Archive for the ‘Data’ Category

h1

22.0 First 15 Minute Challenge Jan 10, 2012

January 10, 2012

I have thought a lot about joining up the 15 minute challenge since a podcast about it a year ago.

I have also not been disciplined enough to always do something on a certain day, or really rigorous in my quilting experiments that I have set up and then long forgotten to get ahead on quilting projects.

But, I am considering having a Marching Along in March where the challenge is similar to Kelley’s May Mayhem and all you have to do is sew for 15 minutes a day in march.

If I want to set up something like that, I have to start somewhere, and what better way than posting a 15 minute challenge results from the last week, and then linking it to Life in Pieces Blog – at least once anyway.

And to spice up the information, it usually goes out with a graphic, so I am trying that too.

This whole week has been taken up by progress on my Exothermic quilt blocks.

Some other rules about the 15 minute challenge that I have set up for myself:

No where do I actually say I definitively have worked for 15 minutes, AND this list for me can include things that make sewing easier that are either necessary prep items or something more than just twittering & blogging.  Also when not journaled correctly, I reserve the right to fudge a little bits on the dates this all happened.

I have the right to change the rules at any time.

More details?

Tuesday, I was finishing up the alternate blocks (dark blocks in exothermic design) by figuring out the corners that I would need to cut off & sew down. I sewed one complete block with corners that day. or was this monday??

Wednesday, I repeated the process of flipping & cutting down the pieces that go on the corners on the remaining 11 blocks to complete.

Thursday, I got a little farther in sewing the corners that I prepped on Wednesday, sewed 8 of 11 on.

Friday, I finished up sewing all the corners on the blocks.

Saturday was figuring out how to best piece the side block, I had to cut out the templates, tape together the paper pieced portion (oh why didn’t I use washable glue?), sew strip sets for the graduated look of the block, cut down the strips for paper piecing the block.

Sunday, I had less time to sew than I had planned, I got all the pieces together and had my puckers on the side block, but I did measure, and it is staying w/in the 45 degress of an isoceles right triangle.

Monday, back at work, I started cutting the paper piece templates for the rest of my 13 side blocks I need to make. Cutting these at lunch did eventually lead to 15 minutes of work, no sewing, but sewing prep and that counts.

That’s my first 15 minute challenge post.

h1

21.2 Practicing quilting with paper

December 4, 2011

Sometimes you just have to make your own mistakes and make your own experiments before you believe a result that someone else has already warned you about.

I have been neglecting the FMQ on my giveaway quilt, probably since I haven’t FMQ’d since June. (That’s Free Motion Quilting, for the uninformed)

That and I really just want to piece my (other) quilts in my own room, around my own things, which leads me to procrastinate on this current project.

This quilt was supposed to be a quick quilt to get me to practice the FMQ, and that is starting to serve it’s purpose this early morning.

My experiment & hypothesis: I can FMQ through a freezer paper quilting template and still like the quilting results on the quilt when the freezer paper is removed.

First I took a paper copy of my design (Just ran the freezer paper copy through my printer) and pinned it down to the top of a practice quilt sandwich.

I quilted through that.  First, I locked up & realized how much lint is gathering under my metal plate, so spent a half hour ‘delinting’ my machine.

After all is lint free, I try again with the regular paper. I suppose this was my ‘control’ of my experiment.  To see if freezer paper would be easier than the regular paper.

Regular paper quilts through mostly fine, although at this point, I haven’t removed the regular paper yet, so this data is only halfway done.

Then decided I needed more time getting the rhythm for the design down, so I cut a smaller sandwich for the middle design & quilted it down.

So I took freezer paper and put it on my practice quilt sandwich and FMQ’d away.

I have only removed the paper from one of the flowers and leaves at this point, and although this technique I think would work, I am having reservations at how much this is pulling up the stitches.

One solution: faster foot pedal, slower hands.

This produces smaller stitches that would make it easier to tear away the paper and would prevent large loops coming undone

Another solution: tighten the tension on the top (?)

I am not sure but maybe a tighter tension would produce tighter stitches on the top.

Another solution: get the freezer paper wet with water to help remove the paper.

enough said.

Another solution: get a light weight quilting paper specially designed to dissolve away.

This would help with keeping the stitches close to the actual fabric underneath, perhaps also providing more tension all on it’s own. I don’t own any of this.

Another solution: trace the design from paper to the fabric using dressmaker’s carbon.

This way I don’t have to deal with the paper itself. Of course I don’t OWN any dressmaker’s carbon.

