Updated 10/1/12- I have revised this pattern and reposted the how to here.
As a family, we kind of obsessively like our rice pillows and firmly believe it's one of those small things that greatly improve our quality of life. The giving of something like this is a large gesture on our part, a bit of a warm hug really. Part of our nighttime ritual is to pop one in the microwave, heat it up, and wrap it around cold feet, lay on an upset tummy, or just snuggle with it when its cold and pouring rain outside. I made Emma a new one, from a sweet floral sheet Sally gave me. These are so quick and satisfying to make, think of it as one of those quilts you haven't had the time or courage to jump into just yet. Here is how I do it:
"The Warm" or Rice Pillow
What you'll need:
- 100% cotton woven or knit fabric for outside cover of pillow
- 100% solid cotton woven or knit fabric for inside pillow
- roughly 1.5 lbs of any kind of rice, (roughly 4 cups). I've heard of other things used, like lentils, but this is what we've always used, and it works great. (It is a great way for me to use up that brown rice that made my kids cry when I tried to serve it to them.) I have a small kitchen scale I use to weigh out the rice and have found it helpful, but not necessary.
* Use the smallest stitch length you can for all seams, it will keep the rice from escaping.
* Allow a 1/4" seam allowance throughout, except where noted in step 5.
* Don't try to save time by making only the outer cover, making that inner cover makes all the difference in how well your pillow will hold up.
* I wouldn't recommend synthetic fabrics, like polar fleece, for this project. Synthetics can actually melt when microwaved. Cotton terry, cotton flannel, fabrics like that would be very cozy.
* If you have some dried lavender, add some in!
How to make:
1. Cut out a rectangle from each of the two cotton fabrics that measures 10 1/2" x 21". Set aside the outer cover fabric.
3. Fill with rice, then stitch the last short side closed.
5. Turn under a 1/2" seam on each short end,
making sure to catch the ends of the inner pillow in the seam (this
will keep it from slipping inside the cover). Do this on both ends,
topstitch across all layers (make sure the rice is safely away from the seam), and you're done!
Usually 2 minutes in the microwave will warm
this sufficiently, less time for kids pillows (please experiment with your own and
don't hold me to that 2 minutes). It will hold heat for quite a
while. These can also be put in the freezer to use as a cold pack.
I'd love to hear if you make one. And I will warn you now, one is never enough.