Recovering a Vintage Pin and Thread-keep Rocking Chair

Janet Popish © 2009

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I found this little rocking chair in an antique shop. It is similar to one I already own that belonged to my grandmother. She told me that someone in her family made it for her. She was born in 1902 and probably gave her chair to me in the 1960s. I put it away for safekeeping, and of course, now can’t find it, but it seems like it must have been made from the same pattern as this one. Perhaps it was made from a pattern printed in a popular magazine, as this is now the third such chair I know of in Colorado.

Since I discovered crazy quilting, I have thought that Grandma’s little chair would look really good with crazy quilted cushions, but just couldn’t bring myself to take it apart. Then I found the other one, and since I had no sentimental attachment to it, it was fair game for getting a crazy quilted makeover.

I began by taking the cushions off. They were glued onto the wood, but with a little gentle prying with a kitchen knife they came loose. Then I removed the old upholstery fabric from the cushion bases (it was attached with heavy duty staples). The cushion bases looked to be handmade. They were foam rubber glued to stiff cardboard, and I decided I would keep them and reuse them.

To make the foundation for each cushion, I drew around the cardboard base, leaving a generous allowance that would be taken up by the height of the cushion.

Each foundation was then pieced and embellished in my usual fashion. I chose to keep the embellishment simple; just embroidery, and scaled a bit smaller to fit the size of the chair.

When the embellishment was done, I used a glue gun to attach the CQ pieces to the cushions. First I glued down the corners, and then the sides; next the top and bottom, pulling snugly, but not too tightly.

Another round of hot glue to the backs of the cushions, and they are ready to be placed on the chair.

All the while that I was working on this little project, I kept thinking about a pattern I have for stuffed bunny rabbits and their clothing. For no particular reason, I had the urge to find the pattern and make a bunny. I just couldn’t seem to get it out of my mind, so finally I went to the box in which I keep my patterns. There, on the top of the patterns, was Grandma’s rocking chair!

Now I see that there are some major differences in the patterns used for the wood parts of the chairs. Grandma’s chair is slightly wider and taller. It has two smaller holes under the arm on each side, where the antique store chair has one large hole. The drawer under the seat is different, and there is a slot for scissors on the back of Grandma’s chair.

All in all, I’m very happy to have both little chairs; one with great sentimental value, and one with a bit of me added to it. Who knows, maybe someday one of my descendants will have a sentimental attachment to the “new” chair, too!

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