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Cerf-Moi-Fort! Deer Knitting Hot Water Bottle Cover

Winter will be warm and cozy with my new – Cerf-Moi-Fort! Hot Water Bottle Cover – a free pattern here on the blog! Read through my inspiration, design process and everything on the yarn I chose. Get the free pattern below or  purchase the ad-free, printable PDF here. or scroll on down for the free pattern.

My Inspo 

I had just finished my Twister knit hat that I didn’t want to let go of my needles so quickly!

With winter and cold coming soon, even here in Dordogne (southwest of France)! I took out my dear hot water bottle and a new cover was urgently needed! Then I remembered his two beautiful balls of red and white Pingouin yarn screaming in despair, I wasn’t going to leave them like that!

Clearly red and white can immediately make us think of Santa Claus, but then I really didn’t want to create that! The image of a beautiful deer inspired me much more, it symbolizes more winter and nature that I love. If you follow me you have surely seen my last tapestry pattern which was my Squirrel Crochet mittens!

Cerf-Moi-Fort! are french words meaning: hold/hug me tight. “cerf” in french means deer, and is an homophone of “serre”: hold! 

I LOVE my hot water bottle even more now, with this hot water bottle cover, a scented candle and a good organic tea in front of a TV series, Bridget Jones had better watch out!

One Cover, Two Patterns

The hot-water bottle cover comes with a front with a soaring deer / reindeer pattern, and a back with a deer antlers pattern. They are surrounded by a snow pattern which provides a pleasant finish to the central patterns. These two patterns are original creations that I imagined then drawn on a computer software.

If you have any interest in designing your own graphs, you have to check out Stitch Fiddle! It’s a site that allows to customize your own charts and graphs and it’s SO addictive. Oh, and it’s free!

This cover would also be a great gift idea for the end of the year / Christmas holidays!

So Easy To Make

The hot water bottle cover is widely accessible to beginners. It is made in three parts: the knitted main fabric, the tapestry embroidery patterns / duplicate stitches on stockinette stitch and the finishes with its braided cord and pretty pompoms made with a brilliant device.

In addition, I have inserted many explanatory photos so you have no more excuses for not making it!

The Tapestry Duplicate Stitch 

To make the patterns, I first tried a tapestry knitting approach, but I quickly realized the tedious task that it was going to be, I will pass you the details of the long threads that were hanging happily, boo! Undo everything and we start again!

So I set my sights on option number two, namely duplicate stitch on stockinette knit stitch. And I LOVED it! It is clearly a pleasant technique, a real meditative moment and of pleasure to create.

Embroidery on stockinette is accessible to beginners, I explane the tutorial further down in the free pattern. Go there with your eyes closed, you won’t regret it. I also posted a little video that shows you the stitch here:

Adjustable Dimensions

The Cerf-Moi-Fort! hot water bottle cover comes in one size. If the proportions are a bit different from your hot water bottle at home, don’t panic, you can adapt it by, for example, decreasing around the patterns. And if you don’t have a hot water bottle at home, I suggest one by clicking here.

How To Put On The Hot Water Bottle ?

To put on the hot water bottle, nothing could be simpler: fold it in three on itself lengthwise then insert it through the collar of the cover and gently slide it inside. Then tighten the braided cord and tie it.

Here is a short video to show you how to put on the cover: Click HERE.

The Printable PDF Version Of The Pattern

If, like me, you prefer watching your patterns on paper instead of knitting in front of a screen, the PDF version is made for you! This large format, ad-free PDF is designed to be easy to print and contains all of the pattern images & diagrams you find below. You can purchase the printable PDF on Etsy HERE. (You also support me, a small designer by choosing the printable version, thank you)

The Yarn 

For this project I used only two balls of Pingo First from Pingouin, it is a good quality acrylic yarn, easy to work, ideal for decor projects like this! Cerise for the main color and neige for the contrasting color.

Pingouin is a french brand so I give you my substitution ideas below, I recommend:

Ideal from Bergère de France

Simply DK from PaintBox Yarns



  • Get the ad-free, printable PDF pattern (with large diagrams) HERE.
  • Add this pattern to your Ravelry queue HERE.
  • PIN IT to your Pinterest boards for later HERE.


The Cerf-Moi-Fort! hot water bottle cover is made out in three parts. First part is the main fabric knitted in one go, bottom up, all in stockinette stitch. Then come the decreases and finally the collar in 1×1 rib before binding off. The second part is the tapestry duplicate stitches of the deer pattern then the deer antlers on stockinette stitches. In the third part comes the finishes with the seam at the bottom of the cover to close it, weaving in ends. And finally, the making of the braided cord with its pompoms.


Hot water bottle : 20,5 cm / 7.8” x 34,5 cm / 13.4”.
Hot water bottle cover flat : 21,5 / 8.3” x 36 cm / 14.2”.


