The moment I made my first Rice Pillow, I immediately thought of making more of them as gifts for the holidays. I began experimenting with various sizes as well as researching for the best yarns and fillings. Here's what I found:
Any natural fiber should work to make the packet. Synthetic yarn may melt when heated. We don't want that! I use cotton for both the schnuggle packets and the cozy wraps, but I've read that if you do your "best" heating the packet, cotton can char as well. Wool has the advantage that it's flame resistant.
Examples: wool, flax, bamboo, cotton etc.
Inside > Lining:
You can be quite creative with the lining actually! But again, stick with natural fibers. I used a nylon/stocking made of cotton (kind of confusing that last bit, but I hope it makes sense!)
Examples: cotton fabric, flannel fabric (cotton or wool), cotton bandana's, old socks, hemp.
With the Rice Pillow I used uncooked, long grain rice, but as many others I did notice the 'uncooked rice-smell' when heated. I read that some people use jasmine rice and like the smell. Some add dry mint, lavender, or other herbs to the mixture to make it smell nice, but again, if you 'do your best' heating, dried herbs could catch fire in the microwave (at least that's what I read).
With the Schnuggle packets I used flaxseed. It's been said that flaxseeds hold heat/cold longer (also takes a bit longer to heat). They're finer than rice, so it gives a smoother texture. True.. But it's also been said to hold no odor.. Well, I smell it. It's kind of a nutty, funky smell. I read that with flaxseed, people add essential oils to 'lovely up' the smell. (also possible with rice!) I might try that for my next project! You can also opt to mix rice and flaxseed.
Other options for filling: cherry pits, (deer) corn, buckwheat, barley and beans.
How to fill:
(Optional: Pour your filling into a bowl and add a few drops of essential oil. Mix.) Using a funnel (if you don’t have one, make one from paper), gradually fill your bag with your filling.
Don't pack it in tightly; leave some room for the filling to move around so that it will more easily conform to the area to be treated.
To chill, put your pack in the freezer for approx. 45minutes.
Shake the rice/grain sock to evenly distribute the chilled rice.
To heat, microwave at 30 seconds interval until you’ve reached the desired temperature.
Shake the rice/grain sock to evenly distribute the heated rice.
Note: Some blogs I read recommend putting a glass of water in the microwave with the heat pack to stop the rice burning. Also never leave the heat pack in the microwave unattended, and be careful removing it from the microwave as it could be quite hot.
For the Schnuggle Packets my favourite size turned out to be 10x20cm(filled).
Could be used for: Handwarmer, Neck Pad, Keyboard Wrist Rest, Boo Boo Bags (Hot Cold Packs for Kids) and Eye pack.
For the Cozy Wrap I'll stick with13x45cm.
Could be used for: Neck Wrap (neck and shoulders), Lower back pack, Sore Tummy Bag and Hot flash bag.
That's it! Hope there's some useful information in there for you!