Tuesday, December 28, 2010

D.I.Y. Bit-warmers

This year, I got the idea that I wanted to make myself a bit warmer. I get tired of trying to use water in the barn washroom which a) takes forever to get warm enough, b) is therefore wasteful, c) invariably gets my hands and/or leather wet. So, I set out to design my own.

I have been using magic-bags a lot lately for various back issues, so I thought why not make one for warming bits. Turns out, they exist already but cost about $12.95 each. Still determined I could do it myself, and make some Christmas presents out of the idea, I went to the fabric store and bulk food store to get my materials.

Have I mentioned that I haven't sewn anything in YEARS? Almost decades. But I actually like creating "stuff". I learned to knit a number of years ago and just loved the feeling of watching a fabric slowly materialize. Kinda the same with sewing, I think. My husband; however, is quite a good sewer. He's made several dog coats for the foster dogs, custom gaiters for his steel-toe rubber boots, a compass holder etc. So I begged for a refresher and off I went.

All the materials laid out and ready to go.

You think in a whole store full of fabrics I would have found a nice one with a small horse theme. The only horsey fabrics I could find had huge horses that you wouldn't see in a small project like this one. So I opted for something universally winter-esque.

I made a rectangle of plain fabric to form the inner part of the warmer. This was stuffed with a mix of barley and buckwheat - both grains that can handle a minute of microwaving at a time and happen to smell nice when heated raw. At least I think so...the horses seem to agree! Then I make an outside case out of the patterned fabric. This way, you can wash the outside part if it gets yucky. The outside part is mainly a rectangle with a long strip out the side. This strip just helps keep the warmer from sliding off the bit. It doesn't even need to be tied, wrapping it around a couple times does the job.

I  messed up the bobbin, occasionally. 
But with some technical direction, 
I was back on my way.

I made a proto-type first, then worked on a more refined version. I somehow missed taking a picture of the best one but my boss (a horse owner) loved hers and exclaimed that she was surrounded by creative genious. She also thought I could sell them for $15 a piece! Apparently everyone at her barn wants one.

Here is a photo of my proto-type on an old bridle of mine I used for fitting purposes. In later versions, I made the width of the inner magic bag wider and finished the tie string properly.

I'm still using my prototype and it works very well, even though it isn't as good as later versions. So easy and definitely useful! Hopefully the horse appreciates it as much as I do!

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