Tried and True: Something New from Something Old

My grandma made a pattern on brown paper for a neck pillow. I suppose she found the pattern in a magazine or newspaper decades ago. I am using my copy of her pattern to make my own neck pillow. Maybe someday my pillow will be as worn and wobbly as Grandma’s well-loved neck pillow that I remember.

My version of Grandma’s neck pillow.

Looking through my pile of handwoven scraps I find the piece of fabric that had been hanging as a Roman shade on the back door of our previous home. This two-block twill in cotton and linen was my first 8-shaft project on my floor loom. Good memories! The fabric, softened and slightly faded through daily use, is perfect for the comfy neck pillow I’m imagining. (Unlike Grandma’s pillow, I’m making this one with a removable cover so it can be easily laundered.)

Roman shade from my first 8-shaft weaving project.
Roman shade from my first 8-shaft weaving project. I wove the linen draw cord on my two-treadle band loom.

Instructions for Constructing a Handwoven Neck Pillow

Supplies:

  • Cotton muslin, pre-washed
  • Handwoven fabric, pre-washed
  • Cluster Fluff, or other cluster fill or polyester fiberfill
  • 7” invisible zipper
  • Sewing machine
  • Invisible zipper foot
  • Sewing thread
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Iron
  • Sleeve board for pressing, optional

Steps:

  1. Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the muslin.
  2. Sew two of the muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  3. Sew the other two muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  4. Sew the two parts together, right sides together, leaving a 4-inch opening for turning and stuffing. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
  5. Turn the pillow right side out.
  6. Stuff with Cluster Fluff, starting at the furthest end from the opening. Fill to desired fullness.
  7. Hand stitch the opening closed.
  8. Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the handwoven fabric.
  9. Serge or zigzag the fabric edges. Press flat.
  10. Insert invisible zipper between two of the pieces.
Making a handwoven neck pillow.
Invisible zipper is sewn into place between two of the panels.
  1. Complete the seams at both ends of the zipper. Press seams open.
  2. Sew the two other pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
  3. Open zipper, and sew the two parts together, right sides together. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
  4. Turn the pillow case right side out.
  5. Push the muslin pillow into the pillow case. Close the zipper.
Handwoven neck pillow cover.
Inner pillow and outer cover are made from the same pattern to make it a snug fit.
Handwoven neck pillow. How to with construction steps.
Fabric is 16/2 cotton warp and 16/1 linen weft.
  1. Take a nap in your favorite chair with the pillow behind your neck.
Handwoven neck pillow.

If you would like a pdf copy of my grandma’s neck pillow pattern, please click HERE to send me an email request. I will be happy to send the pattern to you.

May you see old treasures in new ways.

Rest and Be Well,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    This is wonderful! A lovely tribute to your Grandma!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, My Grandma was very resourceful. She probably made her pillow from a leftover scrap from her sewing fabrics, or from a garment too worn to wear. I think she would be happy with my humble version.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Nice demonstration of what to do with hand woven fabrics. A 2nd life for a beautiful fabric.

    My Grandma left behind recipes and gingham cross stitched textiles. I cut up a skirt with her embroidery to add to a wedding memory quilt made for my daughter and husband.

    You have a hug from your grandma every time you recline.

    How wonderful.

  • Linda Mesavage says:

    My grandmother was not a Weaver but she was the seller and did a lot of things out of leftovers. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother! I love your project.

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Now This Year

New year 2017 is beginning! It’s time again to take account of where we stand in our life’s dreams and goals. What can we check off the list? And, what is still in progress? And, maybe there’s something new to add. But first, let me count my blessings. I’m filled with gratitude, thankful for you! What a JOY it is to have friends like you to walk through this weaving journey with me.

Here’s what you’ll find on my looms right now:

Striped cottolin warp for towels.

Glimåkra Ideal loom: Striped warp for the sample kit is all set! Winding quills is next. Then, weaving! If all goes well, a few pre-warped plattväv towel kits will show up in my Etsy shop.

Transparency with linen warp and background weft. Cotton chenille weft inlay.

Glimåkra Standard loom: Weaving a transparency. 16/2 linen warp and background weft. The weft pattern inlay is cotton chenille.

Practice piece on little Hokett loom.

Hokett loom has the start of a simple stripes tapestry practice piece. 12/6 cotton warp, 6/1 Fåro wool weft.

Thank you for joining me through 2016!

May you have joy in the journey.

Happy Weaving New Year,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Beth says:

    I love the “Year in Review” and see so many favorites. Your work is simply beautiful and inspiring. You are brimming with talent!

    Happy New Year, Karen!

  • Jennifer says:

    A lovely and inspiring post! I enjoyed the video of your weaving year.

  • Truly Blessed, thanks for all you share.

