I truly do find that my imagination runs the richest when I’m sitting quietly, hands busy with simple repetitive work. Slipping the needle up and down, filling in large swathes of background on a needlepoint for hours on end may sound dull to some, but to me – goodness, I can build and decorate a whole farmhouse in this time, let alone plan the garden and name all the animals.
This morning our old house is cold and shadowy. Abby is buried deeply under her quilts, sick with a sinusy cold. Julian is working from home in the library. I’m sitting in the spot most likely to catch a speck of sun, filling in the background of a Kaffe Fasset needlepoint I started when Mum had her eye surgery. That’s a few years back, but certainly doesn’t make this the oldest needlepoint in my stash – eek! I was working on it this Christmas past – sitting out on the front porch of Mum’s lovely beachside home – when I decided it would be really rather lovely if I turned it into a circular cushion. A lot of extra background would need filling, but we’ve already established I enjoy that :-) So here I sit, the needle slipping up and down and up and down, metres upon metres of 7928 being woven into the canvas.
And of course, this got me to dreaming. Unconnected thoughts and ideas. Until I hit upon the rocking chair sitting across from me. Now, Mum and I each bought one of these rocking chairs from the opshop a few months back. They were a good price and we could imagine all kinds of pretty dressing up. We even bought fabric! Mum took hers home in pieces and I don’t know that said pieces have yet moved from the garage. Of course, that could well be because dear Mum spent 5 out of the first 6 months of the year in Brisbane caring for Nanny and Grandad. After a quick clean, mine was moved into the corner of the living room where I had dreams of gently rocking in lovely comfort whilst doing all those things I like to do.
However – it proved to be a very hard uncomfortable rocking chair and literally hurt my bottom after sitting on it for only a handful of minutes. Weird I know. Totally put me off. All thoughts of reupholstering and painting vanished and the only future I could foresee for this rocking chair was being shoved back into the car and returned to the opshop.
And yet today, as I sat needlepointing, I began to think of other needlepoints I wanted to make. Of the loveliness of the soft brown canvas I was working on. How I needed to order some more from Karen at the Quilters’ Store. How it was just the right width for the rocking chair across from me. How it was really quite a pretty rocking chair. How I could needlepoint it a new cover. Then I could work some miracles on the seat with a bit of webbing and a good piece of foam. And then paint the frame that Parisian black with the ever so slightest edges of rubbed gold.
But what to put on the needlepoint … a rural/coastal scene – like those naive scenes of 18th century American artists where segments of the landscape, its buildings, animals and people are tumbled together with no regard for proportion. A Norfolk pine in the top left hand corner with a kangaroo feeding on the grass below. Green Cape lighthouse in the top right hand corner – with a couple of black swans strutting about. Merimbula Bay with a lovely whale across the middle. And a sunrise of course. A combination of my appliqued hotwater bottle cover and my Whale and her Girl cross stitch pattern. Then, on the seat – that extra comfortable seat with its webbing and foam – a farm house with a row of flowering plums – a wombat, some sheep, a bunny or two, an echidna. Oh yes.
My needle flew faster and faster. I should order the canvas right now! I should get to work on the design RIGHT NOW! I should drag that rocking chair outside THIS MINUTE!
Then I sat the current Kaffe needlepoint canvas atop a thrifted foot stool. Huh! Perfect fit. Now that’s a project that could easily be finished in the next week or so. Then there’s the fox chair just begging for more attention.
Hmmm … perhaps this very very exciting rocking chair revival should be a reward for first finishing off this lovely rich floral piece and the fox chair. That would be sensible.
So in the name of Elinor’s good sense, as opposed to my usual choice of Marianne’s sensibility, I’ve jotted down my notes here so I won’t forget. Maybe I’ll allow myself some fiddling on the computer with the layout. And meanwhile, I shall keep filling in all that 7928.
Oh yes! Such good imagining! I’m so excited!