Knot A Good Day..

Chair 003 Wm


How would we manage without YouTube?

Whatever it is you need to know someone, somewhere, will have made a video to cover it. So much brilliant information and so readily to hand. Yours for the mere click of a mouse. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Take my springs. I’ve watched half a dozen different tutorials now and, as a result, almost as many methods of tying them down. Add into the equation that the stuff used for tying is called ‘laid cord’ and the whole process known as ‘lashing’.. well you can imagine that Google searches are becoming a tad fraught.

It took only five minutes to realise, in spite of video evidence to the contrary, that an upholsterer needs more than two hands. You may have noticed the springs are quite large. Perhaps starting from scratch I might have bought a smaller size. But the second chair of the pair stands testimony: into a flat seat they do indeed go. And then there are the knots. We spent much of the morning on diagrams, the newly conscripted Assistant Upholsterer and I, bits of string in hand. Like a couple of kids at Scout Camp. Hitch knots, slip knots, locking knots. Which knot goes where and what am I supposed to do with this left over end?

Mike was to hold down the springs while I tied the knots. Within the confines of a wooden frame that’s easier said than done. Tempers swiftly frayed. It’s important that the springs stay straight, even when compressed. Whilst I could admire the sinuous curves on ours, they’re not meant to perform yoga. Our second attempt was looking better and I thought we had cracked it. And possibly we had until the very last row..

As the final tack is hammered home..

The pressure contained in the tightly coiled wire becomes just too much..

The springs explode skyward, not one row but two..

And tacks start to fly through the air.. Β one rattling off a picture on the far wall.


We will have another go.

Sometime next week. Maybe.

When the longer tacks have arrived.


2018-02-08T20:31:24+00:00October 5th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. haggiz October 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I’m sorry, I shouldn’t laugh, but the vision of you looking on you tube at ‘lashing’ and whatever that brought up and then dodging flying tacks was just too much! I look forward to seeing the finished result though πŸ™‚ Julie x

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      The finished result may be a long time coming at this rate.. take care Julie x

  2. Denise October 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply


    Looking forward to Attempt Part Deux!

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      My preferred method for dealing with the springs is called the ‘French tie’. I stopped googling at that point..

  3. wherefivevalleysmeet October 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    The mind boggles at the Youtube videos you may have encountered.
    Not upholstered a chair myself, but I imagine there will be a limit on how many tack holes you can make in one chair – so very good luck with your next attempt.
    Hope you will show the completely finished article sometime in the future.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      You are spot on Rosemary. I am beginning to get worried about all my abortive tack holes. To some extent, hammering in a new tack closes the gap created by the old. But I am hoping that the longer tacks, finding more solid wood, will achieve more purchase. As long as I don’t just end up splitting the wood. Upholstery, I am discovering, is far more complicated than it seems.

  4. Crafty Gardener October 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again πŸ™‚
    I’d be giving up and finding someone to do it for me.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      It may yet come to that..

  5. justjilluk October 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Ha what a laugh. Good luck I know you will do it, lovely chair deserves it.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      Perhaps I should have started with a footstool. Or a cushion?

  6. nataliescarberry October 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Oh my, you are certainly braver than I. I can hardly wait now for the next installment of the saga after the longer tacks come in. Blessings, Natalie

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      I started it to learn a new skill. If I get to the end it’ll definitely provide that.

  7. Amy at love made my home October 5, 2013 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I just wish that I had seen the video of the upholsterer and their assistant watching all their hard work exploding all over the room! That and the thought of the lashing searches nearly had me thrashing around in hysterics!!!! I do hope that the next try goes better. It will be a wonderful achievment once it is done I am sure.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      It was dramatic that’s for sure!

  8. woolythymes October 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    I love your life! It’s more bizarre than mine!!

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm - Reply


  9. snowbird October 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Hahahahaha….if only I’d had a front seat view of the proceedings!!!! Look forward to part two!xxxx

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      I would have needed to put up bullet proof glass, for health and safety reasons!

  10. islandthreads October 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Jessica your tempers may be frayed but you have brought a smile to many of your readers, I’m giggling, and as I have 2 lovely arts and crafts dinning chairs that I have often thought of repairing and recovering I think it will remain a thought now, I am learning you have to becareful how you word your online searches …. good luck the next time you try, Frances

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      I wouldn’t think my chairs are particularly valuable, there’s plenty of them around. I would be more cautious with a cherished antique. Don’t let me put you off though.. it really depends on the work involved.

  11. rachel October 5, 2013 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    I love these Laurel and Hardy stories…. Keep us posted!

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      Another fine mess..

  12. Jacqueline October 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    ……. and, maybe do it out in the garden ….. it might be safer !!!! XXXX

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Good point..

