A Very Brady Chair Cushion
July 28, 2006
Yesterday a random boy came up to me and said, “Wanna see my bug?” He reached into a tiny paper bag and pulled out, by a lacy wing, the hugest dead cicada I’d ever seen. Big old meaty bug. Goodgriefboydontshowmestufflikethat is what I wanted to say, but instead I told him it was a fine bug and asked what he was going to do with it. “Keep it,” he said.
It’s buggy up here, I tell you.
Sister Buffy arrived on Saturday with her two children for a two-week deployment, so things have been kind of busy around here. I can’t really tell you what we’ve been doing exactly, but generally, it has to do with feeding, talking, sitting, keeping her scrapbooking on schedule, making sure there’s enough badminton happening, and trying to not be in my PJs after ten o’clock in the morning.
I paid Buffy fifty cents to get rid of a cricket in the kitchen. I used to pay her when we were growing up to kill crickets, because our house had a never-ending population of big brown gross ones that didn’t look like Jiminy Cricket; they looked like pirates of the Caribbean. I’d like to say she humanely ushered it outside, but we subscribe to the belief that a bug outside is a sacred beautiful cog in the wheel of nature’s elegant machine and proof that there’s order in the universe, while a bug inside is the ENEMY. She dropped the current issue of Real Simple magazine on it. “That was real simple,” she said.
Anyway, we went to Nashville last weekend, and I honestly can’t believe I did this, but I went directly to the yarn shop in search of yarn for making rocking chair cushions. It’s sick, I tell you. Just ill. I have all sorts of projects half baked this summer, but ever since I finished painting those chairs, I have been consumed with thoughts of chair cushions. I wanted them to be quick knits, which would require chunky yarn, which was absent from the porta-stash I brought up here to the Mountain. That’s how I ended up going to the yarn shop when I really had no business doing such a thing.
I had in mind a felted chair cushion, one that would have maybe some simple stitching on it that would felt into a blurry, pretty decorative element. All those beautiful Noni bags are so great–and that famous Nicky Epstein bag with all the trailing vegetation. Lurvly! I do not seem able to carry a felted bag as my purse, so at least I could enter the decorative felted world by adapting some of those ideas on a cushion. And the more you bottom-felted them, the blurrier and softer the decoration would be.
The more I pondered this, the more it was clear that a summertime screened porch rocking chair cushion would just be miserable if it were wool. Bleh! Hot! Itchy! Cotton or linen are the only real options. But chunky cotton? Hard to find. Chunky linen? Maybe. But the shop didn’t have the zippy shades I was seeking to make these cushions the cheerful mini-fiestas I was craving. After all, I have a world of cream-colored chairs to overcome. These cushions had to be a picante sauce.
I ended up standing, as you often do, in front of the Cotton Classic. The wall of cheer, really. If I doubled the Cotton Classic, I would have access to that wondrous rainbow of colors. I left with a bag of happy yarn, and commenced to swatching.
With felting out of the question, I immediately turned to the Big Dotty pattern that I used for the piano bench cushion that’s in the book. I’ve always wanted to try it larger, in bright colors. Here’s what came of that, with doubled Cotton Classic on a size 10 needle:
Very Laugh-In. One of the things I’ve noticed in these cottages here in at the Monteagle Assembly is that you can instantly tell when a house had its last bit of decorating done. There’s a lot of sheet vinyl kitchen flooring in that avocado and gold Moorish tile pattern. You see chairs with 1960s florals, crewelwork pillows from Erica Wilson’s glory days in the ’70s, and plenty of giant armchairs from the ’80s now slipcovered to disguise their sins. I hope, 20 years from now, people will mistake this cushion for a project from 1968.
More on the construction of this cushion later. Here’s what I’ve got so far, a quick two nights’ worth of knitting, which included–o rare treat—an episode of the new season of Project Runway.
I think I like it as much or more on the dark chairs, the ones that wisely evaded my paintbrush:
One profound truth so far: these big needles make knitting a snipsnap piece of CAKE! Why didn’t you tell me about these before?