Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Needle and thread...

I did a bit of sewing yesterday, which means I did a whole lot of resting today.  I find sewing exhausting.

This is my belated birthday gift for my nephew.  He has autism.  He likes this really old, really heavy comforter on his bed, even though he gets so hot sleeping beneath it.  I use the smaller weighted blanket I made when I sleep, just draped over my torso.  And the other smaller one I use on the couch, when I don't want visitors to realize that I what I am using.

This one is from a bolt of fabric that was longer than the first ones I made, which made it much, much harder for me to sew.  I still cannot figure out how my best friend made my full-size weighted blanket.  I would like one for upstairs, a full-size one, but I cannot figure out how you get it through the machine.

I am hoping my nephew likes it.  Blue is his favorite color, if you haven't guessed that.  I did drag myself to the post office today, in between naps, and mailed it off.  He should have his gift on Thursday.

I had the idea of making my smaller version of weighted blankets for Becky's children, who have wanted their own weighted blankets.  Her son's favorite color is red, so this is the fabric I chose for him.  As you can see, it came from a regular size bolt of fabric and so is slightly smaller than my nephew's.

Making them is not all that difficult.  First, you sew three sides of the fabric to make a sort of pillow case.  Then, you turn that inside out so the seams are hidden.  Then, you sew straight up from the bottom to the open top to create a column ... and then another ... and then enough to work your way from one side to the other.  On this one, the columns are essentially 4.25 inches.  Once you are finished, you get to start filling the weighted pellets.  I have been putting 1/4 cup into each pocket that I am making.  After shaking it all the way down to the bottom, what I do is use 1,001 pins to pin the pellets into the pocket space.  Then, I measure where the top of the pocket goes (4.25 inches) and pin on each column seam.  That gives me markers when I go to sew from side to side to create a row of filled pockets.  After that, it is repeat and repeat and repeat until you get to the top.  On this blanket, that makes nine times of filling and sewing closed.  Then, when you get to the top, you fold both sides of the top of the fabric down, pinch it closed, and pin it so that you can sew it closed.  Finally, if you are me, you go back and sew the top of the column seams so that they are completely connected to the top seam.

Easy peasy, right?

Even with pinning the weighted pellets down, I sometimes miss a few.  Yesterday, that meant that I broke my first needle.  I tried to call Becky for help, but she was not home.  So, I went to my stash of YouTube videos about my machine to try and figure out how to change the needle.  [I need a short handled screwdriver for future broken needles.]  I stand when I am pinning, using an ironing board as my work space, and so my pacemaker goes haywire and I end up sweating quite a bit (and trembling).  Sitting, working on that blasted needle, I was also sweating and Georgie let me know that I was worked up something fierce.  However, I managed to gain the victory.

This is the fabric I chose for Becky's daughter.  [I am a sucker for a toile.]  Because I miscalculated how much weighted pellets that I would need, I ran out of them when working on Ellie's blanket.  I got six of the nine rows completed.  Since I have only ever bought the pellets when they are 50% off, I had to go searching for another purchasing option if I didn't want to wait for another sale.  I finally found some.  One thing I have learned is that not all weighted pellets are alike.  The ones I originally used on my small weighted blankets are 5.4 ounces per cup.  The ones I used on these are 7.4 ounces per cup.  The ones I ordered are 7.5 ounces per cup.  You can get them as heavy as 10 ounces per cup.  I think the mid-weight ones are best.  You know ... the opinion of someone who is NOT a seamstress and who knows so little about what she is doing.

I have become much better at making bobbins.  You see, for each fabric purchase, I have bought matching thread, which means winding new bobbins.  Winding bobbins is nerve-wracking.

I am also stellar at threading needles.  This is because I STINK at snipping the thread at the end of a seam long enough to keep it from bouncing back and pulling itself out of the needle.  SIGH.

Working on Ellie's blanket makes me very much want a toile one for myself.  And it occurred to me that I wouldn't mind having fashionable weighted blankets to take with me whenever I go out instead of just to a doctor's appointment.  Of course, I would like at least one more to use on the porches on the first floor and one for the airing porch, because carrying weighted blankets up and down the stairs is not something that is in my best interests, even if the use of weighted blankets calms my nerves.

The part of me that very much needs visual rest is going a bit bonkers with the sewing machine and ironing board set up still in the dining room.  I am hoping that the weighted pellets come by Saturday, so that I can finish this project by then.  I want my neat and tidy dining room back.

The plan was to wait to mail those for Becky's children until my next budget cycle, but I have already mucked up this one with having to buy more pellets.  So, I might not wait and then just hope to make up that overage next month.  Making weighted blankets is a mere fraction of the cost of buying them, but making weighted blankets is not an economical gift.  Pellets are expensive and shipping weighted blankets is expensive.  And, surprisingly, the thread is nearly as much as the pieces of fabric I buy (Waverly fabrics at Walmart).

Amos, being a glutton for weighted blankets, would prefer that I not mail any of them out.  He adores being smothered by them (or me ... at the moment he is stuffed behind my back against the sofa).  If ever you questioned how pressure calms the nervous system, all you have to do is see the difference in my Fluffernutter sleeping beneath a weighted blanket verses sleeping in the open.  Without the pressure, just taking a deep breath on my part triggers his hypersensitive startle response.  Poor little puppy dog.

You know, my mother bought me the sewing machine so that I could hem all the curtains upstairs.  I had to learn how to use it.  And basically all I can do is sew a straight (but not really straight) line.  I was able to make the curtains for the guest room she uses, because that is just straight lines.  And I learned how to make weighted blankets because, again, that is just sewing straight lines.  I wonder what other projects I could learn that involve simple, straight lines.

Not that I want to do any more sewing any time soon.  I am still weary from the bit of yard work.  And now a bit of sewing.  It is a good thing that I have a puppy dog who doesn't mind my napping much of the day.  Still, I am a bit proud of my slightly sloppy work with needle and thread.  Hopefully, one teenager and two children will find comfort and calm as a result.

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