I held off, until my trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last week kind of broke the log jam. There, beautifully displayed, on white painted shelves, were some of these glowing away in bright colours and calling out to me to pay out £8 for one (ouch! I think not!) or get crocheting! (I think, yes!) Marry that and Sue's enticing post on moss-stitch crochet here on her blog The 8th Gem and my mug cosy project was a-rolling!
I retain my reservations about the practicality of these - they will need to be washed, as far as I can see, every single time they are used, so with this in mind I've used easy-going and hard-wearing acrylic yarn in whatever colours I had left over from previous projects. Mostly vivid tropical brights from my African Flower bag. Not totally Christmassy, I grant you, but very warm and cheerful for winter.
Most of my mugs are mix and match, blue and white china but like everyone, I suspect, I have a motley selection of odd-bod mugs at the back of my cupboard which don't blend in very well with the others for one reason or another.
I use them to dish out tea / coffee in to workmen because I reckon they don't matter so much if they get broken, if accidentally knocked over, while the insides of the washing machine are under investigation or whatever, but they have now risen in the ranks to become a little family of Christmas mugs in woolly cosies.
They are so cheerful, I love them to bits even though they are so foolish and impractical! Who could not be cheered on a cold, wet November evening by a drink from one of these? They were also cheap as chips to make - no mug purchase necessary, oddments of cheap acrylic yarn probably amounting to 50p's worth if that in total and a few buttons from my button tin! And such fun to make using Sue's moss-stitch pattern. You can find Sue's gorgeous pics and the link to her pattern in her post here.
If you want to have a go yourself the only thing you really need to remember is that you need to make the cosy to fit the specific shape of mug you want it to go on. There is a surprising variety in mug dimensions and the cosy needs to hug the mug quite tightly to avoid slopping around when in use. Also a straight-sided mug is easiest to work with. One of my odd-bod mugs is more like a flower-pot in shape and slopes steeply out towards the rim. As those of you who are better geometers than I am, will immediately realise, the shape of something to go round a flower-pot shape needs to incorporate a parallax(?) curve as well as simply getting bigger at the sides. Guess who did not realise this when she started?! I sort of hodged it when I discovered it wasn't going to fit properly, by adding some taller stitches in the central section of the final rows to compensate for the lack of curve but it isn't quite right, I fear.
Straight-sided mugs are much easier to cope with. I chained 50 stitches on a 5mm hook before switching to a 4mm one for the rows and that worked well with my tension for a three inch diameter mug but if you want to give this a whirl, keep your mug close to hand and keep checking for fit with your own tension and preferred hook size. The type of yarn you use will also make a difference. I used DK weight yarn but anything will work - just adjust your hook size and length of chain appropriately. The cosies need to be high enough for you to make the button fastening over the top of the handle but again you will need to check the height of the mug you are using to see where this comes.
You can make the fastenings for mug cosies in various ways. I simply chained little loops of 8 chain stitches at the top and bottom edge of one side and sewed on a couple of matching buttons on the opposite sides but you can make a tab that comes over and fastens the cosy inside the mug handle or stitch the bottom edge together and just have a button at the top.
I like the double button option because it will make the cosies easy to wash and dry which, as previously indicated, is going to need to be a regular feature of their lives!
The moss-stitch pattern was new to me but really simple to work. I love the multi-coloured tweedy effect achieved by using a different colour in each row and the sort of stained glass one resulting from using double rows of a background colour interspersed with single rows of contrasting colours.
The bright colours work very well, I think, but the pattern would also work beautifully in more subtle muted colours as well - gentle heathers, misty browns and soft greens.
I must see if there are any more odd-bod mugs tucked at the back of a shelf in need of cosying!
Hope you have had a good
(and, in view of all the flooding here in the UK at the moment, dry)