[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.
Many 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.
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.)
I am speechless, words ate not enough to describe the wonderfully, minutely detailed yarn creation you have wrought for a chair. Congratulations on your creativeness, persistence and vision. Wonderful, beautiful!
The only reason, well 2 reasons I wouldn’t sit in the chair is because
1 – the beauty would be hidden
2 – all the flowers and stuff would be squashed, then I would feel the need to. fix it all and have them all back in place stand them all up, get and the book pages up and turning etc.
Exquisite! My yarn bombing group is going to love this!!
Anabel Marsh says
This is so beautiful in (I can say this because you said it first!) a bonkers sort of way. Thank you for visiting The Glasgow Gallivanter – I’m glad you liked the Somme Inspired Community Knitting.
Abso-bloomin-lutely amazing!!! I love it and am in awe of your yarny skills.
Brilliant, just brilliant.
Kris Rasmussen says
AMAZING! The run rampant roses are my favorite part. And Gemma. 🙂 You are gifted in a twisted sort of way ~ a team of horses could not make me sit on your work!
Awesome, I love the story and the chair is amazing
Ulrike Ackermann says
Jane Gourley says
I have just found your blog and OMG! your chair is stunning!!! The fact that your hubby won’t sit in it is because he values it as art. It’s just so clever.
Keep Calm and Crochet On UK says
Absolutely fantastically beautiful in all it’s finish glory! I am so in love with your teeny tiny seagull but it is all stunning.
The Twisted Yarn says
Aww thank you – you’re very kind!
Helen Ryan says
I am embarking on a slow burn knitted/ crocheted farm play at for my new grand daughter. I intend to knit ploughed fields (rib) and meadows (garter, diagonal garter, seed and moss) and cereal fields ( yellow garter and also fear loop). But my worry is that knitting is so geometric. Yes I do want square and oblong fields but I also want free form and random shapes with a meandering stream and winding dividing roads. Not sure how to accomplish this aspect. Would you have any suggestions??? I LOVE your chair. Someone on Ravelry suggested I look. The paths especially. Thanks so much in advance
Mrs G says
Wow, and wow again! Almost makes me want to take up crochet again but sanity will prevail and I’ll just leave it to incredibly talented people like yourself.
I would never sit in it either. I’d want to always admire it from a good vantage point. It’s stunning.
Your chair is so amazing,serious amount of work and the detail is brilliant, well done, I love it.
Kimberly Savage says
That is an absolutely wonderful piece of usable art! I love it! It is made absolutely twice as incredible by the lovely prose you’ve crafted to accompany the yarn journey. I miss the days when I had time to go a little crazy with freeform crochet. For 45 years it’s been serviceable items for children and grandchildren. I feel you’ve lit a spark of whimsy within me to try an adventure in yarn. For that, I thank you. (Have to complete a sweater for oldest dtr before fall, but then, I have a ragged chair that was my grandmothers.)
The Basket Fairy says
Moved to the point of a lump in my throat… By the beauty, the creativity, the… Something special that’s hard to define. Haven’t seen so much playful optimism in a long time.
Hayley McLoughlin says
Oh my goodness – that is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! And I LOVE the story that goes along with it 🙂 I’m with hubby I’m afraid, there’s no way I could ever sit in it, for fear of squashing all of those hours of hard work! The amount of detail is scarily exquisite and it should be treasured forever 🙂
Thank you for brightening up a very glum February day x
I would probably be the kind to sit on a work of art but even with the extra padding I pack on my sitter I suspect it would be a teeny bit uncomfortable which is just as well because I have chair envy and want one
Lynn Butler says
I think this is just amazing! I would sit in it just once because I can see that you designed it to be comfortable, but I would prefer to just gaze upon it. So many moments to see. Wow! Just WOW!
Winwick Mum says
That is a truly amazing chair cover. I wouldn’t want to sit in it either (that cat might have sharp claws!) xx
I haven’t been on wordpress for a while and was looking through my reader to find the post to tell us about the finishing of this epic project (Last time I read you were close to finishing it). And there it was. I had no idea that it would become a chair cover ( I have got the same chair but could never embark on anyhting like this myself) and your new cover is absolutely briliiant. I wouldn’t sit on it either for fear of flattening all the precious vegetation or of pushing Gemma into the pond by accident. I love your “bonkersness” and the glorious creations that come from it, both in words and yarn.
neveratalooseend (Lorna) says
I laughed out loud at your journey from simple chair to knitted/crocheted one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Making people laugh is a gift. So is your crafty ability. Boy – do you use this to the full here xx
Sarah Williams says
It’s amazing! I love the fact you took the idea to full fruition, a unique & incredible piece of work!
