do sympathize with the “trivial novelty” view, however – a slippery slope leads from tea cozy to toilet-paper-roll cozy, after all. Still, even the latter has been reclaimed as “serious pop art” by some.

  17. Oooooh! I have been meaning to knit a tea cosy, learn stranded colourwork, learn braids, and learn steeking. I would be interested to buy a kit online if you are thinking of offering them later.

  18. I have been meaning to learn all of those techniques AND knit a teacosy, clearly I must take the plunge with this pattern. I would love to be able to buy a J&S kit for this online, I’m located in California so I can’t make it to Woolfest!

  19. I just walked away from my job, and I am going to woolfest. Now I have to spend money!!

    -pins hand to forehead with nearest available DPN-

  20. I discovered a new blend of tea on this side of the pond called-Scottish Blend-although I’m sure it tastes much better with the Scottish water it suggests. It will taste all the better, once I get my teapot covered with such a wonderful tea cosy. Can’t wait ’till it’s available to purchase. What fun! And so many techniques in the perfect size to not overwhelm new knitters out there…brilliant!!!

  21. Totally awesome, I hope there are kits left by the time I get to your stall – bus trip from Baa Ram Ewe, Leeds.

  22. Oh goodness. I need to learn to knit more than a garter stitch (and to read knitting patterns…) simply to make one of these. Honestly.

  23. Please please oh pretty please have kits available for your fans stateside too!! I don’t want to have to beg, but….

    This pattern is just the best!
    Thanks for all you do and your contributions to the knitting world!

  24. The dangling feet made me laugh! Such a charming tea cozy – I look forward to seeing them pop up all over ravelry :)

  25. Ohhh wow! I don’t know which I love more out of this one and the Tir Chonaill. I wonder if I can convince my 24 year old not-at-all-interested-in-knitting brother to visit Woolfest while he’s in the UK later this month… He should understand the plight of his beloved sister, stuck all the way over in Australia!

    (I love almost more the cupcake stand of yarn! What a lovely gift idea!)

  26. Holly Shetland! This is THE perfect tea cosy I think. It’s beautiful. My tea pots will definitely be wearing one soon……

  27. Dear Kate,
    I just love the sheep Carousel, I was wondering if you will be selling the kits with the Jamieson & Smith wool for them on your Raverly site?
    Hope you sell out at Woolfest.

  28. OMG I love it. You just made my day.
    I saw a tea cosy 2 weeks ago at the Port Arlington Tea cosy exhibition(Victoria, Aust) made with the owls pattern. Sorry I didn’t take a photo!

  29. Oh God, just love this! I’m so excited to be going to Woolfest and will definitely stop by and purchase this. It’s the day after I move to the UK and I’ll be jetlagged, but I couldn’t not take the opportunity to go to this – am so excited!

  30. The cozy is adorable. I’ll be carefully watching your site to see when the pattern (and kit?!! please!!!) become available to those of us outside of Woolfest!

  31. I love your design! And do I recognize a Yorkshire Tea teapot under that cozy? I was so pleased to find it in the import section at the grocery store here in Georgia, and I do prefer it to my previous favorite PG Tips. So thanks for that as well!

  32. A new grocery store opened 3 blocks away and they carry Yorkshire tea! I believe it’s All Your
    Fault a box ended up in my cart… and now this darling cozy as the grand finale- your influence is deep and wide, Kate.

  33. The best tea cozy ever. I hope that you have plenty of kits for woolfest cause you have a bestseller. I can’t wait to cast on.

  34. The tea cosy looks super.Just the job for my many cuppa’s.
    I love the sheep design. I will be at Woolfest I echo the sentiments that you have lots of kits.

  35. Love it! Have wanted to do a tea cozy for such a long time now. So hard to find one that is simple and will last. I am devoted to 4:00pm tea time, such a great custom. Looking forward to the digital version on Ravelry!

  36. What a brilliant idea! And I reckon you could employ someone to get the kits ready and shipped for your Woolfest designs…

    Oh how I would love to come, maybe next year when my little tod is a wee bit older.

    I do hope you have a good, fatigue-free time over in Cumbria.

  37. Your sheep tea cosy is just delightful! I would love to make this. It made me think of my two grandmothers.. sadly long passed now, oh how they would have loved a tea cosy like this.

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)