Free Pattern – Hot Water Bottle Cover

Today I wanted to share with you one of my go-to patterns. I have honestly made so many of these hot water bottle covers! We’re enjoying the warm beginning of spring here in New Zealand but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for next winter. And if you’re reading this from the other side of the world, then it’s just in time for those longer evenings, snuggled up on the couch in the warmth. These covers also make great presents, so get started on a few now and you’ll be able to tick a few people off your Christmas list!

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A little note about the yarn: I have used Moda Vera Elenna yarn for this pattern. This yarn can be bought from Spotlight stores in New Zealand and Australia (this post is in no way sponsored by Spotlight – I’m just obsessed with this particular yarn!).


As you can see from the picture, it is 50% Acrylic and 50% Cotton, and is a chunky 12ply yarn (recommended hook size is 7mm). I haven’t tried any other 12ply yarns as a substitute but that’s totally up to you if you can’t get your hands on this specific yarn and want to try something different.

Ok, enough talking! Here’s the pattern:

Note: Pattern is written in US Terminology
           ch = chain
           sc = single crochet
           st = stitch
           1sc inc = 2 sc into same stitch (increase)
           1sc dec = sc 2 stitches together (decrease)

If you would like to download the pattern in an easy PDF format, click on the links below:

Chunky Hot Water Bottle Cover without photos
Chunky Hot Water Bottle Cover with photos

Back of Cover
Foundation Row: Chain 20. Turn and sc into second chain from hook. Sc into each chain until end of row. Ch 1 and turn.


Row 2: 1sc inc into first st from previous row. Sc in each st along row until last st, 1sc inc into last st. Ch 1 and turn. (=21sc, not including turning chain).


Row 3: 1sc inc into first st from previous row. Sc in each st along row until last st, 1sc inc into last st. Ch 1 and turn. (=23sc, not including turning chain)

Row 4: Sc in each st across row. (23sc, not including turning chain) Ch1 and turn.

5 Row 31: Repeat Row 4 until you have 28 rows of sc in total.

(I like to use a stitch marker at the start of Row 4 to indicate the start of straight sc rows. This makes it easier to keep track of how many rows I have done).
Row 32: 1sc dec x2, sc in each st along until last four st’s. 1sc dec x2. (=19sc, not including turning chain) Ch1 and turn.

Row 33: 1sc dec x2, sc in each st along until last four st’s. 1sc dec x2. (=15sc, not including turning chain) Ch1 and turn.

Row 34: 1sc dec x2, sc in each st along until last four st’s. 1sc dec x2. (=11sc, not including turning chain) Ch1 and turn.

Row 35: 1sc dec x2, sc in each st along until last four st’s. 1sc dec x2. (=7sc, not including turning chain) Ch1 and turn.


Row 36 → 38: Sc in each st across row. (=7sc, not including turning chain) Ch1 and turn (3 sc rows in total).

Row 39: 1sc inc into first st from previous row. Sc in each st along row until last st, 1sc inc into last st. Ch 1 and turn. (=9sc, not including turning chain)

Row 40: 1sc inc into first st from previous row. Sc in each st along row until last st, 1sc inc into last st. Ch 1 and turn. (=11sc, not including turning chain)

Row 41: 1sc inc into first st from previous row. Sc in each st along row until last st, 1sc inc into last st. Ch 1 and turn. (=13sc, not including turning chain)

Row 42 & 43: Sc in each sc across row.

pic12Fasten off and weave in ends.

Final measurements: width = 21cm (8.2”)
                                        height = 36.5cm (14.3”)

I would love to see your photos if you make this pattern!! Share them with me on my Facebook page or tag me in them on Instagram @onceuponawhimnz !


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Crochet WIP Essentials

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I always love getting a sneak peek into other people’s creative spaces and processes; I feel like it gives you so much insight into a person’s mind! So I thought that today I would share with you guys a little look at all the essentials I have with me whenever I’m working on a project.

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This little floral case was gifted to me by my lovely friend Bec over at Clouds of Colour which she brought back from her travels to England and France earlier this year – it has barely left my sight since and has quickly become one of my most useful items when it comes to keeping all of my bits and pieces together. I normally have a mixture of the following crammed into it at any one stage:

  • Sewing needles: for sewing in ends and sewing on details to finished items. I always make sure I have a variety of different sizes, and at least a couple of darning needles as I often use fairly chunky yarn which requires a much bigger needle.
  • Stitch markers: I use these so often, whether it’s for marking the start of a round or making note of which row I’m up to. Once again, I have a variety of different sizes and try to always have a few on hand!
  • Embroidery scissors: I used to use a clunky pair of big kitchen scissors until my lovely husband took it upon himself to buy me a few pairs of cute little embroidery scissors – and now I couldn’t live without them! Not only are they so much easier for snipping off those little ends of yarn, they also look super adorable!
  • Measuring tape: this item doesn’t get used as much as the others (depending on what project I’m working on) but it’s still such a handy tool to have at your fingertips!
  • Crochet hooks: I do have a special case for my crochet hooks (more on that soon) but I normally keep my most used sizes in the floral case for easy access! At the moment, the sizes I’m using the most are my 7mm and 4mm.
  • Pen and paper: I always have a few scribbles going on – either as a way of keeping track of the number of rows/rounds I have done, or keeping note of any changes to patterns I make. On a side note, the pen in this photo is from kikki.K and is my all-time favourite pen! It was part of a gift from a close friend of mine and is so lovely to write with. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a tad obsessed with stationery! Which leads on to my next essential item…

