truHugs 2 will be available via our web store by December 7th. Past customers and lovers of truHugs, we haven’t forgotten you, we are working hard to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Your legacy member discount still applies. Please contact us on an individual basis for customized service if you are in a rush at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are sorry for any inconvenience that may have been caused by our delay.
We are extremely busy right now preparing for the launch of truHugs 2…so I will keep this update short and to the point.The truHugs team had an extremely productive summer overseas as we developed our new and improved truHugs 2. The ending of Summer in August signified the final development stages of truHugs 2, the cumulative efforts of 3 material scientists, 2 operational staff, the expert advice of university faculty we questioned around the world (you know who you are, we will e-mail soon for credits), and all the hard labor efforts of our factory employees for putting up with us as we tested theories (many that ended in failure, over and over in the real world, thank you sooooo much for your patience). I would like to specifically thank our therapeutic R & D team (Veronica and Ryan) for doing spot on research in unfamiliar sectors during emergency time crunching moments. This post still requires the contribution of the whole truHugs team, I am just starting the foundation.
If you are interested in helping truHugs, please contact Jonathan directly at email@example.com.
Join us in our quest for perfection
Earlier this March, we went to 4 textile conferences. Pictured above are some fabrics that were colored using a completely new natural bacterial fermenting process. Each colored piece has a unique pattern to itself. Because the dying and finishing processes of a fabric are what often harm the environment, this new discovery is a big deal! Because we want to accentuate our product features, we will post up more videos later about our conferencing ‘inspirations’.
After we were inspired from all the creative conference offers, we jumped straight into the R & D. We initially went out this trip with the goal of changing the weave and material composition of a weighted blankets surface fabrics. Pinpointing the problem of hot weighted blankets to their polyester layers or tight-woven coarse surface fabrics in causing a lack of breathability we invented the first non-plain woven inner weighted blanket surface fabric from scratch. Used in truHugs 2, this “made from scratch” fabric requires no scrim and is superior in its breathability when compared to the surface fabric thermal bottle necks currently found in ALL other weighted blankets on the market. The neglected improvement of a weighted blanket’s thermal regulatory comfort is so pervasive in the current market, which is not a surprise because these bottle necks were intentionally built-in to prevent weighted bead and batting leakage that was so prevalent in the weighted blanket industry during 2016.
First, we started out by testing over 7 yarn material combinations, blended and pure…and isolated the 10 most breathable possibilities. We ended up testing 4 yarn materials with 10 different weaves in our final sampling run. Finally, we paired all 10 different weaves, all which varied in breathability and cooling touch, and selected the most breathable that wouldn’t allow the blanket contents to come out after several uses and wash cycles. If all 10 fabrics were labeled 1 through 10, 10 being the most breathable, we were forced to go with #6. (most breathable, yet wouldn’t leak inside contents) We are pretty sure we developed the most breathable weighted blanket surface fabric known to mankind. Hot sleepers, we have arrived…and we challenge each one of you upon release to buy our blanket and compare it to others, and if it isn’t the most comfortable, softest, most breathable weighted blanket you have ever slept with, just return it with paid shipping.
Made from scratch with the purpose of improving thermal regulation, the most commonly misunderstood comfort factor in our space
We will share more detailed footage after the launch of truHugs 2, which is now set for release November of 2019. Right now, we will share just bits from our travels so you can sneak a peek into our upstream process.
The above shows the weaving process of fabrics. The weft threads are rapidly being pushed on top of the solid layer of fabric you see below the development area. Before this step, there are a lot of steps (processing of raw fibers of yarns, spinning the yarns, etc.) but since this is a short brief, we will jump right into the thick of it. The video above was taken as part of our fabric construction educational series we plan adding to the blog next year.
After our travels, we learned that truHugs is one of the two weighted blanket companies in the world who custom craft their weighted blanket components (weaves, components, material selection). Before, custom woven fabrics (of course I’m referring to beyond color and design differences here) were primarily reserved for royalty and supermodels.
Maximizing breathability of a weighted blanket makes the best ‘cooling’ weighted blanket, er not!
The construction of a fabric for a specific outcome (breathability, which is often misinterpreted by most innocuous consumers as ‘cooling’) is not a simple matter. The reason why breathability matters the most in preventing night sweats is because its the air that heats up between our bodies and our blankets that acts as the primary insulator when we sleep, not the blanket itself. This concept is best elucidated in nature survival shows… where survival experts dig snow caves to use the air heated by their own bodies to keep themselves alive.
