Sashiko hot water bottle cover

Sashiko hot water bottle cover

This hot water bottle was one of my husband’s Christmas presents.  I made the cover from some felted wool given to me by a colleague, and embellished it with some sashiko embroidery – my first try at this beautiful Japanese stitching technique.  I chose a pattern that symbolizes prosperity, both because of the meaning and because I liked the look of the stitch.  It was also one of the less complicated patterns!

I got inspired to make the hot water bottle cover by TeresaDownUnder’s Stipple Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover tutorial on her blog, Patchwork, which I first found through the wonderful Sew, Mama, Sew! blog.  I didn’t do the stipple quilting but I did follow her instructions for making the pieces.

Back of hot water bottle

I used the button off an old jacket for a closure

For a lining I cut up an old pillowcase and drew the pattern onto it as a guide.  I added a layer of quilt batting in the middle, so with the felted wool I ended up with quite a padded hot water bottle cover.  Luckily, the heat still comes through and it’s just the right warmth to have in the bottom of the bed.  Because the layers were so padded, I did the sashiko stitching only through the top surface of the felted wool layer.

I loved working with the sashiko needle – it was much firmer than a regular embroidery needle, so I could guide the fabric onto it rather than guiding it through the fabric.  I did a lot of the stitching on a very bouncy train journey, and it still turned out pretty evenly!

I’m going to use sashiko again in future projects.  The look of the patterns and the action of the embroidery is very meditative and relaxing.  I love the traditional look of the white/ivory thread on a dark background, but I think I may also experiment with lots of colours to see what can happen.