Skull pillow

Friday, June 10, 2016

I am back from Mexico and will post about that trip some day, but first I wanted to share with you something I whipped up yesterday. I’ve been invited to go analyze some skeletons discovered by a road construction project and it reminded me that I wanted to make some skull pillows. These are useful for nestling a human skull so that it can be analyzed – while you may not understand the importance of doing such a thing, the remains have already been disturbed by modern construction, and it is crucially important to certain groups (such as many Native American populations) to know whether or not the individuals are their ancestors. If so, they will be repatriated to the appropriate tribe for the proper ceremonies to take place; if not, they will be reinterred elsewhere in a place hopefully to not be disturbed again. This is why I do skeletal analysis.

skull_pillow_8 8

The first order of business is to cut out some circles. I use a stack of pre-cut white circles that my gramma bought and gifted me, and a tupperware container as a guide for the larger circles. This pattern went through a couple of prototypes about a year ago, but I seem to have not taken any photos of that mess. This process seems to work ok though, for those of you who may do bioarchaeology or know someone who handles human skulls… Let’s be real: probably no one who reads this post will find it useful, but at least I have a record here for the next time I might need to make one.

skull_pillow_8 2

Next, I fold one of the large circles into a quarter and use a glass to trace around. The glass happens to fit over the white circles with a quarter-inch allowance, so it is the perfect tool for this step. I just line of the center of the glass to the corner of the folded fabric and give it a whirl with my marking pencil.

skull_pillow_8 3

Unfold, line up the glass to the line, and complete the circle. I did this on both sides of the same fabric, which will come in handy later.

skull_pillow_8 4

Then, place the two large circles right-sides together. Sew around, leaving a fairly wide opening so that you can complete the stuffing later. To sew a fairly perfect circle, I held a pin poked into the center of the circle to hold the fabric as the machine sewed (at the white dot in the image below the next). Clip the allowance, being careful to not clip through the seam.

Before turning out, align the two inner circles and pin them to the center of one side of the fabric. A single pin is better than the photo below (taken before I realized this) because you need to be mindful of how the pin is facing in order to remove it once you turn everything out – place the head of the pin pointing at the seam opening of the big circles. Make sense? Don’t do what I did here! (Marking the inner circles is also unnecessary.)

skull_pillow_8 1

This is where that marked line on both sides of the fabric comes in handy. First – re-pin the inner circle from the outside (now right-side). Using the same trick mentioned above, with a pin holding the fabric in place against the machine (just hold it with your fingers vertically), sew a circle in the center of the big circles, but leave a small opening in the same direction as the big opening in the big circles.

skull_pillow_8 7

Now, it gets a little tricky but not difficult. Using a tiny funnel, fill the inner circle with weighted fill – I use spoonfuls of rice but I heard this might not be the best choice if you are worried about vermin of any kind. This part probably doesn’t even need to be weighted, but it gives a bit of a heft to the pillow, which makes it feel like it will protect the skull more. Emotions trump knowledge, right? Otherwise, you could fill it with stuffing – the important part is that you want the center of the pillow to be sunken so that a skull doesn’t roll off it. Kapish?

skull_pillow_8 9

Only fill the rice bag about ⅔-¾ full, and pin all the rice to one side. Stick it back under the machine and complete the inner circle stitch. Using small wads of stuffing, stuff the donut-part of the pillow somewhere between medium and fully stuffed. Hand stitch the closure and voila!

skull_pillow_8 5

I just used some left-over fabric laying around that kind of sort of went together. You can have fun with the fabric choices, but it should be a fabric that is not too rough (some bone is quite delicate) and not too weak (which will become yucky with bone bits and frays).

skull_pillow_8 6

And obviously, my circle-stuffing skills could use a little work!

 

See more posts related to:

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for more cases of the Crafties?
Collaged Slow Stitch

Collaged Slow Stitch

I made a quirky and weird slow-stitched collage to try to push through a creative slump. It was much more about doing than the outcome.

read more
Stitch Camp 2023

Stitch Camp 2023

I stitched this mixed media piece following Gwen Hedley’s instruction through TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Camp.

read more
Tea Cup study

Tea Cup study

I was inspired to stitch up a stack of tea cups which lead to starting a second project that I’m still thinking about.

read more
Stitch Club: Clover

Stitch Club: Clover

Jette Clover lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club using scraps and a stamp. I used a country farm stamp with a big red barn as inspiration.

read more
Stitch Club: Tume

Stitch Club: Tume

Kate Time lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club on narrative bead texture, and I was inspired to have a play!

read more
Open Press Project

Open Press Project

I ordered a small print press from the Open Press Project and have begun experimenting with pressing leaves.

read more
Stitch Club: Notman

Stitch Club: Notman

Emily Notman lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club where we would learn to make a jar wrap, and I was inspired to create a scene along a lakefront at sunset with cattails blowing in the wind.

read more
Stitch Club: Bliss

Stitch Club: Bliss

Oliver Bliss lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club recently centered on color blocking, and I was inspired to stitch up a skull with flowers.

read more
Nina Stajner + Lake = Swan

Nina Stajner + Lake = Swan

I worked up Nina Stajner’s swan coloring page from the Lake app in a (mostly) single solitary stitch: the stem stitch.

read more
Stitch Club: Norbury

Stitch Club: Norbury

As part of TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club, Ruth Norbury tasked us with making a textural mixed media peice and I chose Hubert Robert’s La Fontaine painting as my subject.

read more
Stitch Club: Steel-Jessop

Stitch Club: Steel-Jessop

As part of TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club, I made a map of Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantium (by Martin Springett) following Bridget Steel-Jessop’s workshop.

read more
Kintsugi stones

Kintsugi stones

I used a kintsugi kit by Jack Richardson to meld two broken stones back together.

read more
Painting Miniatures

Painting Miniatures

I tested my painting skills in a challenge with Boy: who could paint the best D&D miniature?

read more
Hexie Dreams 16

Hexie Dreams 16

I have a total of 107 flowers ready for my fussy-cut EPP Hexie Dreams quilt and am moving on to planning how to arrange them.

read more
Eternal napping in the sun

Eternal napping in the sun

You can stop here if you don’t wish to read anything sad today. It’s already bad enough with Roe v. Wade, war, and such, I know.

read more