Adventures with a weighted blanket
If you’ve never heard of ‘weighted blankets’, you may still be familiar with the idea of the cattle ‘crush’, or even the ThunderShirt(tm) for dogs and cats – the idea is that deep pressure calms the nervous system. Some people, for this reason, like sleeping under a huge weight of blankets, but that can get awfully warm, especially in summer.
Enter: the weighted blanket. You can buy them on eBay and Etsy; you can make one yourself with a little bit of planning. Ten pounds of poly pellets (never use anything else) will cost about $22-25 online, including shipping. If you want less, a local fabric store may carry 2 lb bags, but I don’t know the price, and it might cost as much as buying bulk.
I made myself one of these after watching the movie ‘Temple Grandin’. I’ve been having a wretched time sleeping. Melatonin helps a little; so do OTC pills. I wanted to try something less pharmaceutical in nature.
I went to a thrift store, bought a toddler-sized blanket made of 2 layers of fleece (unquilted), opened up one short end, and stitched channels, end to end. Then I filled the channels with poly pellets and sewed it shut again. 10 lbs is *heavy*. My kids love to lie down with the blanket on top (they actually fought over it, at the beginning!). I slept better the first night I used it than I’ve slept in months.
If you don’t like the idea of using a pre-owned blanket, you can make your own using any fabric you like. I recommend making the channels 2″ wide. If you’re making this for a child, the rule of thumb is 1/10 of the child’s body weight, plus 1 lb. You may have to cross-quilt the channels to hold the pellets evenly in place (making squares) for a lighter blanket. I found that 10 lbs entirely filled up the channels on the blanket I made for myself, so I didn’t have to cross-quilt. Be careful and go slowly when sewing the end closed, or cross-stitching: If you hit a poly pellet with your needle, the needle will snap right off.
For filling the channels with pellets, I find a funnel designed for putting oil in a car, put together with the hard plastic tube from a fishtank siphon cleaner, works extremely well and quickly, without losing a zillion tiny pellets all over the floor. (I bought the fish tank siphon used, too).
I’m now making another blanket for a friend’s small child, and one for my brother-in-law. It’s recycling, sort of. 🙂
I sold a blanket to a friend, who tells me she is sleeping better under it than she’s slept in a long time. In other news, I think I may have inhaled one of the poly pellets.