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Koala Tea Cosy c1937

Vintage koala stitch tea cozy

This cute little koala will do more than his share towards entertaining your friends at an afternoon tea-party. He will be equally at home under a shady tree in the garden or beside a glowing fire indoors.

He may also be made into a cuddlesome toy by filling with hygienic wool, and finishing underneath with a circle of knitting about five inches in diameter.

These knitted toys are easily washed and refilled. [Note from Sarah: If making this cosy as a toy for small children use child proof safety eyes instead of beads]

Cut the nose by small diagram using black kid such as is used for shoe tongues, or an out-of-use kid glove.

The eyes are oval shaped black beads (about half an inch long) sewn on with a slant towards the nose. It is a good plan to examine a picture of a koala when doing these important finishings. The cosy is in plain knitting throughout.


3 skeins of Patons and Baldwins’ Teazle Wool, or 5 skeins will make two. Note from Sarah: Sorry, I don’t know how large the skeins are, or their yardage but according to the needle size, I’m assuming the yarn is fingering weight.
No. Old UK size 11 needles (3mm, US 2 or 3).


The original pattern had no gauge stated but a gauge of 28sts per 4 inches will yield a cosy that will fit a tea pot with a circumference of 11 inches (27cm).


K = knit plain
Inc = increase
Dec = decrease
k2tog = knit 2 together
tog = together

DC = double crochet (US single crochet)

Ch = chain


Commencing at neck edge cast on 40 stitches.
1st and 3rd Rows: Knit.

2nd and 4th Rows: K, Inc by knitting twice into 1st and last st.

5th Row: K 18, Inc in 19th st, K 6, Inc in next st, K 18 (46 sts).

6th, 9th, 12th. 15th, 17th and 20th Rows: Inc by knitting twice into 1st and last st.

7th, 8th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 19th and 21st Rows: Knit.

11th Row: K 21, Inc in next, K 6, Inc. in next, K 21.

14th Row: K 23, Inc in next st, K 6, Inc. in next, K 23 (56 sts).

18th Row: K 26, Inc in next st, K 6, Inc in next, K 26.

22nd Row: K 27 (Place these 27 sts on spare needle), K 10 (Place remaining 27 sts on spare needle).

Return to center 10 sts and work gusset (which goes over top of head to nose point) as follows:
Work 3 rows straight.

4th Row: Inc by working twice into 1st and last st (12 sts).

Work straight on these 12 sts for 7 rows.

Next Row: Dec by working 2 tog at each end of row.

Work straight on these 10 sts for 12 rows.

Next Row: Knit, decreasing once in centre of row (9 sts).

Work straight on these 9 sts for 10 rows.

Next Row: Knit, decreasing once in centre of row (8 sts).

Work straight on these 8 sts for 12 rows.

Next Row: Knit, decreasing once in centre of row (7 sts).

Work straight on these 7 sts for 2 rows.

In the following 4 rows, dec by knitting 2 centre sts tog.

Next Row: K 2nd and 3rd sts tog.

Next Row: K2tog. Cast off.

(This point goes under nose when sewing together).

Return to 27 sts on spare needle and join in next to the centre gusset.

K 3 rows plain.

* 4th Row: (outer edge) K2tog, K remainder.

5th Row: K to 2nd last st, K2tog. *

Repeat from * to * 7 times more. (19 rows)

20th Row: K2tog twice. Cast off.

Return to remaining 27 sts and work to correspond with previous 20 rows.

Cast on 11 stitches and K 2 rows.

Next 2 Rows: Inc by K twice into 1st st (13 sts), K 7 rows, then cast off 1 st at beginning of next 7 rows. Cast off. Work another ear to correspond. Work 1 row of double crochet round outer edge of ears to make firm.

This is knitted in 2 halves, the knitted pieces being sewn together with rows perpendicular.

Cast on 39 stitches and K 4 rows.

5th Row: K to within 10 sts of end. Turn.

6th Row: K to end (this is lower edge of cosy).

Repeat these 6 rows 16 times (96 rows). Cast off.


It is worked as for back but slots are made in 31st and 66th rows. The paws being worked around these slots.

31st Row: (Lower edge) K 4. Cast off 7 sts, K 10. Cast off 7 sts, K 11 (neck edge.).

32nd Row: Knit, casting on 7 sts opposite the 7 cast-off sts in previous row.

Work 67th and 68th rows as for 31st and 32nd rows.

These are worked perpendicularly and in two halves as follows:

Pick up 11 sts. commencing at 3rd st from lower edge and about 3 rows away from slot. Work one half of paw as follows:

K 7 rows.

8th and 9th Rows: K2tog at beginning of rows, K remainder.

10th Row: K 4, K2tog, K 3 (8 sts).

11th Row: Knit.

12th, 13th, 14th, 15th Rows: Inc by K twice into 1st st.

16th, 17th, 18th, 19th Rows: Dec by K2tog at beginning of rows. Cast off.

Pick up 11 sts the other side of slot (about 3 rows the other side as before) and K to correspond with 1st half of paw. Slip stitch the two halves together. There will be a space of about one inch where paws join body – sew these flat.

Work the remaining 3 paws in same manner. The 5 claws are picots of ch. st in black wool.


Sew the two sides of body part together allowing openings for spout and handle. Sew the gusset which forms centre of head to the sides, commencing at back and continuing to nose part. Now sew the chin seam from point of nose to commencing row (which forms neckline). Fill head and paws with kapok working it into shape at same time.

Sew up the two small darts in nose part and sew on, pushing a little wadding under nose near the nostrils.

Nose diagram

Sew on the ears with the 11 cast-on sts to the head. Sew eyes in position as described.

Embroider the mouth with dark wool.

Sew the head to the body after drawing up the neck edges to meet.

The head should appear to “squat” as illustration shows.


(Dark Brown.) ch 4 and join in ring.

1st Round: 8 DC. into ring.
Work round in circles increasing by working 2 DC (US single crochet)) into every alternate st until circle is about 1 inch in diameter, then work straight for ½ an inch.

In the next round decrease 4 times (by missing 1 DC in previous round) at regular intervals.

Join in fawn wool and work * 1 DC into 1 st DC, 2 DC into next * Repeat from * to * to end.
Break off.

Work a stem about 3 inches long, by making a ch and working 1 DC into each stitch of ch.

Trim at back of neck with stiff bow of satin ribbon.

Kindly typed for by Janet Ulrich.

The original version of this pattern is in the public domain. This digital version copyright Sarah Bradberry 2004.