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Adventures with a weighted blanket

May 20, 2013

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. 🙂

 

UPDATE:

 

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.

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