Hence, when you wake up under your weighted blanket surrounded by hot sweat, its the hot air frequently found between your blanket and your body… that’s causing the ‘overheating’ factor, not the weighted blanket itself. Breathability aka “air permeability” of a blanket helps cycle out that hot air, replacing it with air from outside your blanket. Most of the weighted blankets advertised as “cooling” on the market are extremely unbreathable. Indeed, overwhelming material science data demonstrates the more ‘cool’ you make a fabric feel to tactile touch, the more unbreathable the fabric becomes. That is, there is an inverse relationship between how cool a fabric will feel to touch initially and how much air it can cycle every second as you sleep.
In actuality, breathability has nothing to do with cooling, and has more to do with sleeping comfort regardless of the unique amount of heat your body releases throughout any season. It’s simply that most people that woke up to sweat buying “cooling” blankets misinterpreted “cool to touch” as “I won’t wake up to sweat because I’m comfortable due to breathability.”
Typically, fabrics that are more dense will feel cooler to touch, but at the sacrifice of breathability. This is the case for all materials, just think of touching a heavy metal versus lighter glass…a glass cup doesn’t feel as cold as your stainless steel coffee mug in the morning. This dynamic helps illustrate how, in the first few moments of tactile contact with the weighted blanket, the fibers inside a weighted blanket surface fabric will suck up heat more quickly than the surrounding air. When heat is ‘sucked’ from your hand at a faster rate, you perceive the blanket to feel cold. In other words, the more solid material you pack into a cubic inch of fabric, the cooler the fabric feels initially from all that material density, at the cost of decreased breathability because space originally reserved for the transmission of air is replaced by solid fabric fibers.
Over a period of time longer than 10 minutes though, the air between a weighted blanket and your body is what starts the “over heating” cycle. The “heat suction” cool touch ability of the fabric becomes nearly negligible in making you sweat. At that point, your body heat has already made the fabric layer warm, and the air around your body is getting warmer by the second.
The data presented in our weighted blanket material selection / product design comparison post helps demonstrate that weighted blankets made out of viscose ‘bamboo’ or other “high thermal conductivity / cool-to-touch” materials are in fact the least breathable…and really the hottest ‘sleeping’ blankets of them all…even though they may feel coldest to touch initially. Buying such weighted blankets may be a ‘cool’ novelty when you first lay down to rest, until stagnant hot air next to your body due to lack of air circulation causes you to wake up to sweat. Public sentiment continues to confirm our theoretical conclusions to this day.
One story to help exemplify the logical flow behind our “customer-centric” product development process
As a fabric engineer, you might increase breathability by loosening the weave of a weighted blanket surface fabric, but then at the exact same time inevitably increase the possibility that whatever is inside the blanket will come out. The fluffy insides of a weighted blanket called ‘batting’ can ‘beard’ (because it looks like a beard when the little batting fibers protrude out of the fabric) and glass beads can leak out of generous air channels originally designed to increase breathability. Maintaining acceptable product durability while improving breathability is a complex product development task that we worked on all of 2019…a delicate process that requires a series of tedious repetitive real world tests.
Most weighted blankets are bought pre-made (or customized to size) with the same fabrics that are usually pre-produced in large quantities and available on the wholesale market. In the global supply chain, this is simply how the textile industry works. Very few bedding factory manufacturers contact the finishers, weavers, and much less…the original raw fiber producers and fields where fibers are grown in the modern age.
Unfortunately, most mainstream fabrics that are put into weighted blankets are of limited specifications or lower qualities. We knew the current minky / 200 TC five layered designs were limited in their breathability because customers were still yelling “too hot!” In addition, many of the current integrated “breathable superficial fabric” 7-layer designs have a “thermal regulatory” bottleneck in their polyester scrims. These polyester scrims are necessary to prevent the thin natural surface fabrics in 7 layer designs from breaking. (in this case, the polyester scrim is described as 2 breathable layers in the middle of a 7 layer weighted blanket, when air permeability lab tests show otherwise) As an example of this relationship, it’s impossible to use lyocell as a surface fabric in a 5-layer design, the fabric is too fragile. Often, in this specific ‘integrated’ blanket situation, the breathability aspects of the “lyocell” layer are often advertised while what is really being sold is a heat trapping polyester aka minky aka microfiber blanket (thermal regulation wise only, still feels like lyocell!) . Who cares how breathable the surface fabric is when the polyester ‘scrim’ layer behind it traps heat like crazy? Yes, the scrim helps hold in glass beads and batting. Ask yourself, if glass beads and batting (and batting fibers are SMALL…microscopic) can’t pass as easily through the scrim….can air pass easily through the scrim? The answer to this rhetorical question is a clear resounding ‘no’.