  • Loyanne says:

    Thanks for sharing. Seeing the Faro piece bring to mind a question. I am working on a Whig Rose scarf. Trying to weave according to tradition and the warp is 8/2, weft is Faro and 16/2 for tabby. Just wondered if you had used cotton and wool and how you wet fingers she’d it ? Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne, I’m sure your scarf is beautiful! The monksbelt does use 16/2 cotton for tabby, and Faro wool for pattern weft. I’m not sure of your question… I have a feeling that spellcheck gremlins took over. Could you try asking again?

      Karen

      • Loyanne says:

        Boy did the gremlins take over. I wondered how you wet finish a piece out of cotton and wool?
        Thanks.

        • Karen says:

          Ok, now that question makes sense. 🙂 That’s a great question! I did not wet finish my piece because I am going to use it for a hanging, so I wanted it to soften up or get distorted through washing. I did steam press it, though, which helped to tighten everything up and straighten it out.

          I think if I were going to wet finish this cotton and wool combination I would gently hand wash in cool water with mild soap, like Eucalan, with as little agitation as possible. And then hang or lay flat to dry. If I had a sample piece, I would try washing that first, before submerging the main article.

          I wish I could give you a better answer…

          Thanks for asking,
          Karen

  • Fran says:

    A year of accomplishing lots! You do black and white especially well. I enjoy your posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran, The black and white was a new experience for me. It was a surprise to me to find out how much I enjoyed working with it! Thanks for stopping by!

      Happy New Year,
      Karen

  • Cindy says:

    I just joined in on your posts! It’s part of my goals for 2017 to surround myself with others who love weaving, and to be inspired and motivated to continue learning from them. Thanks for having this blog!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, A big welcome to you! I do love weaving, and you will find many who comment here are the same way. I love it that we can all learn from each other.

      Happy weaving new year!
      Karen

  • Lynette says:

    Hi Karen,
    I enjoyed seeing your transparency, because I have used the same 16/2 linen to weave pictorial transparencies for the last 10 years or so. Is your sett 12 epi? How many selvedge warps are doubled on each side? I have never tried using chenille for the inlay, but this gives me a new idea to try!
    Happy New Year, and God bless you and your family!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynette, I’m excited to hear that you weave pictorial transparencies! This is my first attempt, and I’m enjoying it very much. I would love to see some of your work. Can you send me pictures?

      I am using a metric 50/10 reed, which is just a little more dense than 12 epi, but pretty close. I doubled 4 selvedge warps on each side, as instructed in The Big Book of Weaving.

      Happy weaving new year!
      Karen

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen, Happy New Year! Thank you so much for all the work you do for us, your posts are always beautiful and informative. I have been sick for a bit but I can’t wait to get back to my loom soon.
    Happy weaving,
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, It’s no fun to be under the weather. I hope you’re all better very soon!

      I always appreciate your sweet encouragement.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Tom Z says:

    The year in review is so Inspiring Karen!

    Sometimes we don’t look back to view where we’ve come from. We just keep plowing forward. The past gives us a much needed perspective on where we’re going. Your video reminded me of that simple face. And the music was perfect for that reflection.

    Thank you Karen. Keep up the ‘good’ work.
    Happy weaving new year!
    Tom Z in IL

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tom,
      I completely agree! Perspective can make a world of difference.
      I appreciate your thoughtful words so much!

      Happy weaving new year to you!
      Karen

  • Pat McNew says:

    I love your web page. I look forward to each one. I have learned a lot from you even tho I have been weaving for about 12 years.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pat, This is such a sweet thing for you to say! It’s my goal to be a help to others, so I’m thrilled to hear you’ve learned some things here.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to spread a little kindness. 🙂
      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Going through Phases

You will not often find a bare loom here. But every loom has its phases. The “Big Loom” (Glimåkra Standard 120cm) is in the empty phase right now. I finished weaving the coarse linen twill with rya knots. Now, I wait for the 16/2 linen that I ordered for the next project. Big Loom, don’t worry; you’ll be dressed again soon.

Rya weaving just completed.

Rya pieces ready to make into interesting shaggy pillows.

Glimakra Standard Countermarch Loom 120 cm

Affectionately known as “The Big Loom.” Seldom seen undressed. Glimåkra Standard Countermarch Loom 120cm / 47 inches weaving width.

 

The “Baby Loom” (Glimåkra Ideal 100cm) is in the weaving phase. It has plenty of warp on it, so I am still happily throwing a shuttle. I should get two more towels from this warp.

Red and brown goose-eye towel on the loom.

Color stripes of brown and gold break up the red in this towel on the goose-eye warp.

 

I want to start weaving a band to match the towels on the “Baby Loom,” for the towels’ hanging tabs. That means I need to put more attention on finishing up the current warp on the Band Loom (Glimåkra two-treadle), so I can start the new warp. This is the hurry-up-and-finish phase.

Two-treadle Glimakra band loom in use.

Band loom is situated for weaving in short bursts. I often stop and weave for a few minutes on the way to the “Big Loom” or the “Baby Loom.” Three sisters look on from the stairway wall. (One of those girls is a younger me. Can you guess which one?)

