Archive for the ‘Chemistry’ Category

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31.9 Changing Directions

August 4, 2013

Changing Names

I don’t know if I told you, but on Tuesday, I took my machines to see if either would be able to be serviced by the local Bernina place, and they will work on my inherited Bernina.

bernina machine

I had forgotten that I wanted to call this machine Hot Lips after Major Margaret Houlihan from M.A.S.H.. Which I really like as a name and I think one or two or several of my twitter friends (aka #twilter – twitter quilter) helped me name her.

Army green and all, ya know.

But lately, I have taken to calling her Lennie, short for Lenore, probably because I feel she is being ‘lent’ for me to use.

Change because I had forgotten.  But I can call her both. Hot Lips Lenore….

Changing Machines

Any event, I know that Carlotta was giving me so much trouble when quilting the auction quilt, and although I would have rather gotten her fixed instead, the Bernina shop is where I went for service this time, next time I’ll go to the other shop.

I have never used Hot Lips really other than once to thread her and get the thread through the (backwards mounted) bobbin area.

I was nervous to bring the machine in, I have heard horror stories from a few quilters with podcasts about their more modern machines and problems, but I did.

The lady who took my order was very nice, and we got to talking and such. She had went up to the Sisters quilt show (same weekend as our quilt show) and it was neet to hear from a quilter in person about attending that quilt show.

I have a 2-3 week turn around time on the machine, and they may even find something wrong with her.  Let’s hope not. But this means when she is done, she’ll be the fixed machine, and so she’ll be my running machine.

So there is new places to learn where the presser foot drops, new zig zag locations, knobs & buttons to learn & get used to using. Changing from Carlotta to Hot Lips Lenore will be something strange to get used to.

Lucky me I have the manual somewhere, and there is always You Tube.

Here’s someone’s demonstration video on a 540 Favorit (Lennie’s brand) done by someone else. Lots of humming noise, but you can see what she can do.

Changing Sewing Tactics

In the mean time I have started to come up with a list of things to do that do not involve a sewing machine.

Some of the things I thought of:

  • cut up the small ‘catch all scrap baskets’
  • go through the PIGS (projects in grocery sacks ziplock baggies) and see what I have stashed where
  • designing a quilt idea I’ve had for 2+ years
  • cutting out more paper pieces for a PIG that I haven’t cut fabrics for
  • hand quilt the very first large quilt I ever made (the ugly quilt as its referred to around here)
  • applique the hot air balloon quilt i’ve been working on (not shown yet)
  • work on the trim options for the periodic spiral quilt
  • measure for the 4 year old spectrum quilt idea
  • create black bias for a stained glass quilt kit I bought at the garage sale
  • learn EQ7 better, try to design something new using the book I bought a year ago

And more … folding & cutting & hand work & designing

Changing trims (?)

I have an idea for the trim for the periodic quilt that I rather like. Problem is that the trim consists of three separate strands that are twisted together.

The picture I have for this on the quilt is rather BAD, I was trying to take an in focus picture for facebook and nothing was working.

blurry pic of trim border

These three strands are twisted together and as I see the quilt, I was simply going to couch the trim directly onto the front of each of the black pieces, outlining them from the rest with a little bit of metal.

But the 3 strands keep separating. I asked FB peeps what to do to fix it, and I got the mostly overwhelming response ‘fray check’, which I had dabbed a little bit of Roxanne’s glue (stronger than fray check I think) on the ends and nothing was staying put, so I can try fray check, but am worried that it won’t be strong enough. I have only used fray check twice I think.

Here I finally got an ‘in-focus’ picture today of the separation involved with this trim.

trim separating pieces

My instincts told me to try clear fingernail polish rather than fray check. Anyone else had experience forcing three strands to stay together like this?

What has worked for you keeping strands together? Glue? Fray Check? Fingernail polish? other?

Daisy said she usually hides them in a seam, but as this is couched on top applique style, there are no seams to hide this under. Maybe I need to rethink the trim to something else??

