All the quilting sites – okay not ALL of them – most of the quilting sites have people who are dabbling into crochet / knitting / other fiber arts. I used to cross stitch – probably the first “type” of craft I gravitated towards and stuck with. However when I was young – before learning to cross stitch, a friend of mine taught me how to chain stitch crochet. I remember just making one long chain of a variegated rainbow yarn. But I was ittle and didn’t know how to go back and single or double crochet.
So in college, one of my (scientific) roommates taught me how to single and double crochet. She was working on granny squares. Well the following summer I tried making granny squares. I got about 4 of them done, had problems seeing how it was all going to come together in a large blanket form, and I abandoned the project.
I (somehow) forgot about my biggest crochet project that I started the following school year that was a crocheted afghan intended to be for my upcoming wedding. Well it was for myself so it didn’t HAVE to be done by the wedding, had nothing to do with the wedding, but that was a goal of mine – to finish it before I got married.
I worked on it before falling asleep in the bunk bed in the dorms, worked and worked and worked on it. Cheap yarn – hey I was a college student – didn’t count the rows or the stitches, didn’t have a pattern, couldn’t read a pattern, didn’t have a final plan, but I would come up with one for each row.
I don’t know why I have it in storage. It’s nice and heavy, and extra long, and not quite the size I imagined it would be when I made it. The edges are all frilly and weird, going in and out, and there was a triple crochet row that I skipped three stitches periodically and the resulting holes from that row mean that when I sleep under the afghan my big toe gets caught in the hole. Hmm. Maybe I do know why it’s in storage after all. (So far in storage that it’s not worth digging though the bottom of my closet and everything in front of the closet to get a picture. Maybe someday).
After that, I got smart and worked on homespun yarn that is bumpy and completed two scarfs that are full and heavy and wonderful. I found the bumpy yarn wasn’t as hard to work with as I thought, and it HID the fact that my stitches are uneven on the sides from lack of counting.
I am still not sure why no pattern or no counting was done on the scarfs. I did counted cross stitch at the time completing one project in about 2 years that had tons of stitches in it. And I had to count that project.
I thought I’d share. Not all my adventures have been done in a well planned thought out scientific manner.
If you look at the craftster site, you find lots of wonderful pictures, a description of the process, the inspiration for the designs, and a lot of wonderful discussion about the process by other Craftster users.
Color Chromatography is a very simple idea that has a scientific concept behind it. Chromatography is a method of separating substances into the different parts that make them up. Color chromatography is when you take one color and separate the different colors out.
The way you do this is you take fabric (called a stationary phase) and Sharpie marker (pigment – what you want to separate) and let rubbing alcohol (the mobile phase that moves the pigment) run over the fabric.
Rubbing alcohol spreads out on the fabric and takes part of the marker pigment and travels it out. The pigment “sticks” to the alcohol more than it “sticks” to the fabric, so it travels along the wet area of the alcohol until it dries or the alcohol doesn’t spread out anymore.
A personal experiment with Chromatography because of this post:
I traced a bird from a free coloring page with Sharpies.
After I put rubbing alcohol on the fabric. Notice how I used hangers and binder clips to allow this to dry! The tail isn’t exactly what I was envisioning (too much alcohol on the tail too quickly), but still looks interesting.
I saw someone who made minimalist trees with green dots, which inspired me to make this. The leaf part dried overnight and then this is when I am just putting alcohol outside the trunk to color it in.
A geometric design with a view of my work station. All I drew was criss cross lines. This is a little ‘washed out’ to to true colors on the fabric.
A before and after of another strip design. Before:
The other Craftster post that caught my eye this time. This is not quilting, but crochet, and instead of having a science concept, it has a scientific topic.
Picture from Leah Day from 365 Free Motion Filler Designs
This blog showcases a new free motion filler design daily (or about daily) with full explanation, video, description and ideas for using the designs in your quilt. Leah Day’s videos are short, but informative, showing you just enough of the technique to help you get started.
She tells you if the pattern is beginning or advanced, in addition to having a video that shows her ideal setup and notions for free motion quilting. Best thing is – no stencils. If that intimidates you, she has a couple of DVD’s and worksheets to practice.
