Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Worth The Time

There are few things as wonderful as something that is "home made". Especially when you get to use it every night. Have you guessed what this might be that I am talking about? It is a down pillow.

True indeed, and trust me it does take a lot of Geese to make a down pillow. I still have my very first (and only) down pillow that I made back around 1988 or so. It is a wonderful pillow with many memories within.

Those of my Yellow Lab "Teak" who is no longer with me and the Black Brandt she retrieved at Savannah during an all woman Halloween Hunt. Also memories of a very dear friend, Mark Keiser who is no longer with us. I grew up with him hunting, fishing, and ski racing. Next to my dad, he has had the most impact on my life to this very day. At some other juncture I hope to write a story about Mark and some of the fun times we shared.

The process of saving the down is a timely one. In all I guess that it took the down from approximately 40 - 60 Canada Geese. First I plucked the contour feathers off the breast, belly and neck making sure not to leave any quills or blood. Then I made sure my hands were relatively free of blood and started plucking the down. Only the finest, softest down and no pin feathers or bloodshot feathers. I then put the down into a medium size garbage bag and saved them. I had about 10 garbage bags by the time I had enough down. Then I found a seamstress who was willing to help me. I used the traditional blue striped ticking fabric that has been around since the second world war. It is a tight weave and excellently suited for down pillows. I figured that I had enough down to make a supportive, king size pillow. Next step is to pre-wash the fabric, then sew one end closed and the other end at least 1/2 way closed.

Then the fun begins, stuffing the down from the baggies into the pillow to be. Turn off all fans and moving air sources prior to doing this. Best suited for an environment free from any air disturbances. Be patient when doing this and after about an hour or so (maybe less) you will be ready to finish sewing the end of your pillow together. If you are concerned about cleaning the down, you can have your finished pillow dry cleaned. I strongly suggest you write your name on the outside of the fabric with a permanent sharpie before giving it to a dry cleaners. I have had more items lost at dry cleaners than I care to remember.

I have been saving down for about the last 10 years in hopes of making my second goose down pillow. I may already have enough, yet I am going to gather just a couple more bags worth to be sure. My pillow has travelled many places, been lost and found a few times and is still full of loft.

It is really a unique pleasure to sleep on a down pillow that you made. I find the memories within my down pillow comforting beyond the physical level. It keeps me connected to the things I cherish most in my life. That of old friends, dogs, and the pursuit of waterfowling.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


Tom Sorenson said...

Well, I'll be...!!!

I wouldn't know where to start - and have honestly never even had the thought cross my mind. But that's a durn good idea! I'll have to start duck hunting again, mebbe!

The Hunter's Wife said...

I've never known anyone to make their own down pillow. Impressive and I can see why it finds you comfort each night.

Blessed said...

Down pillows are my absolute favorite! As soon as we get some more bills paid off and so that we can afford to waterfowl hunt again I might have to tackle this project!

Terry Scoville said...

Tom if you're gonna make a "duck down" pillow, you best get started. That will take considerably more birds. LOL

Jody, truly one of lifes small pleasures.

Blessed, sounds as though you're getting closer everyday to being back in the "blind". I'm sure you'll enjoy making your own down pillow.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a cool idea. Definitely something that would have memories attached to it.

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Awesome post, eider down pillow here I come!!!

Part one of your interview is up and running on my blog!!!

Terry Scoville said...

Tony, I think Eider's are raised specifically for their down. I remember hearing that not to long ago. That would be even fluffier than goose down. Lucky you!

Live to Hunt.... said...

That is a very cool idea Terry! Maybe I'll have to give that a go (but someone will have to do the sewing, I have no idea how).

Leanne said...

My husband loves down pillows, although we've bought our last two. We'd have to learn to hunt before we could even think about making one ourselves. Although I never would have realised it takes that many birds to make a decent sized pillow. At least now I can appreciate the price of the pillows. The last one we bought was around £80.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I hope your next pillow collects as many fond memories as the first.

Terry Scoville said...

Leanne, thank you for visiting. It really depends on the size of geese as to how many it will take. I too can appreciate the cost of pillows after making just one for myself.

Anonymous said...

There is always a certain amount of satisfaction when you get to enjoy something that you personally had made.
There is nothing wrong with down pillows that is a fact, I love them myself. To make one with all those memories I sure you will have that for a long time.

Cristina Acosta said...

Wow, Terry -- until I read your post I never thought about how many geese had to "go" to fill up a down pillow! How great that you used every part of your kill that you could. And how wonderful to have an object in your life that holds so much meaning for you. You are truly a creative soul!


Related Posts with Thumbnails