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Don’t you just love this notebook?? It’s by the super talented Bec at Clouds of Colour and is one of the many Clouds of Colour notebooks I have in my [vast] collection! I have a bit of a notebook addiction but I’m always so hesitant about actually writing in them because they’re just so crisp and fresh! However, one of my missions is to start using them a lot more and I’ve managed to follow through on that with this notebook (it’s a start, right?). I jot down all of the patterns I use most frequently, or any variations/changes to patterns so that I have them all in one place. I dream of whole shelves of notebooks overflowing with scribbles and patterns…I just need to be brave enough to start writing in them!

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What sort of crocheter would I be if I didn’t have my hooks close at hand? I’m sure my hook collection is probably a lot smaller than a lot of crocheters out there and I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t tried many different brands except for my little splurge on a few Furls hooks (I have a couple more that aren’t actually in this photo as well…). I would love to try a few different brands one day but my humble grey ones will do for now! My hooks normally live in their hook case which I made a couple of years ago when I was going through a sewing phase (crochet is definitely more my calling though!).

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And the final item on my list of essential items is this basket which generally lives at the end of the couch (and sometimes behind it) where I keep whatever yarn I need for the project I’m working on (don’t worry, I have a craft room where the rest of my stash lives!). This basket is also really handy for sweeping all of the aforementioned items into at the end of the night, or when my yarn and projects start to take over the lounge!

So, that’s everything I normally have with me whenever I crank out the crochet. Is there anything I haven’t mentioned that you couldn’t live without?

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The etiquette of crocheting in public


I turned up at work on Monday morning and one of my colleagues started talking to me about a photo I posted over the weekend. This colleague and I are always comparing notes on our latest knit or crochet project – and she was actually the one who made me brave enough to start bringing my crochet along to teacher-only days and staff meetings! She commented that the thing she loved about the photo I posted was that it brought knitting into the real world and showed it in a really normal environment. She then said, “Isn’t it funny that it’s totally normal for me to be on my phone right now but if I had my crochet out, people would start commenting or questioning?”.

Casting on

Let me go back and explain the original context of the above photo. It was Saturday morning and my husband, brother and I were deciding what we wanted to do for the day. Heavy rain was forecast but it hadn’t quite hit yet so we decided to drive out to the Boulder Bank in Nelson. My brother and husband love their waves and are always keen to see what the ocean is up to! On the drive there, I got them to make a pit-stop at Spotlight as I needed (seriously!) a new size of knitting needles (there also happened to be 50% off all Moda Vera yarn which was a very happy coincidence…).
Ten twenty minutes later, we carried on out to the Boulder Bank and sat watching the waves and throwing rocks for the next hour or so.

My fingers are always itching to play with yarn, especially when I have a new bag (or two) full to the brim, so out came the knitting needles.  My husband is pretty used to it now! However, I did find myself glancing around every now and then, just in case someone walked by with their dog and gave me a funny look.

So where IS it socially acceptable to knit or crochet? Hopefully the rocky beach (and then inside the truck when it gets too cold!) is ok.Throwing rocks

But what about at work or in meetings?
I am a high school teacher IRL and with that territory comes a lot of meetings! I am one of those people who needs to be doing something to help me concentrate. It’s very rare that I sit on the couch and watch TV or a movie without working on a project. Likewise, in meetings where you are required to be passive (i.e. listening to a presentation) I desperately need to be working on something in order to help me concentrate and stay focused. Because we all know teachers sure do love to talk…

On the other hand, I would never ever dream of bringing my crochet into the classroom – for obvious reasons! My students require all of my attention and if I have time to crochet in class then I’m obviously not doing my job properly. Similarly, I wouldn’t knit during my precious few free periods – simply because there is always so much work to be done (and obviously I get paid to work, not crochet – as nice as that would be)! Lunch breaks? Slightly different situation. A couple of people I work with will occasionally pull out their knitting at lunch and I always find myself feeling rather jealous that I didn’t think to bring any of mine!

Social situations?
I’ve come across a bit of debate in this area and I think it’s one of those situations that requires a bit of personal judgement. Obviously weddings and funerals are a big no-no (go figure)! And surely you wouldn’t ever knit a few rows of stitches while out at a restaurant for dinner. But what about an evening at a friend’s house? This is a case where it is totally dependent on the situation. There are probably only a handful of people at whose house I would feel comfortable enough to take around whichever project I’m working on. One way I often measure it up is whether I feel comfortable curling up on their couch with my feet tucked under me! If so, I’m definitely making myself at home with my crochet. If not, it’s probably best left at home. In regards to having guests around at your house, it once again depends on how formal the situation is! If I was having a big dinner party, I would absolutely leave the crochet hooks and knitting needles in my basket behind the couch. If it’s just our close friends coming over for a movie night or BBQ? Let’s just say they quickly get used to sharing the couch with a few balls of yarn!