Up to posts in the 90′s she’s come a long way in a short period of time. I haven’t practiced any of these myself, but I am using them as ideas on what I want to quilt, and when I get back to the quilting stage on my tops, I’ll be sure to check out her blog for much needed inspiration and guidance!
Not to limit myself to finding one amazing science fiber art project on Craftster, I also found Sally Le Strange and her post about a Crochet Plant Cell Pillow who made her science craft for a school project and got an A+. I like both of these projects enough to highlight them in my next podcast. But first I have an idea about the chromatography one before I put it together.
I must have found an old website for the “Tis the Season” show. It looks like the Hastings Planetarium is now moved away from the slide based projectors and now has something called “fulldome”. New media for the 21st century, which I had heard they were going to install, but hadn’t been in touch for a while (obviously).
I haven’t seen the updates, but I would guess the quality of the show is equally good, if not fifty times better, than the original show. Would be worth going to see the changes. Alas I don’t live in the area anymore, so going would require some planning on my part, but would be worth the effort.
No guarantees for those of you in other areas. However - the slides are excellent, the composition of the show is excellent, the music is excellent, and I would think that any video would also be excellent!
With the holidays coming up I thought I’d highlight the planetarium that I mentioned in my last podcast.
I worked in the Hastings Museum in Nebraska, and the annual holiday show that is still running is called ”Tis the Season”, but now is known as “Season of Light”. Not only was this a show about christmas, but a LOT of ceremonies around the winter solstice – focusing on the tradition of making the season brighter and some of our american christmas traditions and where they came from. The culmination is trying to use astronomy to figure out about the Christmas Star.
A very excellent show – if you have a planetarium in your area that runs it, and you have a free weekend, it’s a very nice way to fill about 40 minutes of your time to put you in the holiday mood. This is a fairly popular show – just popping tis the season and planetarium into google produced about 10,000 results.
Here is the link to the Hastings Museum’s Tis the Season site. If you live in the Hastings area, be sure to check it out, I know they’d love to see you!
Happy beginning of the holidays everyone! I’m sure by New Year’s we’ll all be sick of them, but for now – still cool.
My podcast is located on podbean, the show notes are below.
Just by accident I have stumbled upon something that some quilters may find useful. Great part about it is that many people already own some of these tools, and I guess that you can get downloadable replicas easy enough. Okay, so what am I talking about? Computer color filters for your digital pictures of fabrics or quilts.
Okay, so I have made one applique quilt top and my guess is that I can use it for a lot of different experiments. Or at least this one. My first experiment started with opening up a picture of my quilt in photoshop. I wasn’t intending on experimenting, but I did.
In the podcast/show notes below when I mention going to image then hue / saturation. What I failed to mention is that you actually go to the Image menu then the Adjust drop down menu, then go to hue/saturation.
Here is the original picture below.
Let’s keep this image in mind as we look through some of the photoshop filters.
The first thing I did was to take my picture and go to the photoshop Image menu and choose Hue/Saturation. There are other ways to do the same thing, but I’m only going to explain the way I did this. If you want to comment about another program or another way you were able to get the same done, please feel free.
I first hit the colorize button, and then took the saturation of the image all the way down to zero.
What I was left with was a black and white photo.
With the color removed from the picture, then all you are left with is the value of the fabrics. I can tell that my blues are light values (the birds and tuilps), my background is dark value, and the greens and reds have a similar dark medium value to it.
Isn’t this great?! A value tool that can help you determine true lights, mediums and darks!
A step further can give you a monochromatic quilt by not taking the saturation as far down, and colorizing the quilt to whatever color you want.
As you can see, you still get the color values. However, in my opinion, for this quilt, the little strip border piece kinda loses its impact here.
The following picture I was using the same hue/saturation tool, but highlighted different parts. For example I took the reds and saturated them down, changed the hue of the greens, and modified only the saturation, hue or lightness of the different color groups that were already present in my original quilt. This should give you a different “feeling” or tone for the whole thing. Every red will be affected this way, so watch out.
