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.