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Water Bottle Carrier

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Holly Shaltz, Fiberist
PO Box 136
Boyne City MI
49712 USA
(231) 582 3206
(231) 582 0426

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I get thirsty easily, particularly in the summer. I tried bringing ice water along in the car when I go places, but usually it would be warm and icky before I wanted it. Then I'd end up going to the local fast food dump and buying a drink there.

Knit water bottle carrier
Knit Water Bottle Carrier

One day we were going to a touristy place, where I knew drinks would be hard to come by and very expensive. On the spur of the moment, I popped a bottle that was half ice, half water, into a large, thick mitten, and brought it along. When we got back to the car, the ice was melted but the water was still quite cold, in spite of sitting in the sun, in the car, for several hours on a very warm day.

I decided to make a bottle insulator and carrier. I used yarns spun to illustrate a worsted spinning class and made the carrier to be a class sample. I use it whenever I go out of the house. The pattern is very simple, so here it is. It fits commercial water bottles from 16 to 24 fluid ounces. I keep the bottles, half filled with ice, in the freezer so all I have to do is top them off with water, pop them in the carrier, and go.

An unexpected bonus is the bag absorbs condensation very readily, so I can put the bagged bottle in a tote and not have to worry about it getting papers, books, etc wet. But make sure, if the yarn is dyed, that it's thoroughly rinsed, or the yarn might bleed, even though the condensation is cold (voice of experience here :)

The first version I thought of was to make the carrier with roving stranded on the inside, or with a double layer of knitting. I started one using the roving on the inside, but the yarns were not very attractive, so I started over again. This fair isle version has worked very well here in northern lower Michigan, where it does get into the 90s each summer more often than you might think. Areas where summer temps are routinely 90 and higher might need a more elaborately insulative carrier.

Update in 2008: I've since made a second bottle carrier, also a fair isle pattern, which I like even more, since the yarns are from the natural colors of our Shetland sheep wool. It also doubled as both a pattern tester and a gauge swatch for a fair isle coat I'm slowly knitting!


Materials: About 3 ounces / 85 grams worsted weight wool if you're going to do fair isle knitting. Mine is handspun worsted yarn (about 12 wraps to the inch) made from a very soft Shetland x Cormo wool, but any yarn that works at this gauge can be used. Or adjust the pattern to fit your yarn and your bottle. If you opt for fair isle, have about 75% of your yarn in the main color if you want all the background color to be one, and the rest in as many other colors as you like--this is a great projects for using leftover yarns, as long as they all knit to about the same gauge. I recommend dark colors for the bottom so it won't show dirt readily.

Gauge: 20 sts and 24 rows = 4 inches / 10 cm

Equipment: A set of 4 or 5 double pointed needles in the size needed to give you the above gauge for the body of the carrier, plus another set 2-3 sizes smaller for the ribbing.

Working from the top, cast on 48 stitches using smaller needles. Work in knit 2, purl 2 ribbing for 8 rows.

Next row, eyelets to thread the cord through: Make a yarn over between the knit stitches of each knit 2 rib. 60 stitches.

Next row: Knit 3 (including yarn over stitch), purl 2 together, around. Back to 48 stitches.

Next row: Change to stockinette stitch and larger needles. Work about an inch in plain stockinette. If desired, continue plain knitting, or switch to fair isle or other patterns for the body of the carrier. My carrier measures about 9 inches / 22 cm from the ribbing to the bottom, which is a little longer than it really needs to be--but that also gives it extra room to accomodate larger or taller bottles than I normally carry.

Last two rows: Increase 1 stitch to 49 stitches. Work either in seed stitch (k 1, p 1 for 2 rows) or plain stockinette. Seed stitch helps to define and turn the bottom, but it's not necessary when you have a bottle in the carrier.

I worked the bottom in stripes using the dark colors in the carrier. You can do stripes, or all one color, as you desire.

Bottom decreasing: K 5, k 2 together around, 42 stitches left. Knit one round plain.

Next decrease row: K 4, k 2 tog around, 35 stitches left. Knit one round plain.

Next decrease row: K 3, k 2 tog around, 28 stitches left. Knit one round plain.

Next decrease row: K 2, k 2 tog around, 21 stitches left. Knit one round plain.

Next decrease row: K 1, k 2 tog around, 14 stitches left. Knit one round plain.

Next decrease row: K 2 together around, 7 stitches left. Knit one round plain. Break yarn leaving long tail. Thread through remaining stitches and draw up tightly. Tie off inside. Work in remaining yarn ends.

Strap: Deside how long you want your strap--mine is long enough to wear the carrier bandelero-style. Cut four or five pieces of matching yarn, each about 2.5 times the finished length desired for your strap. Tie an overhand knot in one end. Attach the other end to some device that will twist the yarn for you--a rope maker, a bobbin winder, a spinning wheel (thread your leader through your orifice and tie the yarn to it but don't wind on) or (my favorite) a single beater inserted in a mixer. Twist the strands of yarn until, when you allow some of it to double back on itself, you have a cord twisted as much as you like. Fold the whole cord in half, let it twist back. Thread through the holes in the top of the carrier, and tie the ends tightly.

Your water bottle carrier is ready for use!

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