A wee shoutout to thewirecutter.com for their unexpected mention of FlockofTeaCosy’s wares as a good gift for mom on Mother’s Day. Chest puffed out, head swelling, generally feeling chuffed.
Their item from April 30th, written by the clearly lovely Alex Arpaia was titled “A not too twee tea cozy”:
Does your mother’s taste run more to Heath Ceramics than Blue Willow china? Danish modern rather than Louis Quatorze? Assam loose-leaf instead of Hawaiian Kona dark roast? Then she might just be in need of a tea cozy that doesn’t look like it came from Queen Victoria’s drawing room. One of these simple yet colorful wool-felt cozies—handmade in Toronto by Michaelle McLean, a certified tea sommelier—will keep the tea in her teapot warm all morning. (McLean makes cozies for French press coffee makers and mugs too.)
Thanks et merci!
(Postscript: sadly there’s no more of that lovely Peacock Blue wool felt which I got in Spain, perhaps another year, when travel is back. But other lovely colours can beguile.)
Finally had some time at the work table the other day — more of the colourful “Ribbed” cosy design.
The one above is sized for a standard 4-cup teapot but because the design cleverly expands like a puffer fish it can accommodate one a little larger or one with a wide spout to handle dimension when it’s popped out like a tent (see instructions below).
If your teapot is large — or you just like the look — pull gently on opposite sides and the stiff felt will pop out like a puffer fish to wrap around the teapot.
Every now and again the growing pile of tea cosy wool felt scraps starts to grumble, so the other day I started on another table runner (aka table topper aka hot pad) and several hours of puzzling the pieces together.
A dark comet with a fiery tail is what I had in mind. A friend suggested it could also be a volcano, and another thought a fish.
Over the two following afternoons — while listening to podcasts — it was sewn together with zig-zag. Far too many hours in its making to be sensible, but looking pretty smart. Now in the shop.
I was inspired in part to keep all the felt scraps — besides the fact the felt is so dear — by Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, an American rug manufacturer who, in the seminal 2003 documentary The Corporation, talked about reclaiming the wasted roll ends of carpets to make more beautiful carpets. By doing this they reduced the amount of petroleum that had to be pulled from the earth and saved their company money all at the same time. That’s eco logic. Waste not, want not.
2020 has certainly not been the nicest of years but look, we’re 3/4 through and there’s a holiday season on the horizon. I’m opting for the glass-half-full view today (am not focusing on nixed winter travel plans, for instance).
Today is National Coffee day in Canada and the USA and Thursday, October 1st, is International Coffee Day. Even though this is Flock of TEA Cosy, we’ve got you covered if you’re a coffee drinker — beautiful cosies sized to fit Bodum’s popular Chambord french press in the 8cup and 12cup size and designed with a modern sensibility. And they fit many other french press makers as well.
Shop Coffee Cosies
In addition, a tea-drinking client told me last year that the coffee cosy was an excellent fit for her tall, narrow (elegant) teapot. Talk about multi-tasking.
About five years ago I took a watercolour class. Its lightness was very appealing and painters I’ve loved, like Raoul Dufy, make it look so fine, so breezy, so easy.
By Raoul Dufy, 1953 — one of my inspirations
It turns out learning watercolour is not nearly as simple as it looks and small variations in paper, liquidity, humidity, brush size, etc etc affect how things turn out. But it has completely seduced and intrigued me and so I continue it as a practise, particularly when travelling. Along the way I leave a trail of little paintings, and some work out okay.
Now offered in the shop. Helps pay for more paper and paint. All originals. Payment is processed through PayPal’s secure site.
The painting practise, for some reason, was dubbed West of Lunch. Explore on Pinterest or follow on Instagram.
Puzzle-piece wool felt tableware
A few years ago the “Puzzle Pieces” were introduced after the pile of tea cosy offcuts next to the sewing machine became too high to ignore. This fine quality, well-made 100% wool felt from Europe was just too dear to throw out — and the colourful scraps far too pretty to ignore.
The excellent manufactured wool felt that Flock of Tea Cosy uses (both the locally made Industrial felt and the colourful European felt) is wonderfully consistent — exactly 1/8″ thick, evenly dense, smooth, crisp and clean looking, and the rich jewel-tone colours are pretty and colour-fast, remaining bright for years. The natural baaa-baaa colour of the industrial felt also holds its natural colour.
Wool felt coasters, trivets, hotpads, table-toppers
I was particularly drawn to this wool felt’s density which makes it an excellent insulator — perfect for tea, coffee and mug cozies. When noodling for ideas of what to make with the many small off-cuts it was primarily the insulating quality that inspired me. The result is a bevy of coasters, trivets, hotpads and table toppers that protect surfaces from hot teapots, warm serving plates, and damp vases.
Their making is akin to the quilts or rag-rugs our grand- and great grandmothers used to make using up otherwise useless scraps and small fabric pieces, although I take a much more free-form approach. Their rugs and quilts embodied an ethos that is enduringly forward- thinking and contemporary which we now call “green thinking” or “eco-friendly.”
Carefully fitting the trivets, coasters, etc together is a wonderful piece of puzzling so they’ve been dubbed “the puzzle pieces.”
They take a silly amount of time to cut and sew together but I’m very pleased to not be wasting the fabric, and love the final pieces. The felt has a wonderful hand-feel and weight, and the zig-zag stitching holding the pieces together both ensures durability and adds a graphic visual element that I like. I find creating them it somewhat akin to drawing especially as each one is different, like a small piece of art.
‘Cruz Collection’ trivet & coaster sets
Some of the larger offcuts are cut and stitched with a simple cross pattern — dubbed the Cruz Collection and bundled into trivet and coaster sets. They make a perfect complement to one of the tea cosies, or alone as a gift set — a hostess gift perhaps?
Shop trivets and coasters