FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/403,578 filed Mar. 31, 2003 which is itself a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/792,968 filed Feb. 26, 2001.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a blanket or cover with a weighted perimeter or border useful for covering humans. This invention is an improvement over known blankets and covers because the weighted perimeter or border serves as a type of anchor, improving the physics of the blanket or cover, by allowing the blanket or cover to rest more firmly on the user, minimizing shifting. The present invention also relates to a “pellet” filled tube useful for adding weight to the perimeter of blankets, coverings and the like.
Numerous materials have been used as blankets and covers for people engaging in sleep, rest, relaxation and the pursuit of warmth. Blankets and covers come in many different shapes, sizes and designs based on particular needs, tastes, preferences and materials available.
A primary problem with the typical blanket or cover and lighter weight blankets or covers is that when the user engaging in sleep, rest, relaxation or pursuit of warmth shifts the body either consciously or unconsciously, such shifts often tend to cause the blanket or cover in use to also shift thereby falling or moving out of the desired position chosen by the user. The user of the blanket or cover must then readjust the blanket or cover to replace it in its original desired or chosen position. Such shifting commonly occurs with thin blankets or covers which tend to shift often due to their light weight. Afghans, throws and other blankets and covers used for warmth while relaxing, resting, sleeping or engaging in leisure activities such as reading a book on a couch, watching television on a couch or chair etc., also have the tendency to shift, move or fall out of position when the user shifts his/her body.
Airplane blankets are small and thin and also shift position frequently when being used. It is difficult to keep such blankets or covers of this size and weight in place, especially when the user is trying to sleep in a somewhat upright position.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Prior to this invention blankets, covers, sheets, bedspreads, comforters, afghans, throws and other similar cloths used for covering humans have relied on bulk, thickness, shape and/or size to stay in the desired position.
The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of one or more aspects or embodiments of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview, and is neither intended to identify key or critical elements, nor to delineate scope. Rather, the primary purpose of the summary is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to a more detailed description that is presented later.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
One or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention relate to a blanket or cover with a weighted perimeter or border for covering mammals or humans. The weighted perimeter or border of the blanket provides an “anchoring” ability to keep the blanket or cover in the position desired and/or chosen by the user. The weighted perimeter may comprise a “pellet” filled tube useful for providing weight thereto.
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a blanket or cover with a weighted perimeter or border for covering humans or mammals according to one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a portion of a blanket or cover illustrating a weighted perimeter or border according to one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a pellet filled tube which can be used around an entire perimeter of a blanket according to one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 4 illustrates an example of four pellet filled tubes that can be used around perimeter portions of a blanket according to one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 5 illustrates a pellet filled tube sealed with a one-sided stitch according to one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 6 illustrates a pellet filled tube sealed with a two-sided stitch according to one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 7 illustrates how a perimeter portion of a blanket can be folded over a pellet filled tube and then fastened to establish a weighted perimeter according to one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
One or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals are generally utilized to refer to like elements throughout, and wherein the various structures are not necessarily drawn to scale. It will be appreciated that where like acts, events, elements, layers, structures, etc. are reproduced, subsequent (redundant) discussions of the same may be omitted for the sake of brevity. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention. It may be evident, however, to one of ordinary skill in the art that one or more aspects or embodiments of the invention may be practiced with a lesser degree of these specific details. In other instances, known structures are illustrated to facilitate describing one or more aspects or embodiments of the present invention.
Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates an elevated planar view of the blanket or cover A with the weighted perimeter or border B. The perimeter or border B contains a weighted material. The blanket or cover can be made of any suitable material for making blankets or covers known to those skilled in the art. The blanket or cover as illustrated is approximately in the shape of a square with, but not limited to, rounded edges. It is understood however that the blanket or cover may be of any shape suitable for covering a human or mammal, including but not limited to square, rectangular, circular, octagonal and the like. The preferred shape is square or rectangular.
FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a portion of the of the blanket or cover A, wherein D is a flexible tube filled with beans, distributed throughout the tube. The tube D, in this particular embodiment, is secured within a folded over portion of the edge B of the blanket or cover, thereby forming a retaining pocket around the perimeter or border of the blanket. In this specific embodiment, C represents a stitch securing the tube D, within the folded over portion of the edge of the blanket or cover. E represents particles used to create the weighted perimeter or border within the tube. In the present instance the weighted particles may comprise beans, for example, such as those used in bean bags. The weighted perimeter allows the blanket or cover to remain in place while a user is resting, relaxing, sleeping or the like under the blanket. FIG. 7 similarly illustrates how an edge B portion of the blanket A can be folded over weighted particles E that may or may not be housed within a tube D to secure the particles within the perimeter of the blanket so that the blanket A then has a weighted perimeter that serves to keep the blanket in place. The folded over edge B of the blanket may be secured via stitching C, for example. For purposes of illustration, a portion or flap F of the edge B is lifted up in the illustrated example to reveal the weighted particles E.
It is understood that the blanket, throw or cover can be made of any material known in the art suitable for a blanket or cover used for covering a human or mammal. As discussed above the blanket can be of any shape suitable for covering a human or mammal, which shapes include but are not limited to, square and rectangular.
As illustrated in the drawings the weighted perimeter or border may comprise a cloth tube filled with beans sewn into a folded over portion of the edge of the blanket or cover. The tube can be comprised of any material or substance suitable for human use which is pliable or flexible, to allow for folding of the blanket or cover, yet is of sufficient strength to contain the weighting material. Such tube can be made of, but not limited to, cloth, rubber, plastic, cellophane and the like. The weighted material used to fill the tube can be any material suitable for providing sufficient weight to hold the blanket or cover in place on the human or mammalian user, but is capable of allowing folding of the blanket or cover for storage and is preferably, but not limited to, solid or semi-solid materials. Examples of such weighting material include but are not limited, to beans, rice, metal pellets, polypropylene pellets or any other weighted particles and the like (collectively herein to be encompassed by the term “pellet”).
As illustrated in the drawings the tube may be secured around the perimeter or border of the blanket or cover by stitching a folded over portion of the edge of the blanket around the tube. It is understood that such stitching can be achieved using any known material suitable for stitching on blankets or covers used by humans or mammals. Alternatively, the folded over portion of the edge of the blanket or cover can be secured with a zipper, buttons, snaps, Velcro, hooks and loops, tacking, fasteners or any other material known for securing such edge of material in place. Such alternative embodiments allow for easy access or removal of the weighted tube or repair of the tube or easy cleaning of the blanket or cover.
For illustration purposes a particular embodiment of the invention comprises a multipurpose domestic blanket or cover useful for covering humans or mammals with a weighted perimeter or border comprising a cloth tube filled with beans, pellets or plastic particles distributed throughout the tube, secured along the perimeter of the blanket or cover in a folded over portion of the edge of the blanket or cover, such edge being sewn closed or closeable with a zipper or other fastening means.
Alternatively, it is envisioned that the weighted perimeter or border may be a separate piece from the blanket or cover. Such separate piece would be made of a suitable material for attaching to the blanket or cover and would be tubular in nature. As used herein the term “tubular in nature” refers to any tube-like material of any shape or size capable of providing containment of a weighted material or substance yet being flexible enough for folding. Such separate tubular piece would then be attached to the means known to those skilled in the art for attaching two materials together. Such securing or fastening means include, but are not limited to, zippers, buttons, snaps, hooks, Velcro, tacking materials and the like.
As used herein the term “perimeter” means the border, circumference or outer boundary of the blanket or cover material of any shape or size which terms can all be used interchangeably. Alternatively, the term “perimeter” can mean that the weighted material or substance is placed at a portion of the border or outer boundary, including, but not limited to 1 side, 2 sides, 3 sides, a portion of any side, one or more corner portions and any combination thereof, or the like.
The pellet filled tubes of the present invention are made by stitching a flexible material such as cloth on one side or two sides such as to form a tube as depicted in FIG. 5 or FIG. 6. Such tubes are filled with pellets and can be used to form a weighted perimeter around a blanket, cover or cloth. Such weighted perimeter can be continuous as depicted in FIG. 3 or multiple tubes can be used around portions of the perimeter of a blanket, cloth or covering as depicted in FIG. 4.