Another solution: trace the design onto tissue paper.

Same as the carbon, and I may actually have some. somewhere. Somewhere.Tissue paper’s thin.  May come with its own set of problems too though.

Another option: leave it – it’s working out ok enough.

I think this may work overall, if I decided to leave the freezer paper & tear it out by hand, I think this could be “good enough” and know that over time, I’ll get better. And hopefully the recipient would understand.

I realized that I never have come to this place before in my stages of quilting.

Which solution / option do you usually chose?  Reasons why?

h1

17.4 The Vortex of a New Project

July 19, 2011

Suddenly, I have one swap to do – Pinwheels, podcast done, house good, things going well (generally).  So it feels like virtual freedom.

The lack of quilt show deadline looming over my head actually has found me in a state of “well, now what do I do?”.

Which is almost comical, when I list out the UFO’s that I have to work on, several of which incredibly excite me.

I had promised Nonnie, from Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams that I would get her some blocks for her massive charity quilt project.

So I took her up on it and finally set down to sew together several blocks, now they’re just waiting to be mailed (tomorrow).  These are pictures of other Four Patches, hers are already in the envelope before I got out the camera.

And, because of her talking about the Disappearing Four Patch Blocks, I just HAD to try them, I just HAD to.

Even though I only made the requested Four patch for Nonnie as requested, I couldn’t help but make some disappearing four patch blocks on my own. Here is a murdered four patch.

I almost took Nonnie’s suggestion of cutting the blocks at 4 inches from the edge, but

  1. I didn’t square up the 4 patches to 12 inches first
  2. All blocks were consistently 12.5 finished before cutting
  3. I liked the look of cutting each line 4.5 inches from the outer edge
  4. Even after sewing them together I liked the look of 4.5 inches, the middles are small, but not TOO small.
  5. The more distance between you and the cut, the skinnier the strips (FYI).

I made 9 different blocks, and decided instead of changing out two colors, I thought I would investigate a bright scrappy quilt, by first lining up all my pieces.

And then went full on scrappy pieces on my design wall (3 pieces aren’t pictured here)

And now 3 blocks are sewn together. New life Frankensteined from nine separate blocks, stitched together lovingly, and fairly quickly.

Overall, so far, good experimental technique, and it’s fun, and I am learning to play a little bit!

Here is Nonnie’s directions to the charity quilt request, (just 4 patches) and here is Nonnie’s directions on how to do disappearing four patch blocks.  Or D4P?

h1

12.2 Velocity Results … Finally!

February 12, 2011

Thanks for all 5 of you that participated in

I learned a few things about myself when hosting this type of event, which I will share on the next podcast.

Here’s my bullet list of what I learned:

  • get a great giveaway item
  • show the item for the giveaway first to help with participation
  • don’t make a giveaway so complicated!
  • don’t make a giveaway a really long time frame
  • giveaways that seem complicated just get put off until later … and later …
  • give a hard and fast deadline to when the results will be given – no excuses
  • set a timer to help you get past the fact that figuring out the results may seem hard (even though it’s not)
  • once you get past the initial inertia of figuring out results, it is NEVER as hard as you think
  • you forgot how much joy you have in creating the giveaway to begin with if you never work on it!
  • dimensional analysis will get you through times when you haven’t done the math right

… You want actual results?

How fast do we sew?  Really?

Here’s a copy of the pdf of the google document that I created.

velocityexperiment-2

Here’s the picture (for those who don’t have pdf readers handy):

This is not meant to be a display on who can sew fastest when, so I blurred the names here, except mine.

The highlighted column ends up being the speed in yards / minute as I have calculated.  I hope I got all the kinks worked out on the yards / minute calculation.

(note: there are 3 feet in a yard, 12 inches in a foot, and 60 seconds in a minute, and forgetting one or all of these facts can cause you to go crazy for about a half hour)

Actual conclusions (to the data, not to how I mishandled the giveaway and experimental results).