The resulting picture with muted reds and changed greens. Not a ton different, but a little bit.
For this one I changed the magenta and went way high on the saturation. Who knew that the black had magenta tones hidden in it? This is why you be careful when changing the colors.
And finally if I just didn’t like the red flowers as much, what would happen if I made them purple instead? This one can be complicated depending on how you know how to highlight specific objects in your image editing software. I used magic wand tool, set the tolerance high so it would get all the tone-on-tone of the same flower, and then clicked inside each flower. Pressing Shift while clicking in Photoshop will get you more than one flower at a time. Pressing Alt will ‘unselect’ flowers. Then I went to the same menu option image hue saturation, and changed the hue of my flowers. Notice the rectangular selection on the top left and the lasso tool just below it.
Here are my purple flowers! See the tolerance in the picture above is 84.
For this one, I highlighted the background with the magic wand tool – tolerance 45. This was a little trickier due to the fact that the flash isn’t centered on the camera and we’re not looking exactly head on to the quilt and the top of the picture is a little darker in shade than the front. Trying different tolerances and locations to click with the magic wand also makes a difference. Once I had the background highlighted, I clicked on hue/saturation, clicked on the colorize button and chose a dark teal color. Also would be a nice quilt!
This can be useful for many different applications. I would see this could be a way to take your pattern and see if different colors work, or a way to see two fabric values to find out what works value wise. You could also make variations of the same quilt for several different people with different colors and try it out before you start cutting up fabrics.
… but wait … there’s more!
If you don’t have editing software, but you do have a digital camera, there may be a chance you have a “color value evaluator” right in your camera. I don’t know about cell phone camera options, just my 6 year old camera.
In my camera menu there is a color option. I can do black and white, sepia, negative art, and solarize. Same song, second verse here.
I always forget I have these settings on my camera because I never use them. Sepia is nice and rustic.
Negative art is the next picture. Mostly is what NOT to do with colors. Or you could get some interesting combinations this way – I’d find it useful if I was always picking the same types of colors, so instead I could go with a negative result.
Looking at the Quilter’s and Patchworker’s Colour Mixing Bible, you can see the example of how the colorways change what is highlighted on the quilt pattern.
Using my newfound camera black and white skills, this is the same page in black and white. You can see how each block pieces stand out differently with different color values!
Do you have any other camera / editing tricks you do with your quilts? What else would you try to change to get some good color results? Leave me a comment!
Do you want me to research the science behind why your eyes are drawn to contrast? Let me know.
Some links to the Amazon books referred to in the show (Mimi Dietrich’s pattern is what I used for the applique quilt in all the pictures)
I have been ambitious and this week have recorded another podcast – twice. Even though I want the podcast to be conversational, and not “post production” as I said originally, I want to do an amount of editing and trim myself down a little bit. Some of it is the “verbal pauses”, and some of it is just things I put in that would be better served in another podcast – “that’s another show” as AB says. I will have it up soon, but for now, while you’re waiting, a preview of what’s to come, sorta ….
This glowing edges picture of my applique is now my current background on my computer. Pretty cool huh?
It’s almost here. I have a basic recorded podcast on audacity. As the introduction podcast, it goes into some of the goals for the podcast, corresponding to the goals of this blog. I have to finish the intro and outro to the podcast and still have to upload it to podbean. Just so you know, the podcast is conversational style and rather ‘non produced’, which is how I am actually going to get the podcast done.
EDITED February 2011: The podcast was intended to be conversational, but over the last year has been morphed into a podcast filled with snippets of songs, different segments, some of which are science, or math based, one of which is some kind of quilting, and then home sewing front, an explanation of things sewn over the last time since the last podcast, and most of the time, some sort of self reflection of my ideas of quilting, science, art and life. The feed is available at http://scientificquilter.podbean.com Take a listen!
An actual table that someone made with the periodic table size and shape. Amazing.
A side note. I am arranging things on the site and am not happy with the current state of things on the blog, but have spent no time trying to get things together. Find me on flickr if you want to see some photos, and yeah the podcast thing isn’t working yet. I hope to do a small sample soon.