Such pellet filled tubes are useful for adding weight to the entire perimeter or portion of the perimeter of blankets, cloths, coverings and the like. Such added weight allows for the blankets, cloths or coverings to be held more firmly in place. The tubes may have a cross sectional diameter of between about 0.25 inches and about 3 inches, for example, to accommodate a suitable amount of weighted material to adequately weight down the perimeter of the blanket relative to the rest of the blanket.
Such tubes (made of cloth, nylon, poplin and the like) filled with pellets allows for weight to be added to the perimeter or a portion of a perimeter of a blanket, covering or cloth safely (e.g., non-toxic, non-flammable, etc), durably, and practically. The pellet filled tubing when used as a weighted perimeter on a blanket, covering or cloth is also washable, foldable for the convenience of transport or storage, and comfortable for use on a human or mammal.
As alluded to above, the blanket may comprise any suitable material, such as cotton, polyester, wool, vinyl, polar fleece material, micro fleece material and/or poly spun yarn, for example. The blanket is generally comprised of at least 50 percent polyester (fibers), however, so that the blanket is sufficiently soft and supple to conform to the contours of a user, while retaining or reflecting body heat to keep the user warm. It can be appreciated that the weighted perimeter is also desirable to maintain such a blanket in place since polyester fibers have a relatively low coefficient of (static) friction of between about 0.3 and about 0.75 such that the blanket may be somewhat slippery and thus shift or move around on a user.
The blanket is formed so that the perimeter portion weighs between about 1.1 and about 10 times as much as the weight of non-perimeter or central portion of the blanket. Having the weighted perimeter portion weigh more than the central portion helps to keep the blanket in place. By way of example, the central portion of blanket can be 1.5 meters by 1.5 meters or 2.25 square meters and the blanket material can weigh 250 grams per square meter so that the central portion of the blanket weighs about 563 grams (2.25×250). The weighted perimeter portion of the blanket can, thus, weigh a little more, or about 634 grams to facilitate maintaining the blanket on a user.
It will be appreciated that regardless of whether separate tubes are utilized in establishing the weighted perimeter portion, or whether an edge of the blanket is merely folded over in establishing the weighted perimeter portion, the weighted material (e.g., polypropylene pellets) preferably fills less than the entire volume of the cavity within which the weighted material resides. For example, the weighted material may fill between about 50 and about 95 percent of the volume or capacity of the aperture within which the weighted material resides. This allows the weighted material to move around so that the weighted perimeter portion is not overly rigid or stiff. In this manner, weighted pellets, for example, can slide over and around one another within the perimeter region so that the perimeter portion can contour to a surface or user over which it is lying, for example. This also permits the blanket to be folded, for example, with little to no risk of causing a crimped perimeter portion to burst. On the other hand, the perimeter portion preferably does not comprise too little weighted material. For example, the perimeter portion contains enough weighted material so that few, if any, portions of the perimeter (that are supposed to be weighted) become substantially evacuated of weighted material when the blanket is shifted or folded, for example. By not allowing too much weighted material to accumulate in some location such that other perimeter locations have little to no weighted material, the weighted perimeter portion continues to serve its intended purpose regardless of the positioning and/or maneuvering of the blanket. As such, when a user who is napping on a couch, for example, rolls over, the weighted material remains substantially uniformly distributed around the perimeter of the blanket, thus keeping the blanket in place and the user in a comfortable slumber by keeping cool drafts out.
