I’ve been working away on my twin sized weighted blanket for a 8 year old boy in a neighboring town. If you’re interested in the process, check out my previous blog post Part 1 of how to sew a weighted blanket to learn more about how weighted blankets can help those with sensory integration and autism.
I left off last Wednesday ready to share about how to fill and start quilting the blanket.
Start by figuring out how much weight you need in the blanket and how you want to distribute the weight. It’s important to have enough weight but not too much. The general standard I have found is 5% of body weight.
This is a question you will want to run by your pediatric occupational therapist. Local but don’t have an OT? I’ve worked with and love the therapists over at Integrated Therapy Services in Richmond, VA. I use a postal scale or a kitchen scale for accurate weight measurements.
Once I’ve calculated how much weight I need per row, I carefully distribute the first row of pellets then sew above them to keep them locked in place. Because this blanket is quite large, I used fabric tubing (can use wrapping paper tubes for smaller blankets) to help guide the pellets to the bottom of the blanket.
I also decided to hand sew the weight into this blanket. Why you ask???? Several reasons…
- It’s very difficult with a standard sewing machine to manage the fabric and weight as your blanket progresses.
- Many people in the world don’t have access to an electric sewing machine and I thought it would be helpful to show a hand-quilting version of a weighted blanket.
- It allowed me to quilt the blanket with a much stronger thread (I used carpet/button thread for this).
- My wrists and joints can’t handle holding the weight of the blanket while quilting it on a machine.
- I like the fact that the final blanket will have some flexibility regarding the placement of the weight.
I decided to try quilting this with hand tied knots in rows 4″ apart and columns 3″ wide. I found however that the pellets needed some more help staying in place so I’ve actually ended up tying a few extra knots in between each of the rows. I’m using hand sewing techniques shared in the amazing book Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin. Her garments are entirely sewn by hand and are absolutely amazing. If you are an appreciator of handmade garments then you must check out her site! There is also an Alabama Stitch book Flickr group. I used her recommendation of tying a double knot, sewing then tying off with a double knot. That means that each quilted point has 4 knots! Just out of curiosity I counted the # of ties so far and 3/4 of the way through the blanket I’ve now tied 888 knots!!! Crazy!
Here’s the ready to be filled bottom corner of the weighted blanket. I topstitched 1″ in from the edge around the entire blanket to provide extra reinforcement. I’ve loved the process of hand quilting this blanket. It gives me the ability to stop and play with my kids and we’ve had many moments where all 3 of us are working/playing together in my craft room. This picture of working to help support our family while parenting and teaching my children about life and work makes me happy Stay tuned for my finished pics!