Handwoven remnants (aka scraps) do not get thrown away. Every scrap is good for something. Some scraps are so unusual it takes an extra dose of creativity to find a use for them.
This remnant of blue wool fabric is something I wove a few years ago during my Big Book of Weaving adventure. This structure uses a weft-cord technique, which creates interesting ridges in the fabric. The original project is a simple handbag. The remaining fabric has been buried in a box of remnants. Until now.
I had a great idea to make a bench cushion for my Julia loom from this unusual remnant. Guess what? All those ridges are not so comfortable to sit on (fortunately, I tested it first). My next idea, though, is a success! The blue bumpy scrap makes a nice lumbar pillow, adding special comfort to the rocking chair that belonged to my great grandmother.
I have woven umpteen rag rugs. But never one like this! Eight-shaft satin on the single-unit drawloom brings its own challenges, from managing draw cords to getting a decent shed. Add rag weaving to the mix and we have a whole new experience!
Finishing has its own set of new challenges. My go-to method of tying knots to secure warpends is unwieldy in this instance because the threads are extremely dense. By quietly doing some detail studies on a sample, I find a way to finish this unusual rug: Secure the ends with the serger. Then, sew two rows of straight stitches on the sewing machine for added security. Sew a narrow bound hem using some of the fabric that was used as weft in the rug. Steam press to finish.
I have another rag rug to weave on this warp. It will still be a challenge. With what I’ve learned, though, I’m anticipating a satisfying weaving and finishing experience.
We know what to do in normal circumstances. It’s in unusual times that we fall into dismay. Private time with Jesus turns confidential fears to confident faith. He treats our challenges like personal detail studies, showing us the way forward. His grace enables us to conquer the next challenge with confident faith.
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.
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.)
Instructions for Constructing a Handwoven Neck Pillow
Cotton muslin, pre-washed
Handwoven fabric, pre-washed
Cluster Fluff, or other cluster fill or polyester fiberfill
7” invisible zipper
Invisible zipper foot
Sleeve board for pressing, optional
Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the muslin.
Sew two of the muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
Sew the other two muslin pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
Sew the two parts together, right sides together, leaving a 4-inch opening for turning and stuffing. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
Turn the pillow right side out.
Stuff with Cluster Fluff, starting at the furthest end from the opening. Fill to desired fullness.
Hand stitch the opening closed.
Cut four pillow pattern pieces from the handwoven fabric.
Serge or zigzag the fabric edges. Press flat.
Insert invisible zipper between two of the pieces.
Complete the seams at both ends of the zipper. Press seams open.
Sew the two other pieces together, right sides together. Press seams open.
Open zipper, and sew the two parts together, right sides together. Press seams open using a sleeve board.
Turn the pillow case right side out.
Push the muslin pillow into the pillow case. Close the zipper.
Take a nap in your favorite chair with the pillow behind your neck.
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.
Before everyone arrives for our Thanksgiving family gathering, I am making pie crust for the pecan pie, dough for my “famous” cranberry bread, and doing the prep to make Gram’s turkey dressing. Each family is bringing their contributions to the meal (feast). Thanksgiving Day is a flurry of activity with too many cooks in the kitchen—just how we like it! And sitting at the table with the feast before us, we give thanks. Thanks to each other, and to our Creator. We are blessed!
And before everyone arrives I also manage to sley the reed on the Standard. A different kind of dressing—loom dressing.
A feast for the eyes and hands and heart. Thankful indeed!
This week, though, I have more important things to do, like playing outside and having pillow pallet parties with grandsons. Do you know how demanding full time motherhood is? I’ve done it, but that was eons ago. Diaper changes, giggles and tears, and squabbling. And forgetting.
But I did get my big Glimåkra Freja tapestry frame warped…And a header woven…And I wove the first few picks of the tapestry. That’s what nap times are good for.
Little children quickly forget the offense that started a squabble. After nap time, they’re off, giggling together again. Forgiveness forgets. Have you ever had a squabble with God? We’ve all been there. When God forgave us he smudged out the long list of all our offenses. And then he nailed it to the cross of Christ, our squabbles forever forgotten. And in the resulting quiet that’s like a restful nap time, our Lord weaves his image in us.