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.
All the rugs in the set are woven, and there is a little bit of warp left on the loom. Not enough for another rug. Now what? This is where the fun begins! I have some ideas to play out on the loom. End-of-Warp experiments yield fantastic results.
I arrange remaining weft fabric strips into piles of blue, green, red, and yellow/white. Double binding uses a sequence of dark and light wefts. So, I work through the color piles in order, starting with the blues for one pick, and then, going in reverse order, the yellows/whites for the next pick. The result is vertical columns of adjacent blocks that have the color order going in opposite directions, with the reds converging in the middle.
Cushion cover: Off the loom, I fold this attractive rag weave rectangle in half, short sides together, and machine-stitch the two long sides closed. The remaining open end has handwoven bands, from my ever-ready band stash, for tie closures. Voila! With a cushion inserted, I have a new seat cushion for driving the truck. It’s perfect!
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.
There is always room for more cushions and pillows. What better way to use handwoven fabric? Making cushions puts the fabric to use where it can be seen and touched. The very first project on my first floor loom was fabric for a throw pillow, with a cottolin warp and 16/2 linen weft. Unsightly selvedges are nowhere to be seen!
From the all-linen blue and brown dice weave cushions to the wild and hairy pillows with rya knots, each one makes a statement. Each one says, in its own way, “Welcome to our home.”
Enjoy this little slide show video I made for you.