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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A weighty subject

Amanda has been seeking deep pressure more in last year or so.  She always rested her chest on her computer desk enough that she has a rough spot on her skin.  At one point, I was afraid that she had displaced a rib because I could not feel it.  Seems she has a floating rib there.  She was wearing a weighted vest at school to help her with her need for deep pressure.  Her school therapists were seeing her put pressure on her face at times.

Lately she has been using a weighted blanket at school when stressed.  She actually curls up in a bean bag chair and pulls the blanket over her, seeking to be surrounded by the pressure.  Her one-to-one aide, Ms Elizabeth was nervous because Amanda is tiny.  She was worried about suffication.

So about a month ago I made her a weighted lap pad for classroom work.  I made both sides out of cotton fabric and added ribbons to the sides for sensory play.  My first attempt was rough.  The number of poly pellets were not equal.  The squares were not equal either.  The ribbons did not match exactly in the middle of the squares as intended.   But as a rough draft, I was pleased.  So I brought it to school the next day with Tessa and Amanda to give it to Ms Elizabeth. 

First attempt
To my surprise, it came home with her that night.  I was concerned that perhaps either the OT at school did not appreciate it or if Amanda had been too distracted with it.  Amanda had told me that she had cuddled with it at school, so distraction was a concern.  I took her to school the next day with it to make sure.  Ms Elizabeth told me that Amanda had loved it so much that she did not want to leave it at school.  She had tried to find a special place for Amanda to leave it but Amanda was resistant.  Ms Elizabeth sent it home rather than having something postive turn into a negative.  Good call.  So it went back and forth while I planned another one.

In the time period of planning, a friend of ours whose daughter has sensory issues, asked if I would make one for Abby.  Abby is a dear friend of Amanda's.  Of course.  My first sale!

So I came across an idea to use a piece of muslin fabric to plot out the grid for the squares and borders using a fabric marker.  With the quilting rotary pad in the picture above and a quilting ruler, it was a BREEZE to plot the grids.  Off I went with my small balancing scale and weighed poly pellets, sewed rows, cut ribbons and then added a pretty pink minkee fabric to the back rather than cotton. 

Pretty minkee.  Oh so soft and pleasing to sensory seekers.
The difference between my first and my second/third(Abby's and Amanda's are identical) is amazing.  The inner muslin liner made a huge difference.  My rows were even.  The placement of the ribbons were perfect!

So I kept home my first attempt and sent in my second lap pad.  Both Abby and Amanda love their princess lap pads.  Abby said that "it makes me feel much calmer" and she sat in her chair at school without a problem!  And both girls are pretty princesses so the fabric was a hit!
Now, onto my next project!  Because anyone who knows me knows that I am never at rest but go from one project to another.....I have many UFOs(Un-Finished Objects).  A weighted blanket for Amanda's bed!!!!
Amanda has many sleep issues.  Sleep and her are not friends.  Heck, they are mortal enemies.  Amanda has frequent nightmares and often has anxiety about going to sleep. 

Cannot imagine why............................

Off to the fabric store we go!!!!  Also picked up a digital scale to weigh the pellets.  Much easier to do the required grams per square!!!

Now of course, the muslin is much bigger than the quilting pad so there is some mental planning required to plot out the grid.  So I did it in halfs.  So the grid was plotted on Sunday afternoon and sewn to the cotton fabric on Sunday evening. 

Yesterday was the measuring and sewing!  Measure 6 dixie cups of 55 grams of pellets.  Pour into the 6 channels.  Sew across the row to encase the pellets.  Rise, lather and repeat for all 11 rows.  Amanda helped stack the cups and pour into the channels.  She kept the whip cracking on my back asking when I was going to be finished.
Muslin lining with all 66 squares stuffed and sewn

Close up of the squares.  You can see the lines for the seam allowances.

Finally, a picture from the front:

 It is HEAVY.  It is only 8 lbs but feels like so much more.  I have to add the flannel backing tonight.  So Amanda should have this for tomorrow.  Although after her NOT sleeping last night,  I may be working OT after dinner to get it done for tonight.  Wednesdays are also a highly anxious day for Amanda for some reason that we have yet to pinpoint. 

So I am planning on having lap pads, small blankets and twin-sized weighted blankets added to my Etsy site soon and will be taking orders.  I would love to make these for other children in fabrics that they love.  Little boys with trains, planes, pirate, and adventure hero fabric!  Dancers, butterflies, princesses, and fairies galore for the little princesses out there.  So if you know of any one in need, send them to me!

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