Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT with Maryanne Moodie

Superstar textile artist, Maryanne Moodie, shows us how to make our own Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT throw pillow!

Maryanne Moodie is a fiber-obsessed maker who busily divides her time between creating spectacular woven wall hangings and teaching sold­out workshops across the world. This very talented lady has taken time out of her hectic schedule to design a custom throw pillow using this season’s Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT yarns. And she’s going to show us how to make our own!

Step 1: Gather you materials You’ll need several balls of colorful, fluffy Isaac Mizrahi Craft yarn, a flat loom, scissors, a tapestry needle, scotch tape, a ruler, cotton twine, and fiberfill. To keep costs low and materials basic, I’ve made my loom out of cardboard. Some optional materials that you can also use in this project are a box-cutter and a weaving sword, to make your weaving go faster.

Step 2: Warping Your Loom Before beginning to weave, you’ll need to set up your loom by attaching your warp string. For this project, we’ll be weaving around the loom in a spiral, creating fabric on the front and back of the loom. Begin by measuring and cutting notches in your cardboard about 3/8 an inch apart, on the top and bottom of your loom. Then, slide the end of your cotton twine (your warp) into the first notch, and start vertically wrapping the warp around your loom. When you hit a top notch, also wrap the warp horizontally around the “peg”, and pass the warp back down on the front side of the loom. This will make your warp threads align correctly. Warp your loom completely, making sure that you have an odd number of warp strings. That way, you can continuously weave around the loom in a spiral.

Step 3: Plain Weave To start weaving, thread your needle with a 3 foot piece of yarn. Begin by weaving under the first warp thread and over the second. Continue going along under and over until you’ve finished the row on the front of your loom, leaving a 2 inch tail hanging where you started. Continue on past the edge of your loom, weaving on the back side of your loom. Keep weaving upwards in a spiral, going around the entire loom, until you’ve reached your desired height or need to begin with a new piece of yarn.

Steps 4 & 5: Butterfly Rya Knots To add some texture to my pillow, I decided to add some fringe in the middle. For this middle strip, I created two different kinds of fringe knots ­­ the outer stripes are made from Butterfly Rya knots. To start, wrap your yarn in a loop about 4 inches long, wrapping your yarn about 7 times. Once you have your loop, lay it flat and centered on top of a pair of warp strings. Then, wrap the tails down around the outer edge of the warp thread on each side, and bring them up through the center. Then, lightly pull down on your knot, pushing it towards your weaving below. After completing a row of Butterfly Rya, do a few rows of basic weave on top to lock everything in.

Steps 6 & 7: Rya Knots In the middle of my pillow, I did a row of basic Rya knots to add a textural variety. Basic Rya knots are very similar to Butterfly Rya knots ­ instead of loops, however, Rya knots have cut ends. To start, cut several pieces of yarn about 6 inches long. Grab a group of about 7 pieces and fold them in half to create a U shape. Rest the folded part of your yarn centered on top of two warp threads. Then, wrap the cut tails down on the outside edges of the warp and bring them back up through the center, just as you did with the Butterfly Rya. Then, lightly pull down on your knot and push it towards your weaving below. As with the Butterfly Rya, add two rows of plain weave on top to lock everything into place. I recommend playing around with each type of knot, and making your own individual, textural design!

Step 8: Finishing Your Weaving After adding my rows of texture, I finished the pillow with plain weave, going all the way to the top. When you’re ready to take your piece off the loom, cut your warp threads at the top and bottom of your loom. Then, weave the ends of your warp vertically back into your piece using your tapestry needle. This will secure your ends and hide the warp. Slide the loom out of the middle of your pillow, folding the cardboard if you need to. Then, whip stitch the bottom edges together, creating the closed base of your pillow. Once you’ve sewn the bottom edge, fill your pillow with fiberfill until you’ve reached your desired fluff. Then, whipstitch the top closed.

Step 8: Attaching Tassels To add some more texture and a decorative flair, we attached tassels to the corners of our pillow! Create tassels out of your yarn by cutting several pieces of the same length and tying a tight double knot around them in the middle. Then, letting the yarn hang from the center where you knotted the tassel, tie a piece of yarn about an inch down to create the top “pouf” of the tassel. Use the string you first tied in the middle of the tassel to attach each piece to its own corner.

Finally, trim any stray pieces and admire your work!

To see more of Maryanne’s work visit maryannemoodie.com

(image of Maryanne courtesy of Carly Gaebe)