It will be appreciated that the weighted material is dimensioned relative to the (cross sectional) area of the region within which the weighted material resides so that the weighted material can not move or “slosh” around too freely in the weighted perimeter. For example, if this cross sectional area is substantially circular and has a cross sectional span (e.g., diameter) of about one inch (e.g., between about 0.25 inches and about 3 inches), then polypropylene weighted pellets that are generally spherical in shape are chosen so as to have a largest cross sectional span (e.g., diameter) of between about ⅓rd of an inch to about 1/50th of an inch. Such a relationship allows the pellets to move within the perimeter in a desired manner, but not too freely or aggressively. For example, water and sand are less desirable weighted materials as they would likely readily evacuate certain regions of the weighted perimeter and rush to ‘over-accumulate’ in other regions depending upon the arrangement and/or configuration of the blanket. As such, the blanket would readily fall off of a sleeping user when the user rolls over on the couch. Of course, the perimeter could be compartmentalized to maintain such weighted materials within select locations, but this would add labor and material costs to the blanket.
When a tube is incorporated in implementing the weighted perimeter portion, the tube may comprise a 2-ply material essentially configured as two concentric tubes. The first or outer tube may comprise any suitable material such as cotton, polyester, wool and/or vinyl, etc. The second or inner tube preferably comprises at least some vinyl, however, to reinforce the stability of the tube, as well as to give pellets therein a smooth, slippery venue within which to shift, while also mitigating noise associated with shifting pellets.
Additionally, where applicable, the blanket has a relatively high thread count, such as about 200 by 200, or a minimum of 200 threads per inch in both directions so that the blanket generally is sufficiently soft, smooth, durable and/or dense. For example, the blanket is dense and/or thick enough to keep a user warm and to keep weighted pellets from falling or migrating through the material (e.g., where the volume wherein weighted materials are placed is defined or created by folding over edging of the blanket). The blanket is not so dense, however, so as to not be machine washable and/or so that a cleaning solution (e.g., soapy water) can not pass and/or penetrate there-through. Additionally, the blanket is not overly rigid such that it does not conform to the contours of a user and/or particular application.
It will be appreciated that the weighted blanket has numerous applications, such as a weighted tablecloth, weighted beach towel, weighted airline blanket, weighted vehicle (e.g., car/motorcycle/boat) cover, weighted furniture cover, weighted patio furniture cover, weighted barbeque grill cover, weighted game (e.g., pooltable/pingpong/foosball) cover, weighted workbench cover, weighted baby blanket, weighted baby stroller cover, weighted windbreaker cover, etc. It will also be appreciated that, as alluded to in FIG. 4, the perimeter of the blanket can be weighted at select locations, such as only on one or more side, one more (rounded) corners and/or at any other select location(s). For example, where the blanket is rectangular and is used as a table cloth to cover a picnic table, the two longer sides of the blanket can have weighted edges to keep the table cloth from blowing away. Similarly, side and/or corner portions of the blanket can be weighted where the blanket is used as a beach towel, for example. Having the blanket comprise at lease some polyester in such an application may be desirable since polyester is resistant to moisture and thus dries relatively quickly. It will be appreciated, however, that different areas or sections of the blanket can be made of different materials. For example, where the blanket is used as a beach towel, it may be desirable for the central portion of the blanket to comprise cotton or the like, while the perimeter portions comprise polyester so that the weighted material dries off faster. The cotton central portion may be more comfortable for a user to lie on while it may be desirable to mitigate the amount of moisture that weighted pellets are exposed to and/or the amount of time that such pellets are exposed to moisture.
It is to be appreciated that layers and/or elements depicted herein are illustrated with particular dimensions relative to one another for purposes of simplicity and ease of understanding, and that actual dimensions of the elements may differ substantially from that illustrated herein. Although the disclosure herein has been illustrated and described with respect to one or more implementations, equivalent alterations and modifications will occur to others skilled in the art based upon a reading and understanding of this specification and the annexed drawings. The invention includes all such modifications and alterations and is limited only by the scope of the following claims. In addition, while a particular feature or aspect of the invention may have been disclosed with respect to only one of several implementations, such feature or aspect may be combined with one or more other features or aspects of other implementations as may be desired and/or advantageous for any given or particular application. Furthermore, to the extent that the terms “includes”, “having”, “has”, “with”, or variants thereof are used in either the detailed description or the claims, such terms are intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term “comprising.” Also, “exemplary” as used herein merely means an example, rather than the best.