If you know of an old POÄNG chair that's looking a little worse for wear, you could take a page from Philippa Saul's book and cover it top to bottom with a glorious, hand-crocheted (-knitted and -embroidered) country cottage and garden.
The POÄNG transformation took Saul a year to complete, which she outlines in detail on her website — head over to The Twisted Yarn for a full house- and- garden tour (of the chair), complete with close-ups on its smoking chimney, its golden door knocker (!) and its facade-clinging rambling rose. (My favorites are the patch of lavender, the seagull and the open book.) It's fantastic.
I also asked Saul if she'd be up for answering a few questions about this incredible chair over email, and she very kindly was.
Do you have a personal favorite "corner" of the chair?
Hmm, possibly the right hand corner of the garden beside the house, because all those pink and purple flowers work quite well together and against the bright green grasses. It felt a little like real gardening, in that I couldn't be sure how it would work out, which plants would stand tall, and which plants would shrivel and wither. That said, it looks a lot healthier than my real garden.
And what's the green-and-red knitting project on the picnic blanket? (A scarf?)
I think it's going to be a jumper, possibly for a small and reluctant child who would rather be given a noisy plastic toy. But stranded knitting is my favourite thing, so I had to include some somewhere on the chair.
I also love your crocheted cottage bag — are you still using it? And are the bag and chair cottages, Nos. 21 and 8, sister cottages on a street in another dimension?
Thank you. I do use it sometimes. But the (not very terrible) problem with designing lots of bags and cowls is that... you end up with rather a lot of bags and cowls.
And yes, numbers 21 (bag) and 8 (chair) are definitely in the same street. Number 21 is smaller and is, I reckon, inhabited by a young couple with a baby, whereas the couple at number 8 are semi-retired and have time on their hands. Number 8 keep their house and garden immaculate, but they secretly feel wistful when they see the boho chic and general chaos at number 21. Meanwhile, the couple at number 21 feel a bit inadequate that their tiny front garden is a mess and they haven't pruned the rose that's climbing their wall, but with a new baby, that ain't gonna happen.
Have you gotten anyone to sit in the chair regularly or with full relaxation since finishing it? It's so beautiful, I understand the hesitation.
Oh yes! I sit in it all the time, but it's important to always check for plastic cows and toy diggers before sitting down, because my twin sons are always trying to turn the garden into a farm or a building site. You can't be too precious about things when there are six-year-olds on the rampage. The only person who has categorically refused to sit in it is my husband.
Thank you, Philippa!