Zakka Napkin

Whiplash badge

To be honest, i designed the whole ‘Week of Weaving‘ idea around my Whiplash entry this month… This month, Whipup is focusing on small crafts, and the Whiplash theme is ‘Zakka.‘ I struggled with this a bit as I never had a good idea of what zakka really meant. I don’t know that I have figured it out, but I was able to see some common elements in all of the examples. To me they seemed to be simple handmade projects often for a practical use, that are occasionally tastefully embellished. I don’t have a lot of free time this month so I thought that I might be able to add a little embellishment to something.

Many of the examples used very natural colors and fabrics, which made me remember a stack of 4 inch weave-it squares that I made out of a natural colored hemp-blend yarn. It struck me that they were the size of petite coasters, but had a fantastic hand to them, more like a cloth napkin. As I examined the cloth I noticed that the fabric looked just like counted cross stitch canvas.

And then it hit me… Cocktail Napkins. I started decorating and couldn’t stop. I ended up making more woven squares so I could try out all of my ideas. Want to make some?

Cocktail Napkins – a tutorial

I made my napkins out of a 4×4 inch square that I made on my weave it loom. You could also use a 4×4 knit square, or fabric. I am also figuring that you have some cross-stitch skills. If not, the only skills required are making X’s and the backstitch (which you can learn about here) This is the perfect starter project!


  • 4 inch weave-it or Weavette loom and appropriate weaving needle
  • Elsbeth Lavold Hempathy Yarn – less than one skein. You can substitute another fingering weight yarn, but cotton might be best for the look, and the washability.
  • Various colors of cotton embroidery floss
  • Cross-stitch needle

Weaving the napkin

This part is really simple enough. Weave a standard square on your 4 inch weave-it or weavette using the yarn held doubled. The fact that the yarn is doubled is part of what makes it look so much like cross stitch canvas. If you only use a single strand of fine yarn, your finished square will be too lacy to support your cross stitch. Make sure that that you don’t wrap the yarn too tightly around the pegs. If you do, it will make the needle-weaving part very difficult. Carefully weave in the ends when the square is complete.

Decorating the napkin
I charted up a few of the drinks I designed to get you started.

Click to embiggen – free for your personal use.

The two rows nearest to the edge of the weave-it square are a little loose. Plan the placement of your design carefully so that you don’t have to cross stitch on these rows. Carefully make your cross stitch x’s making sure they all cross in the same direction, and don’t pull them too tightly.

I used appropriately colored embroidery floss, and I used all 6 strands of it. I outlined the designs with a backstitch using 3 strands of black floss. Secure the floss in the back by running it underneath the completed stitches.


I made 8 napkins decorated with various drinks. Click through to my Flickr set to see them in detail, and figure which drinks they represent…

View all of the posts in my ‘Week of Weaving’ Series.

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