Warm hands

This weekend I think we’ll do the big change over to autumn/winter living. Summer clothes put away; jumpers, hats and scarves hunted down from whichever dark corner of the loft they got pushed to during the conversion work; thicker duvets put on beds. General hunkering down.

Which got me thinking.

Last year Father Christmas brought the kids handwarmers. Which were great. Except…
We could never find a pair together when the kids actually wanted to use them. And they were a bit (a lot) big for tiny 6 year old paws so didn’t easily fit in her mittens. And the covers weren’t removable, or machine washable. They came with instructions to “wipe with a damp cloth”. Really?. Have they seen the state of a 6 year olds hands after a day out in the wilds of Leamington? Or perhaps my kids are just unusually grubby. But believe me a wipe down with a damp cloth would not kill the many and varied strains of icky ness left on those handwarmers after a good days use.

So it got me thinking – how hard can it be to knock up some hand warmers at home? Or to make them with removable covers that can be thrown in the wash? And it turns out that it’s not hard at all.

First thing to do is make the inner bit. I used some old cot sheets that I still had stashed as they might come in useful someday (see? Vindicated). An old t shirt would do just as well. You could probably use felt but I have smelt warm felt before and eau de wet dog is not the scent I’m aiming for with these.

Anyway. Cut out a rectangle of your nice soft base fabric. Size is up to you but with my (now) 7 year old in mind I cut mine 8cm x 7cm

20130925-115427.jpgrectangles of base material

Fold the material over, right sides together and sew around the edges leaving a small gap at one end. Turn the material right side out.

Now get your filling of choice. Some hand warmers are filled with wheat, but frankly wheat in its unprocessed state doesn’t feature in my pantry so I filled mine with rice

20130925-115732.jpgthe filling.. If you are the kind of person who has useful things like small funnels around the house, this would be a good opportunity to use one. I am not that sort of person so had to make do with a rolled up piece of paper and a teaspoon.

Oh, and don’t do what I did and nonchalantly leave the teaspoon, loaded with rice, perched on top of your jar. They make incredibly effective catapults.

Once you have filled your inner (and you want it comfortably, squishily full, not overstuffed) sew up the little gap and voila your inner is complete.

Now comes the more satisfying part. Go to your stash of scraps of fabric and pick out some lovely pieces that reflect your mood, the season, whatever takes your fancy. Cut out a piece which is about 3cm wider than your handwarmer inner and about 2.5 times longer. Fold, press and hem the two shorter edges

20130925-120325.jpghemmed edges. Now fold the length of fabric, right sides together into a sort of envelope so you have two folds and the two edges overlap. The folded fabric should be just long enough to fit your handwarmer inner. Sew down the sides of the fabric and then turn it right sides out. You should have what looks like a teeny, tiny envelope cushion cover.

Squish and squash your inner into its tiny cover. Warm in the microwave (how long for will depend on what type of microwave you have, but do check how hot it is before using it!). Pop it into your gloves or mittens and enjoy a nice autumn walk with toasty fingers.



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