I like the idea of having metals around with the beads since there are so many metals that are elements for the periodic spiral.

I also liked this other trim that mimics the style of the border around the spiral itself.

lanthanides border option

I do like this option, but two things.

  • One I like the back side of the trim almost as much as I like the front, but it sorta looks unfinished. The back side is the sides that you can see the threads running back and forth in a zig zag pattern.
  • Two, to make the trim show all 4 sides correctly (not showing the back at all) would take 4 different separate mitered cuts and glues down on all four corners of each patch.  And that is 4 times the work, and I think 4 times the amount of potential ‘errors’ / flaws for this quilt.  And I would have to fray check all 8 edges for each group name.

Ideas on the guilded ric-rac trim to help minimize these issues? Or maybe I can live with the ‘unfinished look of the piece.

I do have some more, different, metal style beads, but to use them I would need to get a few more.

Which would be even another way to go on the trims than my original decision.

Anyway, just thought I’d share my change of pace this week.

Something tells me that the Periodic Spiral quilt will be put on the back burner again until I can make a decision (or two) here.

I suppose I should experiment and see what works, but don’t be surprised if next week I have a different quilting topic to share.

And I bet I will, I plan to go see something live next weekend that will re-inspire a quilt idea I’ve worked on this summer.  Also with the list of things to do if not machine sewing, may throw me off on another completely different tangent.

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25.4 Deciding The Next Step for My Periodic Table Quilt

May 5, 2012

Since this is on the “finish a long list” I am trying to accelerate my thinking about this quilt that frankly needs to sit in time out for a while.

My Periodic Table – Periodic Spiral quilt to be more exact.

This is going to be the future quilt’s location. Now all the white is needleturned (glued first) and now I have to decide if I like it. I am not a fan of needle turn as I never seem to get the best line of stitching as I can when I glue over freezer paper.

However, putting the quilt up here made me think a few things.

  1. I want the words “The Periodic Spiral” to hover above the quilt.
  2. I think I want an explanation of the groups down below done in embroidery.
  3. I want something to block the needleturn edges from the background. Some kind of trim, embroidery or something.

While I was at Hancock fabrics the other day I was looking for some multicolored ric rac or similar.

But I found some interesting black or white or black and white trims.  I bought some black ric rac that in 2 days I have already misplaced somewhere.

But this intriguing black and white braid, which I like love, but is a little thick, and really doesn’t navigate around the curves all that well.

But I worry with this trim that it either takes away too much or detracts too much from the original design. It completely flows around the design.

And then yesterday while at Micheal’s I was looking at beads.

So I thought of these metal based beads.

And then the opal ones.

And I saw some carbon looking beads too thinking of how maybe I could get some different types of things to represent the different types of elements on the table, non metal beads, metal beads, something to represent gas forms, liquids.

Possibilities.

Head spinning, but only purchased the small square metal looking beads, but didn’t get enough to go around the entire design. Even if I add the opal ones together.

And then there’s another white based cording that I was considering outlining a darker area that I would do the embroidery on.

I bought some silver pearl cotton 5 floss and see the potential for twilling (our area’s hot hot hot embroidery design with knots) the types of elements.

But I am trying to preview this on the entire design because I opted out of getting the black only cording for the missing black ric rac.

And then there’s the lettering.

Also while at Hancock’s I found some sparkly fabric. With optical illusions set against black. And you know I like optical illusions in quilts!

so I cut out one letter in this shiny sparkly fabric.

And yes too much.

Problem with the letter is that I would also need a trim or something around the outside of the letter to separate the highly patterned letter from the highly patterned background.

So I’m wondering if I starch the snot out of this slippery shiny sparkly fabric if there is anyway in the world I could make bias strips and outline a darker color of letter.  Like make a black or dark blue letter with thin, shiny, sparkly bias tape edges.

Or I could always bias around the edge of my periodic table with the sparkly fabric bias tape. Now there’s a thought.

