ICA news: Tea cosies in the television spotlight

Ireland AM was inundated with tea cosies after announcing their Great Big Tea Cosy contest this spring. Competitors were asked to knit or crochet a tea cosy.

“We were asked to knit a famous figure. Somebody knitted Donald Trump. I knitted Michael D — I certainly admire our president,” says Cork Federation craft teacher Eleanor Calnan, who appeared on Ireland AM in connection with the contest.

Eleanor confirms that tea cosies are back in vogue, having gone into decline for a while. 

“Mugs came in a few years back. They became more fashionable than China ware. People got busier and it was a case of dipping the tea bag in and rushing out the door. 

"A tea cosy gives a feeling of enjoying a relaxed cup of tea. It conjures up family life or a group of women sitting around a table chatting. Proper leaf tea would be my thing and, yes, I use a tea cosy.”

Eleanor, who runs craft classes for ICA once a month in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, says tea cosies are easy to make. 

“You could complete one in three days and they can be as plain or intricate as you like.”

Wool crochet is very popular among her craft class attendees. 

“They might be doing decoupage too or Carrickmacross lace or knitting. Some might bring along their curtains to be shortened.”

Eleanor retired from her job in adult education this year and has already completed an ICA proficiency award in Handcraft, attaining ‘excellent’ for her embroidery over counted thread.

The six best tea cosy designs in the competition were auctioned off on TV3 last week, with proceeds going to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

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