Waiting rooms and public transport?
I have heard that a lot of people always carry a small project in their handbag for these types of situations – I wish I was one of them! Granted, I haven’t used public transport since my uni days but there have been a few times recently where I would have loved the distraction of crocheting while sitting in a waiting room! But I think I often go out of my way to avoid drawing attention to myself and as soon as you pull out a crochet hook, people immediately start looking. So the crochet bag gets to stay in the car instead.

Other places?
Watching TV/movies at home: HECK YES!
Long drives/roadtrips: absolutely!
Cafes: depends who you’re with and where.
Movie theatre: this only just occurred to me…hmm…has anyone tried it?
Aeroplanes: yes and no – it probably pays to check the on-board regulations first.

Are there any places I have missed? Do you disagree with any of it? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

(I have purposefully talked about both crochet and knitting in this post as I often switch between the two mediums.) 

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*Quietly sneaking back in…*

So I’m just gonna ‘fess up. I maybe, sorta, might have neglected this blog a little bit. Ok…a lot. All my good intentions got hidden away in the back of my head and before I even knew it, almost a whole year has gone by! Tsk, tsk. I think my problem was that right out the gate I had all these grand ideas of doing amazing things when really what I want to be focusing on is just sharing a little bit of my journey and creations as I go. So with that in mind (grammar lovers, skip the rest of this sentence!), I’m making no promises, setting no deadlines and writing down no plans. I’m just going to pop in now and then when I feel like it! Some people work best with goals in mind or to-do lists. Me? I work best when I’m just doing things because I can. Oh don’t get me wrong, I can smash out a deadline just as well as the next person (high school teacher right here folks!) but when it comes to creativity, I like to just go with the flow. Anyway, enough talking. Here are a few photos to catch you up on some of latest (in the past year!) creations.

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Stationery + crochet. What could be better?

10.Nov 2014

This awesome TRAP-ART fabric yarn from Chompa Handmade is great for chunkier items!

15.Nov 2014

I took part in The Great Christmas Market for the first time!! And loved every second of it!

23.Nov 2014

There was a bit of a trial with tapestry crochet – and I discovered that it’s a lot easier than it looks!

08.Feb 201515.Feb 2015

I also tested this gorgeous pattern for Emilie from Lehandmade – and then proceeded to make a ridiculous amount of bunny rabbits! Best pattern EVER.

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And my current obsession is hot water bottle covers!

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I even released my first ever pattern for a chunky hot water bottle cover using Moda Vera Elenna yarn (from Spotlight) which you can find here on Etsy!!


I am also currently working on a pattern for a hot water bottle cover using 8ply yarn so keep an eye out for that over the next week.

Now lets just hope it’s not another year before my next post…! xx

Granny Stripe Blanket

I finished this soft chunky blanket just as the cold snap really started to set in, here in New Zealand. I am so pleased with how it turned out! It’s the first time I have worked a blanket in rows and I think I have been converted. I feel like it works up a lot faster than lots of squares but maybe that’s just me? Then again, the chunkiness of the yarn definitely contributed to it taking shape a bit quicker! I might have to start on another one now to experiment…any excuse right??

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~ Long weekend bliss ~

Who doesn’t love a long weekend? It’s always such a great chance to catch up on all the little – and fun – things that so often get pushed aside until we ‘get around to it’.

I’ve been wanting to have a peek at Little Beehive Co-op in town for ages and yesterday I finally got some time to head in and really savour all the treasures that it harbours. If you haven’t heard of it before, Little Beehive Co-op is a small business set up to connect local artisans and craftspeople in Nelson. And it is a beauty of a store!

I have needed (yes, needed…) new baking wooden spoons for a while now and these pretty little things are just what I have been looking for! Made by the awesome designers behind Natty, from Wellington.Image


And I just adore these gift tags by the super talented Bec from Clouds of Colour! They’re almost too pretty to use, dontcha think?


I see a lot more visits to Little Beehive Co-op in the future!


Oooh I also found this delish Nelson honey from Mountain Valley while perusing the Nelson Market. This will make a perfect addition to my next batch of homemade muesli.


How fun is it discovering little gems around your hometown! Nelson never ceases to delight me.



Entering the blogging world…

Here we go! The next step in this fun little venture of mine.

My favourite person was talking the other day about how creativity can often be seen as a cycle of inspiration and I couldn’t agree more. I have been peeking into, gawking at and drooling over snippets of other people’s creative lives for a while now. There are some beautiful profiles, sites and blogs that have inspired me to just give it a go, whatever ‘it’ may be. I love witnessing all the inspiring treasures that can be found on this world wide web and I never tire of seeing what will be thought of next in this wonderful world we live in.

Having spent so long sitting back and soaking it all in, I now feel like maybe I can share a little bit as well. Perhaps I can jump on this wheel of inspiration and do my small part in becoming part of the cycle.

My hope for this blog is that someone will be inspired.