  • Two quilters sewed faster when sewing full length strips rather than sewing blocks.
  • One quilter sewed faster when chain piecing blocks than sewing full length strips
  • MY speed was the slowest of them all when it came to sewing blocks.  And right now I can’t remember if I actually sewed two pieces of 2 and a half width blocks instead of one piece.  If I sewed a length of 5 inches instead of 2.5 then my speed would be much closer to the speed of sewing everything else.
  • Sometimes cats, ironing, threadies under the fabric get in the way and slow us down.
  • The width of the strips DOES matter on speed.  The narrow 1.5 inch strips are slower on all quilters who attempted them, and the fastest speed is on 8.5 inch blocks.
  • Some people get in a rush when trying to time themselves and cause themselves more trouble than they would otherwise.
  • The average speed of all the results is 1.36 yards / minute.  We can sew just about 1 and 1 third yards of fabric in a minute’s time.  And do it accurately.
  • Some people don’t like timing themselves, but everyone who did, I am truly grateful
  • I have a timer on my iPod Nano that I didn’t know I had

Feel free to continue to participate and now that I have the database set up better, I can hopefully reply much faster (get it – faster?) with the velocity.

Giveaway

For the giveaway, I assigned each trial that people timed a separate # and then used the random number generator to determine the winner of the giveaway.

And the winner is:

Janet!

Sending you an e-mail Janet, hope to get in contact with you soon!

h1

9.4 Don’t forget to participate!

December 13, 2010

Don’t forget to participate in The Great Velocity Experiment! 

You have to time yourself and know how far you are sewing. 

If you want details on how to do the experiment, go to the Experiment Podcast page. 

If you want to share your experimental results, go to the Quilting Speed Experiment page.

If you would like to copy and paste the smaller image onto your blog, download it here:

 

h1

9.2 SQ Episode 019 – The Velocity of Quilting – Part 2

December 5, 2010

Podcast Feed

The velocity of quilting is how we think of quilting using velocity terms and concepts. The concepts are defined in Part 1 of this episode.

  

Direction

The direction you travel mentally and physically correspond to your quilting goals. Finding out what you want to accomplish.

Ask yourself the questions and you’ll find your quilting velocity direction:

  1. What type of project do I want to do?
  2. How much work am I willing to do towards the project? 
  3. Do I know how to start the project or are there learning steps to handle before I get to that point?
  4. How much do I still have to purchase in supplies to finish the project?
  5. Am I creating the project for someone else?
  6. What is the project intended for? Is it for a wallhanging, a treasured bed quilt, a new baby, a tired kiddo, a memory of someone long gone?

Or you could actually think about the physical directions to obtain your quilting supplies:

  1. What direction to the nearest quilt shop?
  2. How many quilt shops can I steer away from on my long trip to somewhere else?
  3. What part of the store do you like the most, the back where all the quilt samples are, the front where all the fat quarters are located?

Another direction consideration is in free motion quilting:

  1. When free motion quilting what direction do you keep your quilt?
  2. Can you move the quilt vs move the machine? 
  3. What direction do you push your quilt to stuff it into the harp/throat areas?
  4. What advantage is a quilt rack/stand that moves the machine compared to moving the quilt?
  5. What direction are your legs in, are you sitting or standing?
  6. What direction do your shoulders go if you scrunch them up all the time quilting?

Other times to consider direction of quilting (not mentioned in the podcast):

  1. What direction do you cut the fabric (lengthwise or crosswise grain)?
  2. What direction are you moving your rotary cutter when you cut the grain?
  3. What direction are your applique pieces that are stuck on the wrong side of your fabric?
  4. What direction do you press the seams?

 

Instantaneous Velocity vs Average Velocity

Image from flickr,  By Allie_Caulfield

Instantaneous Velocity

  • Instantaneous velocity and the hare
  • Stopping projects midstream to work on something else (or take a nap)
  • Working on quick projects that take minimal effort, learning time, materials
  • Being satisfied for making a project quickly
  • An instantaneous velocity of zero is still a velocity.
  • Define the amount of time you want to define as “an instant”
  • Are you okay with leaving in mistakes?
  • Set up your equipment, tools, surroundings, sewing space to help maximize sewing time and minimize downtime
  • Product based quilting – more projects = more things put on etsy = more chance to feed yourself

 

Image from flickr, by iregretjumping

Average Velocity

  • In reality, for many projects, you may be facing time frames of years or months
  • Slow and steady wins the race, just ask the tortoise
  • Slowing down gives you more time to reflect, make changes, define the best techniques for your quilt
  • The time it takes to gather the fabric, materials, learn the techniques, cut, sew, quilt & bind the quilt all adds in to the total quilting time for one project
  • Pick up a new technique and try it.  Adds to your total quilting time and lowers your velocity, but can help you in the long run.

 

Frame of Reference

Referencing others

Wait a minute, everyone is finishing projects faster than me….

  • Wow!  This is cool!  I should try to do more projects, sewing, etc.

or

  • Oh no!  I don’t know how to work that fast!  How can I ever keep up?

