Monday, March 24, 2014

Taking the long way - was it worth it?

Ever since I made that shower curtain for my sister, I've been wanting to make one for myself, only perhaps not so complicated as the other one.  Well, I did make one for myself, but whether it was simpler?  Well, that's certainly debate - able! 

Let me first say that I'm pleased with it - it's cheerful and bright and it fits the shower perfectly, at least, now it does. (See below for explanation).  Still, there is a small thought niggling at me - I have to wonder if the finished product was actually worth the full two weeks of time I spent on it.  After all, one can get a perfectly good shower curtain for thirty bucks at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  But I wanted to make my own, simpler and easier to make than the one I made my sister but still custom-designed, one-of-a kind shower curtain, didn't I? 

Here's the (sad...amusing?) tale of simplicity gone wrong.   

To begin, I knew I wanted to make the curtain using my favorite African fabrics.  When working with heavily patterned fabrics, it's less about the design than it is about the fabrics themselves, but Initially I had a few key pieces of fabric I wanted to use in their entirety, (for some unknown, stubborn reason).  I put them up on the design wall, and then using my trusty blue masking tape, I taped up a grid that pleased me, intending to fill in the squares as I went along..Here's how that looked:

You can see that that particular method failed pretty much immediately - the sewn squares are already completely out of the grid!   I decided at this point that  I needed to use grid paper, so I dutifully drew a sketch (or five) and measured out the sizes of the squares, attempting to do the thing to scale.  " Of course, you clever thing," I thought to myself,  "a practical, mathematic approach is EXACTLY what is needed here - why didn't I think of that in the first place,my being so clever and pragmatic and logical and all?"

Naturally, what I ended up with  matches neither my blue grid on the wall nor my seven detailed, scaled drawings.  It's kind of a miracle that the thing fit together at all, to be truthful.

Another time-sucking activity was fabric placement - I wanted to have certain pops of color in certain places, and I kind of laid it out as I went.  In order to ensure maximum perfection I ran up and down the stairs  about a zillion times, (I cut on my kitchen island which was custom-designed for us tall people by my husband, and therefore I can stand at it for hours cutting up fabric or fixing fabulous food without getting the slightest backache but alas, my sewing studio is upstairs) cutting several of the same sized squares out of different fabrics until the last row, when  I pretty much realized it didn't really make all that much difference anyway!

By the time I was finished with the thing I was was both annoyed and amused at myself. Despite my (I thought) very careful choosing of fabrics, and my careful, mathematical approach, there are definitely some places where I think I could have moved a piece or used a different color, and -- it was way too short!  I ended up having to add two twelve-inch pieces at the bottom to make it fit the shower stall- ha ha!  (How did that happen, oh mighty math wizard Carrie?!)  

Despite the less-than-perfect outcome and the sort of time-sucking vortex it became, I did learn a few things:  One is that I like to challenge myself - that's just who I am.  I KNOW I can do it more simply, but the truth is, I like the road less traveled - why fight one's own nature?  I just need to accept that about myself and quit whining.  

Secondly, I really need to get a computer program to help me design my pieces and furthermore, I need to force myself to take the time to learn how to use said program (which is why I've been avoiding the it - I don't like to figure out computer stuff, it bores me). But I either take the time up front to learn how to do it more precisely OR I end up wasting a great deal of time (being NOT very zen) and "figuring it out" on my own, which makes more sense?

 Third, I seriously need to make sure I take time to exercise daily and get in better shape - I was totally exhausted by the time it was done! (Balance, balance, Carrie - spending too much time cooped up in the art studio has flabby consequences!)

The final thing I learned (which I thought I already knew because I'm constantly repeating it to my son but apparently I needed to be reminded that it also applies to moi) is that everything we do, or make, or endeavor to do yields knowledge, experience and skills that become a part of us and make us better versions of ourselves, and that we will use somehow in the future, perhaps without ever even realizing it, so --

I guess I just answered my own question, didn't I? 

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