At this point in our brainstorm we knew we couldn’t just use lyocell or viscose for our inner weighted blanket surface fabric, as they both are fragile fabrics that require polyester scrims otherwise they break apart upon first wash. These polyester scrims create a thermal bottleneck that would negate why we would even choose these breathable natural fabrics in the first place. In addition, these polyester scrims increase rigidity of a weighted blanket which ends up not draping over the body as well. Scrims are typically more rigid than the battings beneath them. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and buy several weighted blankets and compare exclusively one variable: the drape of 7-layered weighted blankets vs 5-layered weighted blankets. You can do so without risk (well risk of time I guess is necessary, personal research time) because most weighted blanket companies have generous return policies.
Our truHugs 1 single ply 400 thread count cotton shell “without a scrim” configuration is already pretty breathable. A higher thread count means finer threads are used, and represents the fact that you can stick in more threads per inch of fabric, because finer threads are narrower than coarse if laid flat on a table. Finer threads vibrate to air movement much more easily than coarse threads. Just imagine blowing through a tooth floss string rather than a thick rope. Being allowed to cram more threads in per square inch because they are finer also increases overall fabric thread density, which reduces probability of glass bead leakage and bearding. The natural gaps between the threads decrease while the fineness of the threads allows movement of air, and not much more beyond. Creating finer cotton threads in yarn spinning is like the Grammy’s in the textile industry, just Google “fine cotton yarn awards” and review the results.
Now before you go about buying all sorts of high thread count fabrics, let me disclaim evil marketers often misadvertise thread counts and why the single ply designation is so important. Each thread in a fabric can consist of one yarn or more. Lets say you have 200 threads (110 vertical wrap, 90 horizontal weft) every square inch. (200 TC) Each thread can consist of 2 yarns twisted together. Evil marketers will commonly market this configuration as 400 thread count (counting each yarn as a thread, not each thread as a thread, 2 x 200 = 400). Sadly, the fabric still performs like a 200 thread count fabric because of all the fabric mechanics described former (still coarser threads…and all the mechanics that come along with coarser threads, even though each thread is made up of 2 yarns…that doesn’t even matter). Even worse, when twisting two yarns to make a thread there is air trapped within the thread between the two yarns, which can store hot air within the fabric layer itself, and a thread with two parts will always be weaker (less durability) than one part. Most of the high thread count fabrics sold in Bed Bath Beyond and Costco are of this mis-advertised standard, as there is no reinforcement in the textile industry for honest ethical advertising. Most single ply high thread count cotton fabrics are only available from specialized boutique bedding retailers…because even though its available wholesale, true 400 TC single ply cotton is harder to find than its cheaper counterparts and more expensive to manufacture.
This year, we improved the already superior breathability of truHugs 1 by tweaking material composition and also doing something that has never been done before, loosening the plain surface weave typically found within a weighted blanket’s surface fabric. The currently prevalent plain weave (or polyester scrim) of weighted blanket surface fabrics makes them hotter and less comfortable to sleep with.
A plain weave is a weave where each parallel thread in question is locked down by the threads immediately perpendicular to it. A plain woven fabric ultimately results in a less air permeable fabric layer when compared to the same fabric woven twill or sateen, in which case you may have two or more parallel threads locked by only one perpendicular thread. Non-plain weave configurations allow flexibility of movement of each parallel thread when hit with air, as the parallel threads have more freedom to move when they aren’t locked down by perpendicular threads as frequently.
Since starting this business, “weighted blanket” experts advised us against changing the “industry standard” plain weave, a fabric feature currently limiting breathability they deemed essential to prevent glass bead leakage. They gave us ideas like….
…using a finer thread to make the blanket more breathable… reasonable…done already.
…avoiding polyester scrims so less heat is trapped within the air inside the comforter…reasonable…done already.
…changing the plain weave within the fabric infrastructure itself without a polyester scrim to achieve maximum breathability without a weighted blanket’s insides coming out, impossible.
Realizing that the world in general lacks critical thinking, a problem often worsened by animalistic drives such as ego, financial greed, and the need to survive…we asked ourselves, if we don’t create a new “made from scratch” hyper breathable fabric that supersedes limited existing industry standards, who will? To help fuel the birth of truHugs 2, we had to think beyond all the big premium fabric brands, bedding factory owners, and overly theoretical material science professors. We had to bridge theory with reality at a level that currently doesn’t exist in the bedding space.
As a teaser, in our laboratory tests with 20 other branded weighted blankets, our new model exceeded most other branded weighted blankets’ air permeabilities by 1.5x, up to 4.7x! In other words, we’ve done more than just test our own weighted blanket and we have some new data insights to show from our weighted blanket research :D. This Winter, the TruHugs team is proud to introduce an unfounded level of customized comfort usually only afforded by the super rich.