Pick your attitude to help suit you best.  Keep in mind all the life distractions that you don’t want to / aren’t able to miss. 

Give yourself permission to be slower/faster than others depending on your unique situation and pressures.

You also may actually have a higher velocity of projects than other people.  If so, encourage or help others to finish up!

You can also reference yourself.

  • Some people as they learn new techniques, can speed up over time because they aren’t referencing the source material as much.
  • Some people find it more valuable to slow down as they gain more knowledge to be able to produce quilts with better quality. 
  • Doing it right by spending a little more time on it may be more satisfying and save the headache of unsewing (negative project velocity)

 

Image from flickr, by garryknight 

Thanks for the comments.  We need to think of how much we want to sew, how quickly we need to sew, and what that will do to the final project. 

  • Will we burn up our machine by literally going pedal to the metal? 
  • Will we drag our feet to complete a project we don’t want to complete? 
  • Will we put less value on our projects for ourselves than on the projects for others and put the effort into finishing things for others over finishing our own stuff?
  • Will we regret sewing too fast and trying to get a project done in time?
  • Will we sew fast enough to complete a project for a fellow swapper?

I had a blast at my very first quilting retreat lately.  I have been tearing it up getting a lot of quilting projects nearer to completion!

Are you a slow poke quilter too? Sign up and show off your slow quilting velocity!

  

Velocity Giveaway

Giveaway Details for the Great Velocity Experiment

We’re going to close on January 6th, 2011 to be considered eligible for the velocity experiment giveaway. 

If you find this site after that date, please feel free to participate by going to my Quilting Velocity Experiment page anyway!

At the current time, it will be easy to be eligible as we have very few entries!

Additional Music

From freesound.org

        By SirmXe 
            Twisted Feeling – Keys 140 BPM.mp3

From Mevio’s Music Alley

A Golden Day by Axel Schneider

Inner Focus by Absent Machine

Sands of Egypt by John Gillat

The Marionette by Two Star Symphony

Novellette in D Major by Mario Ajero

h1

8.9 SQ Episode 18 – The Great Velocity Experiment – Part 1

October 31, 2010

Podcast Feed

Do you feel the need for speed?

Physics of Velocity

What is velocity?  Why not call this podcast – “Quilting Speed”?

Velocity is noted as speed and direction

What is speed?  Speed is the distance you travel and the amount of time it takes you to do so.

Velocity in physics is measured as both instantaneous and average.

Instantaneous velocity is the speed and direction you are at any given moment

Imagine you are driving  – or will be. Getting in your car, turning the key, you notice the car starts at rest.   

A velocity of zero.

You accelerate to a certain speed.  At any given instant between zero and your final speed your spedometer would read something different. An instantaneous velocity.

If you want to look at your average velocity during that same time period, consider the entire time period you were moving.  Then take your beginning speed, and your ending speed (going in the same direction) and take the average of the two. 

In our car, we are moving compared to the ground.

Compared to the ground.  A frame of reference.  The most common frame of reference is the ground.

If we were driving in a 4 lane highway, how fast do we appear to be driving compared to another car going faster?

Let’s say the other car is going faster, in the same direction we are. 

We’ll fall behind the other car, right?  We’re going to be late to the party. Hey, wait for us!

Doesn’t it appear that we are going backwards to the other car? 

We know we’re not going backwards, we can see we’re making progress forward compared to the ground, but making less progress compared to the faster car. 

But if you could see what your friend’s kid could see, looking back, seeing our slower car from the faster car’s perspective, our car would look like it is leaving us.  And the kids can make faces at us.

We can also have a negative velocity if we are considered to be ‘going backwards’ from where we intend to go. 

We can have a negative velocity compared to other vehicles.

So the study of velocity in physics starts you thinking about your speed, your direction, type of velocity measurement and your frame of reference, and these major terms can be applied to quilting.

  

Experimental Results

I’ve set up a separate page on my blog for the Great Velocity Experiment

I’ve created my own small scale experiment that measures the average velocity of a set number of strips.  And you can play along!  It’s easy.

You’ll really only need a number of strips or blocks that need sewing, a method to sew them, a timer, how many blocks or strips you have, and the length of 1 block or strip.

It is also nice to know what machine you use, what width of blocks you’re sewing (I found it makes quite a bit of difference), and you have to try to be accurate too!

Further details in the link above and in the show.  I am also including it on the side bar, and if I can figure out how to post a widget for you guys with blogs, I’ll let you know.

