[whispers] It’s done.
Let me tell you a story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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:-
The garden was fun, and provided plenty of blog-fodder along the way.
The lavender came out quite well:-
There was cake:-
And flower-beds and veg-beds that took an age to make.
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:-
The pigeon is rather small, and was a tad fiddly to make:-
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.
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.
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.)