Friendship Factor Weaving Project – weaving pillows on a rigid heddle loom:
It is amazing how many unique items you can make on a rigid heddle loom. Lisa and I wanted to make something new that wasn’t a scarf for this project using 2 heddles. We found this interesting pillow pattern in the Little Looms magazine Spring 2022 edition. The “Never too Many Pillows” pattern by Tammy Bast was a more challenging pattern to make for both of us. To begin with you need to use 2 heddles to achieve the pattern design which was something Lisa and I both were wanting to try our hand at. With yarn at hand and our rigid heddle looms off we went on this pillow journey to learn something new. Read about both of our journeys including photos of our pillows below.
After making many scarves and shawls on my rigid heddle loom I was looking forward to trying something new. Lisa and I were looking for a project that used 2 heddles on our rigid heddle looms as we hadn’t tried this technique before. The “Never too Many Pillows” pattern was the perfect project to add to our Friendship Factor adventures.
The yarn I chose was a cotton and a cotton linen blend in neutral colours to suit my home decor. I wanted a subtle effect with the techniques used in this pattern. Using 2 heddles was a bit of a challenge at first but once you get the hang of it, it is quite enjoyable. Warping the pattern for each pillow was also interesting and I chose to warp them separately instead of on one large warp to make sure I had the correct measurements. The first photo above shows pillow #1 which uses Danish medallions for the pattern. I really enjoyed the Danish medallion technique. For pillow #2 I changed the pattern to stripes only as I had tried a small section with the 2 heddles and the pick up sticks needed to achieve the original pattern and found it quite difficult for my hands to maneuver with the arthritis I have. Lisa was able to make pillow #2 as it was designed and it looks amazing. Instead I decided on making a striped pillow to match nicely with pillow #1.
To finish the pillows you are supposed to use a zipper at one end, but I chose to do a button finish instead. Due to the fact that I am not great at sewing and I have a nice collection of interesting buttons I decided to change the finishing touch. I added extra length to the pillows so it would fold over nicely at the back of the pillow as shown below. I found these beautiful pewter clasps in my button stash and attached them as shown. It adds a unique touch to this pillow design and the pillow can be used with either side showing for a different look.
The pillow project was a challenging project at various points including using 2 heddles and changing the finishing to buttons instead of a zipper. This project had some ups and down and took us a long time to finish. Overall this project was very interesting, we learned a lot of new techniques and how to change a pattern to suit your decor and style. The pillow project inspired other pillow projects around my home in Tapestry Crochet my newest adventure. You can view these on my blog with more adventures coming soon. Check out Little Looms magazine for great rigid heddle loom projects.
I have always wanted to make pillows so when I saw this project in “Little Looms” I thought it might be fun. Plus, I have never used pick up sticks with my rigid heddle so I thought that trying it would be a good learning experience. I did learn a lot, that’s for sure!
This project took a long time mostly because I procrastinated badly on the closure for this pillow. I did not grow up sewing. I’ve made a few successful items but I have never inserted a zipper as the pattern called for, so doing this with something that I have heard more advanced seamstresses describe as “hard” is not something I wanted to try on my handwoven cloth! I did try to insert a zipper on some other cloth. It will take practice before I use it on fabric that won’t take to a seam ripper well.
To close my pillows, I chose buttons from my stash and used grosgrain ribbon to cover the hem on my pillow. Instead of sewing buttonholes (another lapse in my sewing know-how), I sewed a loop with an eighth-inch satin ribbon between the grosgrain ribbon and the cloth. This worked pretty well, I think.
As for the pickup stick, I enjoyed using the one that I could shove to the back of my warp and lift up when I needed it. I was not thrilled about the pick up stick that I had to keep reinserting. I think this is because I also use shaft looms and I find that they are more enjoyable to use for patterns than it is to constantly change a pick up stick on a rigid heddle loom. I find that I prefer my rigid heddle looms for plain weave and hand- manipulated stitches rather than for more complicated patterns. That’s just me. A lot of weavers enjoy doing as much as they can on rigid heddle looms and do a wonderful job. I just enjoy using both types of looms.
As with all handwoven projects, I am learning that planning ahead before warping is the best way to do things. That would have helped me not procrastinate. However, there are also times when you just need to adapt, improvise and overcome. I’ve had to do that with several projects and every time it helps me think ahead on my next project.
I like the fact that weaving is flexible in many ways and allows for creativity. It is a wonderful craft, one that I wish I had started a lot sooner in life!
The friendship factor projects are a wonderful way to enjoy time together or apart like Lisa and I who live in different countries. The Friendship Factor Project – weaving pillows on a rigid heddle loom with 2 heddles was an interesting adventure. I am pleased that we accomplished this project and made through the difficult sections and persevered as the finished pillows are beautiful and the techniques we learn will certainly be used in future adventures. Our next project is a beautiful scarf with various patterns and colours perfect for keeping warm this winter. Enjoy your day and try your hand at weaving something new today!
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