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Monday, February 01, 2010

How to Make a Quilted Heating Pad

So your neck hurts.  Or, your feet are cold.  Or, your lower back has had better days, and all you want is a comfy hot pillow right where it ails you.  I've got the perfect solution.  It will take about an hour of your time to make yourself and you won't be sorry.  As a matter of fact, you'll probably make one for every member of your family and for gifts too!

Supplies you will need:

Colorful fabric
White muslin fabric
Cotton batting
Cutting Mat
Rotary Cutter
Sewing Machine
Quilting measure attachment
Cherry Pits



Let's get started.  First thing you will want to do is pick out some fabric from your stash.  Press your fabric and then cut it to 17" x 22"



Press your white muslin or cotton fabric and cut it to 17" x 22"



Cut a piece of cotton batting to 17" x 22"



Put all three pieces together like you see here.  The colorful fabric goes on top, the batting between, and the white muslin or cotton fabric goes on the bottom.  Pin them together.



Starting on the right side of your project, sew a 1/4" seam from the right edge.  Next, line up your quilt measuring attachment to that seam and sew your next seam, then the next, then the next - each time lining up the quilt measuring attachment so that each seam is approximage 1 to 1.5 inches apart.  Do this until you have gone as close to the other side as possible.



They are lining up rather nicely.  Notice the 1/4" seam on the right of the project.



When you are finished quilting the 3 sections together, fold your project in half lining up the edges nicely and trim off about 1/4" on the end to give yourself a perfectly straight edge.  


Next, fold it in half the other way and trim off about 1/4" from the other open sides as well.  This gives you perfectly straight edges all the way around your pad.



With right sides together, fold your pad in half along the 17" side so that the longest unfinished edge is the 22" edge.  You want your heating pad to be long to wrap around your neck comfortably. 



Pin the right sides together along the long edge.  Make sure you have lined up your edges nicely.



Starting at the folded corner, begin sewing towards your long edge with a 1/4" seam.  Turn your fabric so that you can now sew along the long edge with a 1/4" seam, removing the pins along the way.  Note that if you sew over your pins you can break your sewing machine needle.  It isn't a good idea to sew over your pins - I know - I've done it and I wasn't happy about it either.



when you have sewn 1 short edge and 1 long edge (the other long edge is folded), trim your corners, but not so close to your seam that you cut through your seam.  Trim it just enough that you can make a nice, clean corner when you flip it inside-out.



Flip your pad inside-out and poke your finger in the bottom corners so that they are nice and flat.  Now comes the fun part ...



Ya see, now if I were these people, I think I would have named this "Pit Stop" rather than "Pit Stuff" but that's just me.  Anyway, I purchased some clean, dried, cherry pits online at the "Cherry Pit Store."
It was a bit more expensive than some other places but I learned something from them - first of all, if your cherry pits are not boiled and then thoroughly dried properly, they will stink when heated.  They'll probably stink even if you don't heat them.  If you get really good pits with not a lot of open shells, you will have a nice filler for projects like this.  The Cherry Pit Store takes care of all the pits before they package them - boiling, sterilizing, and drying them thoroughly before packaging and selling them.  Cherry pits hold heat well, and I can attest to that.  It was about 2 hours ago that I stuck this heating pad in the microwave for 2  minutes, and about 30 minutes ago I put it behind my neck and it is still warm.  



I went ahead and poured the cherry pits into a bowl for easy scooping.



Scoop the cherry pits into the open end of your quilted heating pad.



Fill up your pad only half way.  I filled mine up a little more than half way and I think I have too many in the pad - so about 1/2 way is about right otherwise it will be way too firm and uncomfortable.



Next, fold the open end towards the inside about 1/2" to 3/4" for a clean hem.



Pin the end together.  Before you sew it shut, be sure the cherry pits are out of the way and down towards the other end of the pad.



Sew the open end shut, first with a 1/4" seam and then with an 1/8" seam.



Throw it in your microwave for 1-2 minutes.  Don't heat it longer than this or you could burn yourself!



Now, sit back and enjoy. "Okay Matthew - hand it over."






"Uh - Matthew?"



"Aw, come on guys - when is it gonna be my turn?"




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