Ladies Home Journal Article

Weaving Silk into Pillows

I’ve always been crafty and I like the challenge of recycling something that’s outgrown its original purpose and turning it into a handmade work of art. Two years ago my friend Howard, who’d just retired from his law practice, was giving away his silk ties and offered me some. The fabrics were irresistible. I picked out a few dozen, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Then one day I woke up with the answer: They were going to be pillows, and the first one would be a gift for Howard.

I’m not exactly a seamstress. I have an old sewing machine that I got years ago. But I arranged and rearranged the fabrics, weaving together about 20 ties in different shades of brown and gold. Then I pinned them together and sewed the edges to a faux leather backing.

Howard was thrilled when I gave him the pillow. Each tie reminded him of a meaningful occasion in his career. He kept saying, “I remember when I wore this one!”

Since then I’ve continued to collect ties and play around with colors and designs. Making pillows is my way to unwind at night after work. I call it “unwinding with a purpose,” because within three or four nights I have a finished pillow. It’s also offered me an unexpected way to give back. When a friend’s husband died suddenly, I asked her to send me his ties. I knew I could help her by making something personal that would remind her of happy times with her husband.

Studio City, California