Guest blog: Make your own poinsettia tea cosy with Deedrie La Follette

Tuesday 3rd December 2013, 10.57



Deedrie La Follette is a blogger of many skills and based in Iowa, USA. If you like cakes, cups of tea, knitting or sewing, Deedrie’s blog, Mybricole, is one to follow. Her posts often features mouthwatering food to tempt you, along with a baking section with multicoloured frosting and tempting toppings. Set in her idyllic cottage in Mount Vernon, Deedrie shares her crafting and sewing projects which she makes from home.

We caught up with Deedrie to find out more about her crafting roots and just what mybricole actually means.

Your blog Mybricole is a mix of crafty goodness and food haven, when did you start blogging where does the name come from?
I started Mybricole in 2008. My original intent was to be a food blogger, but my first post was about a crocheted shawl I had just finished making. That probably should have been the first sign that food wasn’t going to be my main focus. I chose the name from the French word bricole, it means a small gift or token. I love the idea of sharing handmade little tokens with others, so I came up with Mybricole.

What do you like the most about blogging?
I didn’t expect it when I first started blogging, but I think the people you meet along the way are definitely the best part – whether you meet them in person or not. I assumed blogging was a more solitary thing, but once you start reading and commenting on the posts and projects you come across, relationships build. I interact with my “internet” friends everyday. It’s pretty amazing how connected we’ve become considering how far apart we actually are. We do our best to get together when we can at conferences and retreats. It’s always so much fun to spend time with people who understand what it means to love fabric and sewing.

You incorporate baking, knitting, sewing and much more into your blog. Do you have a favourite section?
That’s like choosing a favorite child! Baking always brings cheers from the kids, and happy kids can’t be bad! Truth be told though, most sewing projects come together so much more quickly than knitting projects that my heart might lean to sewing, plus it’s easier on my waistline compared to baking.

You have made many projects in Liberty print. Which did you most enjoy making?
We probably get the most use out of the Liberty trimmed napkins I made, but my favorite is my Liberty log cabin quilt top. It’s made with the brown calicoes from the Bloomsbury line, and it’s waiting to be tied right now. It’s a bigger job than it sounds because we live in a small 1920′s cottage that doesn’t have a room big enough for me lay out a quilt that size. So I will have to find a larger space to work in for a couple of days.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration for projects comes from a mix of things, mostly it’s from new fabric and old books. I love fabric. Floral, geometric, modern, traditional, reproduction, I don’t care –  I love it all. Most of my projects start with me walking into a shop and having a bolt of fabric catch my eye. From there I might grab a few things to go with it, but lately I’ve been trying to use more fabrics from the stash I’ve accumulated over the years. While I’m making stacks of fabric, I’m thinking…what have I always wanted to make? How can I put my skills to the test? When I’m feeling stuck I love to look at old books on quilting for block inspiration. It’s a great way to connect to the tradition of quilting while still putting your own twist on a project to make it your own.

Are you working on any particular projects at the moment?
My next deadline is for a quilt for my daughter’s bed. She’s been so patient considering how long I have been working on it. We first started choosing fabrics three years ago, she was 6 at the time so there were lots of pinks and greens. Months later we decided on a pattern and I started cutting. By the time I had a few blocks stitched together, she had fallen out of love with pinks so we swapped it out for blues. It sat for ages, until it made it back to the top of the priority list. I was almost done when she asked me to hand quilt it. She has always loved how I hand quilted the quilt on my bed. I followed the outlines of the flowers and she thought it would be great if I could outline images on her quilt. I have spent my summer outlining moustaches, flowers, and clothespin dolls. It’s been a bit more time consuming than machine quilting, but we are both excited about how it’s been looking, so it will be worth it.


Project: Poinsettia tea cosy

Did we mention that Deedrie loves cups of tea? So much so, she thought that a Poinsettia tea cosy would make a fitting Christmas present, not to mention a great accompaniment to some home made biscuits!

