I've got the hot water bottle blues

I’ve been knitting a hot water bottle cover for a couple of weeks or months now (months really). Not sure why, just felt as soon as I saw the pattern that I MUST do this…to give as a gift…to someone…

I’m not a great knitter, but really do love the act of knitting and occasionally get “bitten” by or “smitten with” a pattern

anyways, here’s what I’ve done so far:

This is the pattern:

and this is the bottle:

Do you see my predicament? There’s a flap on both top and bottom of this particular hot water bottle. This means that I have to knit a longer neck, and am not sure if the bottom will fit either.

Should I just take scissors to the bottle and cut those flaps off? or will this de-stabilize the thing?

or should I just stretch the thing on, make the neck longer…???

anyways, for those of you who are still reading this, here’s a little gift for you. I plan to give a copy of this story with the bottle and knitted cover.

Get your tissues out before you read it.

[B]Miracle of the Hotwater Bottle[/B]

By Helen Roseveare
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite
of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a
crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby
alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).
We also had no special feeding facilities.
Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous
drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the
cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.
Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). “And it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed.
As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.
“All right,” I said, “put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.”
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.
During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please, God,” she prayed, “Send us a hot water bottle today It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.”
While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, “And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?”
As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say “Amen?” I just did not believe that God could do this.
Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box….
From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas -= that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.
Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the……could it really be?
I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle.
I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.
Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!”
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!
Looking up at me, she asked, “Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?”
“Of course!” I replied.
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.
And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child — five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it “that afternoon.”
“Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24)

No, I wouldn’t cut anything. If anything I’d just make the knitted cable part longer. Knitting stretches though so it’ll probably be fine.

Funny…I’ve never used a hot water bottle. I always use a heating pad or a microwave heated thing. :wink:

My goodness, I haven’t seen or used one of those in years! What a nifty project. :slight_smile: Love the cables, learning to work them is next on my to-do list. I’m with Jan on making the cabled part just a touch longer.

ok, now don’t laugh at me, but I live in the woods in the Canadian north, right?..and I’m surrounded by people who are really “into” the green living thing, which means using as little electricity as possible because they believe that electricity costs are going to skyrocket out of the roof, and the rise has begun already.

Our monthly electric bill is around $175 now (bad), and some of the ‘greener’ than us people keep theirs under $100, closer to $70.

The monasteries we frequent also use very little, they heat with propane gas, and have solar panels. In fact, they are at the moment designing a new meditation hall, with the help of my hubby, which will be very low in cost to maintain.

So those of you who are so used to plugging things into a socket and sucking electricity out of the grid…can you try to think as I am learning to? What if your power grid goes down, or becomes so very costly…?

This is my reason for thinking hot water bottle. I hope I won’t have to heat the water over an open campfire, but this would, if necessary, be possible…

I do believe such things are coming, like it or not…but slowly. Many people in the west here believe that we can simply keep on eating up the earth and its resources without limit. What a shock those people will be in for…soon enough.

No laughing here. I’m used to going without electricity from time to time after a hurricane. Honestly, I like the peace and quiet I get from it, no TV, no phones, and everything stops at sunset… there is a certain serenity in the old ways. I don’t over romanticize it (who really wants to go back to outhouses, chamber pots, or turn of the century medicine?), because there is much that is useful in the modern world. But we would definitely benefit from embracing what was good in the older ways of doing things… Just my two cents on the subject. :slight_smile:

Our electricity rarely goes out here, but I’m not laughing. We have lowered our electric bill tremendously by putting CF bulbs, using cold water to do laundry (most of the time) and turning off lights. We recently got new energy efficient double pane windows, too. So I do occasionally use a heating pad or more often heat up my neck pillow in the microwave, but overall we are doing well. :thumbsup:

Seriously, no laughing. Once we had a power outage for three days because of the blizzard. Luckily, we had hot water so hot showers during the day and hot bottles during the night (well, 2 L pop bottles really) kept us from freezing.

Isn’t it funny that this old-fashioned rubber bottle design (first seen in 1925 I believe) is still going strong?..pretty much unchanged.

Somewhere they do list a warning that the things can explode or leak if they get too old and the rubber can crack. Slightly dangerous - you would think someone might have improved it by now.

What I’d like to know is where did you get that watter bottle cover pattern? I’d like to make one too!!!


Go to Ravelry and type water bottle cover in and you’ll bunches of them. Here’s two of many…


That’s the pattern! Have fun making it.

I sewed it together but don’t want to close the bottom…I think you need to remove the water bottle to fill it up. But I need to add an inch or more to the bottom too…I’ll do k1p1 like the sides.

Woodi, can you fold that bottom piece of the bottle into the knitted piece? Maybe then you won’t have to knit anymore…

Maybe just pick up stitches and do an inch or two of garter stitch. The different stitch will make it look intentional rather than the mistake of not making it long enough. I think I’d add a couple snaps to close it so the cover doesn’t slide up.

Turned out nice!

Did you consider just sewing up the ‘shoulders’ on the bottom and leaving the ‘neck opening’ for this piece of rubber that sticks out? If it’s stretchy enough you could use it as an upside down sweater :slight_smile:

Thanks gals!

this is what I did last evening: I added 3 rows of seed stitch to the bottom on one side, intending to do the same on other. I am also thinking that maybe two buttonholes might work in one of these sides. Then I can just button it closed. I don’t like snaps nor velcro, and I have many large buttons.

By the way, a full hot water bottle is now inside this knitted cover…

Closeup of that bottom: (looks raggy doesn’t it?..haven’t blocked it at all, yet. Will do. Then I will show you the final outcome.

Gosh this has been a long project! Thank you for your patience with me, knitters. I’m now 64 years old and likely won’t get much better at knitting, and I drool over the lovely things others do…but I still love to knit! (and lumpy things look so cozy, don’t they?) hehe

I can see from this photo that my cables are holey at the edges…hoping some blocking might disguise this. This is acrylic yarn though, so not likely to change much.

Perfect! The seed stitch looks great! I think I’d just toss in the washer and dryer if it’s acrylic. At least I’d try that first probably. You can always pull it out when it’s almost dry or dampish and lay it flat.

I just said snaps because I was thinking they might be easier than buttonholes, but you’re right…snaps are a pain to sew on.

Thanks for all the kind words, and to Jan, I just love you! :heart:

You are always so perky and cheerily positive. I’ll bet you could write a book on the subject, or at least make a poster, hehe
The suggestion to wash it and put in dryer, then lay flat will be what I do, sounds good.

I love seed stitch, so will finish with more of that…still slow-going. I may have used too small a needle for this type of yarn.

Stay tuned for the finale! coming soon…

I like the hot water bottle because it can be used independent of electricity. All you’d need is access to hot water, which can be boiled over a campfire if needs be!

I think this little hot water bottle sweater is so adorable. I’m with Jan…I wouldn’t take scissors to it. However, can that extra flap thing at the bottom be folded up? Could you use ‘duct tape’ to fold it up and secure it to the bottle to get it out of the way?

I can’t believe I’m suggesting the 1,001th way to use duct tape!

Well I don’t know what got into me, but I just couldn’t stop working on it today - so here it is now 9:35PM and it’s done! These green buttons were the only ones I could find. I kind of like the contrast, but should have sewn them on straighter. Maybe tomorrow I’ll straighten them out.

I taught myself how to make buttonholes, not great ones, but they work.

It was fun to cuddle it tonight while I watched Revolutionary Road. What a depressing movie though! Well done, great acting, but such a downer.

Woodi - how precious! Nothing yummier than cuddling up to something warm on a cold evening!