The deep freeze is still going strong here, but thankfully the temperature is meant to jump up about 10 degrees tomorrow. Until then, I will still be clutching my favourite hot water bottle, waiting for  sensation to return to my extremities.

I have an American friend who was utterly baffled by my hot water bottle – somehow she had never heard of such a thing and thought me completely mad, until I made one up for her when she was a houseguest. I think it’s safe to say she was a convert by the time she left. But they often come either without a cover, or with a cover that is nasty and cheap, or a novelty character of some sort. As with so many things, it’s much nicer if you can make your own.

My one effort in this department goes way back to 2008, and all in all I was pretty pleased with the result.


Making one now, I think I’d be tempted to go with a nicer yarn – this was an anonymous acrylic blend, I think, and some proper sheepiness, or fluffy Malabrigo, would be sooo much nicer. I’d also be keen to try a bolder colour, or some cheerful stripes, which can go a long way to preventing your creation from shouting OLD LADY! at an embarrassingly high volume.

It’s not perhaps the most exciting gift for kids, although you could have some fun by knitting a character or animal of some kind – add some ears and a tail, embroider a face, turn it into a rocket, whatever you fancy – and it might help to make bedtime slightly more bearable.

I used a very simple pattern, and what I liked about it was that the ribbed neckline was just about wide enough to accommodate the bottle and didn’t need other fastenings or ties to keep it in place. The bottom was seamed, although if I made it now I’d probably start it like a giant toe-up sock with Judy’s Magic Cast On.

It doesn’t take up too much yarn, and could be a good opportunity for some stash-busting or using up leftovers, especially if you like stripes. It’s also very easy to customise the pattern with something more challenging if you fancy it. What could be better for keeping your nearest and dearest extra cosy this Winter?

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3 Responses to Defrost

  1. Vanessa says:

    I had to explain to my husband the wonders of the hot water bottle. Perfect for warming up a chilly bed or to use as an ice pack. I remember the water bottle my parents had. It had that lovely rubber smell and was the perfect shade of faded pink. Apparently, my mom would slip it into my crib before putting me down to sleep. She thought it was cruel to put a baby to sleep in a cold bed.

    When I got older, she would slip off my socks and heat them up on our old exposed radiator. It was a nice treat on cold, dark winter mornings to wear warm socks. Especially since I inherited my dad’s cold feet.

    Now that we have central heating in our apartment, I can’t do that any more. I miss that feel.

  2. anne says:

    I am American, and you are right hot water bottles are not common anymore here. When I was a little girl in the 80s my mom always gave us one when we were sick. She had the most adorable black sheep cover for it. It was not hand knit but I would love to knit her one someday soon (maybe next Christmas) because I don’t think she has it anymore.

  3. Myriam says:

    Love Hot water bottles in this house! We have a bungalow style house and the upstairs bedroom is always very cold in winter, so the bottle is my hero.
    I hve made a cozy for my mothers, the pattern was from the Sarah Dallas Knitting Book. It’s lovely with cables. I have the yarn to make mine and 2 yrs later i still haven’t! Oh well eventually it will happen.

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