Tag Archives: garden

About A Chair

[whispers] It’s done.

Let me tell you a story.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

Once upon a time (an embarrassingly long time ago), there was a young psychologist who lived alone in a flat in Oxford. She loved her home very much and was happy there, but she didn’t have much spare cash, so not being able to afford an antique overstuffed armchair on castors, she went instead to Ikea, where she bought a Poäng chair:-

The chair served her well over the years, and was sat in without obvious complaint by a long succession of friends, family, and a couple of boyfriends.

crochet ikea poang chair cover cottage

Eventually, she moved out of her lovely flat and got married. The chair came too. (Well, it didn’t come to the actual wedding: she didn’t love it that much.) Her husband grew fond of the chair, which was fortunate because for his bride, it was pretty much a case of ‘Love me, love my chair’. But the Stoic Spouse understood that, and all was well.

crochet ikea poang chair cover

The chair accompanied the not-quite-so-young-now couple through a succession of house moves, before coming to rest in their long-term home. And still, the faithful chair accommodated bottoms of all shapes and sizes, with almost no complaint apart from the occasional creak.

crochet embroidered yarn seagull ikea poang chair cover

By now, the definitely-left-their-youth-behind-some-time-ago couple had two small children, and the chair accepted its fate of being climbed on and used as part of a den.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

Which brings us up to about a year ago. After so many years of loyal service, the chair was understandably looking the tiniest bit shabby around its edges. So like many things in the house – including the building itself – it fell victim to yarn-bombing. Frankly, anything in this house that’s not moving is vulnerable to being yarn-bombed. That’s why guests don’t tend to stay very long.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover cat pond

The let’s-face-it-middle-aged-now psychologist had once designed a crochet bag shaped like a cottage, and in a moment when reason abandoned her, she decided that it would be a good idea to make a larger-scale version to cover the chair. There was probably wine involved in this ridiculous impulse.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

So she set about crocheting the cottage, and also a garden which would form the seat of the chair. (There were a few knitted bits too, such as the pond and the picnic blanket.) And when her hooks and knitting needles weren’t up to the job, she picked up her darning needle and embroidered flowers, and leaves, and little rows of vegetables, and a pigeon, and a door-knocker, and…

This work took some time. I have no idea how many hundreds (thousands?) of hours have gone into this chair cover. Then one day (yesterday, as it so happens), she was busy attaching a small embroidered seagull to the roof of the cottage. She fixed its feet in place, wove in the ends, and then she realized…

…It was done.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

Not just the seagull (which had been fiddly enough – do you know how hard it is to capture the essence of seagull in yarn?) but the whole thing. Done. Finished. Complete.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

She stood back to look at her work, and she thought, ‘That, my friends, is completely and utterly bonkers. I shall not be making another.’

crochet poang ikea chair cover

Just a chair… that I spent a year crocheting all over.

So shall we take a tour? The roof is crocodile stitch (see my tutorial), and walls are a brick stitch that I improvised, loosely based on equivalent stitches used by others. That rambling rose took flippin’ ages to embroider:-

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover roses flowers

The garden was fun, and provided plenty of blog-fodder along the way.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

The lavender came out quite well:-

crochet garden lavender embroidery

There was cake:-

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover cake

And flower-beds and veg-beds that took an age to make.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover flowers

The rambling rose needed a sturdy trunk:-

And whoever was to sit on the picnic blanket needed a good book:-

And just to make it realistic, there’s a pigeon in the vegetable patch:-

pigeon

The pigeon is rather small, and was a tad fiddly to make:-

crochet pigeon

Want to see the back? It’s very plain:-

So, whilst I’m not about to rush off and make another one, I’ll grudgingly concede that this yarn journey has been rather a lot of fun.

crochet ikea poang chair coverMany of you have shown huge encouragement along the way. THANK YOU for your loyalty and kindness, you crazy enablers! I hope that the result has put a tiny smile on your face.

Meanwhile, I don’t know how much each tiny weeny little yarny stitch weighs, but the fact that the cover alone (minus cushion) weighs 2.5 kg (5lb, 6oz) should give you an idea of just how many stitches went into this beast. Quite possibly over a million.

