Monday, 12 May 2008

Elli's Hot Water Bottle Cover

Aeons ago, I posted something about a hot water bottle, Elli asked what a HWB actually was, I offered to send her one, and a swap was born. I was quite busy at the time, so I sent it off with promises of a cover to follow, wrote it at the top of my To Knit list, went off to medical school and ignored it successsfully for a year.

Pattern: Hot-water Bottle Cover from Sarah Dallas Knitting
Yarn: RYC Silk Wool; colours 307 'Velvet' 3 balls, and 302 'Porcelain', a smidgen. You could easily knit this from three balls of Silk Wool
Yarn source: Angel Yarns
Needles: 4.5 mm Addi turbo
Gauge: 20.5 st x 29 r = 10 cm in st st unblocked, 20 st x 28 r gently blocked
Via the Workbasket? Unquestionably

Notes: I found the instructions at the beginning of this pattern quite confusing. After trying to get the right number of stitches in the fifth row approximately seventeen million times I ended up knitting P2, *P3, kfb, k1, kfb, k1, rep from * to last 5 sts, P5. I couldn't find any published errata, and after reading this post on Knitter's Review I can see that the directions do kind of make sense if you think that way. The increases are on the wrong side, so if you want to use M1 increases, M1R will leave a humongous bar along the bottom of your next row.

I don't have a crochet hook, and I wasn't sure about a picot bind-off since I'd chosen to leave out the eyelets and plaited drawstring, so I knit the final row in the contrast colour and did the Decrease Bind-Off from Vogue Knitting. I do like the way this looks, but having finished the cover, I think it looks a bit bare without the neck tie. Next time I knit this, I'll probably change the proportions of the two halves so that the opening, and therefore the decorative contrast edging, are further up.

While I'm doling out my seed pearls of wisdom, I tried to start the cover last summer, and found that the yarn I'd chosen was mis-spun. The shop I bought it from online didn't respond to any of my queries, and neither did Rowan after a preliminary email asking me to send it to their product design department (which I promptly did), despite much chasing. After stuffing it into my Workbasket and vowing never to buy Rowan yarn again, I ventured into Liberty looking for yarn for Jelly Bean's jumper, and told my tail of woe to the redoubtable Jules. She told me to call Rowan, and the next day they sent a replacement ball of yarn and a copy of Rowan 43 by way of an apology, explaining that the person dealing with complaints had been on maternity leave when I'd been contacting them. Make of that what you will, but the moral of this paragraph is that if you've a problem with Rowan yarn, ring them. (The number is on the back of any of their magazines).

I finished this ages ago - before I started JB's jumper - and put off sewing it up until last week. When I did I was struck anew by how soft the fabric is. I'd forgotten, while it was languishing mournfully in the Basket, quite how lovely the Silk Wool is. It's a tiny bit splitty, but simultaneously bouncy and crunchy, shiny enough to gleam through any bloom, and the softest yarn I have knit with, ever.

I finally gave this to Elli when we met up on Friday (I know!!). Hopefully she'll have some use for it when winter comes around again. My camera is broken, and D misunderstood me when I asked him to bring his, so no posts for the moment, but hanging out with Elli and Thunk was some of the most fun I have had in ages. They are lovely, warm, inspiring people and it was a pleasure to spend an afternoon of their brief trip to London together.


craftoholic said...

That cover is so pretty! I love my HBW, it always gets the cricks out of my neck.

Emily said...

Looks rather elegant, I think. Not like the big baggy sock I seem to remember stuffing my hot water bottle into last time I used it...

Elli said...

It is the most lovely HWBC I could ever dream of owning! I am a very lucky girl.

Now if I could just think up ways to lure you to the states...

Thunk! said...

It is truly magnificent.