DIY Chunky Knit Lounge Chair

This DIY project is merely a tutorial on how I winterized a perfectly swoon-worthy vintage mod chair. This winterizing, if you will, seemed like the perfect solution to creating a cozier corner nook in my teeny Brooklyn flat. The winter here has been a fickle mix of harsh winds, snow, rain, hail, and sunshine—sometimes all in one day. It is COLD, and I have to admit that often times the NY winter weather triggers fond memories of frolicking in the San Francisco Indian summer month of February...

I was initially inspired to create this look after noticing the surge of chunky knit all over the interior design world. While trolling Etsy for a proper desk chair, I discovered the shop CIRCA60 that had an array of mid-century modern pieces. This chair was perfect! The owners were kind enough to let me put down a deposit (during my frugal holiday season) until I could schedule a trip to Jersey to pick up the chair and avoid a $60 shipping fee. The mod look of this side lounge chair was the perfect complement to the other items in my apartment. The vinyl, however, made for a not so comfortable place to sit when ice cold.

You should probably know that when I lived in San Francisco, I fell hard for ImagiKnit—a quaint yarn store on the corner of Dolores and 18th street. They offer an array of yarns, classes, and even have an old school yarn spinning machine. I picked up about 14 skeins back in October, on a mission to crochet a chunky queen size blanket for my soon to be cold New York bed. I successfully finished crocheting all 14 skeins over one weekend. But it wasn't until my next trip to ImagiKnit, and an extensive search on the Internet, that I learned the yarn had been discontinued. And so, I decided to use this 4x10 half-finished blanket to re-create the chunky knit look on this mod lounge chair.

Because the chair was in pretty good vintage condition, with the exception of some minor tears, I chose to cover the original upholstery instead of completely stripping it.  I did, however, dissemble the chair to wrap the crocheted fabric around the mold. To my surprise, while unscrewing the bottom, I discovered that the chair was originally made in Brooklyn on 100 Jewel street—a ten minute bike ride from my apartment!

After dissembling the chair and removing the swivel-bottom walnut legs, I cleaned the vinyl to remove any grime and fully assess for damage and tears. (I plan to eventually purchase a legit vinyl repair kit to bring this beauty back to life in the spring!) Next: I measure my half-blanket and cut the "fabric" to the chair's mold. Because the blanket was longer in length than width, each loop that had been cut was securely tied, and looped again so it would not unravel. I recommend starting from scratch with your fabric. It's best to do this properly by crocheting or knitting your yarn in a circle granny stitch pattern instead of a long single stitch chain pattern.

After securing the ends where the fabric had been cut, I wrapped it around the mold of the chair, being sure to smooth away any major lumps. The best way to do this (as shown above) is to cut a piece of yarn, double it, and create a web-like drawstring. This will create a secure fit around the mold of your chair, allowing the fabric to be evenly pulled taught to your liking. I chose to keep it slightly loose for added cuddliness and cushion.

Reassembling was a breeze since I had photographs documenting exactly how the swivel-bottom was attached to the seat. I would recommend using a power drill and setting it to the lowest speed in order to keep the screw from stripping the holes and tearing through your crocheted or knitted fabric.

The entire process took about 5 hours (not including the three days of crocheting). All and all, I would say that I'm very pleased by how the cozier version of my lounge chair turned out. I was able to unravel some scraps into a fresh ball of yarn for another project. And the entire other half of the blanket is now being used as a dog blanket. Zing!

Do you have any questions, ideas or suggestions on this or another DIY project? Drop me a line in the comment box below. We're always obliged to inspiring ideas here at LOCZIdesign!