Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yellow & Gray

Above are some of the notes I took (mixed in with other, older notes of no ongoing significance) last Wednesday evening while my daughter and son-in-law were helping to hold up lengths of gray felt and pieces of yellow oilcloth against the front opening of the baby dwelling I am in my own small way helping them to construct in a corner of their downtown apartment in San Francisco (last viewed here (about a month ago) in an earlier stage of its prolonged evolution). We needed to plan and measure for the heavy sliding curtains that will cover the front of the structure, keeping out light and noise and keeping in warmth when the baby is asleep. Below are some of the measurements translated today into diagrams that I could follow.

However, I didn't get as far as I would have liked. The design we have settled on requires precision, and I am not a very precise crafts person, so I have to make up for my natural lackadaisical ways by thinking hard and measuring many times over before I do any cutting. Really, all I accomplished in this first afternoon was to cut out the main pieces.

First, two large uniform circles of yellow oilcloth were drawn on the back of the fabric with a makeshift compass. And then cut out. (The old purple bed sheet serves a function like a drop cloth, to keep the materials from picking up lint from the ugly but inconspicuous industrial carpeting that unfortunately covers most of the floors here in the Mission atelier.)

Next, I used a blow dryer to heat the oilcloth (which will melt if it is pressed with an iron) and smooth out the wrinkles and creases, rendering the yellow circles as flat as possible.

Then I used a T-square and chalk to mark the top and bottom edges of the felt so the panels would have true right-angles at each corner and match each other.

With yardstick, T-square, tape measure, pins, chalk and scissors I trimmed the long edges to the width we had determined on Wednesday, allowing for a little fullness but not too much.

I had hoped to get the tabs (five for each panel, ten total) cut out also, and possibly attached, but ran out of time and needed to leave for the gym. But before I draped the pieces carefully over the ironing board (to prevent any new wrinkles from appearing) I folded each yellow disk around the inner edge of the panel where it will be appliqued, just to approximate what the whole thing is supposed to look like when done. The two half circles (front and back) will join to make a full circle (front and back) – if all goes well. These yellow half circles are intended for the practical function of hand-holds when the panels are opened or closed. The felt itself is so absorbent that fingermarks would become visible (and disfiguring) over time.