Improved pressure distribution and weight adjustment features
Improving the weighted blanket from using real science that hasn’t been applied before
One of truHugs 2’s primary new features is a new FlexFIT engineered design that allows flexibility of daily movement while continually maximizing pressure by applying the scientific principals of body anthropometrics, material science, physics, and kinesiology. This goes as far as to apply esoteric theories from different fields, like Kinesiology’s “joint force coupling” theory…a theory that designates the ideal angle the elbow joint should be at during natural rest for most of the population in order to produce maximal force during “blanket readjustment” at night with minimum perceived effort. Applying this theory with much more complicated science stuff we will explain in months to come….we designed the first King size weighted blanket really made for 2 people, with considerations of ease of weight adjustment, maximizing pressure during use, convenient bed making, and many more details.
Improving manufacturing processes
We also engineered the best uniform bead spreading machine to date, removing human error completely. In fact, big store brands like Walmart and Target manufacture at the exact same factories that we avoided because they were insistent on spreading weighted beads unevenly by hand, a process they deemed to decrease production time and maximize profit through mass volume production. In addition, these same factories had technical staff that had absolutely no idea of how to stitch grids without the stitching coming out. (this is a complicated matter, the stitching needle of a blanket machine can always hit weighted beads at any time) They didn’t want to waste time in upgrading their manufacturing process (even though we exactly knew how) because our company is too small and their time was more efficiently spent on just cranking out more blankets.
An obsessive focus on making the blanket extra soft and fluffy
An average weighted blanket is only water washed once, leaving it undesirably plasticy smooth. In contrast, all truHugs 2 surface fabrics are softened with air, fire, water, and stone…resulting in a 9x increase in pre-softening duration when compared with most other weighted blankets…using the most modern finishing technologies available. The orange labeled fabric in the video above consists of 10 connected pieces of 10 different weaves of fabrics, each 10 meters long. We had to finish softening and finishing before we could test whether batting would beard through our newly invented fabric. We paired our new super ‘breathable’ fabric with threads made by a globally recognized British textile brand thats been around for hundreds of years and other quality components from Japan, France, and Ukraine.
There is a lot of engineering that went into the insides of truHugs 2, so much so that a soybean filled weighted blanket by another brand would perform entirely differently than a truHugs 2 weighted blanket. Upon its release, we can clearly and simply explain why.
In building truHugs 2, we improved on the legacy left by truHugs 1, a detailed process of prioritizing product quality and consumer experience over all other practical business considerations. We aren’t selling a trend, we are selling one of the world’s most comfortable blankets. Each component for truHugs 2 was hand selected and will result in its own detailed blog post bridging scientific theory with pragmatic application describing how every fiber in truHugs was implemented with the aspiration of making your life easier and more comfortable. As an example, we have a reporting series that will be released earlier next year that demonstrates how we balanced the comfort and maintenance implications of over 300 cover tie / attachment designs using both science (simply theoretical pattern recognition) and plain ol’ common sense. (simply real world pattern recognition, both require pattern recognition…just different knowledge bases are required)
Promises kept equals trust earned
As promised in our prior update, all truHugs 1 customers will be given an exclusive “legacy member” discount and priority ‘pre-release’ access to truHugs 2 in Early November.
truHugs 2 will be available to the public Late November.
*Update October 11th, 2019 – We are checking each blanket manually ourselves, and to ensure each blanket released meets our quality standard we have decided postponing our launch date by 2 weeks is totally necessary. So truHugs 2 will be available to our past customers Late November and to the public in December. Thank you all for your support.*
We are particularly excited about our new updated completely biodegradable packaging. As scientists, we viewed packaging as an unimportant branding tool used to manipulate consumer perception in the past, and and as a result never really put much focus on it…instead prioritizing time for product development. Following leading companies in the sustainability sector, and reading their CSR reports, we now upgraded our truHugs 2 packaging with the most expensive truly (that is a key word, as there is a lot of misinformation in sustainability, including Corporate Knight’s sustainability ranking list…companies highly ranked on that list bought their spot) biodegradable materials available. It is time to wrap all truHug blankets in a shell they are worthy of…packaging that is both beautiful in form and function.
Also, with regards to our therapeutic reporting line, we are happy to announce we have started working on the all comprehensive objective literature review on whether weighted blankets really work. More critical thinking and less reporting is what Veronica is having our R&D team focused on, so stay in tune for important ground breaking scientific evidence that counters everything the market has been telling you about weighted blankets. (some new insights derived from all this science was implemented into truHugs 2’s design) . Right now, we are busy color coding our literature review grid in Excel (so tedious I know) and preparing our beautiful graphs in Tableau 😀
Product design and material selection differences of weighted blankets on the market – This helps clarify how different weighted blanket designs and materials will affect your comfort using basic easy-to-understand scientific principles.