But honestly sounds like a lot of work. Wonder if I’m up to it.

AND I still have to print out on fabric my “key” for the spiral to make it all make sense.

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20.4 Periodic Spiral Progress

October 9, 2011

The days are blurring by faster & faster every day now!

I really have to say I love football season for many reasons, one of which is that it’s one time I actually sit down & do some handwork of some kind.

So I’ve been working a little bit on my periodic spiral quilt in between football plays.

I will post some progress pictures here, some of which you’ve seen, some you haven’t.

I have 1 whole section to sew together yet, and one section that is still in rows.

Progress as of today Oct 9th, 2011:

The green section is still in rows, I have to admit sewing the rows to each other is my least favorite part.

Actually all the major colored sections are not sewn to each other either, it’s easier to transport when the thing is still in larger pieces.

This is still a pretty small quilt.  The size of the grey fabric you see in the picture is the size of a television tray, so this is going on the front of my studio door when completed.

The grey fabric will be cut down to ‘mock’ the shape of the spiral & the whole thing will rest on some black/blue hexagon batik fabric purchased in February.

Also, was considering writing the symbols on the quilt in silver pen, and this I may not do now – have not decided for or against it yet.

Here’s some (reverse) progress as I’ve gone along with this quilt.

A few days ago – Oct 5th:

September 10th:

August 21st:

July 20th:

July 14th:

June 26th:

March 17th:

DESIGN (sometime this year or end of last year <Dec2010-Jan2011>):

 

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17.2 Tribbles and Hand Sewing

July 14, 2011

Well, today is actually a good day for me to sit at my computer at length, and I haven’t wanted to keel over due to the heat.

Working on getting the AC fixed, or at least watching while it is, and there were days earlier this week it was 93 inside.  At 2:30 AM.  At my computer.

This has put a major dampening on my computer activities (although not exactly computer silent either).

And the enthusiasm I had built up on sunday just prior to all this chaos has sorta slipped away.

Had a great time at the quilt show, and will share it with you audibly with you soon!

In the mean time, lots more hand sewing while I sit in a 10 X10 (or so) room watching TV and some of the Harry Potter movies.

I’m up to HP4 rewatched now, and yes, the premiere is tomorrow (tonight), but I have tickets for Monday afternoon, so I have time to watch the remaining 3 movies beforehand.

Anyway … (see how I’ve missed you, rambling already)

Here are the tribbles I’ve been working on.  They even did me the honor of lining up for me.

And what do you know, 12 more decided to show up on the table after this picture was taken.  I told you they multiply!

Actually, this picture doesn’t look too far off of what the periodic table actually is … which is a good thing.

I have lots and lots of tribble seeds still thanks to Pam and several members of my wonderful guild!  They’re so addicting to do that a few more tribble skeletons (not sure if they have skeletons?) also followed me home yesterday, to the size of 3/4 and 1 inch.  (These are 1/2 inch along each hexie side).

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16.3 More Scientific Hexies from Becky’s Blabber

June 10, 2011

I don’t know how I missed this blog before, but here is a girl after my own heart.

Since we can’t go more than 3.6 hours without hearing/reading the word ‘hexie’ in the quilting world lately (and this includes myself), I thought I’d share some hexie science love that I found on Becky’s Blabber blog.

 

And what are these hexie’s doing?  Becoming molecules!

Well, hexies and penties … but penties are hard to say because they’re so uncommon.

Good job Becky on your first hexie!

 

And this apparently has lead to a lot of hexagon / molecule love for Becky!

And some more in progress blog love can be found here, and here.

 

 

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16.2 Periodic Table of Sewing by Scientific Seamstress

June 9, 2011

I totally failed to mention this wonderful periodic table of sewing in my periodic table episode a couple of days ago.

Carla of the the Scientific Seamstress fame (must be something weird about people with the names rhyming with ‘arla’?) has put together the periodic table of sewing elements.

Keeping the symbols of the elements the same, Carla has found some cute replacements for elements!

