Saturday, November 29, 2014

Simpleton Sewing

Thank you everyone for your comments on my post about the trip to IKEA. I'm feeling much better about the whole experience now, partially due to having had a few days to recover, and partially due to reading that so many of you also use IKEA for some of your home furnishings. In fact, Sarah from Down By the Sea has actually just ordered the same couch and for very similar reasons. They are the owners of a new Westie puppy (be sure to click on the link and scroll down to see the adorable new addition to their family), and Sarah is hoping this couch proves to be Westie proof. I'm hoping so too, Sarah!

Okay, on to today's topic. Sewing. Given what I know about sewing the post should end here. I'm still learning how to thread my new Janome machine, and how to make it do fancy things like stitch forwards and backwards. So, given my distinct lack of skills, you might be surprised to hear that I am going to give you instructions for a sewing project. And no, it isn't a lesson on how to run over your finger with the needle.

If you live in a cold climate and need a quick last minute gift item for someone on your list, I suggest making them a rice bag. In fact, if you live in a cold climate I suggest making yourself a rice bag first, then making one for that person on your list only if you still have enough time. Rice bags and a hot water bottle are my best friends during the cold winter months here in Canada. And because I am such a wimp, they are also my friends during the cool late autumn and early spring months. Which means that basically the only time I don't use them is during the summer.

For those of you who aren't familiar with rice bags, they are exactly what the name implies. Bags filled with rice. The magic happens when you heat the bag up in the microwave for a few minutes. The cold cloth filled lump becomes a wonderfully warm tool for heating beds, sore shoulders, or shivering people.

You really can't go wrong when you make these. Just take some flannel and cut into squares about 13" X 13". Sew up the sides, leaving a space about 4 inches long open so you can fill it with rice, then hand sew it shut when you're done.


It couldn't be easier, right? Well, there's a reason the title of this post is Simpleton Sewing.


Yes, I managed to fill both bags Wrong Side Out before I noticed what I had done. This meant I got to do the rather tedious step of filling the rice bags twice.


You don't want to put too much rice into them or they will take forever to heat. Anywhere between ⅓ to ½ full should do.


There is one small word of warning I should issue if you decide to make one of these for a gift. Choose the recipient wisely. All the women in our family love rice bags. And pretty much all the men hate them.


26 comments:

  1. My husband and nephew complain that they smell funny. I love them, of course.

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  2. I have received rice bag gifts that were sewn from seasonal hand towels/gift towels. Bring the long edges to the center and sew a seam. One of mine then had that seam sewn down the length of the towel, making two long tubes to fill with rice. The other was left as a long rectangle to fill. Both have been delightful to use. I suspect that one could get a good buy on these towels just after the holiday they were created for (one of my gifts is Halloween themed).

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  3. great idea. I LOVE hot water bottles. When I am cold, when I a sad, when I need something warm to hug.....I use rice bags for sore shoulders and lower back...and you are right...guys don't seem to appreciated them like us gals do. Weird!

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  4. Even more experienced seamstresses sew items inside out! Hope your rice bags kept you warm and toasty last night.

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  5. I have a wheat bag that I heat up and use sometimes, but had no idea that you could use rice too - how clever is that!! I am sure that these will be great gifts and loved by the recipients. Happy sewing! xx

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  6. I have a cherry stone bag but rice sounds more comfortable! I forgot to comment on you last past but remembered it today when I was driving home from IKEA.... No sofa for us today, just some bits and pieces. Have a lovely Sunday Kristie. x

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  7. I love the rice bag idea. I like to hug a hot water bottle in the winter as well, couldn't be without it. CJ xx

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  8. Love "Simpleton Sewing" ;) I've been sewing since I was a kid, and I still do things like you and realize I sewed it inside out. I've hand sewn a project to the jeans I was wearing too. I hope it's not just me! These bags look really cozy. I agree that it's the women that love them. I have a neck pillow filled with beans or something (it was a gift), and I really like it on my shoulders after shoveling snow. For me it's not the cold (which personally I L.O.V.E.), it's the ageing aching muscles ;) Wendy x

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  9. Rebekah made me a rice bag for Christmas a long time ago, and I still use it! I love it!!!
    The way you feel about sewing, I feel about knitting sometimes! It takes me a really long time to make anything because of all the silly mistakes...

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  10. I use wheat bags the same way, Kristie, but a rice bag sounds good, and would smell very nice too. I think the use of flannel is also inspirational! Next time I go to Canada I think I should take one.

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  11. We have a homemade wheat bag here, but one thing to remember is when heating it in the microwave make sure there is a glass of water to humidify it; otherwise there is the risk of spontaneous combustion if the grains dry out too much. I use mine for period pain, it really helps!

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  12. I love the rice bags, I will be giving these a go, thank you!

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  13. I think you are so funny, I probably would have filled them the wrong way too as my sewing skills are pretty basic. I love this idea,
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  14. I'd made myself a rice bag a couple of years ago when I'd injured my knee. When ever I heated it up it gave off the most delicious porridge-y smell which annoyed my husband. He loves his porridge and would think I was cooking him some only to be thwarted by my rice bag as it came out of the microwave and straight on to my knee!

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  15. Kristie, I've made a rice bag for myself using two socks! But I like your idea of making them out of flannel for gifts--much nicer--especially once you got the fabric right-side out! :-)

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  16. I think filling them I side out is one of the official steps in finishing the project--im assuming, since most of my projects include a similar step. I like my heating pad. :)

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  17. What a brilliant idea, I've never heard of this before. I'm rather a 'coldie' and can see the benefits of using them randomly when it gets chilly. Thank you for this and I might get sewing now. P x

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  18. Thank you for the link. We will have to both document how our sofas are holding up! I am also not very good when it comes to sewing. We used to a wheat bag and didn't realise that you could use rice too! That is a great gift idea. Sarah x

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  19. I love making these for my friends as gifts. Of course, at the same time, I have to make one for myself, right? Rice bags are simply the best :)

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  20. They are not safe in the oven, right? We do not have microwave and I do not want to get one. We do have a rice bag, but my son just plays with it.

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    1. You are right, Saulute. You can't heat them in the oven, only the microwave. At least yours is getting some use if your son is playing with it. :-)

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  21. I'm reading your post with a cold draft at the back of my neck - I need a rice bag!! We don't have a very cold climate here in South East England but we have workmen in the house, its a chilly day and they keep leaving the front door open! So I'm off to my studio to raid my stash and make a bag! Thank you for the idea

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  22. I wonder why men would not like them....guess they don't want to feel warm. Lovely gift idea and I think anyone would love to receive them!

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  23. YAY! You're playing with your sewing machine! I'm very excited to hear. A rice bag is a year round essential at my house. I use one constantly to tend to achy muscles and stupid cramps. It's a great idea to make them!

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  24. What a great idea! Warming and won't burst and flood your bed like a hot water bottle...

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  25. I love your simple sewing project!! I have a wheat bag, but didn't realise that rice did the same thing!

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