Monday, June 05, 2006

In search of the perfect rocking chair

I don't know about anyone else, but I know that I love rocking chairs. In my humble opinion, the world would be a lot better place if we all sat down and spent some time in a rocking chair, sipping tea, and even knitting a row or two. The problem with this (and it pains me greatly to admit that there is a problem) is that a good rocking chair is difficult to find. Difficult? Try nearly impossible.

In my house, there are currently three rocking chairs. All purchased with me in mind, and purchased by me. Tested beforehand, I might add. These chairs are sly and sneaky. They test out perfectly fine in the store or at the yard sale. Once convinced they have a safe home, they morph into evil beings.

For instance, take this chair. This is an Ikea chair. My son and daughter-in-law have two of them at their apartment. I sat in them and rocked. They were wonderful. Quiet and comfortable. I even knit at their apartment. The chairs there cooperated wonderfully.

So we purchased a pair of chairs, exactly like my son's, for our home. Unfortunately for us, this year the chairs seem to be the most popular chair Ikea carries. We managed to score the chairs and chair pads we wanted. After several trips to our local Ikea, we have even managed to procure the pads for the footstools. The footstool itself? Not to be found. Scarce is an understatement. We have been looking since last August. To no avail. The chair would be just fine with a footstool. Without? Well, I'm not the tallest person in the world. My feet don't quite hit the floor, and the chair cuts into the back of my knees. Besides, and this is not the fault of the chair, this chair is in the middle of my living room. The daughter does her homework on the floor right in front of this chair. The television is 8 feet away. The stereo is likewise 8 feet away. One or both of them seem to be constantly in use. For lace knitting, this arrangement leaves a lot to be desired.

To obtain the necessary peace and quiet for lace knitting, I often retreat to the bedroom. This is a parental oasis of calm and quiet. No children are permitted, except by special dispensation. Only one cat is allowed in, and she is the quiet one. One would think that the atmosphere would be conducive to lace knitting. Wouldn't you?

One would think. However, the bentwood rocker has other ideas. It squeaks on the backward motion, and it squeals on the forward motion. I still haven't figured out how, since there are no moving parts. But squeak and squeal it does. I suppose if I rocked in a constant, even motion no one would mind. But I seem to rock furiously -- probably when I am on the return row which has no yarn-overs or knit two togethers. Then I rock and pause, rock and pause. Followed by furious rocking.

This drives my husband crazy. It doesn't do my mental state any good either. Squeak. Squeal. Squeak. Squeal. Kind of defeats the relaxing purpose of knitting.

So I went searching for a rocking chair that would not squeak. I wandered yard sales, hoping for that elusive perfect rocking chair. This chair followed me home one Saturday.

At its previous home, it rocked quietly. Smoothly backward, smoothly forwards. And silently. The owner claimed to have rocked her babies in this chair. Quietly backward, quietly forward. I tested it. Really. Tested it thoroughly, I might add. And it was quiet. So I plunked my hard-earned cash down and brought it home.

My lovely husband carried it upstairs. I lovingly washed the cushion covers so that they would not smell. I started my Fiddlesticks Knitting Whisper Scarf out of lace-weight alpaca from Silver Cloud Alpacas. And the blasted chair squeaks. Horribly. Even if I'm not moving! How does it do that?! Oh, I've figured out that if I sit in exactly the right spot, with my left foot in the perfect place on the floor, my right foot in its precisely proper position, with my tongue pushed firmly behind my top front teeth, the chair does not complain. But have you tried to knit lace under those conditions? Impossible, I say.

There will be a yard sale Saturday in Port Perry. There is a better-than-average chance that you will find at least one rocking chair there!


Jacqui said...

That is such a funny story; and so true! I was on the search for the "perfect" chair a few years back, and after several returns ended up with one that will just do, but it's not great. I just want to say that I love reading your blog!

martina said...

Hello from Whitby!! If I'm ever in Port Perry and I see that chair on the curb I'll know why! Funny story!