Sunday, August 1, 2010

A for Effort

Dear Mr. Gilbert:
I apologize for asking you in a sarcastic manner, 18 years ago, what I would ever use geometry for in real life.   I told you if I ever needed to fence in an abnormally shaped section of my yard that I would expect the guy I hired to build the fence to know such things.  I was adamant about the "fact" that circles and triangles would not be so prevalent in my life that I'd need to understand those crazy measurements you tried to teach us.  It became abundantly clear to me this evening that you were right, that we could not know where or when but one day we would need to know such things.
Bethany, who is mad at herself right now

I. Feel. So. Dumb.  The technique of shirring is abundant in the sewing world right now--it's on a ton of the blogs I read, the fabric stores have samples of shirred garments on display, and so on.  I don't sew clothes well, so I thought I would make a shirred lampshade for my room.  It would slip right over my current lampshade, and if it worked well I could make a few for when my mood changed.  I measured my old lampshade oh so carefully.  It seemed terribly logical to me that the shape should be a trapezoid, and that it would magically fit a circular object.  I measured several times. I had crazy amounts of fun shirring.  And when I put the lampshade on--it was like that moment in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' when Clark realizes he forgot to bring the axe to the Christmas tree farm, right down to the 'boing' noise I heard in my head.

Here are a few of the comments I received:

     ~ "Where's the 'flare'?"
     ~ "Oh. What happened? Why is that part pointy?"
     ~ "What made you think a trapezoid would fit around a cone?"
     ~ "It's like that time you tried to knit me a messenger bag and you thought the pattern was wrong instead of you being wrong."
     ~ "That's really funny! I love your effort, even if the result was bad."
     ~ "Can't you see it's supposed to be more circular?" and of course...
     ~ "Hahahahahahahahahaha!"

I am out of the fabric (which I LOVED), and the piece I had started with would have been perfectly sized for this project (done properly).  I spent an entire evening shirring row after row--but this was ridiculously satisfying.  And it was all visually so interesting to see (especially after I took the iron to it).  I didn't want to part with my failure.  So I resewed the side seam so it was cylindrical, and I think I'll use it around a vase to cover the stems (especially if they're fake flowers) or just to cheer it up a bit.  So lesson begrudgingly learned for next time.

 See? Cute! It's one of those fake patchwork fabrics, and the colors were just so bright and cheery.

 I'm going to go take the edge off of my sourish mood with some reading.  Or online fabric shopping so I can have another go at this with something I love equally.


  1. Oh no, but like you say it's too lovely not to use, it will make a great vase! :)
    Kandi x

  2. oh what a shame. my maths skills have let me down a few times in the sewing room.........
    lovely neat shirring though x

  3. You're lucky your machine can do that. Mine can't. :(

  4. Thanks for the 'silver linings,' ladies!



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