Woven Pillow DIY

Learn to weave your own pillow with this detailed tutorial. Get the full instructions on www.aBeautifulMessWoven pillow tutorial for A Beautiful MessDon't let the wall hangings have all of the fun!

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
-tapestry needle
-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.

Step1Step One: Warp your loom. As always, you can find more detailed instructions on the basics of weaving in this post and more photos on how to create shapes in your weaving in this post

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. 

Fill in your shapes and negative spacesStep 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 ThreeStep 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 FourStep 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. 

Counter Soumak stitchStep 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 SixStep 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.

Add more tasselsStep 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 EightStep 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.

Back of weavingStep 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 TenStep Ten: Cut your two pieces of cotton fabric to measure about 2" longer and wider than your weaving. I used a printed cotton and a white cotton. 

Step ElevenStep 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 TwelveStep 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.

Stuff and Stitch Up-Step ThirteenStep 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.

Finished Woven PillowTa-da! Fluff your tiny pillow and place it somewhere that needs a little more personality. You've suddenly added some magic to your space! 

Woven Pillow DIYWoven Pillow Tutorial for ABMOnce 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

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Steel Cut Brûlée Oats

Steel Cut Brulee Oatmeal (via abeautifulmess.com) I am on a mission. That mission is to find ways to use my brûlée torch in many different meals. I think it can be so much more than a dessert tool. My brûlée torch is destined for great things—I've just got to facilitate the opportunities. First up, let's tackle breakfast.

Steel Cut Brulee Oatmeal (via abeautifulmess.com)  If you're not already a fan of steel cut oats, then this recipe might just convert you. We'll be adding a secret ingredient that makes the oats SO creamy and then the brûléed top just hits it out of the park for me. It's dessert breakfast. Which is totally a thing, I swear!

Best method for cooking steel cut oatsSteel Cut Brûlée Oats, serves 2-3.

1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
2 oz. cream cheese (the secret ingredient!)
2 tablespoons brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar (for the tops)

This recipe takes about 25-30 minutes from start to finish. If you feel that's too long to fit into your morning routine, I hear you! One awesome thing about steel cut oats is you can easily make a double batch and refrigerate to use throughout the week (just rewarm in the oven or microwave). It holds up and doesn't go to mush like traditional oatmeal sometimes does when saved for too long. 

How to cook steel cut oatsIn a small/medium size pot, bring the milk and water to a boil. Add the oats and stir for one minute. Then turn the heat down to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. I'll give it a stir every few minutes to avoid any oats getting stuck to the bottom of the pan, but you don't have to baby it quite as much as, say, risotto. 

During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking (when it looks like most of the moisture has absorbed into the oats), add the cream cheese and your sweetener of choice. Taste and add more sweetener if you like.

Steel Cut Brulee Oatmeal (via abeautifulmess.com)Place in a small bowl and use a spoon to get the surface as even as possible. Then top with granulated sugar (or super fine/baker's sugar works well too if you have some on hand). Torch until the top begins to caramelize. Serve warm with fresh fruit. Yay for dessert breakfast! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Scrapbook Sunday: Keepin' It Simple

Scrapbook SundayHi, friends! Happy Sunday. Today I'm here to share some super simple scrapbook pages with you. I made these three pages in an hour (or two?) one afternoon last week. I've probably said this before, but my favorite way to scrapbook is current and FAST. It's so much easier to scrapbook things that just happened. So even though I am trying to catch up on past, years I am prioritizing THIS year at the top so that I can stay caught up from here on out. 

Here are three simple pages I made. They all involve full page photos and stamping. 

Scrapbook Sunday My friend Kelly Purkey just sent me a bunch of stamps that she designed. That's mostly what I am using today along with Staz On ink and my own inks, which you can get in our shop. Staz On ink is what I always use if I am stamping on a photo or other weird surface (leather, plastic, metal etc). 

Scrapbook Sunday  For this page all I did was use one stamp all the way down the edge of the photo. I love big, simple pages like this. 

Scrapbook Sunday    Yes, please! 

Scrapbook Sunday   Scrapbook Sunday     Coffee needed. :) 

Scrapbook Sunday      Scrapbook Sunday      Next up I did some letter stamping and then filled the letters in with colored markers. I love the finished look. And you see how the stamping isn't perfect? Even better. 

Scrapbook Sunday         Here's the finished page. Gotta print ALL our selfies REAL big since we only get a few on every vacation. :D 

Scrapbook Sunday          This is a sneak peek of a new product coming soon for the Messy Book. Clear printed page dividers. I can't wait to show you the rest! They'll be out in a few weeks—don't tell anyone I showed you, k? ;)

Scrapbook Sunday            At the moment, the best part of scrapbooking to me is putting my new pages into the album and seeing them add up over the weeks and months. I'm so excited to be back in this habit! 

