Ok, it’s actually a rice bag. But rice heats up the same way as wheat, and rice is easier to come by.
For those of you that aren’t aware, a wheat bag is a fabric pouch filled with wheat for use as a heat pack/heating pad. You put it in the microwave, the wheat (or in this case rice) inside the pouch heats up, and voila, heat source! They’re good for warming up on a cold night, for period pain or for sore muscles. And they’re so easy to make!
*About 100g of yarn – I used 100% cotton
*5mm crochet hook
*Scrap fabric – an old t-shirt would do the trick, but I used some cotton
*Needle and thread OR a sewing machine
*1 bag of rice – I used brown rice and it smells delightful when it comes out of the microwave
*Yarn needle OR a super big regular needle
You’ll be making two pouches – a fabric one for the rice to go in and a crochet one for the fabric pouch to go in. First you’ll crochet the outer pouch. Below is my pattern. It’s my first one, so here’s hoping it makes sense!
Note: The pouch is worked in up-down stitch. Up-down stitch is basically alternating single and double crochets. There’s a great tutorial on it here. I like the texture/look this stitch gives the end product.
Round 1: Ch 40. Sl st into first ch to create a big loop, being careful not to twist the chain.
Round 2: Ch 1, dc in first ch, sc in next ch (1 up-down). Repeat around the loop. Sl st to join. (20 up-downs, 40 stitches total)
Round 3: Ch 1, sc in dc, dc in sc (1 up-down). Repeat around. Sl st to join. (20 up-downs, 40 stitches total)
Rounds 4 – 26: Repeat rounds 2 and 3. At the end of round 26, ch 1.
At this point you start working on the flap that closes the pouch, and the rounds become rows.
Row 27: work 10 up-down stitches across the next 20 stitches, ch 1, turn.
Rows 28 – 34: Repeat row 27. At the end of row 34, fasten off.
Slip stitch the bottom two edges of the bag together, then turn the bag inside out.
Fold the flap down over the rest of the bag and, using your yarn needle, stitch the two side edges of the flap to the edge of the bag. It’s basically like a NZ style pillow case, but the flap sits on the outside rather than the inside.
Weave in all your ends.
Lastly, I stitched a wee flower in the corner. I made the flower using this pattern, with a 4mm hook and the same yarn as the rest of the bag.
Now for the rice pouch to go inside. You will definitely need to make a fabric pouch to hold the rice, unless you want to start finding rice all over your house.
Cut two identical rectangles of fabric that are a touch smaller than the finished crocheted pouch.
With your needle and thread (or if you’re all fancy and have a sewing machine, use that) stitch your two rectangles together around three and a half sides. Be sure to leave the opening, so you can fill the bag in rice.
How much rice you use is a personal preference thing. I like for the bag to be a generous three quarters full, so the finished product doesn’t flop around too much. Fill the bag with as much rice as you like, then stitch up the opening in the bag.
Slot the rice pouch into the crochet pouch and flip the flap closed. And you’re done! Enjoy your new crochet wheat bag.
I take the inside rice bag out and put that in the microwave on its own, as I’ve found the cotton yarn gets a bit sweaty, for lack of a better word, when I put it in the microwave.
One minute is plenty of time — you don’t want to overdo it and burn yourself! Also, I have heard about these sorts of heat packs causing fires in people’s homes, so that’s another reason not to overdo it. Start at 30 seconds and if it’s not warm enough, put it back in until you’re happy. Be sensible; if the bag is so hot you can’t touch it, set it on the bench or put it in the fridge for a bit before putting it in your bed.
While it’s regularly up over 26 degrees in Waterloo at the moment, I know it’s chilly in New Zealand, so this might be just the thing!