Learning a new skill

I really admire people who decide to do a Masters or PhD while holding down a full time job.  It’s just not for me. I like the learning – just hate the testing.

The area I now work in is full of very, very clever people.  Apparently, the vast majority of people have a Masters or a PhD, or more.  I joined in a conversation recently – before I realised that the topic was ‘What uni are you studying what subject at?’ They went round the group until it got to me. ‘Do you study anything outside of work?’ I was asked.  ‘Actually, yes, I do’ I replied: ‘Upholstery.’  Not one of them knew quite what to make of that…

So yes, Sister 1 and I are over half way through our first term at a local Adult Education Centre, studying upholstery. (We’ve not left out Sister 2 – she works shifts though and couldn’t make a regular evening class).  I thought it would be relatively simple.  I was wrong.  But it is brilliant – We’re in a class of people that I’d probably not meet anywhere else – at least not all in the same room.  Our classmates are: a 20 something primary school teacher, a granddad who loves sailing, a lady who doesn’t talk to anyone, a yummy mummy, a lady who I should get to know better as all I can tell you is that there are big road works going on near her house, a gentleman who knows exactly how to get to the Imperial War Museum and lovely lady who works full time, managed to upholster 8 chairs last term in time for Christmas…and then made everyone cover them in bin bags before they sat on them!  Each week we get to hammer tacks in or pull tacks out, or pull the tacks out that we’ve just hammered in.  As long as you’re headache free, it’s a great way to get rid of the days stresses.

We started off with these chairs:




Sister 1’s. She had to pull out around 300 staples to get this back to the wood :/

So you take it apart....and then glue the wobbly bits back together

So you take it apart….and then glue the wobbly bits back together. Sister 1’s completely fell apart when she uncovered it, but with a lot of glue and a decision to never sit on it, I’m sure it will look great when she’s finished.


When you’ve filled all the holes with glue and sawdust, you do the webbing…


If you’re Sister 1, you put the webbing on the wrong side of the chair…


Then you tack hessian over that.


You sew holes into the hessian using some weird loops

This has been known to make Sister 1's grumpy

This has been known to make Sister 1’s grumpy


Make lots of coconut hair balls…


Then stuff the balls into the holes, pull the string really tight, and…


…Fluff into a coconut afro.


You pop wadding on top of that…


And then spend an irritatingly long time smoothing and pinning fabric onto the wadding before tacking that.


Then you cover with the material


And pop a bottom on it to hide everything


And finally….TA DAH!  (Sister 1’s is almost finished too)

I’ve now started on my second project, which is a lot more complicated.  Last night I learned to use a double ended mattress needle.  It’s pretty much a lethal weapon.  I also learned to use a regulator.  Apparently Sister 1 and I were the only ones in the class to have heard of Warren G and Nate Dogg’ song ‘Regulate‘.  It’s probably the only time people have attempted to rap and upholster at the same time in an adult education class.  It’s probably best to keep it that way too…


I was telling one of my friends the story that I started this post with the other day and she made me smile.  She said that if the world economy collapsed tomorrow, all the academic qualifications in the world wouldn’t help, but I’d have a skill I could barter with.  I’m not sure either of us would get much in return for our beginners standard upholstery, but it’s a consideration.  And we all have to start somewhere :o)


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2 Responses to Learning a new skill

  1. Sue says:

    So….as the BIG road works are finished you won’t talk to me anymore ? :)

talk to me here , if you fancy :o)

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