My mother is an artist, and she spends many long hours perched in her chair, leaning over her drafting table. That can lead to a sore back after a day of drawing, and, in the wintertime, a cold backside.
In her living room, she has a new fireplace, and so spends a lot of time cozied up to the flames. But upstairs in the studio she has no such luck.
Now, this sweater was knitted for her by my grandmother eons ago. It no longer fit her, so she gave it to me, because it’s beautiful. She even switched all the buttons for me and make all the buttonholes fit properly with the new hardware.
Alas, I’m a little longer in the torso than my mother and so the cardigan doesn’t suit me at all.
But here’s my idea. We all know about “magic” bags, those sacks filled with buckwheat or rice that you microwave that keep you toasty. The Pie and I use them nearly every night in the winter, to heat up the foot of our bed.
Why not turn this cardigan into a heating pad that will fit on the back of the chair? It will slide over the back of most, and for the ones where it doesn’t, well, you can always use the arms of the sweater to hold it in place, right?
So first I had to come up with the heating pad itself, because I’m not going to stick this sweater in the microwave. This heating pad is going to be removable, something I can button inside the cardigan.
What I need is a big, flat, rectangle, which I will fill with rice. To keep the rice from falling to the bottom when the pad is in place inside the sweater, I’m going to sew it into little pockets. I’m basically quilting, but instead of using batting, I’m using rice.
To make the bag, I measured (roughly) the inside of the sweater.
Then I cut out a square of folded fabric.
It was my goal to sew ribbon loops into the four corners to serve as button holes. I messed it up, but I also fixed it later.
So here I am, sewing up three sides of the folded cloth, including the fold side.
Turn it inside out, and sew again to create the frame for the rice.
Sew up towards the opening, in equal spacing. These will be the columns for the rice.
I scooped 1/3 cup uncooked rice into each column.
Then pinned each column shut.
And sewed it up — to make a quilted pocket.
Continue that way all the way up.
The finished pockets.
Then I sealed the top, added some more loops of ribbons to attach to more buttons, and sewed that under.
Now, because I’d made the loops too small, I used the loops instead as an anchor for another ribbon, which I tied around the buttons, which I of course sewed into the sweater.
I used extra buttons along the top edge because I was concerned about the weight. All that rice is nearly 4lb!
Then I sewed a velvet ribbon into each of the sleeves so that I could tie them together and they wouldn’t dangle. I figure if this cozy ever goes onto a chair where it can’t slide over the back, you can always use the ribbons to tie the arms to the chair.
So here it is on a chair. Gren is not impressed. He’s a hard one to please.
My mother’s studio chair is a bit more substantial, more like my office chair. So here is how it looks from the back.
And the front. Cozy, huh?