  13. Janet/Plantaliscious October 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Rather you than me, those springs look mean! Am impressed at your determination – and conscription skills. I hope your relationship and fingers survive, and result in a well sprung chair. At least it will be chair with a story attached, whatever the outcome!

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      I have twice had to ask him not to bleed on my chair. And, I broke a nail.

  14. elaine October 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    I think I have a solution. Get your assistant to sit on the springs on a piece of board – you lay down under the chair and secure them with string and behold flat springs and no mishaps. Perhaps I’ve over-simplified a little but you get the jist.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      My assistant is after danger money already..

  15. knitsofacto October 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    The relish with which you tackle living life dangerously is inspiring but please invest in safety goggles (if you haven’t already) as well as long tacks … my Aunt once almost put an eye out upholstering an Ottoman.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm - Reply

      Our first attempt at tying springs has shown us just how dangerous upholstery can be. What I really need to do is go on a course to learn how to do it properly and safely. I wanted a trial run, to see if I would enjoy it, before shelling out the cash.

  16. countrysidetales October 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Or, just leave it as it is, with a sign propped in front of it advertising it’s usage as a cure for piles. With the money you make you could buy a new chair….. πŸ™‚

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      It may still have such a usage, even when it’s done!

  17. Freda October 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    I was laughing before I even read the text! There is something about that chair and the huge height of those springs and the fact that it appears to be wearing bloomers….lovely. Be safe.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      The springs are very large… quite unbelievably really that they came from the very same chair. The ‘bloomers’ protect Mike’s newly painted legs!!!!

  18. Cumbrian October 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Sounds like there’s more to this upholstering lark than meets the eye.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      You’re not wrong..

  19. Wendy October 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Oh, bad luck for getting so far before the springs and tacks started pinging around the room. I wonder if there’s a video of that happening to someone on YouTube! Good luck with your next attempt.

    • Jessica October 5, 2013 at 11:44 pm - Reply

      If there is I have yet to find it. But taking the bull by the horns I have been searching again tonight, and found a much better way of anchoring the twine. Hopefully it will be a lot safer, and more successful, next time.

  20. wherethejourneytakesme October 6, 2013 at 12:02 am - Reply

    Looks like a tricky operation you have there Jessica!
    I know what you mean about You Tube – I looked for instructions on how to paint a wicker chair and have come away more confused – all I can remember is some mad woman spraying her chair, herself, her garden and her camera whist randomly operating a spray gun and waving it about like some kind of maniac with a machine gun. So the wicker chair remains in my kitchen in its shabby chic and very pink condition until I pluck up the courage to have a go.

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 12:29 am - Reply

      Now, if you’d mentioned it back in January you could have made use of our sitting room ‘spray booth’! Paint spraying can be very messy indeed. But nothing wrong with shabby chic?

      • wherethejourneytakesme October 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm - Reply

        No I agree shabby chic is nice but this is much more shabby than chic – in fact it is grimey and even Vanish hasn’t improved it. I wish I had thought about your spray booth – I would have paid rent to use it!!

        • Jessica October 7, 2013 at 9:52 am - Reply

          Good luck when you do it.. lots of nooks and crannies.

  21. CherryPie October 6, 2013 at 1:00 am - Reply

    i did have a little chuckle at the thought of those springs rebelling.

    I know you will get there in the end πŸ™‚

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      They certainly did that. We will see how they manage against stronger tacks..

  22. Rose H October 6, 2013 at 2:22 am - Reply

    I know exactly what you mean about learning knots from illustrations Jessica…my brain cannot function like that I need someone to show me and then it sinks in.
    I’ve enjoyed the upholstery projects I’ve tackled but as yet I’ve avoided re-springing! The images you’ve conjured have certainly amused me but I do understand the frustration it caused you both. I’m certain the finished chair will be worth the blood, sweat and tears πŸ™‚

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      I hope so Rose! I think I may have been a little over ambitious for a first project. Good to know you’ve got some upholstery experience though!

  23. CJ October 6, 2013 at 7:29 am - Reply

    If I attempted such a thing with my other half, one of us would end up with a hammer in the head. You are right about Youtube – all life is there. I found an excellent demonstration of a new-to-me tripod that I’d been given but couldn’t work. It was all filmed (one-handedly) and demonstrated by a 14-year-old, but it was brilliant – everything we needed to know. Good luck with that chair, it does look tricky but it will be worth it in the end I think.

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      I’m looking forward to finishing it. But then the fun really starts.. it’s one of a pair. The second one will need to be a mirror image of the first!

  24. Ali October 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    You two can do anything! I have faith in you.

    I am also beginning to think paying a large sum of money to someone else to re-upholster my chair was a very good move indeed….

