Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Patchwork Chair Progress

Since painting the mantel white Sunday, my vision for my patchwork wing chair that will ultimately sit beside it has changed a bit, and I've removed the bolder-colored patches and replaced them with softer-colored ones.  The past few days have been contented quiet ones--my favorite kind--that have found me cutting up some of my vintage handkerchiefs and leftover fabric pieces into patches and sewing them onto a thicker white backing fabric, pinning the new patches onto the original quilt's "grid" with straight pins, and arranging and rearranging them while Stuffed dozily watches from his new favorite nap-spot behind the box fan on the floor.  I have skipped my morning walks the past few days and been a hand-stitching homebody instead, stopping for sun tea breaks and meal breaks and email/online reading breaks, happily in the zone where you  finally see the way you wanted your project to look all along and you delight in every moment's work that brings you closer to getting it done. 
I'm still a long way from being done--I haven't covered the arms yet or done anything, really, besides the back-rest part here, but I can already tell that this chair is going to be one of My Favorite!  Things!  Ever!    so I am enjoying every snip and stitch. 
Our apartment feels a little homier each week lately, for some reason I haven't put my finger on yet.  Something just seems to have shifted recently, or a corner has been turned in all the decorating and arranging and organizing, but home really feels like Home lately, much cozier and more "Us" than it was even a couple months ago.  The bedroom is still completely undone with nothing on the walls, the landlord's window blinds are still up instead of the curtains I have in mind, and some boxes and bags from our August 2011 move-in are still stacked in a corner, but the rest of our tiny home is really coming together, and it's been sweet to watch that unfold.  Maybe the patchwork chair is absorbing some of the joy around it.  I've felt happier and both lighter and more grounded when I've looked at it this week.
Some of the chair's patches are from a battered old quilt-top of my grandparents'.  Others are sections of fabric I had saved after other projects.  The white dotted Swiss striped squares used to be my bedroom curtains at my parents' house.  A few of the handkerchiefs were from friends.  The original quilt-top I'm using as a grid by attaching my own patches onto was a $5 find at a flea market a few years ago.  Like most anyone who works with vintage items, and perhaps especially people who admire patchwork quilts, I wonder at the story behind each piece:  Was this once a child's favorite dress?  Did someone go for a walk with the love of her life while wearing that fabric?  In whose pocket or handbag was this lovely scalloped handkerchief, and to where-all did it travel?  Was that piece salvaged from a grandmother's tablecloth or a father's favorite shirt?  Was this gingham flower-and-giraffe print chosen for a little one on the way or for one who was already toddling around with blankie in-hand?  I'd love to listen to every single story.  I like to think that somehow, all the patches' original owners can see me as I admire and affix all these little pieces of their lives to this chair in my home now.  It's nice to believe that. 
I've already added my initials to a rose-covered quilt square here, and I think when I'm finally ready to declare the chair done, I'll embroider the date and a short note onto one last patch that will someday let its next owners know, if it won't be obvious to them already, that this was made with love.  

20 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

What a love chair.. not a wing chair that will be.. unless we interpret wing chair to mean an angel chair..
Love that you are using meaningful fabrics.
It will be my fave chair also~

Nellie said...

That is such a meaningful project, Val. I love the more subdued colors.
xo

Val said...

Thank you, Monique and Nellie. :)

And yes, just like with the mantel, once I switched to the softer colors, it all started to come together.

"Meaningful," yes. And we'll see what else--and from whom--I add to it before it's finished. Thank you both for your kind comments. ♥

Carol said...

Your pillow ought to fit nicely there

:-)

Val said...

It is handmade in pink with hearts, Carol. That pillow fits everywhere here. :) ♥

Lisa said...

What is more wonderful than that homey feeling?

Madelief said...

Hi Val,

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog! Love the way your patchwork chair turn out. It's things like this which make your house special!!!

Happy day,

Madelief x

Rose Garden Romantic said...

Oh so pretty!!! I love those softly colored vintage hankies!

Val said...

Yes, Lisa, yes. ♥

Thank you, Madlief and Michelle. :)

Val said...

Madelief, that should have read. :)

Art and Sand said...

I L O V E all the sweet fabrics you are using. And I can't wait to see the soft patchwork covering the wing chair.

Because my sister bought my parents' home, she has all of my mother's old things. Among them is the lovely handkerchiefs she kept in boxes. I asked my sister if we could find them because I want to make something from them.

Have fun making your home homier.

Val said...

Thank you, Carol. Whatever you make with your mom's handkerchiefs will be beautiful, I'm sure.

June said...

I'm so glad to hear that you are feeling more content and at home Val. When we are able to put our own 'stamp' on them they seem to give us more energy and contentment and all seems right with the world. I love your idea of covering your chair in a patchwork cover. It will be beautiful!!!
sending hugs...

Val said...

Thank you, June. :) "Home" is so important because it affects so much in ourselves and others. Yes. ♥

Taby Jean said...

I can not wait to see the finished project, it looks so lovely! Isn't having a good home project just about the best thing ever?

asmplelife said...

Val, that patchwork quilt is just lovely. As your home will be when your vision comes together. There really is no place like home. Thank you for the kind words and checking in on me. It is simply the nicest thing to have friends in this world that you've yet to meet. You are a dear one! And I hope your great-aunt is recovered by now.

Val said...

Thank you, Taby Jean and Cheryl. :)

I just ordered a few fabrics and an upholstery trim to finish the chair, so I'm hoping to show you the final photos soon. It's certainly a labor of love, yes.

And my great-aunt is home from the rehab center, yes, thank you. She's 88 and just beautiful and is doing pretty well. She deserves a post of her own one of these days. ♥

Thank you again. :)

Lisa said...

Val! Please send me an email, if you still have my email address - I'm a dope, and didn't save yours (although I thought I had).

Lisa

Val said...

Hi, Lisa--

I just emailed you.

Tobias said...

Cool!