That time I made a weighted blanket –
It uses poly beads purchased by the bag at JoAnn. I used basic calculations for my body weight and attempted to make a 20 lb blanket. I failed to account for the batting, fabric, and thread so it is closed to 24 pounds. I choose the size by adding 12″ height and width beyond my size.
To get it done – I pieced the top with simple squares then basted it with a super thin batting and backing. I used the square shapes to put all the vertical quilting in. I used one straight line stitch the full length of the quilt on either side of the seam. I basted the edges closed (except the top) and went attached the binding from the second block to the top all the around to the matching block on the other side leaving the top open. I ended up with tubes open all the way to the bottom of the quilt. I picked up a cheap PVC pipe at the hardware store, a plastic funnel, and a kitchen scale. Using the estimated final weight of the blanket, I divided by the number of squares I had. In my case it was .87 pounds of beads per square. Once I distributed beads across the bottom row in each tube, I closed the tube with a straight stitch on either side of the seam closing the squares. Wash rinse and repeat to the top row of squares.
Why a seam on each side? The idea is to prevent the seams from having to support the weight. Each square has at least one line of quilting all the way around it on the interior side of the seam. I think I could have made a 50 pound blanket this way with success, though I may not have been able to pick it up!
I did find that it was hard to keep the beads in their pockets when trying to put the first horizontal seam on any row. Needle + poly bead = horrible loud sound and breaky-y things. To make it easier, I started putting in a long basting stitch across the top of the row, then opening it up just big enough for the PVC pipe to fit though. Once I put in the “final” quilting line, I just removed the basting stitch.
Was it hard to sew? Not really. I have a table on the left side of my machine. The bulk of the weight sat there and just didn’t move. I had plenty of working space to move around the parts I needed to. It takes a little manhandling, but not nearly as much as I anticipated.
Do I love it? YES! It puts me in an instant comfort zone. It isn’t hot in the slightest. The beads are actually quite cool. I’m very glad I added the thin batting because I think they would be cold direct to skin. It is heavy and takes a bit to drag around. Totally worth it.
See it in photos!!