Out with the Old

In 2003 when I first stepped tentatively back into the knitting I remembered doing in childhood, one of the first things I made was a hot water bottle cover. A basket weave pattern, some eyelets knit oh so cleverly (I felt) into the ribbing and suddenly I had a finished item. I made it from some, I think, Cleckheaton I bought at Lincraft, on straight plastic needles. It looks, all these years later, like the well used item I knew it would be – it’s served me well.

old cover

Eight years is not bad service but its time has come. It’s thin, worn and not all that attractive. I have meant to knit a new one for ages but when I stumbled across a quilted version, I jumped at the chance to choose some nice fabric from my burgeoning stash and give this a go. It was, to say the least, painful, but I got there.

hotwater bottle cover front 1

The original design used stippling (for the uninitiated – free-form lines instead of straight lines) and binding around the edge, both of which are sadly beyond my skills at this point in my sewing life (I can do binding – but curved? No way. I failed.)

So I stuck with straight lines (the inside is lined with some leftover sheeting) and sewed it together inside out, leaving the raw edges inside the cover, instead of on the outside, because I just couldn’t get the binding I so proudly made to go around the curved corners of the neck. Before I try curved binding again, I’ll do something with less sharp turns!

On the back, you can see what the binding would have looked like where I put it across the opening.

hotwater bottle cover - back

I can’t help thinking the top of the cover should have rested over the bottom of the cover but you know what? I unpicked this three times trying to get it right. It’s a hot water bottle cover, not a garment. It will do just fine now. I almost tossed it when I couldn’t get it right but I loved this matryoshka doll fabric so much I didn’t want to waste it. Where there’s a will, right?

I’m looking forward to trying it out tonight – such a blustery cold winter’s day here. Anything to keep toasty warm.

hotwater bottle cover front

The designer has a couple of versions she’s made of this if you’re keen to have a go. I think at some point I’ll definitely try another one.



23 thoughts on “Out with the Old

  1. Pingback: A Patchwork Tote | Bellsknits

  2. Pingback: bananas in pyjamas « :: machen|machen :: make|do ::

  3. We don’t really use hot water bottles, but every time I see a hot water bottle cover, I want to make one.

    Really like the fabric you used for your new cover. You really can’t go wrong with matryoshkas!

  4. I’d say the blue hottie cover has earned its retirement – 10 is like 65 in hotwaterbottlecover years you know.
    As for the new one – very spiffy, and for future reference, the secret to curved binding is to cut the strips on the bias [cross] ie at 45 degrees to the straight grain. It’s all in how you fold the fabric so give me a yell if you need to be talked/blogged through the process [ or check YouTube ] because it really is no harder than doing straight binding. Promise.

  5. I have never had an electric blanket, we always had hotwater bottles, and sometimes two: one in the bed to warm it up and one to take to bed with you. My knitted cover gave up the ghost this year and I think it was 10 years old. I have the wool for a new one, but haven’t started. Your quilted one is very cute and I agree, something for your feet in the bed doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect!! The fabric is very cute!!!

  6. I’m so glad you didn’t give up on the hot-water bottle cover. That fabric is just SO cute. I love dolls, anyway, and this fabric is extra cute. It isn’t worth sweating too much over something that you aren’t going to wear.

  7. both covers are so cute – love that the knitted one lasted so long. the fabric on the new one is gorgeous, and it looks great with its neat lines. i’m sure it will be in use tonight! brrrr

  8. I have a few hot water bottles that need covering – way too cold up here around Armidale at the moment and the kids love using them (me too). Lovely inspiration – I might go and get busy with a few. To knit or to quilt, that is the question….

  9. I have a hot water bottle cover which looks very much like your knitted version, only it’s in bright pink. It was knit by my grandmother to try to keep her fingers active towards the end of her life and I can’t throw it out even though it’s probably well and truly lived it’s life. Perhaps the answer is to knit another one and keep the old for properity.

  10. It must be an American thing because I have never used a hot water bottle either! I’ve seen them in the store right next to the ice packs but have never used one.

    I love that fabric and the straight line quilting is perfect for that piece. It’s small and anything else might have been overkill.

  11. Amazing! This is the 2nd post on hot water bottle covers I’ve seen today; you rarely see one of these in Florida! What do you do with it? Does it go next to your feet at night in bed? If next to the skin, I think I would like a knitted one better. But I do love the matryoshka fabric, do you remember the designer/maker name or where you bought it? And you did a fantastic job on it, curved binding and all.

    • i tend to have it next to my feet, if in it bed (I hate cold feet). or I put it on my tummy when I have cramps. The covering means you don’t have that direct rubber feeling so the heat isn’t intense. And this one is triple layered – the cover – it’s quilted – so it’s soft and comforting.

      I just bought it at the chemist – you can buy them in supermarkets, at discount stores, anywhere. They’re about $5 a piece!


  12. Whew – those originals look way too complicated! I like yours just fine – love how you improvised with straight lines and love how they add to the design, not detract, which I think squiggly patterns might have. I’ve never actually used a water bottle, though. What do you use them for?

  13. I don’t think I’ve tried binding on a curve yet. I haven’t used much binding tape yet. But now I’m intrigued…

    So, what goes in there? How do you use it? Seriously. Don’t use them here. Intrigued about hot water cozies too.

  14. I’ve bound two quilts but I’ve never had to think about binding on a curve. That would be a brave step I think.

    You like the fabric and it serves its purpose: what more can you ask?

    I tell DD when we are sewing together; perfection is for the experienced, fun is for the beginner!

  15. Heh, I have been thinking about making a hot water bottle cover! I think I will knit it though! I do love a hottie in winter, it’s all we need in Sydney really. We have two, but only one cover!
    Its very cute fabric, I was wondering how it opened so glad you showed the back with the flap!

  16. Fantastic fabric!!! It looks great. You should keep the old knitted one as I’m sure it will be worth something one day. I knew Bells when…

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