Recently I made a barley hot pack as a gift, and thought the instructions might be helpful to others too. Here they are.
MOM’S BARLEY HOT PACKS
These microwavable hot packs have been a great help to my family members over the years. They are great for cramps, aches and pains, labor, or for just warming up on a cold night. Here’s how to make them.
You will need:
• tracing paper or brown paper
• ruler or yardstick
• flannel fabric of your choice
• cotton batting
• thread to coordinate with flannel
• sewing machine
• hand sewing needle
Measure and mark a 14-inch square on tracing paper or brown paper. Cut out the square. This is your pattern.
Pin the pattern to the flannel fabric, then cut out the squares. (If you have a large enough piece of flannel, fold it before pinning the pattern on and cut 2 squares at once. If your flannel pieces are smaller, pin and cut one at a time. Or if need be you can cut the squares from two different coordinating prints or colors of flannel. I like to use plaids.)
Pin the same pattern to cotton batting and cut two squares -- again, folding the batting to cut 2 squares at once if possible. You should have 2 squares of flannel and 2 squares of batting.
Pin a square of batting to the wrong side of each square of flannel. Use your sewing machine to quilt the batting to the flannel by making rows of straight stitches about 2 inches apart. Now you have 2 quilted squares.
Place the quilted squares together with the flannel sides facing one another. Pin around the edges. Stitch around all sides of the square, using a 1/2-inch or 5/8 inch seam allowance and leaving a 4-inch opening in the center of one side for turning.
Tie off the thread ends (or backstitch at the beginning and ending) and clip the corners of the square. Turn the bag right side out through the opening you left. Carefully smooth out the seams and poke out the corners so they are nice and square.
Now carefully pour two 1-pound bags of barley into the opening. Fold the raw edges of the opening in so that they line up with the sewed seam. Use a needle and thread to slipstitch the opening closed.
When you need to use your barley bag, place it in a microwave oven and heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully, and check the bag often to be sure it does not overheat.
The barley will retain its heating qualities for quite some time; we’ve used some of the same bags for years. Eventually, though, the bag may become stained or the barley may take on a scorched smell. If need be, you can undo the slipstitching, discard the barley, wash and dry the bag if necessary, and fill it with fresh barley. Or simply make a new bag.
Hope others find these hot packs to be as comforting as our family has!
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