Very often, my younger kids tell me that their tummy aches when there is something they can’t manage or which they feel sad about. My teenager daughter experiences painful cramps every month, and I suffer from headaches occasionally because of tension in my neck and back. Sometimes, that’s just the way it is. We find that a spelt cushion is a wonderful way to relieve such issues: it gives a kind of warmth that is soothing and relaxing, a bit like the touch of a friendly and caring hand. At times it is enough to relieve the pain entirely. The ritual of fetching it, making it ready and placing it where it hurts sometimes is enough to get small ones to tell you what went wrong, ease the pain or allow you to fall asleep.
These cushions are also lovely gifts to give. You can customize the cushions with the intended recipient in mind. Make a small and lightweight one for a family with a newborn to help with colic in the first twelve weeks. Or make a broad one with even more spelt chambers for people who have pains in their back, or a pregnant friend. Use some flannel for those who like it extra cuddly. Add dried herbs to the spelt to enhance the therapeutic effect – try lavender or lemon verbena, to relax and cheer up, or hops for people with problems falling asleep.
If you use it at home, you can enhance the therapeutic effect by massaging a few drops of a relaxing oil on the skin where you want to place the cushion.
If you’re a beginning sewer, this is a great project for you. This could be something to try with your child if you want to teach him or her how to sew. It comes together quickly, doesn’t need a lot of measuring, and a less-than-perfect seam doesn’t matter. You can use fabric scraps from recent projects to create it; no special fabric purchases are required.
Fabric piece — approximately 21” x 15” Exact measurements are not really crucial; use what you have. Use a fabric that’s strong and still soft, like a strong cotton. Flannel is great, too.
Strong thread in a matching color
Iron and ironing board
About 28 oz of spelt grains. You may adjust according to your needs.
Cut the fabric and remember to leave a 1/2″ seam allowance. Trim the edge with a zig-zag-stitch. Fold fabric in half lengthwise, right sides facing each other.
Sew right and left short sides together, leaving about 1/2″ seam allowance on each side. Press seam allowances to the fabric. Fold seam allowance of the open, long side of the cushion inside out and press to create a sharp crease.
Turn the cushion inside out. You now have a rectangular cushion with one long side open.
Fold the cushion in half, matching short sides, and press to create a crease in the middle of the fabric.
Unfold and then fold the two short sides toward the center crease, again pressing the folds and creating sharp creases.
Unfold to reveal three creases, dividing the cushion in four equal parts.
Topstitch along these three creases, thus creating four pockets.
In each pocket, fill around 7 oz of spelt grains. Be sure the spelt doesn’t spill out or get in the way of your presser foot. Topstitch the open side closed, two times for good luck!
We usually warm our spelt pillows in the microwave, just for a short time because they get hot quickly. Please be careful when you heat yours up for the first time — don’t make it too hot! You can also bring some water to boil, put a lid on the pot and lay the cushion on top if you choose not to use a microwave. Spelt stores heat very well and it takes quite a time to get cool.
Enjoy these soothing spelt cushions!
Ulrike Pohl does what mums do in a small village near Stuttgart in South-West of Germany. She doesn’t write a blog but shares what she spins, knits, sews, cooks and finds in her herb garden on Ravelry and on Flickr.