By Stephanie Hanson
Lately, there seems to be a big return to handmade and textile arts. I am in full support of this movement, and as everything in my life has to be about tea, I started thinking about ways to blend the two hobbies.
I’m a firm believer that any occasion can be turned into a tea party, so why not a stitching circle? After all, quilting bees were once great social occasions, and sewing circles still abound, so why not combine with another lovely social tradition? It’s a great way for friends to keep up with projects in an otherwise busy life while catching up with friends at the same time.
There are a few important considerations to think about when planning such a party. If snacks are to be provided, they need to be selections that will not leave oils and sticky residues on the hands that could be transferred to delicate fabrics. They also should not be anything that would stain. So, if those are all the qualifications that snacks should not have, what should they be? Hard cheese and crackers work well, as would mixed nuts. On the sweeter end, slices of apples pair well with cheese. Cookies work well as long as they are not too crumbly.
As for tea, white tea is nice because it is not as prone to staining, but Darjeeling should always be present for tea party purists. It might be nice to rotate the tea selection from meeting to meeting, as well as the role of host or hostess.
The space should have plenty of light. Natural light is best, if the event can be held during the day in a place with plenty of windows. Otherwise, there should be ample lighting that guests do not have to squint over their stitches. There should be comfortable places to sit, of course, but not so much that people sag as it is difficult to lean back and sew at the same time. Depending on the needs of the group, an ironing board, iron, sewing machine, and table are nice things to have but not necessary.
These ideas are not limited to just stitchers. It works well for knitters, lovers of crochet, or spinners. Maybe a tea cozy could be the first project?
Don’t forget to get the scoop from Stephanie’s blog, The Tea Scoop!