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      The footstool that I should have started with is looking like an attractive proposition at this point..

  25. Denise October 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I MUST look up on YouTube “How to Knit!” and teach myself this winter!

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      I shall be doing the same Denise, or re-teaching myself… I wonder how much it’s changed in 20 plus years.

  26. Gill October 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    I would definitely recommend a course if you can find one – so much more fun than upholstering alone!
    If you’re running out of ‘good wood’ to nail into you might like to fill the old holes with a wood filler!

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Gill, thanks and welcome to rusty duck.
      I am keen to do a course and have been thinking about it for a year or two. The nearest is a couple of hours drive away, hence wanting to play around a bit before committing. Thanks for the filler tip too… it may well come to that!

  27. Jo October 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Rather you than me. You Tube is great for information, isn’t it? I learnt to crochet from tutorials on there.

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      It is amazing to think that when I first learnt to knit there was no internet, at all. Let alone tutorial videos for free.

  28. Simone October 6, 2013 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    You could always use a foam pad instead!!! Wouldn’t quite be the same though would it?!!!

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Noooooo!!! πŸ™‚

  29. Anna October 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Hope that you haven’t tied yourselves up in knots. I wouldn’t like to think of you permanently attached to that chair for eternity. There must have been much laughter involved in the learning process!

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      Yes, thankfully! I have just read that the new tacks will be delivered tomorrow. Yikes.. I was hoping for a day or two to think and reflect..

  30. Helen October 6, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    You can use wood glue to fill in the tack holes. Are you sure they are the right size springs. They look a little big to me. I go to upholstery classes in Lamerton, West Devon. Is that anywhere near you? Good luck with the chair.

    • Jessica October 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      They look HUGE to me.. but they did come out of the same chair when I stripped it down. Lamerton is a lot nearer than Truro, which is where I thought I would be going. Thanks Helen, I will investigate.

  31. Natalie October 7, 2013 at 2:04 am - Reply

    I always thought I would never have the patience to do upholstery. And now that has been confirmed, hahahha!

    • Jessica October 7, 2013 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Hard on the nails too. But then, as a gardener, I’d pretty much given up on them anyway.

  32. BadPenny October 7, 2013 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Oh that does look fiddly !

    • Jessica October 7, 2013 at 10:02 am - Reply

      It’s the combination of needing brute force to hold the springs down and have fingers free for the fiddly little knots, all at the same time!

  33. frayed at the edge October 7, 2013 at 8:32 am - Reply

    At least when patchwork goes wrong you can fold it up and put it in a cupboard until the next attempt ……..

    • Jessica October 7, 2013 at 10:04 am - Reply

      True. That chair is staring me in the face every time I go into the room. I need a studio.

  34. Jenny October 7, 2013 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Oh dear, that sounds like a job and a half. I can just imagine it now – and we’d certainly be having arguments about whether the springs were straight and the knots tied properly!

    • Jessica October 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      You imagine right. ‘Straight’ can be open to interpretation, it seems!

  35. Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots October 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    I once got as far as buying a book about upholstery, but no further. I now understand why it cost so much to get my chairs reupholstered – danger money if nothing else! I have chuckled at your description; if only there was a video to accompany.

    • Jessica October 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      That would have needed even more hands!

  36. Sarah October 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Those springs look huge ! I’m glad you both weren’t injured when the springs exploded. Hope the larger tacks work, You would have scored ten out of ten for effort, I would have given up after the first attempt!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica October 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      I can only hope it gets quicker once through the learning curve.. It’ll take a year at this rate.

  37. Vintage Jane October 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    I never realised upholstery was such an adventurous and dangerous extreme sport!

    • Jessica October 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      Neither did I!

  38. Philippa October 10, 2013 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness. How FRUSTRATING. Those chairs look worth it though! Where did you find them?

    • Jessica October 10, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply

      I’ve had them a while and done nothing with them until now. An antiques fair I think, probably Sunbury. Last year I went to several across the south of England – Ardingly, Shepton Mallet, Newbury.. Auctions are useful hunting grounds too, if you have any locally.

  39. Monica October 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    …. sorry to hear that… (but it did make me laugh!)

    • Jessica October 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm - Reply


  40. LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD October 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Just watched a YouTube on how to repot a hardy water lily β€” which we will be doing tomorrow. Dragged 20 pots of lilies out of the pond. Today was pond muck-out day. Tomorrow is culling and re-poting the water plants. Cool weather but luckily not very windy and beautifully sunny. Putting off the indoor projects a while longer. And upholstery won’t be one of them!

    • Jessica October 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      Upholstery is MUCH easier than pond maintenance.. good luck! But your pond does sound great. There is one here, but it doesn’t have any water in it any more. Just a very boggy hole in the ground.

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