Review: Knitting and Tea

Knitting and Tea 9780307352217 by Jane Gottelier combines information about tea and knitting in one book. All the writing is about tea, not about the patterns. The pictures are nice and it is really fast read, so not a bad one to read in the aisle at the library. The introduction states “In keeping with the wistful, evocative feel of this book, the styling is deliberately retro and many of the garments accompanying our designs are vintage.” Ravelry has little on it, but there again are some images from the book on KnitPicks.

It is divided into 6 sections – Ceylon, Somerset Single Estate Tea (with the text primarily about Strawberry Tea served during cricket), Green tea, Afternoon tea, Builder’s tea and Rose pouching tea. Each section has one recipe (Clotted cream biscuits, Bakewell tart, Mini meringues etc.).

There are some interesting tidbits of information about each of the teas. For example, Anna, Duchess of Bedford allegedly started the afternoon tea phenomena in the early 1840s when she started requesting tea and cakes be sent to her boudoir during the long stretch from a light lunch and a fashionable late dinner. Another odd bit is that because of the slightly curved lip on a porcelain tea cup, the tea goes to a different part of the tongue so some tea allegedly tastes better out of a cup than a mug. It also describes Builder’s tea, which is basically cheap and strong and usually quite sweet.

As to the knitting, a large proportion of the 25 items are embellished with beads, sequins, embroidery or tassels, not really my style (and you really need to see the tea cozies). In several cases if you remove the embroidery or beads or weird yarn loops (such as on the Flowerdew evening tank), the item is quite nice. I also thought the Girl’s argyle cardigan was rather sweet, using beads as part of the argyle. Other items use somewhat different stitches, such as the Builder’s cable sweater, which uses bound purl stitches in the cables, not a look I like, but interesting to see.

In the end I was surprised there were as many patterns I was noting, at least for ideas, including the Somerset cable sweater and the Striped gloves, and a few others that would be nice without the embellishment (e.g. the aforementioned tank), but this is definitely not a book to own.

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