Geometry rears its ugly head…. again!

I decided several weeks ago that we needed new curtains for our upstairs guest room.  My sister Becky stayed there recently, and each night as the sun set over the majestic Andes Mountains and she pulled the curtains closed over the windows, she risked poking her fingers clean through the 13 year old cloth.  I had made those curtains for Danny’s room when he was just a baby and we first moved into this house.  Yes, I’ll admit that there was a bit of nostalgia involved in the fact that they stayed put for all this time.  But in my defense, it’s not easy to find ready-made curtains here, and it’s also a bit hard to buy nice curtain fabric for sewing them yourself.  (I had brought Danny’s curtain fabric from Jo-Ann Fabric in Ohio.)

So…. we needed new curtains. geometry bedspread

And a few hours of free time on a Saturday afternoon  seemed like a good time to get started.  Before taking a trip down to the fabric store in the market, where I already knew that the selection would mainly be fleece fabrics,  scratchy cotton used for sheets, and bright, heavy woven cloth for Quechua skirts, I decided to look though my stash of fabric left over from earlier projects.  Imagine my joy when I found enough pieces left over from the boys’ bedspread project to make a full set of curtains!  Of course, this meant that I would now be making new curtains for the boys’ room, and moving their plain white window coverings to the guest room, but that was fine. 

curtain fabric
Fabric for the new curtains, with Danny’s old curtains in the background

What wasn’t fine was the fact that, in my excitement over finding a stash of very bright curtain cloth from Ohio’s Jo-Ann Fabric store, I had forgotten how much geometry was involved in making those bedspreads.   It took me three years to finish them!

(I’m posting a few pictures, but you’ll notice that they’re not close-ups.  Otherwise you would see the not-quite-matching corners in the quilts.)

geometry & map bedspread

I don’t like geometry.

It’s the only class in my entire educational career that I ever quit.  I had overloaded my senior schedule in high school, and I’m embarrassed to admit that geometry pushed me over the edge!  It made my cry, and that was the only time I had ever cried in school.  So I dropped the class after just two weeks.  (I’m sorry, Mr. Jones!)

I thought it wouldn’t really matter, and for a long time it didn’t.  Until I made my first set of curtains.

I wanted to copy a cute kitchen curtain that I had seen in my sister Liz’s house, so I took pictures, bought some nice fall leaf fabric (in a Jo-Ann Fabric when we were in Ohio, of course), and came back to Peru ready to sew!  The curtain idea seemed simple, but I had to make three of them, and each of my kitchen windows was a slightly different size.  I quickly realized that this would necessitate a bit of geometrical wrangling if I wanted to get the angles of the curtains to look the same for each window.  I had to be very careful, too, since I couldn’t waste any of the fabric; there would be no way to replace it.  It took me a long time and a few pinned-up places in the back of the curtains, but I was quite pleased with the final result.  (I’m also not going to replace my kitchen curtains for at least a dozen years!)kitchen curtains

But my kitchen curtains and the boys’ bedspreads are proof of the fact that an old dog CAN learn new tricks… or at least that an older student can go back and re-learn some important concepts that slipped through the educational cracks.  And with a couple of nice projects under my belt, I guess that I had started to feel like I would be OK with my new-found and very basic knowledge of geometry.

Until this week in school, when a perfect Bible verse that equated gracious words to honey gave me the bright idea of making a honeycomb poster, where we could keep a record of our words.  While Luis drew a swarm of hornets, the enemy of honeybees, to record unkind words, I  cut out a hexagonal pattern that Danny would use to make the honeycomb.

Or at least I tried.

I  thought that it would be as easy folding a paper into four and making cuts like you do to begin a paper snowflake.  hexagons

But you can see my samples here, along with the templates that I finally printed out from the internet.  It’s just not that easy to cut out free-hand any sort of geometrical shape!

Once we used the printed templates, the boys’ “gracious words” poster turned out really nice, except for the fact that a swarm of hornets flew by before we had the chance to fill in very many of the hexagonal cells.  I hope we can fix that in the coming week.

I also hope that I can finish the new curtains in the coming week with just a minimum of geometrical interruptions.  And, of course, with only gracious words coming out of my mouth, even when the corners don’t match!

gracious words

Here’s one final note that I don’t want to leave out…

After my very failed attempt at free-hand drawing hexagons for the poster above, I am in awe of the fact that honeybees can make these shapes over and over again, without deviating from the perfect length on each side of their little wax cells.  You’ll notice that even when we used a computer-generated pattern, our beehive didn’t turn out perfect.

Just one more example of God’s amazing plan for the creation of every living thing!

5 thoughts on “Geometry rears its ugly head…. again!

  1. I love this edition of your blog, and I love, love, love your idea of a honeycomb with bees and hornets to address the importance of sweet words!


  2. great story Rachel, I never took Geometry either. I had to retake basic PRE algebra a couple of years ago in order to try to take a test for a teacher certification. You are right old dogs CAN learn new tricks, I actually ENJOYED it and got an A. They changed the rules (for subs) before I took part B of pre-algebra and then on to Algebra 1 and Geometry,So, I still have not taken geometry! I should probably be in your class with the boys!!! I Love the wasps that Luis drew!

    Liked by 1 person

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