Friday, November 8, 2013

Winter warmer-upper upgrade

A couple of years back, I posted about my alternative to the Snuggie and other sleeved blankets: a pair of $2 fleece throws from Walgreens. At the time, I was quite pleased with this frugal design, but with each succeeding winter, I grew a little less satisfied with it. Compared to the sleeved blankets I was trying to emulate, my double-blanket design was a lot harder to wear. The first problem was that the fleece "cape" didn't stay put very well while I was sitting at my computer and typing. This was fairly easy to fix: I just cut a slit in the center of the blanket that I could put my head through, so I could wear it like a poncho, as shown.

This modified design was reasonably comfy when I was settled in at my computer, but I couldn't easily get up and walk around with it on. The bottom layer (the green fleece that you can just see the bottom of in the picture) was just wrapped around my body like a bath towel, and it didn't stay put very well. After a while, I found it was too much of a nuisance, so I started wearing just the poncho—but that covered only my torso, leaving my legs as chilly as ever. Also, as you can see, it didn't really cover my arms fully.

So this year, as the cold weather settled in, I found myself shivering and grumbling at my desk once again. Brian, growing tired of my complaining, proposed getting me one of those sleeved blankets after all, but I still couldn't convince myself that it was worth the 30 bucks for a Slanket (the Snuggie is cheaper, but according to reviews, it would be overpriced at free).What I really needed, I thought, was an upgrade to my current design: a blanket that could be worn poncho-style, but would cover my entire body. This design, I suspected, would actually work better than the blankets with sleeves, because my arms could be tucked in under the body of the blanket, with all that trapped body heat, rather than isolated in the sleeves. But would it also be cheaper?

To find out, we popped into a Bed Bath & Beyond, where we found a simple fleece blanket for only $20 in a twin size. Since BB&B sends a steady stream of store coupons into my mailbox, I was able to take an additional $5 off, making the total only $16 with tax. Once I got it home, I simply folded it into quarters, cut a slit in the exact center, and voilĂ : a loose-fitting robe suitable for either a wizard or a Biblical prophet. It comes down nearly to my toes, and the sides cover my arms right down to my fingertips (or would, if I didn't have to push them back a bit to type). And when I sat down with it on, I felt noticeably warmer almost immediately.

The only part of me that's still cold, unfortunately, is my hands. I have no idea where it could be coming from, but I swear it feels like there's a cold draft in this room blowing right across my keyboard. Maybe the next modification to the design should be figuring out some way to cover my hands while still allowing me to type. (Actually, right now I'm touch-typing underneath a sort of tent formed by draping one of the old, smaller fleece throws over top of the keyboard, and it doesn't seem to be working too badly. But it's probably not practical for the long term.)
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