You DON”T HAVE TO DO any of the math, except to tell me the specifics I ask for, which the most math is measuring your block and counting the number of blocks, and I’ll do all the rest of the math for you!  What a deal!

And if you’re overseas and use meters instead of inches/yards (silly US system we have set up here), let me know that too.

I’ll do a giveaway to a lucky random person who participates! (Details to follow)

Wrap up

A few notes to wrap up part 1 of this podcast

THANK YOU for reaching out to me!!!  Thank you thank you thank you!

If you want some books I recently ‘read’ (listened to) about the brain and decisions (logical side and emotional side):

 Gridlock Gridlock?  Try this technique at Sew Mama Sew suggested by Sally

Want to try a cross stitch pattern from a picture?  Try My Photo Stitch suggested by Deb

 Optical Illusion Quilt by Jane at Just Plain Jane Quilts

 

Additional Music

From Mevio

  • Eric Kauschen – Speed of Light
  • Josh Woodword – Once Tomorrow – Instrumental
  • Gravity – Geoff Smith

From Freesound

       By genghis attenborough 
            Tornado jet.wav 
        By audible-edge 
            Driving in Streamwood IL with the windows down (05-04-2009).mp3 
        By Corsica_S 
            cleared_for_takeoff.wav

h1

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.

h1

4.1 SQ Podcast 9 – Keep Experimenting Everyone!

February 5, 2010

Podcast Feed

Cookie-Cutter Experiments vs Design your own

Already designed items are appealing due to overcoming obstacles in time, money, experience, fear, energy, motivation, or static friction.  Some examples of pre-designed experiments are:

  • cross stitch & embroidery patterns
  • knitting & crochet patterns
  • quilting kits
  • BOM’s
  • free motion stencils

The other choice is to design it yourself.  There is much fun in coming up with

  • quilt block patterns (see Tuxedo Designs blog)
  • quilt pattern placement or size (on point, baby sized, with sashing …)
  • hand drafting quilting patterns (see Leah Day Free motion quilting designs blog)
  • color choices
  • fabric types
  • thread choices
  • color values
  • rick rack choices
  • applique patterns

(see my Machine experiment number 1 post for more details of my personal design experiment inspired by Leah Day’s blog)

(also see Tuxedo Park Designs’ personal blog where he takes common blocks and experiments with color and placement and scale – good insight into the experimental design process)

As much fun as it is designing your own stuff, it is also fun to decide what materials and tools to use for your project.  For me, sometimes that takes the form of scientific experimentation. (or just experimenting – or just playing)

(A small number of) Ideas for quilt-related experiments in this fashion:

  • brand of quilting gloves
  • type of needle (sharps vs milners vs betweens ..)
  • thimbles (like in Quilter’s Home mag)
  • Machine quilting surfaces
  • types of material to quilt with (cotton, flannel, knits ….)
  • thread brands

Experimental Design

Going through an example, we can discuss the finer points of setting up good quilty experiments

Get your question figured out and focused

  • Lets say I want to know about thread – specifically thread durability while machine quilting

Come up with a hypothesis something I want to know

  • I think that different brands of thread affect quilt durability during machine quilted applications (this should probably be more specific still)

Figure out how do you measure if your hypothesis is true (finding out your manipulated variables)

  • Amount of time, stress, and washing affect quilt durability.
  • Any one of these three measurements can be used as their own separate experiment – remember to focus

How do you show that changes in your variables will result in changes to your quilts?

  • Mini Experiment 1:  Hang weights on a quilt that is machine quilted for 30 days.  Take observations daily of the quilt and compare results from day 1 to day 30 – extend this longer if necessary
  • Mini Experiment 2:  Hanging a quilt with a sleeve using different amounts of weight (different stresses on the quilts).  Take observations of how much weight is on the quilt when the quilt thread breaks or stretches. 
  • Mini Experiment 3:  Washing a quilt for 30 washes (decide if you want to use detergent or if you want to machine dry your quilt or you want to wash with rocks in your washing machine to help enhance the wear on it).  Take observations of your quilt after each wash (or 5) and compare results from no washes to 30 washes – extend to more washes if necessary

Notice that in:

  • Experiment 1 we are changing the number of days.  Days or time is our manipulated variable in this experiment.
  • Experiment 2 we are changing the stress on the quilt. (using weights)
  • Experiment 3 we are changing the amount of washing time.

All these experiments may tell you about the ‘durability’ of the thread types. 

