I’ve spent the last year relaxing against feather-filled cushions. Over that time, where the cushions have been acting as an intermediary between my back and the sofa, the feathers stuffing the cushions have slowly migrated through two layers of material, almost imperceptibly, to the outside world. Now this wouldn’t be much of a problem if it weren’t for the other materials to which feathers find themselves irresistibly attracted – corduroy and fleece – which you wear in the chillier months. As that is what I have been doing, I have in the process attracted numerous small feathers. They show up well against dark blue, but they’re not easy to brush off – they might move a bit, or get stretched in the direction of the brush-strokes, but they’re still attached at the end of the process. Plucking at them one at a time works, but that’s time consuming, and it’s hard to shake the tiny feather off your fingers. More often than not, the feather will resettle on your clothing..
Last week I decided it was time to do something about this, which is to say, to replace the inner stuffing with something less invasive. Taking advantage of the January sales I found that micro-fibre cushion pads were on special offer. No problems there.
Getting the old feather fillings out was more of a problem. This is not the sort of job you want to do indoors, unless you want your house looking like the interior of a chicken factory. So that was one piece of learning. The place to do this is outside. Another lesson: don’t wear your fleece and corduroys while you are doing this. So next time, I remembered to wear my cagoule.
Turning the cover inside out and shaking it creates a cloud of feathers, so choose a windy day, so that the neighbours can benefit. However, however cracking your shake, it is never enough. It’s back to hand plucking after a good brushing Feathers get everywhere, especially between the teeth of the zip, and need to be wrenched out. The worst place is in the seams. The best plan is to wet your fingers first and then wipe down inside the opened up seam. Whatever was left, I assumed would be dealt with by the washing machine.
Stuffing the pillows with the new micro-fibre cushion pads was fine – reaching inside, getting the corners into the corner, trying to pull the zip with a bulging pad trying to escape. Almost as much fun as getting a king-size duvet back inside its cover. The advantage of the new improved cushions is that they retain their shape. Feather filled cushions compress and subside, and tend to get lost down the back of the sofa.
I still have the task of finding and removing the feathers that escaped – how did one get inside the fridge? – and those still attached to my clothes. This week’s special offer: the Lint Roller. And then to get rid of the old feathery cushions. How do you recycle feathers? I gather you can use them for composting. I’m imagining that now – opening up the bag and tipping them on the top of the compost heap with a bit of a breeze blowing … I must remember to wear the right clothing.
© Peter Young 2015