Once you’ve figured out the basics of weaving, you can make all kinds of household decor. I’ve long been inspired by flatweave kilim rugs and love seeing how so many are repurposed into pillows. So I decided to see if I could make something on my lap loom that would have the same kind of texture.
I used cotton and wool yarns because I wanted something that wouldn’t pill easily and would stand up to being used on a daily basis. I was able to finish this decorative pillow in two long sittings at my lap loom. After finishing this size, I’m determined to obtain a larger loom so I can make a standard 14″ x 14″ or 16″ x 16″ size.
–lap loom or handmade loom. Mine is about 12″ across from peg to peg, but you can DIY your own or purchase a larger loom for a larger pillow.
-cotton yarn for your warp
-natural fiber yarn (cotton or wool) yarns for your weaving
-two cuts of fabric measuring about 2″ longer and wider than the finished weaving. A fat quarter would work really well for the size shown. One layer is to back the weaving so you don’t have Poly-fil poking through any gaps, and the other layer will contain the Poly-fil and be the fabric on the back side that you see.
-Poly-fil or natural stuffing
-shed stick (optional and not shown)
-access to sewing machine. You can also hand stitch the pillow together but be sure to use short stitches for a more finished look.
Due to the size of my loom, I needed to make the pattern something that would work horizontally as a pillow so I had to think ahead with my shapes and colors. I also had to think about how it would look stuffed as a pillow and added a little thickness to the edges since about 1/4″ of the perimeter would be folded under when sewn to the back of the pillow.
I wove across the bottom of my weaving about 1/2″ to stabilize things and to add some contrast to what I knew would be a colorful top. Then I created my edges in black by weaving ten warp rows in on each side (well, nine on one side. oops!) and then reducing a warp row after every two weft rows. Once I got down to three warp rows, I increased a warp row after every two weft rows. For more details on creating shapes, particularly triangles, see steps eleven through nineteen in this post.
My tip for making your edges symmetrical is to do one edge until you run out of yarn and then do the other side. Then switch back to the first side and then to the second until you’re done. It’ll help keep your points lined up!
After finishing my black edges, I added another 1/2″ of white cotton to the top so that it would match the bottom.
Step Two: I went back and added a diamond in the center knowing I wanted a little bit more color. Had I had the patience, I might have added another smaller diamond on each side of the center one, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be that busy. I did decide to add some rya knots to give it more texture but needed to fill in some of my empty space before I added those.
Step Three: I cut cotton yarn so that I had three strands per rya knot. I ended up with eight rya knots to fill in my space. For more details on how to add rya knots, see steps 17-22 in this post.
Step Four: Once they were in place, I continued weaving and filling in my negative space. I was careful to press each row down to keep things tight and secure as I went. You can do this with a weaving fork or your fingers.
Step Five: Before working around my diamond, I decided to add a layer of white to outline it. I just stitched a loop around each warp row as I followed the outline of the diamond. This is a counter soumak stitch.
Step Six: Again, I wove in the negative space with more of the blue cotton yarn. I tend to weave counter clockwise around shapes to fill things in but you could also work from the bottom up on both sides and then continue with one of the lengths all the way across the top.
Step Seven: Once I got near the space on the other end where my rya knots needed to be, I flipped my loom upside down. I wanted my knots to be facing opposite directions and lying flat with the ends pointing away from the center. Flipping it just made it easier to tie them in that direction.
Step Eight: Once my rya knots were added, I turned it back the way it started. I folded my rya knots over and filled in the weaving down to the row of rya knots. Then I flipped the rya knots the way they were supposed to lay and filled in the rest of the negative space. I trimmed my knots down to keep things tidy, but you can keep yours long and wild if you like that look.
Step Nine: Instead of weaving in my ends on the back side, I just tied them in double knots to secure them. They weren’t going to be adding much bulk and I knew they wouldn’t be seen once I had turned it into a pillow. If you want to stop here and keep your weaving just as it is, I suggest stitching them down the back of a row and trimming them off as in step 36 of this tutorial.
Remove your weaving from the loom and tie knots with your long strands as close as you can to the top of your weaving as shown at the end of this tutorial. Almost finished!
Step Eleven: Place the white cotton fabric down first and then the printed cotton fabric on top of it with the right side of the fabric facing you. Then place the weaving face down and centered on your printed fabric. Pin them together around the edges of the weaving.
Step Twelve: Starting near the middle of one of the long edges, stitch along the perimeter of your weaving with the edge of the presser foot running along the edge of your weaving. This will create about 1/4″ of space between your seam and the edge. Stitch all the way around until you get about 4″ from where you started. You can see the seam on the back side above. Cut your corners off but don’t cut through your weaving or the seam.
Note: If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, you can stitch this by hand. Just make small stitches.
Step Thirteen: Turn your pillow right side out and poke your corners out with something pointed but sort of dull. Also, make sure your white fabric is pressed up against your weaving. You want to create a pocket to insert your stuffing in so that the stuffing is sandwiched in between the two fabrics, not the weaving and the fabric. Then use a needle and thread to blind stitch your opening shut.
An afterthought: Throw in some crushed lavender or rosemary along with your stuffing for a lightly scented treat. Just be sure not to add anything that might leave a stain on your fabric or weaving.
Once you’ve woven yourself a pillow, you get to cozy up next to it with a good book. Mandatory rest time has never looked so fancy! –Rachel