I particularly like Ne (neon) for Needle, and Sr (strontium) for Seam Ripper, and Mg (magnesium) for Magnetic Closure.

Check out her science/sewing lab on this post where there’s a link to a larger printable version of the image!

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15.8 SQ Episode 026 – Periodic Table Spiral Quilt

June 5, 2011

Podcast Feed


Ever since I saw the image from Periodic Spiral, I’ve been in love with making this periodic table quilt.

Here’s a PDF of the image of the Periodic Spiral, and here is the link to the Periodic Spiral website.

I can see this exact image as an art quilt posted on a white or black background.  Lots of scrappy choices.

Or each arm could have different colors representing the similarities of each type of elements.

At the beginning of the podcast, I discussed the change of the atomic radius (size of the atom) as shown as trends in the periodic table.  Here’s a visual to what I was trying to discuss.

If you want to see a dot diagram of atomic radius as discussed in the beginning of the podcast, click here.

Further clicks on this link will show more interesting periodic table views of atomic properties.

At the end of the program, I referenced Inkscape, a vector program that can draw lines and curves beautifully.

Here is the image I copied, and the image I created.  Close enough to worry?

Quilting design lila from Sweet Dreams Quilt Studio

Oh:  Follow me on facebook Scientific Quilter, or Twitter @scientificquilt

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11.2 Fixed it! And more …

January 29, 2011

Whoo hoo.  All I needed was one person to agree that the letters on my “make it sew” cover would be hard to see, to convince me that I should go ahead and make the change to my current project.

Thank you Jane!

And then I … do-de-do-doo-du … fixed the problem without getting too stressed.

Here’s how. (in progress picture to follow)

As I was considering Jane’s idea of making the white letters bigger and putting them behind, I quick whipped up a photoshop touch up of the design.

Placing the larger (paper) letters in back of the smaller letters, I could see I would have problems with the W and E lining up all the way. 

So I decided to take my backwards printout, make a copy, and draw an eighth of an inch around in block form. 

Instead of cutting or anything dramatic, I just cut and fused the white right over the letters I made initially.  The original letters were already fused down, and they weren’t coming up.

I also didn’t consider (too long) remaking the star background piece, considering what I was putting over top was exactly the same size, maybe a little bit larger, even.

And then I remade the black letters, it took me some time, but not a TON.

And the result is so much nicer.

But I swear the comment from Linda proved she was in the room next to me while I was working on this project. 

She must have been phase shifted, or transported in and out when I was in the other room getting some tea.

But wait … there’s more …

On a roll now, I was able to sew down the black letters with black thread, sew on the insignia (also black thread), all the time listening to podcasts. 

I was a little annoyed with all the starts and stops that go along with sewing down applique with the machine, but it was still incredibly faster than hand applique, my usually preferred method.

But wait … there’s more …

How could I stop now?  Uninterrupted sewing time, batting, sides already completed, lining fabric easy choice to cut.

Cut, basted, quilted (straight line) all three sides.  Done, done, done.

And then I had to see if it would fit right, so i pinned it “how it would look when finished”, not “right sides together to continue on with the project”.

You may also be able to see the 5 pins sticking out the back of the top.  Theses are where I could feel the hand groove for the machine where I carry it.

Then I got a little excited because I forgot to take a few pictures.  Well I got one here (which isn’t exactly the fabric size I actually used):

Well, it is the same technique.  What you do, is

  1. you know where you have to make the opening,
  2. You draw the opening on the back of some fusible stabilizer.  The stabilizer is on the back of a gold fabric that will end up being the trim.  Make sure your trim piece has a little bit more fabric on the sides than this pic.
  3. And you pin the right side of the trim fabric with the right side of the object getting the slit
  4. You sew around the drawn opening on the outside one eighth to one quarter inch.
  5. You (carefully) take your scissors to the slit, cutting apart the fabric and the quilted part, making sure you kinda notch the fabric in the seam allowance.
  6. Don’t cut through the sewing line you just made.
  7. Start pulling the trim (gold) fabric through the slit you just made.
  8. You have to do some creative folding on the corners to have the fabric lay flat.
  9. Fold all your trim fabric down into the slit.  The line you sewed around the edge makes the edge where the trim meets the background.
  10. Top stitch just outside of the sewing line, making sure that the fabric on the inside is being caught by the topstitching.
  11. Go see Flossie Bottom’s Tutorialwhich makes more sense in pictures.

