Saturday, January 06, 2018

Practical Sewing

The weather here has been unreasonably cold for Alabama.  While some of you that live in more Northerly states may think 14 degrees F.  is a normal winter temperature - we think it is unbearable.
To be honest, my feet FREEZE at night even with the thermostat set at 69 degrees F.  My blood pressure medicine contributes to this effect, I have been told.

So, I decided to make some bed warmers.  There is a brand of these that you can purchase, but for less than half the price of one, I was able to make two.  I got two thirty-two ounce (2lb.) bags of rice at the dollar store.  Cost $2 USD.   I used a t-shirt that I purchased to dye that I was unhappy with the results. Actual cost around $3 USD - not counting the dye. 
The purchased ones are filled with buckwheat - so if you have buckwheat on hand you can use it. It is lighter in weight than the rice.

Each of these is around 24 inches long - not counting the handle.  I used the sleeve hem from one sleeve to make both carry straps.  I just rolled the raw edge onto the hem and stitched it down.
When these are heated for a minute and 30 seconds in the microwave, they stay warm for quite a while in the bed.  With one at my feet and one against my back, I am all snuggled in and sleep quite comfortably.

These are also excellent for use as a heating pad.  I love to put it around my neck when my neck and/or shoulders are feeling a bit stiff.

True confession:  The purple one took twice as long to make as the green one. Why? you may be asking.  Trying to be fast, I sewed the outside seams and zigzagged them neatly, then I sewed the center seam that makes the channel.  Oops - yes, I forgot to turn it prior to sewing the channel seam.  Obviously, I had to spend some time bonding with Jack the Seam Ripper.  And of course I had back-stitched at each end for strength and durability.

Ideally these should be heated with about half a cup of water sitting in the microwave with them - this maintains the moisture level of the rice and adds to the life of the bed warmer. Otherwise, after several years the rice starts to break down.
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Katrina said...

Great idea!!

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

I have made these with socks. I think you will find that by the time the rice breaks down that they are looking pretty shoddy so I wouldn't bother with the water in the microwave with them. You will want to make new ones by then.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Sorry it's so cold where you are - but your warmers are great!! I agree with Wanda - I have seen these made with socks and rice - and after a while they don't look as nice. But you could probably put them inside another sock - and the outer one could be taken off and washed when needed. Also I had a store-bought one very similar to yours that could be put in the microwave for a warmer or the freezer if you needed an ice pack. They really are nifty little things - ;))

Tudy said...

I make rectangle one of polar fleece I had left over from other projects and fill it with FIELD corn like you would get to feed the birds. I then just took it off the cobs if it was on a cob. It retains it's moisture year after just from moisture in the air. I have made them in many different sizes.

Barbara said...

Wool socks are the best at keeping feet warm!

Tangos Treasures said...

What a great idea!!! It's freezing here also!! I've been wrapping my feet up in a fleece blanket!!

Barb said...

I hate those bonding moments but glad they both turned out wonderfully....and so tempting. It has been freezing here too but we are in the high fifties here.

Jeanna said...

Super idea! I like the shape, more practical than some I've seen.

Marlene said...

Great idea Gene. I've had a store bought one for years. It's really nice for pre-warming the bed without all the hassle of a hot water bottle.