l make lots of samples and encourage all weavers to make them rather than just cutting off the remaining project threads and tossing them. Try out a new yarn, a different color, a change in treadling sequence, or just weave an exact copy of what was woven for the project in order to have a record. Samples are a great way to learn and experiment.
Sampling is even more rewarding when you can make useful things from the results! Today, while my back was aching and I was thinking about getting out a heating pad, I remembered those buckwheat bags that you heat up and use instead. I decided to make one out of a piece of sample fabric left over from a set of summer and winter towels I had made a couple of years ago.
Here's how you can make one of these heat pillows, too:
You will need a piece of cotton cloth (my piece was about 16" x 18") and a couple pounds of dry beans, buckwheat, rice or dry corn. I used dry lima beans. You could use a cloth half the size and 1 pound of dry whatever for a more compact pillow. Using cotton is important as this will go into the microwave for heating and you don't want it to easily burn or melt. You might also be able to use wool, but I haven't tested that.
- Fold the fabric in half and sew all three sides closed, leaving just a 2-3" opening on one side for filling.
- Fill the pillow with the dry ingredient. It doesn't need to be stuffed tightly. In fact, it's more comfortable to use if it is still flexible.
- If you want some fragrance, you can add in some rosemary, lavender or other aromatic herbs.
- Sew the opening shut, and there you have it!
To use, simply put it in the microwave on high for 1-3 minutes. The first time you do this, go for less time until you learn how long it takes to heat up your pillow. You want it warm to the touch but easy to handle. (Because mine was on the larger side, I heated mine for 4 minutes.) Then put it on that sore shoulder or aching back. And enjoy your sample in use!