The Twisted Yarn says
Thank you so much! (It was a bit crazy, though.)
Diane G. says
OMG! Wow – just wow! Just found your blog today (via Edie Eckman’s new book promotion), and your work is so beautiful and inspirational! And you are a great writer also!
That is incredible!! I saw some photos over at Two Hearts Crochet and assumed it was a wee table decoration or something, not a hugenormous chair cover! I’m in awe
The Twisted Yarn says
Thank you! You’re very kind. 🙂
This is the coolest!!!
Patricia Lloyd says
This is so wonderful! It made me laugh out loud from sheer joy. Thank you for making this. I can’t wait to share it with my friends.
The Twisted Yarn says
Gosh, thank you for such a generous comment! You’re very kind. The chair is a tiny bit bonkers, though…
Helen Bovaird Ryan says
Hi I absolutely love your project. I left a comment earlier but it seems to have disappeared. About knitting/ crocheting a farmyard. I wondered if you had any advice on how to combine geometric fields with more random free form shapes and streams and paths? I am now thinking knit a basic mat in squares and then overlay the free form roads and irregular fields and winding roads – done maybe in crochet as easier to make curves? Do you have any advice? Many thanks. And once again congrats. Helen
Kerry Wallis beluke on Ravelry says
Yes, you absolutely are bonkers! But in the best and most creative way. What a fantastic (and fantastical) chair. I’m sorry but I’m with your husband. No way could I sit on that! Too hard to look at it and admire in then. Tell your husband when the divorce comes through he and the chair could set up home with me and he and I can sit on the floor (as the younger person he needs to be prepared to pull me back up afterwards) and admire your handiwork.
Larry King says
The chair is beyond words. It should be in a museum so people can admire and marvel at how it was made. It should be entered in any show or fair so everybody could see it. You should be so proud of your creative talent.
The Twisted Yarn says
Gosh, thank you. You’re very kind!
Exquisite. Glorious. Lush. Imaginative. Spouse and twinage are very lucky.
Maxine Jones. Maxxam Art - Home | Facebook www.facebook.com/Maxxam-Art-802927333117904 says
A link to your chair was just shared today on Knitting Paradise, a daily conversation about knitting. Someone asked for suggestions on covering a chair. This is fantastic! I am now in love…lol. You’re not ‘bonkers’, you are a creative genius!
Dit is ongelooflijk mooi! Je raakt niet uitgekeken op al die kleine details! Proficiat! Zo creatief!
It made me smile!
Hi. Great stuff. Do you have a sort of a pattern for this (apart from the brick stitch and crocodile stitch that Is!!
The Twisted Yarn says
Not really. I did design a much smaller bag using similar ideas: here
But all the flowers and vegetables were made up as I went along…
Janet Powell says
Oh my gosh, that is amazing, not only do i love crochet but im a big fan of dolls house miniatures too i might be inspired to turn something i own into a little work of art, i couldn’t sit on it though i’d be afraid to squash the garden
oh and i’d feel like Alice when she grew big and squished things
Yolande Bergeron says
QUE C’EST BEAU
The work, the details, the creativity is MERVEILLEUX. The question is DO YOU SIT ON IT?
Merci, to have share with all of us your beautiful creativity
The Twisted Yarn says
Hi Yolande, Thank you so much! I do sit on it, and my children use it as a sort of play mat. I have to check for toy cattle and diggers before I sit down!
Please, broke me a leg!
I need seated-time to do the same!!!
Thank you for this!
Alka Suresh Gudadhe says
First, I am very much thankful to you for your wonderful work which inspired me. I am also blogger and name of my blog is “Alka and Arts”. Today on Mother’s day, I write a post in which I wanted to thank you. But unfortunately I am unable to remember that where I have seen that knitted chair, in which blog. I posted my work but still my search goes on and finally I found that post of chair in you blog. I am so happy that now I can say thanks to you.
So I request you to please permit me to share your photo of that knitted chair. I will ofcourse mention your blog site also.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Elizabeth Grey says
Love, love, LOVE your chair! Radiant imagination, beautiful execution, exquisite craftswomanship. There’s no way I would let anyone sit in that chair! There was an American crafts magazine in the early 70s whose many projects exhibited the same whimsical quality. It was called “American Home Crafts.” If you can find one, grab it. I bet you’ll like it. Again, kudos on your beautiful work!
Patricia Wolf says
Hello, I just came across your page as I was looking for things pleasing to the eye and when I saw this chair I was / am totally bowled over! It’s stunning! Amazing! And your story explaining the life of the chair makes it all the more lovely. I’m enthralled… my eyes are looking around the living room and have come to rest on my grandmothers mission-ish style rocking chair which looks like it’d be perfect if only it had its own lake house. Thank you for sharing.