– Pingo First from Pingouin (Dk | 149 m / 163 yds = 50 g) | Color: cerise
↠ 146 meters / 160 yds = 1 skein.

– Pingo First from Pingouin (Dk / 149m 163 yds = 50 g) | Color: neige
↠ 70 meters / 77 yds (+ yarn for pompoms) = 1 skein.

Or yarn ideas here: Ideal from Bergère de France, Simply DK from PaintBox Yarns


↠ Main Fabric: Size US 4 / 3.5 mm – 16”/40 cm circular.

↠ Collar: Size US 4 / 3.5 mm – DPNs

Stitch markers

Tapestry needle


Tape measure

Pompom maker

↠ (recommended) Row counter

Hot water bottle (similar)

GAUGE (10 x 10 cm || 4” X 4”)

Stockinette in round: 21 stitches x 32 rows


st: stitch | dec: decrease | K: Knit | P: Purl | MC: Main Color | CC: Contrasting Color

Stitches Used / Techniques

Decrease : 2 sts knitted together.

Tapestry Duplicate Stitch: insert the CC thread into the tapestry needle, stitch it from the wrong side towards the right side, in the center of the st below the st to be duplicated (photo 1). Stitch the needle from right to left under the two vertical strands of the stitch which is above the one being duplicated (photo 2 & 3), then stitch it again in the center of the stitch below the stitch that we duplicate (photo 4). Come out at the base of the next stitch (photo 5). Repeat for the rest of the stitches (photo 6). Use 2 to 3 m/yds of thread as you go and tie them between them delicately on the wrong side.


– It is better to block the work before starting to duplicate stitch.
– Make sure to keep a normal tension when doing tapestry duplicate stitches on



With MC, cast on 94st, place a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round and join in round.

1. Knit 82 rows in stockinette stitch (K stitch) in round. Place a stitch marker M1 at first st of the 10th row, et M2 at first st of the 22th row.

COLLAR – Decreases

2. Knit one row in stockinette stitch (K st) by evenly space 12 dec. (=82st)

3. Knit 4 rows in stockinette st (K st)

4. Knit one row in stockinette st (K st) by evenly space 12 dec. (=70st)

5. (With DPNs) Knit 4 rows in stockinette st (K st).

6. With CC, knit 20 rows / 7.5cm / 2.8” in 1×1 rib stitch : * 1K, 1P* repeat from * to * until the end.

7. Cast off stitches as they come. Weave in ends.


At this step, it is encouraged to block the main fabric so that you can work on a flat stockinette stitch with uniform stitches.

Flatten your work and fold it at the stitch markers level.

↠ Embroider the DEER pattern in duplicate stitch from bottom up:


Insert a CC thread into the tapestry needle. At M1 count 11 sts to the left , start duplicating st (at the 12th st) the first stitch of the diagram, then continue to duplicate the rest of the pattern up and from left to right, row by row.

Continue by duplicating the snowflake stitches from top to bottom and then up.
Tie and weave in ends on the wrong side.

↠ Embroider the DEER ANTLERS pattern in duplicate stitch from bottom to top:

Insert a CC thread into the tapestry needle. At M2, count 20sts to the right , start duplicating st (at the 21st st) the first stitch of the diagram, then continue to duplicate the rest of the pattern by making the left deer antler first, from left to right and going up, row by row. Then duplicate the right deer antler in the same way.

Continue by duplicating the snowflake stitches. Tie and weave in ends on the wrong side. 


Insert a MC thread of approx. 1 m/1 yd in the tapestry needle. Close the bottom of the cover either by making a simple seam all the way from the wrong side (right sides together) or (which I did) by sewing in stockinette stitch from right side (wrong sides together). Tie and weave in ends.

Braided Cord

Cut 3 CP threads of 70 cm/28”. Tie an overhand knot 1 cm/0.4” from the edge by assembling them. Make a 60 cm/24” braid, then tie off leaving 1 cm/0.4” from the end. Using the tapestry needle, insert the braid at the base of the rib collar in zigzag.


Make two pompoms of 5cm/2” in CC using the pompom maker, and add them to each end of the braid by knotting them. Weave in ends.

Put away your needles, insert your hot water bottle by the collar, prepare yourself a good warm tea and enjoy!

I hope you loved making your #cerfmoiforthotwaterbottlecover ! Be sure to tag me on social media (@FibreandFolk) so I can share your work!

The patterns and photographs of items on this site are the property of Fibre and Folk and are for personal, non-commercial use only. These patterns files are protected by copyright, and you may not distribute or sell them electronically or physically. If you would like to sell finished pieces made from these patterns please contact me. This post contains affiliate links.

You may also like: 

1. Twister Hat  // 2. Chaud Time Mittens


I'm a lover of yarn and all handmade things. I hope you enjoy following along! Happy making :)


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