Around here we love giving (and receiving) handmade gifts. Most often the gifts we give to our family and friends are a product of our kitchen and occasionally also from the garden. This year one of the gifts that will be given are these lovely little lavender and flax seed eye pillows. It is a great gift that uses several of my skills - gardening, sewing and knitting! And who doesn’t have someone on their list who could use some relaxation?
I designed the amazingly soft eye pillow cover using Blue Sky Alpacas’ Alpaca Silk yarn and used a simple brocade pattern to adorn the center. It is a great project for getting your feet wet with seaming as it has two short seams - perfect for practicing! The pattern is going to be a part of My Sister Knits’ August newsletter (which has been delayed due to some computer difficulties). In the meantime I thought I’d share how I made the insert.
- A 10.5″ x 7″ piece of cotton fabric, choose something pretty if you wish to skip the knit cover
- Coordinating Sewing Thread, I used contrasting here so it showed up in the photos
- Hand Sewing Needles
- Sewing Machine (optional)
- Wide Opening Funnel (optional, paper can be rolled into a cone to form a funnel instead)
- Approximately 1 Cup Flax Seeds
- Approximately 1/4 Cup Dried Lavender
1). Fold piece of fabric in half lengthwise, with right sides together. Pin as needed.
2). Sew along all three open sides with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving an opening in one of the short sides for turning the pillow right side out and filling. You can do the sewing with a machine or by hand. If you are using a rigid funnel be certain your opening is large enough to accommodate it. I prefer to leave my openings in the middle of a side so I have a strong foundation for sewing the opening closed later.
3). Turn pillow case right side out and fill. You want to fill it only about 2/3 full so there is plenty of room for the contents to shift and allow the pillow to drape nicely over your eyes. For this 9.5″ X 3″ pillow I used roughly 1 cup of flax seeds and 1/4 - 1/3 cup dried lavender from the garden. You can use any combination of “grain” such as rice or buckwheat in place of the flax seeds and any dried herbs or flowers in place of the lavender.
4). Using the hidden stitch, sew the pillow closed.
That’s it! It is quite simple and economical to make. You probably just saved yourself $30 or more by making it yourself since most commercially available eye pillows are made with silk. You can make them with silk too if you do not wish to make the knit cover. I have to confess that with two dogs I like being able to wash my covers though!
The pillow insert can be chilled or heated gently in the microwave (probably 1 minute or less is required in most microwaves) to provide just the comfort you need.
If you suffer from headaches try using peppermint and eucalyptus. Lavender helps promote relaxation and sleep as does chamomile. Bergamont and citrus peels will energize. You can easily make 4 pillows from one fat quarter of fabric, so why not make several different scents so you have just the aromatherapy you require on hand?
Keep your eye on http://www.mysisterknits.com/community/news for the August 2010 link to show up to get the knitting pattern for the cover. Or, sign up for their newsletter (a link is on their front page) and get notified by e-mail.