Chit chat with me in the comments, OK? Happy Sunday! xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions.

A Few Favorites

Great cookbooks to check outAs you could probably guess, I am completely obsessed with cookbooks. I love reading them. I love cooking from them. And I LOVE geeking out over the food photography. Just for fun I thought I'd share a few new (or new to me) cookbooks I'm into right now.

1. The Forest Feast was a book that was gifted to me by my mother for my birthday a few months ago. The photography and food styling is stunning, the book design features lots of hand-painted and just pretty touches, and it's a vegetarian cookbook. So basically my mom totally nailed it—I love everything about this book!

2. When I saw Prune on the shelf at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks I go, I got so excited! I loved Gabrielle Hamilton's (sort of) biography, Blood, Bones, and Butter, and I've wanted to check out her New York restaurant (Prune) ever since. I haven't been able to make it there yet, but at least I have the cookbook. And I must say, the dark pink cover and overall design and, frankly, heft of this book seems fitting for a chef who I think is probably equally intimidating and cool. Can you tell I'm a big fan of Hamilton? I am SO excited to cook some of her recipes soon.

3. If you enjoy step-by-step detailed guides, then you'll love Baking by James Peterson. A very useful resource for anyone looking to take their baked goods game to the next level.

Food photography4. I love the concept behind The Soup Club Cookbook. It's sort of a unique approach to writing a cookbook in that it is authored by four friends who teach how to start a successful soup club (raise your hand if you'll start a soup club with me?!?!), and it has over 150 recipes they've created together from their soup club. Fun, right?

5. Afro-Vegan mixes African, Caribbean, and southern American flavors together to create some really unique (and vegan!) dishes. It's got a lot going on, so if you like truly unique recipes, you'll love this book.

6. A good friend sent me a couple books last month. Asian Pickles is one of the books she sent me and I loved it immediately. It's a little bit quirky and filled with pretty photography and inventive flavors.

7. Although this is not technically a cookbook, I guess I'm still putting Skin Cleanse on the list because it's a new book I recently picked up and have been enjoying so far. I would put my skin on the "OK but probably could be healthier" spectrum of things. I don't have plaguing problems outside of some dryness in the winter, but I think a reminder that what we put into our bodies manifests itself through out skin and health in general is a good thing. I mean, I can always use a friendly reminder to make healthy choices. But that's just me. 

If you have any cookbooks (or other books) you'd like to recommend and share with us, please leave me a comment. And happy Saturday everyone! If you need me, I'll be in my kitchen trying to pretend I'm Gabrielle Hamilton. xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Baked Seafood Dip

Baked Seafood Dip (via abeautifulmess.com)When I show up to a party, I head straight for the snack table. Oh yes, I'm that girl. Give me all your dips and cheese plates! 

Baked Seafood Dip (via abeautifulmess.com) So, of course, I'm always looking for new dips, appetizers and party snacks that I enjoy and can throw together for future parties of my own. But the thing about serving food is you really need to "test" out the recipes first, possibly multiple times. It's hard work, but someone's got to do it (she said with a mouth full of dip and celery). 

Baked Seafood Dip (via abeautifulmess.com)   Baked Seafood Dip, serves 6-8 as an appetizer.

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste*
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 oz. canned tiny shrimp, drained
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

*Don't be a afraid of the anchovy paste! It's actually really good as an accompaniment to a cheese plate or to make your own Caesar dressing (among other things).

Baked Seafood Dip (via abeautifulmess.com)     In a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, mayo, anchovy paste, garlic, seasoning and parsley until well combined. Then stir in the tiny shrimp and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. The anchovy paste and Parmesan cheese are already quite salty so you really don't need to add much, if any, additional salt. 

Scoop into a small baking dish or oven safe bowl. Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes until the cheese begins to look golden brown on the edges. Serve hot with crackers and fresh veggies.

Make easy crackers from store bought pie crustYou might recognize those little lobster crackers if you remember when I shared a lobster mac and cheese recipe a couple years ago. I used my lobster cookie cutter to cut out store bought pie crust that I topped with a little Old Bay seasoning and baked until crispy. Ta da! Homemade lobster crackers to go with the seafood dip. :)

Baked Seafood Dip (via abeautifulmess.com)  I think I'm gonna need to host a party soon. Maybe I'll make this AND my jalapeño popper dip. Dip party! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.


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