Michael Tea cosies brew up plenty of business for Tallaght crafter

By Mary Dennehy

DID you know that more than one thousand Michael Tea cosies have been made in a house in Kilnamanagh? Or that teapots in places as far away as Russia are being kept cosy by a Tallaght women’s crochet creations?

Living in Tallaght for 45 years, Susan Banks started crocheting Michael Tea cosies in 2017 from a pattern she created from Googled images of President Michael D Higgins – a move which has brewed up a lot of business for the local lady.

Michael Tea Higgins Susan at home

Susan having a well earned cuppa at home

“I’ve always been into tea cosies and designing my own however, they’ve been mainly animals in the past,” Susan told The Echo.

It all started for Susan when she made six Michael Tea cosies for a craft fair back in late 2016.

According to Susan, the six cosies were “gone in no time” and she left with a load of orders.

 “I had all of my ordered tea cosies lined up and my nephew Wes, who was home from Canada, took a photograph”, she said.

“He posted it online and within no time it had 9,500 hits.

“The phone started ringing the next day and the orders haven’t stopped.

“It’s been unreal, my Michael Tea cosies have been sent as far as Russia, and all over the world.

“None of this was planned but I really enjoy it, it’s great fun.”

After President Michael D Higgins’ inauguration earlier this month, Susan featured in a segment on RTE’s Six One News.

“After being on RTE’s Six One, I was getting an average of 200 emails an hour… I’m crocheting seven days a week”, Susan said.

“Lots of people were looking for cosies as Christmas gifts but I have had to cut off the Christmas orders, and still have 70 to make before mid-December.

“It takes me about three-and-a-half hours to make one cosie, at this stage I could crochet them in my sleep.”

For the first year, Susan, who sells her Michael Tea cosies under her Facebook page Not Just Hats, managed to stay pretty much under the radar.

However, following her recent appearance on RTE, Susan’s turning into a bit of a local celeb.

“I went into Dunnes in Kilnamanagh and it felt like I was on I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here!” Susan said.

“Sometimes myself and my daughter Rachel [who helps Susan with the business] are like it’s only a tea cosie… but people love them and appreciate that they are handmade.

“Demand for them is so high that I don’t even own a Michael Tea cosie myself, once they’re made, they’re gone.”

A crafter from a very young age, Susan expressed her delight that handmade items are making a comeback, alongside the tea pot.

“The tea pot went out of fashion for a few years but they’re everywhere now”, Susan said.

“You can’t beat a cup of tea from a tea pot, just remember to warm the pot first.

When asked if she has been invited out to Áras an Uachtaráin yet, Susan said: “No, I haven’t… but I’m hoping for an invite for a cuppa soon.”

Visit the Not Just Hats Facebook page for more.

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