There was a slight problem in that there were so many different types of yarn in there - from silk to mohair to acrylic - and so many different beads that I had no idea how it could ever be washed. "No problem," he said, "We shall use it only on special occasions!" And so it is: it comes out on dates deemed 'royal' enough. Perfect.
I thought I could go one better. He and my mum had so obviously been pleased with their Crown Jewels tea cosy, they were surely disappointed that they couldn't use it all year round? Surely their old quilted one, bought from John Lewis ten years ago, was drab and loveless in comparison? Obviously, I needed to make another, an everyday tea-cosy. So for Christmas last year I made him and my mum the kind of tea-cosy that I would like to have on my own teapot.
I found it quite difficult; it's a fairly traditional style, made using the fair-isle technique, but with the strands, or 'floats' of yarn pulled tighter than usual. The problem was that I'd spent so long ensuring that my fair-isle floats were long enough that I had to re-learn how to do them too tight! There was quite a lot of ripping back involved in that tea-cosy. No worries though, it would be worth it; they'd both be so pleased.
So you're guessing where this is going. I sewed the pompoms on the top, lovingly wrapped it and put it under the tree, only for it to be greeted by a resoundingly underwhelmed reaction on Christmas day. It was used a couple of times of course, but I couldn't help noticing that the tired old John Lewis effort was still taking pride of place in the kitchen.
This Christmas I was so busy knitting for Muddy Sheep and Knit-a-Kit that the only Christmas present I knitted was the Secret Santa cowl, so there was no waiting with baited-breath as hand-made gifts were unwrapped this year. But I did find last year's tea-cosy back in my parents' kitchen. My mum saw I'd noticed it and she took a deep breath and said, "We don't use this very much... I prefer to use the old tea-cosy because it covers the entire pot and keeps the tea warmer for longer." She watched, trying to read my face, hoping I wouldn't be upset.
I paused and examined my thoughts. How should I react; was I upset that my gift had been un-enthusiastically received, uncared for? Did I feel sad that there must inevitably have been a sinking feeling when it was unwrapped? Well, maybe just a little. But on the other hand I knew just where that tea-cosy would find a loving home!