All sorts of yarn was pulled into service, especially anything green. There’s hand-dyed merino and there’s mass-produced acrylic. But I do want to thank my friends at Stylecraft, because there’s a lot of Stylecraft Special in this thing, especially DK-weight amongst the flowers and pond, and their chunkier weights for the back of the cover.

crochet garden knitted

Anyway, to conclude this family saga, the psychologist showed the Stoic Spouse the finished chair, and encouraged him to sit in it. But although he admired it and said nice things, he refused to sit, claiming that the chair cover might get damaged if people used it. The psychologist pointed out that she’d made it practically bomb-proof, and it was designed to be used. Still, the Stoic Spouse refused. The psychologist, being a reasonable sort, offered him a choice between sitting in the chair, and divorce. The Stoic Spouse chose divorce.

But what he doesn’t yet know, is that in the divorce settlement, I shall make sure that the only piece of seating he ends up with is this chair, so he will have to sit in it!

The end. (We’re not really getting a divorce, by the way.)

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Rhubarb!

All right, all right, you lot. I can see how titling a post ‘Finished Object’ might have given the teeniest impression that I’d finally finished that project. Sorry. But your comments have also nudged me to get on with final push towards completion, so thank you. Though when I do weave in the last end, I’ll be posting under a considerably more hysterical title than ‘Finished Object’. Look out for a post titled OMG, OMG, IT’S DONE, IT’S DONE, IT’S DONE! SQUEEEEE!!!!!!!! Unless the finished job looks a bit rubbish, in which case you’ll find me sitting on the floor in the corner, nursing a bottle of gin.

crochet embroidered cottage house

A detail…

Anyway, thank you for stirring me back into yarny horticultural action. In case you’re new to this ludicrous thing, it’s… hard to explain. Far too long ago (I’m not even sure that Europeans had arrived in the Americas yet) I had one of those ridiculous ideas that really should have been taken out back and throttled immediately. But instead of thinking Nope, that’s a stupid idea, I decided to go ahead. You see, after designing/making this bag in the shape of a cottage, I started dreaming a little bigger. Because if you can make a small bag look like a cottage, why can’t you do the same to a large piece of furniture?

crochet embroidered cottage house

With a bit of manic effort, I got the cottage part done fairly speedily, but as many of you will know, I got a bit lost in the garden, for a while. No longer! Look, I’ve finished another flower bed!

crochet garden knitted

And just to add to the veg patch, I’m rather pleased with this rhubarb. (Stylecraft Batik ‘Raspberry’ is pleasingly perfect for the stems.)

crochet rhubarb

The problem is – and it’s a big problem – that as I finish each section, I look at previous sections and think Hmm, that could be better. So I started crocheting lily leaves for the pond, instead of the messy embroidered ones.

knitting crochet pond garden

And now I’m thinking, Hmm, I never really have been happy with the water. So I’m wondering about crocheting something in a colour that’s a little more murky. Meanwhile, I can’t leave this thing around without some small child parking their toy cars on it or moving diggers in to begin building work. Sigh.

But I have a target: it shall be done and shown here by the end of this month. There, I’ve said it out loud. I have a confession, though: there’s an even more ambitious idea swilling around in the fevered backwaters of my brain.

crochet garden knitted flowers

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Back In The Crochet Garden

Dear blog,

I’ve neglected your regular silliness business, what with all those giveaways and other stuff.

So I thought it was high time to drop in on a project that’s been slowly (very slowly) progressing in the background whilst I’ve been on here chattering about other things.

Yes, if you’ve been reading here a’while: you’ll know the one. The over-ambitious furniture-related one that began with a house, and which is now slowly (oh-so-slowly) acquiring a garden. It’s so close to the sewing-up-and-revealing stage that I’m starting to have even more ambitious ideas about how to embellish its craziness. Would you like to see the latest additions?

I’ve been crocheting all sorts of flowers and shrubs, making it up as I go along, but a lot of the leaves are longer-thinner/shorter-wider versions of this. Also, I’ve made lavender (using Stylecraft Batik, in shades that couldn’t be more perfect for lavender if they tried):-

make lavender with yarn

Planted in its new home, it looks like this:-

make lavender crochet garden embroidery

And stepping back for yet another gratuitous shot, here it is again with the picnic blanket in the background:-

crochet garden lavender embroidery

Would you like to see a little more around the rest of the garden? There aren’t many bare patches left to fill (which is more than can be said for my progress on the real garden that I’m supposed to be redeveloping). Here’s a selection of views, taken as we stroll across the lawn and beside the pond.

