Skip to Content

September Sip and Stitch: A Jane Austen Knitting Tea Party

This month, I’m resurrecting a long dormant blog series! When I first tried my hand at running this blog several years ago, I had it in mind to do a monthly knitting tea post where I’d talk a bit about what I’m making and drinking.

Well, I started it, got one post up and running, and then, as so often happens, life got in the way.

A teacup with purple flowers sits in the center of the photo, surrounded by white roses, a purple sweater in progress on two steel knitting needles, and some antique books.

I haven’t written a single post about tea since. But things are different now. As you can see from the level of activity around here, I’ve settled into a nice groove with the blogging. With all of that in mind, I’d like to bring back the monthly tea series.

We are going to call these the Sip and Stitch posts. In this monthly series, I’m looking forward to sharing a new to me decaf or herbal tea and chatting with you about what I’ve been up to while drinking it. It should be fun!

Why Post About Tea and Knitting, Anyway?

Back in 2018, I was still practicing law and consuming a ridiculous amount of coffee. I had a toddler at home who still wasn’t sleeping through the night, and I was trying to build a book of business for myself.

Needless to say, I was not sleeping enough.

Eventually, it all caught up to me. I realized that the significant amounts of caffeine I was consuming were negatively affecting my mental health and driving some pretty severe anxiety issues.

So I knew what I had to do.

I quit caffeine.

A top down image of a teacup filled with golden tea. The teacup is in the top left of the photo. Around it are white roses, a green book with gilt trim on the cover, antique linens, and a purple sweater in progress on two steel needles.

Decaf coffee has filled a lot of the space previously taken up by regular coffee, but I’ve also been drinking a lot of decaf and herbal teas. Every time I mention this situation online, I discover more people who’ve had a similar experience with caffeine.

I thought it might be nice to share recommendations with each other. That way, we can help each other find new, delicious, hot drinks that won’t throw us into a mental tailspin.

As with my previous post, this post has some basic ground rules that I will repeat here for clarity’s sake. You can check out that earlier post for more details on each of these.

  1. This is not an expert manual for how to drink tea.
  2. This is not a health guide.
  3. This is not meant to shame or pressure anybody into changing their drinking habits.

Right then! Let’s move on to this month’s tasty beverage.

This Month’s Knitting Tea: Mrs. Bennet’s Nerve Tonic

When I decided to resurrect this blog series, I tweeted a request for recommendations of everyone’s favorite decaf and herbal teas. I got a strong recommendation for Friday Afternoon Tea, which is a small tea company based in Seattle, WA.

They have a lot of charming options, but as I scrolled through the herbal selection, one immediately caught my eye. It was called Mrs. Bennett’s Nerve Tonic.

I knew I had to have it.

In the foreground, a bit of tea with chamomile, lemon grass, and rose petals is spread on a white marble countertop. Blurred in the background are white roses, a teacup full of tea, and some antique books.

That feeling was only solidified once I looked at the ingredients list. This lovely herbal tea includes chamomile, rose, sage, lemongrass, and raspberry leaf. It’s a light, delicate flavor that I prefer all on its own, even though I often like my teas with a little bit of milk and sugar in them.

This one is wonderfully soothing. It might even be enough to actually calm for Mrs. Bennett.

(Side note: the older I get, the more sympathetic I am toward Mrs. Bennett and her worries. She goes about things in a rather embarrassing fashion, but at the root of it is an entirely reasonable fear that her five daughters will be left penniless when their father dies. I can’t blame her for that.)

Anyway, you can find this delightful tea along with plenty of other options on the Friday Afternoon website. Don’t miss their beautiful photos, which pair their teas with charming vintage tea cups.

What I’ve Been Stitching While Sipping

As you might recall, I recently decided to stop designing garments and focus my design efforts on the accessories I prefer making.

It might surprise you, then, to discover I have been working on a sweater design while drinking this tea. The thing is, I don’t have any plans to release this design as a pattern anywhere. It’s just for me.

Of course, I had originally planned on releasing it as a pattern at some point. That’s a big part of why it has sat, unfinished, in my knitting corner for months. Once I made the decision to stop publishing my sweater designs, I found a little joy in working on this one again.

A top-down photo of a woman's pair of small, plump, white hands knitting a purple cotton sweater. Nearby are white roses, antique books, and a teacup with purple flowers filled with light golden tea.

Going forward, I will probably still knit some sweaters of my own design, but they’ll be just for me. When so much of my crafting time is devoted to work that will eventually be part of my business, it feels just a little bit rebellious to make something that is purely for my own use.

Sip and Stitchflix: A Comfort Re-watch

While I’ve been working on that sweater and sipping on several cups of Mrs. Bennet’s Nerve Tonic, I have also been re-watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. How fitting!

But of course, those of you who know me well know my embarrassing secret. I’ve never actually read a Jane Austen novel.

