Cool weather is coming, and with it it brings magical things such as pumpkin spice lattes, gingerbread cappuccinos, and salted carmel mochas. As the aromas of these bewitching brews make their way to your neighborhood, you'll find that they can be nearly impossible to resist. In fact, I just gave into a craving for a pumpkin spice latte the other day, and it was wonderful! Wonderful, but extremely hot! My poor little fingers could hardly grip the cup for fear of being burned.
At that moment, I knew what needed to be done. I sat my crafty self down and developed a pattern for a knitted coffee cozy. Not only is this a fantastic way to keep your hands safe as you sip your coffee delights, it also adds a punch of personality to your daily dose of caffeine.
Interested in making a coffee cozy of your own? Great! Just make sure that you have a few supplies on hand.
- Knitting needles. This particular craft knits up best with a pair of size 7 (4.5mm), double pointed knitting needles.
- Main yarn. You will need a medium weight yarn in the color that you wish to use to make up the main portion of your cozy. I used Simply Soft's "Grey Heather".
- Accent Yarn. This is the yarn that you will use to create the pattern in your coffee cozy, so you will not need an extremely large amount. Pick an accent color that you think will go well with the color you chose to use for your main yarn. I decided to use Simply Soft's "red" and "black". The yarn that you choose should be the same weight as your main yarn.
- A needle threader. This is optional, but believe me, it will save you quite a bit of time while also helping you keep your sanity.
- A yarn needle.
- A pair of scissors.
Step 1. Create a Slip Knot
First, create a slip knot. There are a few ways to do this, but my preferred method is to wrap your main yarn around your finger two times, pull the loop that is closest to your hand over the outside loop, and then pull the loop that is now closer to your hand (this is the loop that used to be the outside loop) over the far loop and off your finger. Now, if your pull on the yarn strand that is connected to your skien of yarn, your slip knot will tighten around your finger!
Carefully remove the slip knot from your finger, and place it onto one of your double pointed knitting needles. Pull it just tight enough so that it won't wiggle around and fall off.
Step 2. Cast Onto the First Needle
Let me just say, that I know double pointed needles can seem a little intimidating if you've never used them before. Trust me, it will all be okay. The very first step after creating your slip knot is to simply cast on. This is done in any and all knitting projects, so most knitters should be comfortable with it, but I'll break it down for you just in case you need a little extra help.
After a little bit of math, you'll find that means each needle will have 12 stitches cast on to it.
The only real difference between casting on with single pointed needles and casting on with double pointed needles, is that in single pointed knitting you cast all of your stitches onto one needle, and in double pointed knitting you split your cast on stitches between either three or four needles. Because this is a small-sized project without many stitches to cast on, you're going to cast your stitches onto three, rather than four needles. This means you need to divide your 36 stitches evenly between 3 needles. After a little bit of math, you'll find that means each needle will have 12 stitches cast onto it.
Your first needle already has one stitch on it (the slip knot counts as a stitch), so you'll need to add 11 more stitches to that needle. In order to do this, grab your working yarn (the yarn connected to your skien) and hold it in the pinky, ring, and middle fingers of your right hand. With your index finger and thumb sticking out in the shape of a gun and your palm facing towards you, wrap the working yarn around the back of your thumb and index finger. Now, turn your hand to the right so that your palm is facing out and the back of your hand is facing you. This should create a loop in the yarn between your thumb and index finger. Stick your needle though that loop, and pull it tight. That's your second casted on stitch for that needle! Now, continue this process until you have 12 stitches cast onto your first needle.
Step 3. Cast Onto the Second Needle
Now that you have 12 stitches on your first needle, it's time to start casting on stitches to your second needle. This part can feel a bit awkward for individuals who have not used double pointed needles before, but after casting on the first two stitches to the second needle, it starts to feel more natural.
With your first and second needle both in your right hand, hold the second needle as close as you can to the final stitch that you cast onto your first needle. Holding your second needle there, use the same cast on method from step 2 to cast your first stitch onto your second needle. Once you get the first stitch on your second needle, pull it as tight as you can. Keep that stitch on there really tight as you cast the second stitch onto your second needle. Now that the second stitch is safely on your second needle, you should be able to quickly and easily cast the next ten stitches onto that second needle. Those final ten stitches on your second needle do not need to be pulled quite as tight as the first two. The first two stitches on the second needle needed to be pulled so tight because otherwise you would develop a gap in your work between the first and second needle.
Step 4. Cast Onto the Third Needle
Once you have 12 stitches on both your first and second needles, you can start casting onto the third needle. Just remember to cast on the first two stitches of that needle really tight!
Step 5. Organize Needles
While it may seem silly and small, this is an incredibly important step when knitting with double pointed needles. If your needles are not laid out and organized correctly, it could very likely result in a twist in your knitting work, which could ruin your entire project. Keeping that in mind, please do not skip this step!