crochet knitted circle pond garden

The flower beds are nearly full:-

crochet garden embroidery flowers

…though this one is still my favourite:-

crochet garden embroidery flowers

And the vegetable garden is neatly regimented. I’m particularly proud of the cauliflowers:-

crochet vegetable garden cauliflower lettuce carrot

Let’s have one more shot…

crochet garden embroidery flowers

Meanwhile, there’s still time to sponsor me for the Oxford Half Marathon that I’m running on 9th October in aid of the wonderful Nasio Trust and their work supporting disadvantaged children in rural Kenya. More details are in this blog post. So how’s training going? Well… the good news is that I’ve already run the whole distance (13.1 miles / 21.1 km) in a training run a couple of weeks ago. BUT the less-good news is that I’ve had a horrid cold-cough for the last 10 days, and I currently can’t run very far without hacking a cough that suggests most of my disposable income goes on tobacco. (No, I don’t smoke.) I’m determined to complete the race this Sunday, and to do so running, but this one’s gonna hurt. I will, however, definitely be able to run faster and further if lots of people are generous enough to sponsor me for this for this fabulous cause. Any amount, large or small, will make a real difference to children’s lives. A huge THANK YOU to those of you who have sponsored me already from both near and afar. The page where you can do so is right here. Many thanks.

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In The Yarn Garden

Evenin’.

I’ve been busy in the garden. Not the real garden, you understand, where overgrown shrubs fight vicious battles for legroom, and where convolvulus sneaks across the lawn when it thinks nobody’s looking, although if we’re talking about the real garden, I’m quite partial to this quiet corner:-

the garden

No, I’m talking about the garden of the crochet house-related project. It’s going to be detailed, with paths and a pond, and lots of flowers and general garden stuff, but you have to begin with the basics. Those three 100g balls of poo-coloured mud-coloured acrylic-alpaca I bought a couple of days ago?

image

2½ of them are now bare earth, ready for flowers and veg. I’ve been busy. I crocheted in bed. I crocheted in the bath. I crocheted whilst cooking and whilst reading stories to the Tyrannical Twinnage. I worked 108 rows of 99 single crochet stitches: that’s 10962 stitches. So I now have a big ol’ square of neat rows of earth onto which to attach my deliberately-wibbly-wobbly lawn. Sorry, fingers: I’m sure you’ll overcome the pain eventually.

So, badly lit by artificial light, here’s the basis of the garden. I couldn’t take photos any earlier: the Tyrannical Twinnage were swarming. I know there are only two of them but I swear they can swarm.

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Speaking of the twinnage, I’ve had to face the fact that they really are going to be starting school in a mere couple of weeks’ time, so we’ve been out and about buying the various bits and pieces they need. Since when did school uniform become so casual?! In my day, we tied a neat striped tie before going to school, and wore skirts with immaculate pleats. So what’s with all these sweatshirts and tracksuit bottoms they wear now? Am I sounding old, just a tad? At least there’s no need for me to master the arcane art of… ironing. But seriously, how many shirts and pairs of trousers are you supposed to buy? When the twinnage come home from a day at nursery, really everything needs to go in the wash. Immediately. Preferably handled with tongs from a safe distance. Does that mean I need two times five of everything to withstand a week of school? All advice appreciated…

Anyway, we should talk about yarn. A few of you asked in the comments about the limited edition Stylecraft packs of the 10 shades we shortlisted for the colour competition.

image

Well if you’re interested in buying, they’ll be available from mid-October. And watch this space for a giveaway…

Talking of giveaways, you have not much more than twelve more hours to enter the Burrow And Soar giveaway! The competition ends at midday GMT tomorrow (Thursday). SORRY FOLKS, THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. RESULTS COMING SOON. Anyone not entered yet? I can promise you that this yarn is luscious. The results will be posted on this site. 🙂

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Knitted flowers, crocheted flowers

Work on the blog header continues. Now that the header itself is finished, I’m crocheting/knitting some foliage and flowers to go round the edge. Progress is slow:-

Crocheted and knitted flowers

Crocheted and knitted flowers

I am particularly keen on these rosebuds. It’s amazing what you can achieve at 3am when you’re too preoccupied to sleep!

Crocheted rosebuds

Crocheted rosebuds

All the flowers are from this book. ‘Tis the only book on the subject I could find locally, but I do like the fact that it’s bicraftual, rather than focusing on solely knitting or solely crochet:-

100 Flowers To Knit And Crochet

100 Flowers To Knit And Crochet

It’s cheering to be creating these blooms on a cold, grey day. That said, I just found this beauty right outside my front door. Look, you can even see the creases in the petals where they were folded inside the bud:-

Late poppy

Late poppy

And the bell pepper plant on the windowsill carries bravely on. Next year I’m going to plant a whole little hedge of these peppers indoors. They are SO easy to care for.

Bell pepper

Bell pepper

 

 

 

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