Further Adventures In The Abstract Garden

The Finished Cushion

The Finished Cushion

You may recall that I worked an abstract piece of canvaswork inspired by a vegetable garden. When I’d finished it, I didn’t like it very much, and really didn’t know what to do with it. However, my cousin (who comments here occasionally as Action Ma’am) did not suffer from the same problem. Not only did she like it, she knew what to do with it. I’ve asked her to write up what she did, and here’s what she wrote:

Having commented how the abstract garden canvas reminded me of my veg garden, I was delighted when Rachel offered it to me. I knew exactly what to do – it had already told me it wanted to be on a cushion for the armchair in the conservatory. My guess that the red of the canvas was the same as the red of the upholstery was spot on.

Close Up Of The Corner Trim

Close Up Of The Corner Trim

I don’t have a sewing machine, so Fiona my curtain-maker agreed to put the cover together for me. Not having done any needlework for many years, I was quite alarmed at the prospect of “getting it right”. Rachel and I had an email discussion about how to straighten the canvas and apply it to the velvet, handstitching it in place. To emphasize the garden theme, I had chosen some gimp braid to cover the edges of the canvas. The loops of the braid echo the hoops of the iron edging you sometimes find around borders in posh parks and gardens. I also chose some green fringe to define clearly where the cushion ended and the chair began.

The Cushion On Its Chair

The Cushion On Its Chair

Whilst I was still thinking about getting started, Fiona phoned to say she could deliver a bedspread she had been making for me the next day. This was too good an opportunity to miss. I took the afternoon off work, a deep breath, gritted my teeth and leapt in. The stripes on the velvet helped in getting the canvas straight, the braid hid the edge of the canvas, and two hours later, it was ready for Fiona.

Whilst the cover was away being made up, I found a necklace in an accessories shop, with a green wellington boot charm on it. I bought four as a finishing touch.

The abstract garden canvas is now a happy cushion, nestling into the crook of the chair arm, and kicking its welly-booted heels in the air. I don’t think the chair intends letting go of it any time soon!


  1. Brilliant! Amazing what a bit of teamwork can achieve.

  2. Faith says:


  3. Penny says:

    One would never have an English vegetable garden without wellies!….Perfect.

  4. Penny says:

    Wow this piece of needlework was made for this purpose. Its perfect and perfectly lovely.

  5. coral-seas says:

    If I were that chair, I would not let go of that cushion, either! Fabulous! Your cousin and Fiona did a great job and the wellies are a touch of genious.

  6. Anita says:

    Wow! lovely cushion.The boot charm is so cute 🙂

  7. Elmsley Rose says:

    It looks like it’s fond the perfect home! Wow, it matches that chair!

  8. Fabulous – the texture of the velvet and the fringing go so well with the stitching …. and I love the fun wellies!

  9. The perfect application of a solution to a problem. I have no idea why you didn’t like the piece but that happens sometimes. I know I will stitch something, hate it, put it away, pull it out years later and think, “that isn’t so bad”. I don’t think you will get this piece back to be able to do this!

  10. Susan says:

    WOW – your needlework is Crazy Amazing! I’ve never even seen anything like it – am filled with admiration.

    Hope you’re having a Merry Christmas!


  11. karen says:

    amazing!! now I’m wondering if I have a cousin like yours anywhere!

  12. Kathy says:

    Hi Rachel,
    You have a BRILLIANT sister! I love this cushion and it sits beautifully on the chair. The addition of the wellie charms is delightful. Needlepoint has never appeal that much to me – I went through a short bargello phase years ago – but this piece is fresh and beautiful. The colors and the design that leaves some of the canvas open make it really lovely.
    Liebe Grusse,

  13. Lady Fi says:

    It’s found the perfect home and looks wonderful!

  14. Alex says:

    That has worked up beautifully. It’s a delight when somebody loves something so much and the finished cushion is perfect on that chair.

  15. Sandy says:

    I love it! Gardens done in beds are so much easier to work that long rows of vegetables, and the whole finish just works together wonderfully.

  16. Jan says:

    This is a lovely piece and I’m glad you’re cousin loved it and found the perfect way to finish it to fit into the decor of her home. They were made for each other!

  17. Janice says:

    The cushion looks like it was designed to be exactly that way. Very well done to you, Action Ma’am and Fiona!