Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ella's cushion -- Dresden plate pattern done in wool.

This is Ella's cushion.  Ella is my 22-month-old Field Spaniel that thinks she's a lap dog.  She certainly believes she fits perfectly on this cushion and that well, frankly, she owns it.  Adults can perch their feet on a small corner but should, by no means, feel the cushion is theirs.

The cushion cover was made by me using various leftover wools.  The red panel is a wool and possum blend that didn't felt as tightly as I wanted and, as you can see, was weak, leading to a hole.  The center section is a sturdy wool tweed, knit in a wide rib and then smocked using the red yarn to tie the panels together.  The variegated panel was a yarn I hand-dyed myself that just happened to match the other two.  I knit and felted the three panels, sewed them together, and made a cushion for this lazy Susan ottoman we have.

Obviously, once the holes appeared, I started thinking of how to replace the cushion and what I wanted.  The original cushion was thicker and was a boring tapestry thing that came with the ottoman.  I didn't even wait for that to wear out before making the paneled cushion.

The new cushion would use a Dresden Plate quilting pattern.  I've posted about my love of American quilts before.  I never get tired of the play of pattern.  Naturally, I gravitated for the color wheel classic of red/blue/yellow.  I even found a 12-panel Dresden Plate pattern to use, planning for 4 repeats of the colors.  But, that green kept sneaking in to the pile.  The couch opposite this ottoman is dark green leather.  So, green always feels right.

 Here's the layout of the panels.  I had 2 fabrics in each color.  Every panel has texture of some kind -- plaid or stripe or whatever.  Most are hand-dyed by me or someone like me.

Now to the stitching.  Given that Ella was going to lay on this thing, it needed to be strong.  So, I machine-stitched the panels together along their long sides.  Then I blanket stitched the entire motif to the background wool.  This was tricky because it is big.  The motif measures 20 inches across.
After doing the outside, I very carefully pinned and started going over each long side with another type of blanket stitch.  This stitching was reinforcement and I did it to make sure everything stayed put with a 35-pound dog jumping up onto it.

Finally, I made a penny rug center to cover the big hole.  That was the hardest part to sew on because the rough cut hole kept shifting.  I probably should have basted everything on first but it was too late for that.  I just made do.

Below are shots of the finished cushion made using some foam from the craft store.  I love the final product, especially since the only supply I actually had to buy was the foam for the cushion!  What that tells me is that I have WAY too much wool in storage in my cedar closet.  I better come up with some more projects QUICK!!

As you can see, Ella approves.  Good dog.

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