"Sensory" type fabrics

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Forgive the strange subject line bit its 4:30 am here on the east coast
of the US and my brain isnt quite functioning yet...:)
I am a nurse and I work with disabled children. Many of the children
have sensory deficits, ie; blind, deaf, ect. and one in particular that
I work with has only her left hand that she receives any kind of
sensory input. She grasps things that she finds interesting. One toy in
particular she loves to play with is a nylon covered ball suspended
fron her bed. The other is a bag of balls that the bag is made like
those you buy onions in.
What I would like to do is make her a blanket that has many types of
materials that she can 'feel' .
First, I would like to find some nylon, the type used in flags. Anyone
know of a good online store for this?
Second, any suggestions as to other material to add into this blanket?
It must be able to withstand multiple washings. I was thinking some
penne velvet, and fleece but I am at a loss after that. I would like to
add something like tulle, but I didnt think it would stand up to the
use.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Cindy


Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
sin4sure@aol.com wrote:

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That sounds like an interesting project.  If I were you, I'd probably
appliqué the pieces to something like polar fleece (use the good stuff
from Malden Mills) or Minky (should be available in Joanne's or any good
quilt shop).

Penny makes a lot of outdoors stuff, and her list of suppliers will have
sources for both polar fleece (but it's also worth ringing the mill and
seeing if they'll send you an off-cut: remnants are usually only
available to call-in customers) and nylon flag 'silk' or poly taffeta as
used in waterproof clothing:
http://www.specialtyoutdoors.com/tips/sources.asp

For the tulle, try using dress net: it's very stiff and rather scratchy,
but zigzagged to a sturdy backing it should last for years and give a
good sensory input.  Again, Joannes should have it.

Panne velvet is a good one.  :)  You might also like to try my least
favourite fabric on the planet: poly lurex knit with sequins bonded on!
  Dire for making up, but great tactile experience (note I say great
rather than pleasant!), and almost indestructible except by heat: you
need to wash and tumble dry as cool as you can, otherwise the sequins
fall off and bond themselves to the thing you really didn't want them to.

Something furry might be fun.  And something crinkly...  Ask Penny's
sources what they have that might fit this one.

I also got hold of some of those squeakers that they put in kid's
clothing over here, and in toys...  One of those might be a fun addition.

As you'll only need small pieces of any of the fabrics, ask about and
see what folk will donate.  And pop in to the quilting group
(rec.crafts.textiles.quilting) as this will appeal to them and they'll
have more fun ideas for you, and many more sources than I can think of
from here!  :)
--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
Thanks Kate!
Somehow I knew I could count on your great input :)  The quilting group is a
great idea, one I would have never thought of, as I always come here when I
am stuck for ideas!

Cindy
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Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
Cindy wrote:

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We quilters are very resourceful and imaginative!  Lots of the group
make quilts and blankies for kids, both as personal and family projects
and for charities like Linus.  LOTS of good ideas there.  :)  Be sure to
emphasize that colour is less important than the tactile side of this one.

--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
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For this type of application, the flag/kite nylon at most fabric
stores should work just fine.  Kate's already pointed you to a list of
online sources, though.

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Less sturdy fabrics can be backed with cotton to provide
durability/stability.

Poke around at your local fabric store.  Close your eyes and run your
hands over the bolt.   Some of the stores around here have fabric with
appliqued ruffles or heavy embroidery.  Puckered or pleated fabric
might be good, too.  Satin, denim, upholstery fabric, faux suede.
Dotted chenille.  (Many quilt stores have precut fat quarters of minky
brand chenille in various textures.)


--
Jenn Ridley : jridley@chartermi.net

Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
I made stuffed animals out of old chenille bedspreads that kids love to rub
on their faces and stroke with their little hands. I find them (the bed
spreads, not the kids) at garage sales, the middle is usually worn smooth
but there's a lot of good fabric around the edges. Corduroy, different sized
'wales' in different directions. You can get packages of the little "safety
eyes" you put on children's stuffed toys and make a bumpy square filled with
them on the quilt, too. Cut squares of old sweaters, lots of textures there
depending on what they are made of. What a great idea for a quilt for little
fingers to feel. Those soft net type loofa things might fun.  Good luck!
 Val

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Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
sin4sure@aol.com wrote:
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If I were doing that, I would hit a thrift store or rummage sale and
feel my way through the clothing, looking (feeling) for interesting
textures.  If you hit a rummage sale late in the day, you can usually
get a bagful of whatever for a flat rate.  You don't care about size,
color, overall condition - you just want usable pieces to cut to include.