Which looks like this when finished and over the sewing machine.

And here’s the front:  TADA!

Sewing machine cover complete.  Can’t wait to blow the minds of all the ladies in the guild.  Or whoever gets me to sew next to them. 

February retreat!

Hope I don’t get tired of looking at it.  Only took 10 hours of work today and before today: 

I had the embroidery part done, the insignia cut out, the background done (with all the particular stripes of fabrics fussy cut) and everything that I had to redo today.

You can find my other posts on this topic here, here, here, and here.

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11.1 Making Me Sew – Midterm Progress Report

January 28, 2011

Well … so much for a quick project.

This is quickly turning out to be one complicated mess, a very long and fulfilling project that will make me leap with happiness if when it gets completed.

The sewing machine cover could not have had one single fabric color, the make it sew letters had to “match” the space theme.

Here are my letters, and see I even made them BACKWARDS (which fixes my problem!)!

Score: Backwards designs - 4, DARLA - 1

And these letters would look fantastic if I was setting them on white (or near white) background like my ironing board (repurposed bed sheet from goodwill).

I do like what I am doing, but hmm:

I was hoping the white in the pattern would make it work, but … now I am not so sure. 

I could embroider around in a color like red or gold. 

But I would be afraid I would lose my sharp edges with that technique.

I should have backed the design in white instead.  Maybe probably.

But now they’re stuck on with fusible.

Or maybe try paint sticks … oh wait, I don’t have paint sticks.

I also ALMOST used plain black fabric for the word outline, but “I wanted something starry and that was the best place to put my stellar fabric”.

I do have the sides done and ready to be basted. 

If/when I fix the letters (they may just stay halfway unreadable – for style purposes), I’ll have to baste & quilt the main body and the sides.

Then sewing the pieces together will be almost all that’s left.  Oh and binding around the bottom.

Oh yeah, I may want a slit in the top of the cover.

Flickr inspiration for this sewing machine cover (tutorial for structure, not content) found at FlossieBottom’s Sewing Machine Cover Tutorial.

That’s my friday night sew-in thingy that I’ve seen other people do.  (yes, it qualifies as sewing until about bedtime for me, so it would count – if I were doing that, and if it were the right week for it).

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7.4 Home Sewing Front – Spectra Quilt

July 18, 2010

So I started playing around with EQ7 this morning.  I have successfully read through the entire user’s manual (at Jiffy Lube, during lunch breaks, falling asleep). 

I wasn’t at the computer while reading, but I at least have heard of the terms used in the program a little bit at this point.

I thought I had a good handle on how to navigate EQ7, and considering my experience in photoshop, thought that the whole thing would be a piece of cake to navigate.

Well, it’s OK, and I don’t know if it’s just my lack of experience or what, but I have been taking longer than expected to handle the navigation of the program.

You put everything you want to do in your sketchbook before you use it.  And then you have to color everything.  I haven’t even figured out how to color a block and then put it into a quilt that way – all i’ve used on colors is preset color choices and then changing them to colors I want.  But what if I chose to keep some blocks different colors (or the same) than what the presets? 

I did a drawing with freedraw (or some name I don’t remember) and used Serendipity to make it kaleidoscope, but then I couldn’t put my new kaleidoscoped block into another block. 

I suppose if I export the block I may have the control I want, but the program said that it couldn’t do what I wanted to at the time.

And I didn’t notice that the coin quilt block was there, and I was having a hard time with making my spectra quilt until I just imported each spectra as a photo. 