When I say, "organize your needles", I mean lay your three needles out on a flat surface in the shape of a capital "H". Look at your stitches and make sure all of the knot parts of them (the bulky parts) are facing the inside of the "H". Doing this ensures that all of your stitches are facing the same way, and nothing is twisted. Look at your needles and find the last stitch that you cast onto your third needle. That stitch should be at the bottom right of your "H". Re-organize your work of you need to in order to make sure that stitch is in the right place.
Step 6. Join in the Round
This is a vital point in your work, and one in which stitches can be easily twisted, so work carefully. The stitch at the bottom left of the "H" will be the first stitch that you will knit into. Push the stitches on that first needle down, closer to the end of the needle. Then place the end of that needle as close as possible to the last stitch you cast on (the bottom right of the "H").
This is the part where your fourth knitting needle is going to come into play. Carefully, and without fully picking your work up off the table, put your empty needle into your first stitch knit-wise (from the bottom to the top). Now, wrap your working yarn around that empty needle as tight as you can. At this point, because everything should be tight, you can pick up your work. Keeping the yarn tight, knit that first stitch off of the first needle and onto your empty needle. Keep that first stitch pretty tight. You just joined in the round and created a full circle with your knitting!
Step 7. Knit the First Round
When knitting with stitches cast onto three double pointed needles, a round is completed once you have knitted off all three needles. You started that process in step six, and you'll finish your first full round in this step. With your first needle in your left hand, and (what used to be) your empty needle and working yarn in your right hand, continue knitting stitches off of the first needle and on to the empty needle. Once you've knitted the first two stitches, you'll find that you don't have to worry so much about knitting in an extra tight fashion.
Once you've knitted the twelfth stitch off of your first needle, you'll find that your first needle is now empty, and what used to be your empty needle is now in the place of your first needle! This just means you need to put your newly empty needle into your right hand and give your work a little turn so that your newly filled needle with the last stitch you knitted is to your right with your working yarn, and your second needle is in your left hand.
When knitting with stitches cast onto three double pointed needles, knitting a round is done by knitting off all three needles.
Just as you did when you started knitting into your first needle, push the stitches on your second needle down towards the needle tip, and use your newly empty needle to tightly knit into the first stitch on the second needle. Knit the next stitch rather tightly as well, and then continue casually knitting the the remaining stitches off of your second needle and onto (what was) your newly empty needle. After all of your stitches are off of your second needle, you'll start the whole process again with your third needle. Once all twelve stitches have been knitted off of your third needle, you have officially completed the first round.
Step 8. Continue Knitting
Now that you're comfortable knitting with double points, continue knitting until you have completed 26 more rounds, for a total of 27 rounds altogether (remember that one round is finished after you have knitted off of all three needles). Just remember to knit the first two stitches on each needle extra tight, so that you won't develop a hole or a sag between your needles.
Step 9. Bind Off
After you've completed all 36 rounds of knitting, it's time to bind off. If this is your first time using double pointed needles, you may be staring at your work and wondering how in the world you're going to get it off all of your needles. I promise it won't be difficult to do!
With your empty needle in your right hand, knit your next two stitches onto your empty needle. Then, take your first needle (the one that is in your left hand) and put it into the far stitch (the one furthest from the needle tip) purl-wise (from the top down). Now, pull that stitch over the stitch that is close to the tip, and drop it off both of the needles. You should now have ten stitches on your left needle, and one stitch on your right needle. That stitch that you just let fall is your first bound off stitch. Now, use the needle in your right hand to knit the next stitch off of the first needle. Then, once again, take the first needle and put it into the far stitch on your right-hand needle, purl-wise. Once it's there, again, pull that stitch over the stitch that is close to the tip, and drop it off both of the needles. You just bound off your second stitch!
You just bound off your second stitch!
To carry on in the binding off process, simply continue to use your right needle to knit the stitches off your left needle, and use your left needle to pull the far stitch on your right needle over and off both needles. When all of the stitches on your first needle have been bound off, set that empty needle aside and start binding off the stitches on your second needle. After all of those stitches are bound off, set aside your empty second needle, and start binding off the stitches on your third needle.
You should end with one stitch left of your right hand needle. Loosen this stitch up, and carefully take it off the needle. Then, use your scissors to cut the yarn so that there is about a six inch long tail at the end. With your fingers, thread that tail through the loop made by your final stitch. Pull it tight. Now your work is completely bound off!
Step 10. Read the Chart
It's time to infuse a little bit of pop and personality to your coffee cozy by adding a pattern with your accent yarn. The pattern I created says, "I [heart] Tuts+", which tells everyone a little bit about my nerdy tendencies while I sip a warm cup of joe at my local neighborhood coffee shop. In order to create this pattern, you'll need to follow the chart that I've created.
