Spider Web cushion

Spider Web cushion

A little about me. I am from Ireland, but I have lived in the UK since mid 1970s. I trained as a Registered Nurse in Yorkshire, moved to Herefordshire in the 1990s, continuing to work in the NHS, and eventually qualified as a Nurse Practitioner. I really enjoyed this change and challenge in my working life. I retired from work 6 years ago, and decided to teach myself a bit more about sewing, and making things. A friend told me about a felt class about 3 years ago, and I was keen to learn about this magic of wool, water and soap. The class was provided by our local council, it was fairly informal, but we did have a ‘topic’ to focus on for each term. This cushion was my project for our ‘layered fabrics’ topic last January, although I did not know it would turn into a cushion at that time! This was to be our last term due to the funding for the class being withdrawn. The classes for most of 2020 were very ad-hoc due to COVID, and Zoom meetings were eventually introduced, and that was the only way to continue.

The inspiration for this piece of felt started last Christmas 2020. It was a very cold and frosty morning and I saw a frozen spider’s web on my washing line. It looked almost perfect, there was a few broken links, but still it was a thing of beauty on such a crisp cold morning. I took a photo of it.

After Christmas, we entered our third ‘lockdown’, and with so much information and misinformation in the media around COVID, my feeling was that I wanted to convey something of this with my piece of felt.

I made a piece of flat felt in white, with some strands of differing colours of yarn felted in on the surface. I wanted these floating pieces of yarn to appear as broken pieces of the web. To make the web, I used several strips of silk and organza fabric radiating from the centre, to form the spokes, and around the edge, and then stitched these down. I found some shiny white embroidery floss from a previous project, and used this to sew a chain stitch between the spokes. The chain stitch does not reach or attach to all of the spokes, again to illustrate damage to the web.

I had to think what to do to the centre of the web, and that there should be a spider present as well. I had a piece of very floaty fabric with pink roses on it. I cut out a rose and stitched it to the centre. I googled for an image of a spider and traced a suitable one onto the rose. I stitched the rose down, and then very gingerly I stitched over the spider, trying not to make a mess of it.

Now, I needed a phrase that referenced the spider, but that also had meaning for me, and these dark times that we were all going through. Google again, and I found the phrase that I needed. I had a little (child’s) alphabet stamp set, and stamped my phrase onto a piece of fabric, and stitched it in place on my felt.

I did not want to put my ‘masterpiece’ in the cupboard, so I thought I would make a cushion cover. I stitched the felt onto a piece of calico, and then found a lovely piece of fabric to make the backing.

I am really pleased and happy with the outcome.


Reference for quote:

“In the spider web of facts, many a truth is strangled” BrainyQuote.com. Brainy media Inc. 2021, accessed on 4/11/2021.

Paul Eldridge 1888 – 1982. Educator, poet, novelist.


18 thoughts on “Spider Web cushion

  1. What a marvellous idea, and how true that quote is too; not only now in the midst of the pandemic, but in the previous 4 odd years in America. Every time I saw a picture of the previous president I thought “Now what?”
    I love the photo of the frozen spider’s web. I can remember when I was a child walking to school in the misty autumn mornings, making a fairy’s mirror. Collecting the fine webs covered in dew on a looped piece of grass so that you ended up with a silver grey “mirror” inside the loop. (It didn’t occur to me that I was destroying the poor spiders’ homes/larders though.)
    Hopefully we aren’t about to go into another Lockdown, but Christmas does look a little at risk at the moment. I have vowed though that if we do I won’t let my mojo disappear this time, like I did before. I’ll remember your lovely cushion.

    1. Thank you so much Ann. I hope the spider survived too, I did not see it, so he/she may have been hiding elsewhere on the washing line. My grown up family are not keen on spiders and this has passed on to grandchildren, so there can be some dramatic shrieking occasionally!

  2. Beautiful piece Marie, full of meaning. I love the way you used the spider web as your foundation for your piece – that must have been one heck of a cold day when you took the photo – I hope the spider survived (how DO they keep warm during the cold!) I love how you built up the fibres on the piece and finishing it off as a cushion is genius! Absolutely beautiful.

    How true Eldridge’s quote is and how it has stood the test of time and been totally exacerbated through the arrival of the internet. I had best stop before I start engaging in some navel gazing and amateur philosophy.

    What a shame that funding was removed but like true creatives you all found an alternative. I believe you have found your new calling in textiles. Looking forward to seeing lots more of your work.

    1. Yes, it was a freezing cold day Helene, and thank you so much. I hope the spider survived too! I really enjoyed making this piece.

  3. Thanks for a wonderful post Marie and welcome to our little group. The photo is amazing and yes, it looks very cold. I haven’t heard that quote before but it is very true in this day and age. Your cushion is wonderful and it’s a great way to show off your beautiful piece of artwork.

    1. Oops, I wrote in the wrong spot! Thank you so much Ruth, I really appreciate all of your helpful advice.

  4. Marie, your cushion is amazing & the more so that it is a reflection of our time completed with a quote that no doubt will resonate for ever.

    Great too, seeing how you have used a starting point & developed it.

    How have the grandchildren reacted to your delicate spider?
    I always tried to be so casual & ‘non-plussed’ about spiders in front of my children (so as not to pass on my irrational heart thumping dislike, especially with the big black ones!) and thought I was doing well until my son, age 10, said ‘don’t worry mum, I’ll take it out, I know you don’t like them!’ For decades now I’ve lived in the countryside where they are ‘Big with Formula One experience’….once I’ve regained my composure I ask politely that ‘a friend’ might be taken outside – if it escapes, I spend the evening nervously grid searching the room! Other critters = no problem at all.

    Maybe if I had had such a lovely cushion I could have wired myself differently.

    I look forward to seeing more of your work here.

    1. Thank you so much Antje. The girls do like my cushion too,
      I really don’t mind the spiders around where I live – rural, but it is easy to be spooked when someone shrieks “spider’ and the poor spider is probably spooked too! Oldest grand daughter gave me the biggest fright a couple of years ago; I was driving and there was the tiniest spider in the car, but to her the spider was probably huge, so I had to stop and make sure it had left the car! I think she does a grid search of the bedroom that she sleeps in when she visits too, so funny…
      I use my car to take garden waste to the recycle centre so there will always be a risk that a tiny one will hide in there.

  5. A great pillow. I am glad you wanted to keep your piece out of the closet. Spiderwebs are very cool and dew and frost really sets them off. Spiders survive Canadian winters so I’m sure it was fine. Welcome to the blog.

    1. Thank you so much Ann
      Spiderwebs are really lovely to look at, and I agree that the cold weather really enhances their beauty.

      Thanks also for the lovely welcome from you and everyone on here too.

  6. Yet another example of a silver lining – you’ve managed to create something lovely in these times of uncertainty, and convey how you feel. I love the cushion and the original web (although I’m sure my arachnophobe husband might disagree, haha)

    Welcome to the blog! I look forward to seeing more of your creations 🙂

    1. Thank you very much Leonor for your kind words, and for the welcome too. Poor hubby!!

    1. Thank you so much Capi, I am so glad that you like my web. I do look at it daily and ground myself in truth.

  7. Nice work Marie. Welcome to the blog and the exciting world of felting!
    Your piece certainly has captured a moment in time and I particularly like the use of that quote. Good idea to make it into a cushion and not file it away in a drawer!

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