That’s not to say I haven’t tried. I’ve picked them up, but I usually get about half to 3/4 of the way through, put them down again, and then forget to finish.

It’s a never ending source of embarrassment.

A top-down image a flatlay on a white marble countertop. In the center is a teacup with golden tea on a saucer with purple flowers painted on it. They're surrounded by a glass teapot, white roses, antique books, a sugar bowl, a bag of loose leaf tea, and a purple sweater in progress on two steel knitting needles.

The nice thing about this personal failing of mine is it means I can enjoy all of the adaptations of her novels. I have no strong feelings about faithfulness to the novels or preferences for adaptation styles.

See, I love the ’95 Pride and Prejudice, and I love the 2005 version, too, for entirely different reasons. I think the adaptation of Emma with Romola Garai is the best one, and it’s for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the text of the novel.

Here’s a doozy: I even enjoyed the new Persuasion. Gasp. I know.

But no matter what, I am always a sucker for a multi-part BBC adaptation of a 19th-century novel. Rest assured, I will always jump at the chance to re-watch this delicious, six-hour masterpiece. If you’re having a watch party, let me know. I’ll bring baked goods.

Right, then, that about does it for this month’s Sip and Stitch! Do you have a favorite decaf or herbal tea that I should try and write about in an upcoming installment? Have you been enjoying comfort re-watches lately, too? Is there a project that you’ve been avoiding and could maybe use a little help getting started on again? Drop a note in the comments below!


Tuesday 13th of September 2022

I truly enjoy your posts. We like Sage "Tea". Grown in our own garden, using the just fresh leaves chopped up a bit and put in a tea sac and steeped in a 4-cup teapot for 20 minutes. Some people put sugar in to taste and leaves can be adjusted to strength. I like it plain and strong. We also grow Spearmint and steep the same, but we add local organic honey since it is not as strong of a flavor. On a side note, if you harvest the leaves and put them in a freezer bag and freeze right away you can enjoy fresh from the garden tasting herbal "tea" all year long until your plants return. Looking forward to seeing your lovely sweater!

Lauren Rad

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Oh, I've never tried sage tea, but I've got lots of sage in the garden right now. I'm going to give it a go. .Thanks for the idea!


Tuesday 13th of September 2022

While I love coffee, tea and knitting are perfect together. I’m usually not a fan of herbal teas, but I might have to try that one. I frequently ask my children why they have no compassion for my poor nerves.

Good for you reserving some knitting for your own enjoyment! It’s probably really hard to be a designer and not feel the need to monetize all of your beautiful work, so it’s especially admirable. I’m trying to be more intentional about the pleasure of the slow rhythm of knitting itself rather than getting so caught up in trying to rush through one project so I can start the next. I’ve gotten too caught up in the idea of making every single beautiful pattern I see, and that’s neither realistic nor conducive to my reasons for knitting in the first place.

Lauren Rad

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Oh goodness, do I ever know that feeling! You might enjoy some of the conversations over on Jen Parroccini's Instagram, where she's been talking about how fast fashion culture has started making its way into the knitting community. It really helped me pull back on my own frenetic knitting pace.


Tuesday 13th of September 2022

I was wondering what yarn you are using? It's such a pretty purple! Also I love tea, Ahmad has a lot of good ones. I just tried an apple tea by Ahmad and I'm in love!

Lauren Rad

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Thank you! The yarn is a discontinued pima cotton by Cloudborn, and I'm a big fan. I've got enough for one more sweater in a rich, chocolate brown. I love Ahmad teas, too. They make this incredible cherry rosehip hibiscus tea that honestly feels like a liquid dessert. Time to restock, I think.

Nancy Damico

Monday 12th of September 2022

Here are my recommendations: Celestial seasonings: Lemon Zinger. Twinings: Lemon Ginger Tea which comes as traditional hot tea to infuse or you can buy the cold brew form. Both are wonderful. Enjoy!

Lauren Rad

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

When I was in my 20s, I often ended my day with a big mug of Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime tea. I should really buy a new box and start that routine again!


Monday 12th of September 2022

One of my favourite coffee subs is Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Root Tea. You brew 2 bags for a cup, as directed, and it is dark golden bliss. If you are a creamy coffee lover, this sub will treat you to a base that pairs with the creamy goodness of your choice perfectly. I treat this tea like having a specialty coffee. The BBC P&P series is one of my favourite accompanies to getting serious progress in on a knitting project. There is another Jane joy that you might be interested in knowing of. There is a Canadian Indie Dyer on Etsy that holds a 'Letters From Jane' yarn club. My sister has received it and absolutely loved the added correspondence that came with the beautiful yarn. A clever and Bennetful treasure ☺️

Lauren Rad

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

That dandelion root tea sounds fascinating! I'll have to get my hands on some. Thanks for the recommendation.


Monday 12th of September 2022

@Tania, I really enjoyed reading your site, your knitting and photos are lovely. Thanks for the tea recommendation.

Comments are closed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.