 

I didn’t know how to make a coin quilt from the start because that option wasn’t a preset (although I have been told there are coin quilt blocks available, I haven’t done that yet).  The way I set up my spectrum quilt to get this picture is:

  • Vertical Strip Quilt
  • 1st Block 4.5 inches
  • 2nd Block 1.5 inches
  • 3rd Block 4.5 inches
  • with a 1.5 inch border

This size may make a nice table runner, my overall size is 19.5 X 34 inches which fits the space I have wonderfully.  I didn’t have a sashing option by doing a vertical strip quilt style, and since this is based on a photograph this was overcome by making the sashing strips the size of my inner ‘blocks’.

I was hoping for some more help in figuring out exactly how wide each spectra would have to be, but I did the math and a little Dimensional Analysis (yes science, math and chemistry practice has come in handy here!) and played around with my quilt size to make the math easier and I have a lovely start on my spectra quilt – USING PHOTOSHOP. 

Sorry folks, but I had to go back to my old standby when I kept trying to zoom in farther and farther on my picture within the completed quilt and couldn’t get the thing to do what I wanted it to do.

 Having 10 years of playtime on photoshop probably made it easier to figure out how to get the program to behave better than a program I’ve had for a month and a half which I haven’t taken computer time to decipher yet.

To get the size of each bias bar accurately (which I am not doing by the way), I had to do the following photoshop steps:

  1. Set a grid up.  The grid is modified in Edit/Preferences/Guides,Grids&Slices.  I set up grids every 4 subdivisions every 4 pixels.  Using dots.
  2. Zoom in on my original picture far enough. 
  3. Pick some crazy colors 
  4. Set up the paintbrush tool to 1.0 pixel in size
  5. Each ‘dotted box’ I put a colored dot just along the side of the picture.
  6. Each 1 dot was green, every 5 dots was red.  Very tedious steps (5&6)
  7. Then I changed to a different color (blue) and every 2 red dots put a dot to the right (every 10 pixels)
  8. New color, every 20 pixels (two blue dots) put a dot (purple)
  9. New color, every 50 pixels (two and a half purple dots) put a dot (yellow).
  10. This made it easy to count the total number of pixels in each row, and gave me a fairly accurate idea of where in each row the colored lines were. 
  11. I had a total of 310 dots, so I made the length of the quilt 31 inches so that each inch would be 10 dots. 
  12. I really should go metric with the calculations from here, but no one sews a metric seam allowance.  If you feel the urge, I know that 2.54 centimeters = 1 inch, so you can do some more dimensional analysis to figure it out if you so choose.
  13. I put all these dots on a new layer in photoshop so I can move the layer around to each of the strips and ‘count’ where the lines are. 
  14. The strips are all about 1/10 or 1/5 of an inch finished, but I don’t have any bias tape makers that go that far, so I’ll have to get out my bias bars and use the thinnest one available. 
  15. I’ll approximate on the color values used for each color and perhaps vary the brightness at this point

This makes me happy that at least I am thinking about this project – AND I am using math – AND I am using dimensional analysis - something for which both chemistry and physics heavily prepared me.

But today, a sewing day, I worked more on my black and white quilt.  Black and white borders complete, sewed onto the quilt (measured heavily because of how I had to strip the setting trapeziods) and started on my ‘handdrawn celtic border corners’.  12 total.  1 down, 11 to go.

This, in no way, is a negative review of EQ7.  I haven’t discovered the possibilities yet on this. 

But it is a reflection that I need to use the things I can do with EQ7 and the things I can do with photoshop and put the talents together while I learn and play with the possibilities (and limitations) of both programs. 

I know people would like a podcast/review on EQ7, and I have to wait to know what is going on before doing so, but when I get to it, I’ll see if I can cook up something. 

It felt very nice to not only be creative today in the computer programs, but also very comfortable to be doing the math that I’ve been avoiding unnecessarily.  Incredible how odd that feels to say, but so very true.

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