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Hand and foot warmers


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#1 Penny

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 09:02 AM

Hi, all...

Many of us use those wonderful microwavable corn bags to help warm up when we get chilled and a thought hit me B) (yes, it hurt, thoughts can be sharp) that there had to be a way to make these things in a mitten or bootie form that would wrap our hands and feet completely in warmth... and the search was on.

I scoured the internet, mind racing and fingers typo-ing away as I searched for how to make these things and what fillings would be best.

Corn is great, but a bit bulky for smaller applications so I was looking for fillings that would distribute evenly and smoothly without too much bulk... and found rice and flax seed. Then came my cheap (some might say 'economical' but I am proud of being cheap) decision that rice (not the instant stuff but the medium grain generic label stuff) was the way to go.

Next came the question, what kind of cloth is used to make the covers? The answer... 100% cotton. (I would recommend un-dyed natural cotton in a tight weave)

I considered making gloves, but all that sewing of fingers then the channels of rice sewn in to keep it evenly distributed... did I mention I am lazy as well? Mittens it is...

So, off I go to the fabric store and the grocery store and come home clutching my finds with evil glee ready to make my goodies.

The pattern for the mittens was simple... I took a brown paper grocery bag and traced my hands with my fingers spread as far as I could spread them, then made a bubble shape around them giving room for seems and a little extra for channels then cut out four of each (using the pattern) from the cloth.

I then sewed two of each together, leaving the wrist area open and sewed channels down the length about an inch apart. Then I sewed the two for the right hand together, leaving the wrist opening un-sewn and turned it inside out so the seems were to the inside now. Using a small funnel, I filled each channel a little over 3/4 full with rice then tucked the wrist opening in and sewed it closed, then repeated with the left mit.

Microwaved for 30 seconds with a cup of water in the microwave to add moisture (since the rice had been stored in a sealed bag and had not had time to get any moisture from the room) then shoved my hands in some tube socks (needed something to protect my skin from direct contact, not glamorous, but this was a test run) and pulled them on.

They worked!

Now I just have to come up with a covering and insert that will stay on and comfortable, yet come off easily for cleaning and when the rice mittens were popped in the microwave.

I did an extra experiment and dug out of storage an old (my youngest is 16 years old, so I am talking old) travel bottle warmer... one of those things you plug into the cigarette lighter to warm baby bottles... and found that it could hold one mit at a time. It might not be ideal, but on drives it could heat one mit at a time... I will test it in a few weeks when I make my next trip to PA and let you know how it goes.

As for the booties... I have not worked on that idea yet, but the mit idea came out so well I thought I would share it because it was really in-expensive to make and not hard at all. For the time being I am simply using those fuzzy socks as inserts and coverings since they stay in place okay, but if anyone else comes up with another covering and insert idea please share it.

Those little hand warmer packs are great, but (and have I mentioned I am cheap :lol: ) they only work once then get tossed away.

Penny

#2 JANQ

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 09:58 AM

Hi, Penny! What a great idea. I will try to make some tonight!

I am having problems with an icy cold nose; I wonder if a small rice filled nose cap might work in the same fashion.

Do you think I could get away with flannel that is not 100% cotton? It has a percentage of polyester, but not sure how much. I wouldn't want the polyester to cause the fabric to catch fire in the microwave.

I have tons of this flannel, and I am "economical," also!! :lol:

Warm rice hugs,

Janet

#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 11:29 AM

We have some Heatsock directions, complete with warnings, on the main site. It's especially important not to heat them too often in one day, lest they burst into flames, so I make several at a time.

They also work as very nice cold packs, so try keeping one in the freezer. Sometimes a small cold pack seems to be just the trick for some headaches or for swollen eyelids!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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#4 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 11:40 AM

A friend who'd gotten tired of me whining about my cold hands made me a couple of little rectangular bags filled with millet, one covered in cotton flannel and one in fleece. The fleece one holds the heat better. I think there would be no additional fire risk as long as you did what Shelley said (don't keep reheating them all day long) and also take Penny's suggestion to put a cup of water in the microwave with them, especially if you live in an ultra-dry climate like I do.

I'll go with rice when I make some for myself - gotta figure out some way of using up the 25-lb. sack of rice my hubby bought, thinking he was being helpful. :lol:

Warm hugs,
Jeannie McClelland
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#5 JANQ

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 03:14 PM

Penny, I love my one hand warmer!!

I started out with a passion to have warm hands tonight. Began my task at 4:30, cutting out all of the pieces for a complete set of warmers.

Set up my sewing machine, oops, wrong color of thread. Set out to change to white, removed the bobbin and got my white bobbin. Lost my bobbin cover. Started my search for the bobbin cover, called for my daughter, both of us searched the entire room. Frustration! I knew I had just had it in my hand. “Honey, how could something just disappear?” More searching, frustration, more frustration, until half an hour later, in exasperation, gave up. Folded up my pieces of cloth, oh “woe is me, sniff, sniff” Put the white bobbin in the bobbin’s place in the sewing machine for safe keeping…and guess what, it fit perfectly with no cover. Slapped myself on the forehead, “Oh, yes, this machine doesn’t use a bobbin cover!” Last machine I remember using with a bobbin cover was in 1977 in my Home Economics class.

Sewed my pieces for the first hand warmer, sewed my channels into the cloth, sewed the front and back together. Something doesn’t look right. Didn’t allow for enough room on the outside channels for the end of the funnel. Took the warmer to the kitchen, forced in the funnel end, bounced the rice filled funnel up and down to force the rice down, while bouncing rice all over my counter and floor. Got the warmer filled, took the warmer back to my sewing machine, tucked in the ends to finish sewing the top edge, almost done….sewed all the way around….took my warmer out of the machine, no bobbin thread! Bobbin ran out halfway around. Neck is burning and aching….6:30, no dinner yet, I have decided my great adventure is done!

Daughter, “this is so cool, Mom? You gonna make another one?” Hahaha! Me, “no, I think my hands can share.”

My sewing permit has been revoked, will be sticking to much simpler tasks from now on!

P.S. (Did my rheumatologist forget to tell me to have a “Brain On” button installed?)

Many, many hugs. :rolleyes:

Janet