You may find after this point that you want to only focus on one part of the experiment or you may want to be more specific still on your hypothesis. 

  • Maybe you only want to test the amount of wear on the quilt due to washing, and then decide to use different types of washing settings (hot water/cold water), detergents, dryer settings, amount of stress and other clothes in the washer at the same time …

Playing with Variables

DON’T make ALL the changes to your quilt simultaneously if you want to find out the real cause of your manipulated variable.

  • If you change the stress, washing, and days, you could have results, but what were the results actually from??

Keep everything else the same.   You don’t want to change anything that may throw off your results

  • Use the same fabrics/batting machine/ stitch length for each type of thread you’re testing …

This is the controlling variable idea of your experiment.  You can have a “control” with which to measure everything against. 

  • Your control in each of the experiments we have set up is the completed quilt on the first day with no weights or washes.  Find a way to make good observations of your control (take pictures, notes, feel for puckers) before you start. 

Always start with a ZERO result.  Sometimes you can make 2 duplicate copies and leave one alone and test the other to help with comparisons. 

  • Like they do on the washing detergent commercials, only have one quilt with zero washes and the other quilt with 20 washes or 30 washes

Set up a rubric so you can tell “what is better”.  This can be done mentally or you can give it a point value

  • Best score for the washing quilt experiment is that after repeated washes there are no frays, puckers, raveled edges.  Or you can do a pull test on the two fabrics and just pull them apart and see if they will pull apart easily.

Be prepared to make changes.  Successful experiments can, and should, be changed and restarted with different techniques once you have some experience under your belt.

  • Increase your amount of time, figure out a clever way to add stress without using weights. 
  • Then go back to the start and retake your data

Tips

Go small scale to figure out if you’re even in the ball park.  Mythbusters does this well.

Be prepared for a hypothesis to be disproven.   Try to get your data in an objective way without putting your “wishes into it”. 

For example maybe my friend sells these really awesome quilting gloves, and I wanted to prove they were better than other brands of gloves.  And it turns out that the friend’s brand stinks. 

As long as you don’t tell your friend that they stink – try to keep the emotion away from the testing.  Put your emotion into something more useful.  Like designing that award-winning quilt!

Some fun websites related to web 2.0

Searching Marion’s blog I found her useful sites and I would like to also borrow one of her useful sites off of this post:

Why didn’t I mention this in the podcast?  This is another Great site!

Make Blog led me to Indestructables DIY site for step by step tutorials

More fun

Just look at my wonderful acorn PRIZE from Mirkwood Designs for doing a podcast-inspired project!  So soft and look at the detail and quality of the card as well!

Her podcast number 4 details the soft block carving.  Here look at my stamp project

 

Here is my signature block with some (useless) walmart tools and the (useful) exacto knife.  Cost: $1 for eraser, $4 for walmart tools (not necessary), and $5 (I think) exacto knife – has lots of blade types

I drew with pencil onto paper, then rubbed the pencil eraser onto the soft block eraser

Carving the image is not hard at all, but you have to be VERY careful – sharps – and VERY patient.  Did this while watching ‘radio TV’.

The completed stamp and bits.

Additional Resources about the topic:

Thanks to my commenters:

Check out the posts from LabMom on

Space inspired quilt idea sites from Peggi

I am seeing a little bit of traffic from specific sites that put me on their blogroll.  Specifically the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild   Thanks!

Thanks guys and Keep experimenting!

h1

1.9 Podcast Episode 3 Color Chromatography & Crochet Cell

November 28, 2009

 

Podcast Feed

I was visiting Craftster last week and I found some excellent projects that are perfect for this blog & podcast!  The first is Color Chromatography which is something I am passionate and excited about!

Picture from IamSusie on Craftster

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:

After:

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 Sally Le Strange from Craftster

If you look at the craftster site, you will be linked to a post that has multiple detailed pictures that describe the parts of the cell accurately.  An A+ project for sure!

My new favorite free motion machine quilting site. 

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!

After searching I found the pdf website from which I read off the article from Optics and Photonics News 1990.  Good suggestions of homemade dyes!

Thanks to the following podcasters who have left comments (so far)!

Allison Rosen @ Within a Quarter Inch

Ruthann Logsden-Zaroff @ Mirkwood Designs

Kelley @ The Pioneer Quilter

Also thanks to Robyn and Gail who commented in the Big Tent group, in addition to Sarah from “real life” for listening!

Keep Experimenting!

 – SQ