In this chart, the things that you need to keep in mind are the little boxes and the rows of boxes. Each little box represents a stitch, and each row represents a round. You just knitted knitted 27 rounds with 36 stitches in each round. This chart shows 27 rows, with 38 boxes in each row. That means that this chart is perfectly suited for this particular coffee cozy! The colored boxes on the chart represent the areas in which you will be duplicate stitching (stitching over the already existing stitches) in your accent color in order to create a fun pattern. Duplicate stitching works best when done from the bottom of the pattern, up to the top of the patter. That's why the numbers in the chart start from the bottom and count up.
Each little box represents a stitch, and each row represents a round.
When you look at the chart, you will notice that the first stitch that needs to be duplicated is 11 stitches from the bottom (because your cozy is circular, it doesn't matter where you start in relation to the columns on the chart). In order to find that area on your work, look closely at your cozy. You should see little columns of V-shapes going up your work. Each one of those V-shapes is a stitch. So, go to the bottom of your work, and look for the very bottom V-shape in one of the columns (it doesn't matter which column). Once you've found it, count up to the eleventh V-shape. That is the first stitch that you will duplicate!
Step 11. Thread the Needle
It's finally time to use all of those other supplies you got out, and you're just about ready to start duplicate stitching.
With your scissors, cut a length of your accent yarn. It really should not need to be much longer than 61-91cm (24-36 inches). As soon as your yarn has been cut, slip your needle threader through the eye of your yarn needle. Place the piece of accent yarn on the hook of your needle threader, and pull the yarn through the eye of your needle. Doesn't that needle threader make this step easy?
Step 12. Start Duplicate Stitching
Go back and find the first stitch that you're going to be duplicating (we talked about that in step 10). Duplicating a stitch is a three step process. For the first step, your needle needs to go through the bottom of your first V-shaped stitch. Make sure you poke your needle from the back of your work out towards the front.
In the second step, your needle will be going under both of the legs of of the V-shaped stitch directly above the stitch that you're duplicating. Make sure that your needle does not go from the front to the back of your work, but from the right to the left, just under the little legs of that V-shape. For the third and final step of this process, your needle should go back down through the bottom of the "V" that you are duplicating.
In other words, you will put your needle into the same hole that you poked it out of in the first step. This time your needle should be going from the front of your work to the back of your work. You've just duplicated your first stitch! Now, continue this process while following the chart in order to create the entire "I" in "I [heart] Tuts+". After you're done, tie off your yarn in the back of the work, cut a short tail, and weave in any end that you may have.
Step 13. Continue Duplicate Stitching
After you finish duplicate stitching the "I" into your work, it's time to add the heart. To do this, thread your needle with red yarn, and start the same duplicate stitching process on the heart section of your work, following the corresponding section of the knitting chart.
Once you've finished the heart, tie off that red yarn, thread a bit more black yarn onto your needle, and begin working on the word, "Tuts+". I found that this whole word can be duplicate knitted with one piece of accent yarn. When you're done with that word, tie off your yarn on the back of your work and admire your beautiful duplicate stitching work!
Step 14. Weave in the Ends
You're all but done. You probably still have two little tails of your main yarn dangling down from your cozy. At this point, you can take those tails (one at a time) and thread them onto your yarn needle. Then, weave them in and out of the stitches on the inside of your cozy in such a way that they won't be seen from the outside. After you're satisfied that they will stay put, tie them off, and clip them with your scissors.
Now you're done! You completed your very own coffee cozy! However, if you're up for a little challenge, read step 15!
Step 15. Create Your Own Accent Pattern
Up for a challenge? How about creating your own chart that you (and possibly others) can use to accent your coffee cozy? After learning how to read the chart, you can see that it would be fairly simple to create your own.
Once you know what you want to use to dress up your cozy, sketch it out on your chart and start stitching.
All you need is a grid with the right number of columns and rows (in this case 36 columns and 27 rows), and an idea for a pattern to place into it. You could create a cozy accented with silly sayings (such as, "still sleeping" or "coffee = life"), logos from your favorite super-heros (Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America...) , or perhaps even one word that says it all, ("Winning!"). Once you know what you want to use to dress up your cozy, sketch it out on your chart and start stitching. Keep in mind that each square on your chart will equate to only one stitch on your cozy, so the bigger you can make your pattern the better.
Are Your Creative Juices Flowing?
Well, that's that. Now your hands will make it through the cold months without those dreaded coffee cup burns, and your drink cups get to play dress-up!
There are so many different things that you can do with this project. You might try some flashy and vibrant yarns (maybe something with sparkles), create an outrageously awesome accent design, or add your own person touch in some other way. No matter how you decide to play with this project, we know it will be fabulous, and we would love to hear all about your ideas! Feel free to share them, and any other creative thoughts you may have, in the comment section below.