This is a perfect project to make in time for use on Christmas morning. Follow Deedrie’s step by step tutorial below.


All purpose thread

Craft and button thread

Embroidery floss (I used 100% linen floss)

Hand stitching needles


Tiny jingle bells

Paper and dinner plate (to make templates)

Knitting needle (to help with turned petal points)

2 x – 9″ x 14″ rectangles of lining fabric

9″ x 14″ rectangle for cozy back

9″ x 14″ rectangle for cozy front

2 x – 9″ x 14″ rectangles of batting

2 1/4″ x 30″ for binding

2 1/4″ x 4″ for loop between 1/4 yard and 1/2 yard of fabric for petals (depending on how many petals used and what size they are)


Make the top loop, fold the 2 1/4″ x 5″ strip in half lengthwise and press.  This gives you a center line in which to fold each raw edge.  Fold raw edges into mid line and press, then fold in half.  Stitch this 1/2″ x 5″ piece closed (stitching close to edge) and top stitch folded edge.  Set aside.

Make the tea cosy template.  Cut a piece of paper 9″ x 14″, mark the center line and also up 5″ from the bottom on each side.  Use a dinner plate to round the curve from the 5″ mark to the center on each side.  Cut out.  Set aside.

Using just the back panel and one piece of batting, secure the cosy to the batting by running several lines of quilting.  (I stitched vertical lines 1″ apart)  Use the template to cut out the quilted back along with the remaining batting, front panel, and the lining pieces.

Pin the two lining pieces, right sides together, and stitch a 1/2″ seam around the sides and top, leaving the bottom edge open.  Set lining aside.

Place the front panel on top of the remaining piece of batting and run a line of basting stitches around the edges and top. This will secure the batting so it doesn’t shift while the petals are attached.

Use paper to make templates for the petals.  Cut three rectangles, 5″ x 2″, 4″ x 2″, and 3″ x 2″.  Fold each rectangle in half lengthwise and cut along the open edge making a half petal shape.  Open template and pin to 2 layers of fabric, right sides together.  Cut out and stitch a 1/4″ seam around the sides, leaving the bottom open.  Turn right side out, use a knitting needle to help smooth inside seams and push out the point of the petal.  Press.

The number of petals can vary according to your preference.  For a nice full flower, I gather the petals up a bit as I stitch the first layer.  I push the needle up close to my previous stitch from the back, but then move it up before I reach the petal so the fabric gathers down as the stitch is pulled through.

I used 12 large petals, leaving about a 1″ circle empty in the middle of the flowers.  The larger petals can be stitched all the way to the points.  Then I stitched 8 medium flowers, leaving about 1/2″ still empty in the middle.  Because the petals are layered, the middle flowers will be stitched just half way along the length of the petal.  I stitched 5 small petals in the center, layering the ends over one another, taking just a few stitches on each one to secure them.

Using the Craft and Button thread, stitch the jingle bells in the center of the flower.  (Button thread is thicker so it is less likely to break when the thread slides against the metal bells.)  I use one length of thread to stitch them all, but I knot at the back of each bell as I stitch them on so they are secure.

Pin the completed front and back panels, right sides together, with the raw edges of the loop sticking out the center top.

Stitch a 1/2″ seam around the outside edge, leaving the raw edges open.  Turn right side out.  Press seams open to create a smooth seams on the outside.  Place the lining inside the exterior panels, wrong sides together.  Pin and run a line of basting stitches 1/4″ from the bottom edge.

Now is the time to put the kettle on because you are nearly finished.  Take the binding strip, fold in half lengthwise and press and open strip.  Press each raw edge into the middle.  Starting at the back of the cosy, pin binding over the raw edge, leaving an inch of overlap, trim binding and turn end under 1/2″ and press.  Pin at overlap and stitch binding to cosy along top edge of binding.  Give it nice press and it’s ready for the teapot.

Follow Deedrie on twitter @mybricole


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