Monday, November 4, 2013

Mason Jar Cozy

Every time I turn around - or peruse the submissions on a Link Party - I seem to encounter another project involving Mason jars. I get it, they're in. I like retro-chic as much as everybody else, but Mason jars just haven't grabbed hold of me the way they seem to have grabbed hold of everyone else. I told myself I wouldn't do any Mason jar projects... and then this happened!

In mid-September, one of my officemates asked me if it would be possible to knit a cozy for a Mason jar. I knew it would be possible, and I told her so. Then it came out that she was actually wondering if it would be possible for me to knit one. And then it came out that this was actually something she hoped I might be able to do in advance of a baby shower at which she was going to be the guest of honor. She explained that she had recently come across a recipe to make pumpkin spice coffee creamer in a Mason jar. She thought about doing this for her own benefit to use at home, since pumpkin spiced coffee is a favorite of hers, but she didn't think it was a good idea for her and baby-to-be (expected mid November) to drink that much coffee or that much sugar on their own. Good point.

The baby shower was about 2 weeks away when we were having this conversation. EEK! My gut reaction was: I don't have a pattern, I don't have any yarn, I don't have time - NO! But then, I remembered that another of our co-workers had a baby this summer. Just before that baby's arrival, we had a shower that involved my officemate making that guest-of-honor crazy cool craft project in the days just before that shower. Since I knew that first guest-of-honor wouldn't be able to reciprocate, since she's now a new mom, I figured it would just be effort paid forward. I said yes.

I did some research and found lots of interesting patterns for decorative Mason jar cozies. I found several that fit like a sock, covering the sides as well as the bottom of the jar. I also discovered many patterns that were knit in the round. While I know this would save the time of having to do a seam, I also know that I'm less adept on my double pointed needles. Whatever the gain might have been, it paled in comparison to the simplicity of using simple straight needles.

I decided to use all cotton yarn for this project, since I knew there was a risk that acrylic yarn would melt if it got too hot. I found this cute Sugar and Cream skein, in a color called "Hippi." I'm still laughing about it - it's too cool to be hippy with a y! I knew that it would knit up more quickly if I used a bulkier yarn and bigger needles, but that took a backseat to the benefit of cotton yarn. But, I decided I could get some benefit if I used a doubled strand. First step: dividing up my little skein of hippi into two balls. It probably sounds monotonous, but it was actually fun to do this winding. Not recommended around children or pets!

When I was at JoAnn's shopping for the yarn, I also picked up this Mason jar so I'd be able to make sure it was just the right size. I definitely measured against the jar, and with my trusty little purple tape measure, several times to make sure I was doing it right. You can see above that I was using my tried-and-true method of working with a double strand of yarn. I had two quart-sized ziploc bags, each of which had one corner removed. This kept the skeins from getting mixed together, and also from bouncing around when I tugged at them, which made the project a bit easier.

I actually wound up making two "drafts" of this cozy. The first one was a little taller than the second. The biggest problem with the first one, though, was that it just wasn't tight enough on the jar. I've done cozies before for paper coffee cups. I realized while I was working on this one just how much more drag there is on the surface of a paper coffee cup as compared to a glass jar. When I lifted up the jar wearing the first draft cozy, there was a little bit of give. It occurred to me that, if the jar was filled with super hot liquid, the person holding it just might get burned.

The stitch pattern I used was:
cast on 13
Row 1: knit 3, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, knit 3
repeat for all rows
I continued this for every row until I had a little scarf that was just barely long enough to reach all the way around the Mason jar, then cast off and seamed it up. It was able to squeeze around the jar with no extra give. With a cozy this tight, it would have to be put on the jar before the jar was filled with hot liquid - I know that might be a little inconvenient, but I figured it would work.

Hooray! It's done!

I had some extra yarn left, and a little bit of guilt since my cozy wasn't going to cover the bottom of the jar. I also knew that, theoretically, the jar could get so hot it could burn whatever surface it was going to sit upon. So, I decided to make a little coaster that would be just the right size. I just did a straightforward seed stitch, which is the main body stitch in the cozy pattern spelled out above.

So, here it is: the jar with the cozy and the coaster, ready for the hottest coffee creamer around!

Even though this blog post has been delayed, the cozy and coaster were ready a few days before the shower. I was proud, and I know the mom-to-be was excited to receive it when I brought it to the office to give it to her. After all, it's not a real baby shower if somebody isn't tearing there hair out to make an over-ambitious craft, right?

2 comments:

  1. I love it! You are very creative. Great work.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Dee! It's so fun to share!

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