Sewers' scrap is another good source.  Not quilters, I don't think,
because everything would feel pretty much the same.  People who do
weddings would have interesting textured pieces.

This all reminds me of the balls I used to make for my babies, with all
sorts of colors and textures for them to experience.
--
Joanne
stitches @ singerlady.reno.nv.us.earth
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Re: "Sensory" type fabrics

I'd look into the swatch sets that some mail-order fabric stores sell.
Joy Beeson
--
http://joybeeson.home.comcast.net/
http://roughsewing.home.comcast.net/ -- needlework
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Re: "Sensory" type fabrics

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I'm kind of curious about the context in which you're working.  A
school, hospital or institutional setting?  And what is the nature of
your work with children with disabilities?

--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
Phae,
I work as a nurse in home health. I travel from client to client being kept
in the home. All of these clients are on state and federal health care plans
which don't pay for any of the extras and many times don't even pay for the
necessities either. Most of the family are literally tapped out financially
due to the high costs of raising such children. Many of these children have
extreme mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures, blindness/deafness,
have to be fed through tubes placed in their abdomens, paralysis ect
ect.....(I say 'children' even though many are in their 20's, being small of
stature, and mental age of between 0- 2years.)
The one that brought up this idea is a client who is blind and deaf, her
right hand is contracted and her whole world is received through what she
can feel and grasp in her left hand. She is bed bound as we are fighting
with the state/federal agencies to get her a wheelchair , which, in their
infinite "wisdom",  they have denied. Her family is wonderful to work with .
I wanted to surprise them with this little gift: )

On the same idea path I was thinking of getting some inexpensive washcloths
and serging some sensory type fabrics to one side that could be used
individually.

Again I apologize for the brain not functioning as yet. I tend to do most of
my emailing early in the am before leaving for work. :)

Cindy







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Re: "Sensory" type fabrics

It was not my intent to be rude and I admire your dedication.  But I
really wondered which settings were failing to provide adequate services
and giving you so little support.  Educational, hospital and
institutional settings should all have occupational therapists, skilled
in sensory-motor integration, who would know exactly what works best
with children with sensory deficits.

Pursuant to the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) in
the US, the children you describe would almost certainly be eligible for
Early Childhood programs and, in some States, Infant and Toddler
programs.  Such programs should have the types of therapies you describe
as related services and, in the early years, are usually implemented
with parental participation.  In addition to humanistic concerns, we've
known for decades that appropriate early therapeutic and educational
services almost always mitigate the need for later, incredibly expensive
(as well as dehumanizing) institutionalization for almost all but a
fraction of a percent of persons with disabilities.

Others here have given you the information you require so I will merely
say that it really angers me that in this day of alleged "no child left
behind", we are finding a dramatic increase in reliance on people of
good will such as you (charity) instead of providing what the law
required as early as 1975.  And at the same time that some States are
outlawing abortion or even actively discussing outlawing birth control,
women who give birth to damaged babies are being given less and less
help.  No I am not promoting abortion--- just commenting on the irony of
the situation.  The measure of a society is how it treats its old and
disabled.  It's a damn shame, Cindy, you can't get the support you and
your young charges require.  Our leadership is failing the more
vulnerable among us.

Phae



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--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
Phaedrine wrote:

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Happens here as well...  They shut all the 'hospitals' and 'Homes' for
such children in favour of 'care in the community'.  Hmph!  With the
lack of support now available, it's more a case of 'don't care in the
community'.  We'll be going back to exhibiting them in freak shows next...

Cynical?  Moi? <in my best pretentious Miss Piggy tones>
--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: "Sensory" type fabrics

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I am sorry to hear that the same thing is happing across the pond.  It's
really getting to be Life Among the Savages....


OB-SEW:  Many times when I install a centered zipper in the back of a
knit top, I run the zipper stitching lines all the way down to the
hemline for a little design statement.  When I do this, I go back to
mark the end of the zipper, separately, with a V or a very small bar
tack.

--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
Phaedrine wrote:
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Yes, it's so much more important to build a fence the length of our
borders, and to depose certain dictators who dared to threaten one's
daddy.
--
Joanne
stitches @ singerlady.reno.nv.us.earth
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
wrote:

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[...]
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Exactly!

--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: "Sensory" type fabrics
I admire all that you are doing to help this person, as for 13 years I
worked with mentally challenged adults.  Sometime I see a wheelchair at
Goodwill.  Maybe her family could afford to get one there.  You might could
explain the situation to the manager and ask her to call when a wheelchair
comes in.   HTH
Barbara in SC

 She is bed bound as we are fighting
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