May you make the most of the phase you are in.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

(The discount coupon on my About Page is good for another week. Thank you!)

6 Comments

  • Deb says:

    Karen,
    Do you use an aluminum beam protector on both beams or just the front?
    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Deb, I have an aluminum beam protector for both beams, but sometimes I remove one (for instance, for taking a picture), and forget to put it back on. Thanks for the reminder! I see I forgot to put it back on the back beam. I like to have it on there especially during beaming, when the cords are going over the beam, and at the end of the weaving, again when the cords are going over the beam.

      Karen

  • Ian Pool says:

    Hi Karen, I am trying to find somewhere that will allow me to download instructions on how to build a loom. I want a building project as I am about to retire from work. A large loom is what I am looking for, but I can’t find ANY out there. Do you have such a thing here, I can’t find any ?
    Cheers.
    Ian

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ian, I wish I could help you with this, but I’m sorry, I’m not aware of a source for instructions to build a loom. I don’t have anything like that here.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Louisa says:

    Dear Karen,

    I’ve been given an GLIMÅKRA STANDARD – COUNTERBALANCE LOOM. I’ve done weaving on other types of looms but I’m not familiar with this one. It is dismantled and the person who gave it to me no longer has a manual to put it back together. Do you still have the assembly instruction of the loom?
    Thanks you a lot!

    Louisa

    • Karen says:

      Hi Louisa, Congratulations on your new loom. It is very easy to put together. You can find assembly instructions on GlimakraUSA.com under “Resources,” as well other helpful information.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Now What Are You Counting?

Have you noticed how much counting there is with weaving? I am constantly counting something! This time it’s rya strands. Wrap three threads around a four-inch cardboard template, counting eighteen times around; cut the ends; repeat. Separate into nine groups of three strands each. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine groups. Tie rya knots–one knot, two knots, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine knots; repeat.

Prepared groups of threads for rya knots.

Åsborya wool, Mora wool, and linen are wrapped together around a template, and then cut. The group of threads is held together in a clothespin until ready to use.

I like to count the good things that touch my life. Family, friends, health, beauty in nature, and pleasant adventures, to name a few. These are the things that shine through, even in difficult times. These are the things worth counting.

Separating threads into "triplets" for rya knots.

Group of natural color threads are separated into wool-wool-linen triplets for rya knots.

Thankfulness to God acknowledges that the good things woven into our lives come from his benevolent hand. God is always inviting us to walk with him. Thankfulness steps us into that inspiring walk.

What are some of the good things you’ve been thankful for lately?

May you have more blessings than you can count.

Thankful for you,
Karen

(There is a discount coupon code on my About page just for you, my reader friends, to use in my Etsy Shop during August, 2014.)

2 Comments

  • Betty A Van Horn says:

    “Thankfulness steps us into that inspiring walk.” Yup, God has been laying this on my heart too for the last year. Thanks for sharing Karen. As always the weaving is gorgeous my friend!

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Rya, Rya, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Lay the groundwork; add a row of rya knots. Because of the coarser sett, and the thickness of this doubled linen weft, this rya weaving is progressing faster than the previous one. Tying all 36 knots across the warp is still the slowest part. But I can see progress. I like to see something happening, don’t you?

Rya knots (wool and linen) covering coarse linen cloth.

Green strands of thick Åsborya wool, fine Mora wool, and 16/1 linen, sit in a cluster, ready to be separated. Each rya knot is made of three strands, one of each type of yarn/thread.

I weave about an inch / 2.5 cm of point twill linen background first. It provides a framework to hold the mixed wool and linen rya knots. This means throwing the shuttle at a good pace for a short distance, and then stopping to add another row of rya. Through this moving – stopping – moving – stopping, progress is made. A little green and beige garden is growing on the surface of the linen structure. It is during the slow part that the “growing” happens.

Are you troubled about anything today? Don’t lose hope. If progress seems slow, you may be in a growing season. The Lord rebuilds ruined places and replants desolate fields. It feels slow now, but in time, you will look back and see a garden covering what once was ruins. Keep going, you’re going to make it.

May your garden grow.

(I did finish the previous slow rya project and turned it into three fun pillows. You can find two of them in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop!)

Making progress,
Karen

3 Comments

  • […] to fit, filled lightly. Now I have a cloud-soft rya pillow. (Read about weaving this fabric in Rya, Rya, How Does Your Garden Grow? and Now What Are You […]

  • Lori Gonzalez says:

    This is beautiful!
    I’m weaving a rya bench cover, using the yarn/draft from the Big Book of Weaving. One thing that never gets mentioned anywhere, is that do you wet finish this bench cover?
    Thank you-
    Lori

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori, I had the same questions when I was working on my rya pieces. I tested a small piece and that helped me decide NOT to wet finish the rya pieces. The wool came out fuzzy in the one I washed, very gently, with little to no agitation. I like the more pristine look of the unwashed wool, so I chose to leave the rest unwashed.

      I hope that helps!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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