Saturday, November 07, 2009

heavy lifting

This is a weighted blanket. I have a severely disabled 11-year old niece. She was born with some unidentified genetic glitch which has endowed her with a variety of special needs. She appears to be very autistic but that's not it... anyway, for some time I've been hearing about "heavy blankets" being a comfort to many people with sensory disorders, and I've talked with my brother about them but never quite knew how to construct one.

Then I ran across a free pattern on Craft Nectar -- Weeks Ringle's blog -- and decided to give it a try. I used some winnings from the Block Lotto to make the top, and the back is a solid piece of flannel in a floral print. Basically, you sew lengthwise channels and pour in small amounts of poly pellets and then sew crosswise to create a simple series of squares. This one has about 5 pounds of pellets.

It was fairly easy to make, although those pellets seem to scatter with little provocation! If I did it again, I would either make sure that all my seams were pressed toward the bottom (so that the pellets wouldn't get caught as I poured them in) or use a solid piece of fabric on both sides. I sewed through about 10 pellets on my first row and trust me -- you don't want to do that!

I'll be delivering the blanket at the beginning of December and I can't wait to see how Keely likes it.

17 comments:

jovaliquilts said...

At the central Illinois Make A Blanket Day for Project Linus this fall they made weighted blankets using folded sheets as the weights -- purchased from Goodwill, $4 sets on sale at Walmart, etc. (I think it's a dozen pair per blanket???) I have the directions and would be happy to email them to you if you want them.

Vicki W said...

That's a really interesting concept that I've never heard of before. But last year I quilted a quilt with a flannel sheet and it made the quilt surprisingly heavy. I bet 2 or 3 flannel sheets might also do the trick. Although, I would think the the pellets help to weight the quilt to snuggle closely all around her. I'd love to hear how it works out.

Di said...

Pretty quilt. I like heavier quilts - more comforting, I think. I've heard of the double flannel batting trick also.

Andrea said...

I hope Keely really loves it - never come across this before. The colours are great. Please let us know how it goes xx

Libby Fife said...

This is a really interesting idea and not one that I had heard of. I used polyester bat recently in one of my quilts and it was pretty dense too. Not like pellets but maybe a combination would do it. PLease let us know how your niece likes it.

Magia da Inês said...

Olá amiga!
Passei para conhecer seu cantinho... tudo de bom!
Lindo, criativo e inspirador!
Parabéns e sucesso sempre!..
Aguardo a sua visitinha...
magiadaines.blogspot.com
Uma ótima semana!
Beijinhos carinhosos.
Itabira - Brasil

Sweet P said...

What a wonderful gift. Let us know how she likes it. I can certainly understand how someone would like a heavy quilt. There are days when I go to bed that I love the heavier weight of my winter comforter.

LC said...

This is interesting and I also am eager to find out the results. Good for you making this effort to lift the spirits of a needy person!

sophie said...

I have heard of weighted blankets for autistic kids, but never thought about what it would take to make a weighted quilt. I'll bet all those seams in the top really did make things more challenging when dealing with the pellets . . . and the added weight made the quilting "interesting."

What a pretty quilt you made from those lotto blocks. I love it. I hope it is a real comfort for Keely and she loves it, too.

Debra said...

I am always experimenting with alternative batting for my service quilts and have found a few layers of sheets to be heavy.

Do keep us posted. Love the lotto blocks together too.

DPUTiger said...

Funny how we all read this post, then immediately put on our thinking caps for different ways to reach the same finish line.

I'd be tempted to put a layer of muslin at least behind the quilt top, if not on both sides. Sort of a "sandwich within a sandwich" that would be smooth. An additional layer of fabric to keep the pellets wrangled seems like it would be a good idea.

This sounds like a wonderful gift for a special girl. I hope she loves it!

Leah/ Texas/ United States said...

the blanket looks fabulous!! love the colors and the design. hope you post back about how she likes it!

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

That's an interesting concept. I've never heard it before. If you lined the quilt top before sewing the channels then nothing would catch on the seams. I'm sure your niece will love this.

Sharon said...

What a lovely weighted quilt! I hope your niece does find comfort and security in it! So great that you have made this for her.
I worked briefly as a seamstress for SensoryCritters.com - a local company that designs and creates weighted items for autistic children. They use the poly pellets in vests, neck rolls, and lap squares. For the larger quilts, I think they use upholstery fabric on the back of the quilts to obtain the weight. But the channels with the pellets sound like a good idea too.

Quilter Kathy said...

What a great idea...hope it brings comfort and security.

peggy said...

Julie,
I have never heard of a weighted quilt. I kind of get the concept but I wonder why it's necessary? Is it to be assured that the quilt stays on the child during a cold night because they are restless and it falls off? Inquiring minds and all....
The quilt is super cute too...love the colors!!!
Peggy

Darcie said...

That is wonderful, Julie! I hope Keely finds great comfort in her Auntie's gift of kindness!