Stash Box

Knitting a jumper, when you’re a beginner like myself, can be a daunting task. It would be nice to accomplish a small thing and feel we’ve achieved something and perhaps experimented with a new tuck stitch or a bit of Fair Isle at the same time. I seem to be always furtively looking through all the patterns I’ve collected for anything small to experiment with and use up some of the stash. A headband, hats, gloves, mittens for the grandchildren, a tea cosy, socks, bed socks and small dog coats spring to mind. I’m also asked to knit things for the local church, which go to help children in various parts of the world. I know that summer hasn’t arrived yet, but it would also be good to start putting a few things away for Christmas presents.

I knitted my grandson’s Dennis the Menace jumper and hat that you so kindly featured last December. Incidentally, he now thinks he’s an international fashion star and proudly announced that he needed a hot water bottle cover to match it! But where could I get a pattern? I bought the hot water bottle and worked out a few measurements, which was easy as I knew the number of rows for each of the black and red stripes and how much they measured. I began to realise I could adapt the hat pattern I’d used for him.

With the 4-ply acrylic wool in red, I cast on 130 stitches and worked 40 rows rib on the ribber at Tension 4. This covers the neck of the hot water bottle and there’s enough elasticity in it to stretch to get the bottle inside the finished cover and up over the top. I then started knitting the stripes on Tension 7, beginning with black and each stripe has 12 rows. These can be different colours using up all those odds and ends in the stash box. I worked nine and a half stripes in all, then cast off. I sewed up the bottom and side seam and this made one very happy grandchild at bedtime.

This pattern would also be good for practising Fair Isle, as the threads at the back would give added thickness to the cover. I then had to make one for his younger brother, who was determined not to be left out in the cold at bedtime. Perhaps we could have a small Stash Box column in MKM where we can all get small ideas from using up our odd cones? Perhaps other knitters have a well-used pattern that they knit for their local charity that they would not mind sharing with us. Anything along these lines would be gratefully appreciated.
Best wishes, Margaret Cummings at Donington Knitting Club, Lincolnshire