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