Creating a Special Lapghan Pattern

I would like to create a pattern for lapghans that will fit a person sitting in a wheelchair(me & some of my wheeling buddies), lapgans that won’t get caught up in the front casters every time I move.
Taking the measurements won’t be a problem, I’ll use myself as the manikin. What I have been using at home are some old crib blankets, which are close to being the right size. The issue is being able to keep it in place at the waist level(maybe a icord belt), and more importantly the feet, maybe a pocket that slips over the toes. :thinking: Being able to fasten it behind the lower legs in cold weather would be a major bonus. People with spinal cord injuries/disease have problems maintaining their body temp. in cold weather, and keeping our legs warm helps fight off hypothermia.
I have no clue as to how to figure out how much yarn is required, let alone calculate how many stitches to cast on. Oh yeah, this is very important, it has got to be machine washable, as almost all food and beverages that are dropped or spilled seem to wind up in my lap.
If anyone knows of a pattern already out that fills most of my needs listed above please let me know, otherwise I am looking forward to all the input I can get for my lapghan pattern.

For Christmas I’m planning on making an afghan for my dh’s grandmother… its in the book Quick Knitted Afghans ~Jeanne Stauffer… they have a wheel chair throw… It has two pockets on the front in the picture one is holding a book and the other looks like paper or tissue…Its approximately 40X45inches… however it is just a throw so you would have to find a way to keep it at the waist… and it covers her shoes not sure if you could fold the bottom section up and seam the side to make a pocket for their feet or not… They used Encore Colorspun 75% acrylic/25% wool… and it is machine washable…

:thinking: just thinking out loud here… wonder if there is a way to make the throw and add buttons or something to fasten behind the legs? or on the sides…

I tried google but couldn’t come up with anything either… I hope you are able to find an idea to get you started… I wish I could help you more but can’t wait to see your design :thumbsup:

Thanks for your information. I’ll check Amazon’s and B&N’s websites to see if I can find this book. I like the ideal of the pockets as it seems everything not spilled onto my lap has a tendency to slide right off of it when turning corners and making sudden stops. :rollseyes:

I would caution you about the dimensions you mentioned, that will be pretty large for use in a wheelchair. The crib blankets I’ve been using are in the range of 33X40 inches, and they frequently get wrapped up in the front wheels(we call them casters) of both my manual, and larger power wheelchair. If by any chance she is a petite woman, a afghan 40X45 inches will be huge on her in a wheelchair. Just something for you to think about before you start knitting such a thoughtful gift.

What would be your ideal dimensions for a wheelchair friendly lapghan?

For a tie around the waist, what would be the most practical:

a simple cord that ties in the center back like an apron?

a cord that is long enough to wrap around and be tied in the front?

a cord that can be tied at one side?

a band that can be buttoned at the side?

Would it be best for the tie to secure the lapghan to your person, or to the chair?

If there were pockets, where would you like them placed:

in the center of the front close to the waist or more in the lap?

on the sides closer to the waist or closer to the knees?

I’ve got some ideas bouncing around in my head, so let me know any other features you would like to see in the lapghan.

Wow, you’ve asked some questions I hadn’t even thought about, but are important. I’ll try to answer them in order, directly under each question.

I can’t think of anything else right now, but let me know if you have anymore specific questions, and thanks for putting so much thought into my project.

Thanks for the additional info. I was sketching out ideas today at lunch. If/when I get a trial pattern, I’ll share it with you. I just thought it was such a great idea to make a lapghan with features the recipient could actually use! Plus it gives me a chance to design something, which I’m beginning to realize I really enjoy! :slight_smile:

Something that might work to fasten it around the legs is to make a separate piece (not as wide and the length of the knees to the feet) with buttons down both sides that can be added for additional warmth when needed. Then you would make buttonholes on the lower 1/3? of the lapghan so that the piece could be added when necessary and removed when not. You could also make individual narrower bands for those days that the extra warmth is not needed?

Smartcat, your suggestions are awesome. I have on many a very cold winter day(ice storm blackouts, etc) done something similar to what you suggested. I would take a bath towel and wrap it around my lower legs, under the baby blanket that was already covering my lap. Of course I would only do this around the house, not when I was going out anywhere, but with my new lapghan that won’t be an issue.

This just made me think about something else, when I’m tending my fireplace I need a fiber that will be spark resistant. :?? Maybe something I can quickly lay over my lapghan, just to cover my lower legs? I’m thinking it would have to be 100% wool, maybe felted? I have noticed that many of the spark arresting hearth rugs are made of 100% wool. Not only would that protect against the unavoidable sparks, but also the intense heat while cooking in the fireplace. What do you all think, should I use wool for something like that, or is there another fiber out there that would be better for a protective overlay.