Thursday, 8 November 2012

Knitted Cover for Medicine Bottle

 This object is, in the words of Dr. Stephen Maturin, a deeply rational one in that it “is intended to cover a bottle of medicine when it is packed for traveling” as the “knitting is thick and soft enough to prevent the glass from breaking, and takes up less room, and is more sightly than the paper which is generally employed for the purpose.” So states the original pattern which is from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 130, Thirty-Second Series (1896). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004. As a further inducement, the text of the pattern warned of the danger of confusing medicine bottles that contain “a draught and a liniment or poisonous mixture” which might be “supplied in bottles of a similar size and shape; if one bottle is covered with knitting, the nurse will know at once, even if working in a darkened room, which is the harmless, which is the dangerous drug.

The knitting will prove a more effectual reminder than any poison label could be.” As a final suggestion, this “knitted case” could be “slightly modified in size” to be made “to fit a baby’s feeding bottle. It then prevents the food from cooling too rapidly, and is pleasanter to the touch than bare glass.”

The original pattern called for “bright-coloured” and “dark-coloured single Berlin wool.” I used single strands of crewel wool, now label-less, from my stash, in green and “Salmon-colour” as one of the suggested lighter colours. The cover should be knit on “Four steel knitting needles, No. 14 “ (modern equivalent 2mm/US  0.) 

The cover is worked from the bottom up. When completed, it is turned inside out to the more corrugated texture created by the stitches. Again, this is a safety feature in that it makes the bottle less slippery. The final instructions were for a ribbon to be run through the eyelets at the bottom of the bottle, and the pattern pointed out that the bottle will not stand up but “must be propped up or suspended with ribbon strings sewn firmly to the sides of the cover.”

This bottle cover measures -->6” long and 2 ¾” at its widest.

 All quotations are from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004.

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