Archive for the ‘Hypothesis’ Category

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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!

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2.4 Computer resource I want as a quilter

December 12, 2009

Ravelry Photograph from their website

Being not a “yarnie” I don’t feel comfortable going to Ravelry really. But I did look at their (old) tour and I was impressed with how you could organize your patterns and wips, in addition add the social media aspect of everything.  Any Ravelry veterans feel free to add in details here.

I was wanting an online database that would take care of managing all our WIPS.  I have a list of steps that you have in a quilt project that I would like to post pictures and comments for each available step.

Here is the following categories I came up with:

  1. Haven’t started yet – still planning in my head
  2. Bought the pattern
  3. Gathered materials for
  4. Created any needed templates or foundations for creating
  5. Blocks cut
  6. Blocks sewn together
  7. Borders completed
  8. Basted
  9. Quilted
  10. Binding completed
  11. Label made
  12. Sleeve made

Wouldn’t that be keen?  Oh, and I want it to be free like other websites.  I’m not incredibly database literate, but its gotta be the main structure behind things like facebook etc.  I tried using power point as a database because I like how you can add pictures.  Power point is limiting – the sorting part isn’t there.  Another nice feature would be the size of cut pieces you need to create completed locks for your patterns, the amount of fabric needed for your quilt – an all in one quilting resource.

 To manage it all, it is probably a nightmare, but I have heard other quilters cry out for this, and this is my turn.  Anyone want to get a start on this?

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2.2 SQ Podcast Episode 4 – Quilting the Spectrum

December 6, 2009

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Many days in science class I stared at the emission spectra posters on the wall.  Which may explain why I am drawn to the black, white and rainbow colored pattern I bought from a local quilt artist, Linda Everhart at Quilting Among Friends and the quilt on the wall at the local quilt show this past summer.

It was no surprise that when I saw the Science Craftster Swap from March that I immediately stopped to look at the spectra scarf made by echo_brook to give to pocketwatch.  Sending a message to Echo_brook, she plans to knit a blanket of the same design. Here is pocketwatch’s scarf found on page 10 (not 15) on her cool art couch.

And here is pocketwatch showing off the purple portion of the knitted scarf.  Why is the design that way with “random” purple and black (and other colors)?  It’s not random, it’s an emission spectra of Argon.  Perfect for the length of a scarf!

The emission spectra is something explored in physics and astronomy.

A tool that breaks up light is a prism, and a tool that has many “microprisms” on a thin sheet is a diffraction grating.  Prisms and diffraction gratings break up light by bending the light that travels at different speeds.  You may see “rainbow glasses” at your favorite science museum or science gift shop – that’s probably a diffraction grating that you’re buying.  Below is a picture of the diffraction grating.

A CD also can serve as a ‘makeshift’ diffraction grating.

For a summer I did research on the hydrogen spectra at Kansas State Physics Education Research Group.  It was the first time I saw a video camera with a diffraction grating taped to the side of it.  We set up our hydrogen gas tube, turned off the lights and took some pictures.  Of spectra.

What is spectra?  Spectra is a visible amount of energy due to moving electrons in an atom.  We put energy into the hydrogen atom by adding electricity, and then the electron moves away from home for a while.  Then the electron gets bored and comes back, but it doesn’t get to keep that fancy energy.  So it emits energy, some of which, is in the form of light – visible light.  And if we have the right tools to break up the light, we can get a specific pattern of colors, which we call a spectra.  Each element has a unique emission spectra due to the number of electrons and where they are located in the atom … and a bunch of other reasons.

If you want to see a periodic table that shows each specific element’s emission spectra in gif form, click here to go to the Penn State Erie site (click on each element to get to the spectra picture).   A periodic table with the symbols and element names is necessary to get the correct element here (unless you were forced to memorize the first 4 rows like I was – even several years after teaching I could remember most of them).  Feel free to search for “emission spectra” or “emission spectrum” in google for more info.

This one is Argon.  I downloaded it from the website to use for my quilt design.

Scientists will use a device called a spectroscope (dark box with a long thin slit and a “ruler” inside to measure the distance of the colors) to determine the elements that make up various gases.  For a tutorial on how to make a CD spectroscope, and a spectroscope with a cereal box and a diffraction grating, click here.

In the meantime …

Placing the diffraction grating in front of my camera lens produces interesting effects.

Using a diffraction grating on my ceiling light fixture shows bulbs of color, which demonstrates that the light source is where the rainbow is coming from.

And this following picture was of a set of 6 LEDs in a row which I liked.

Braving the December evenings I stepped outside to take a picture of the street light with the diffraction grating in front.

Turning to the side slightly about 20 – 30 degrees, you can see the spectra through the diffraction grating.  Notice the lonely cyan light, in addition to the bright green and yellow lights.

The diffraction grating had only about 1000 lines / mm.  More lines would give a higher resolution, but are also (slightly) more expensive.  Also the diffraction grating was a little dirty and I tried to clean it as best as I could.  Sodium has a distinct “double yellow” line(s) that would be easier to see with a more precise diffraction grating.  I am still betting this street lamp is sodium rather than mercury due to the brightness of the yellow here.

How can this relate to quilting?

What about a special scientific quilting design that is pleasing to the eye but also has a “hidden scientific code” inside?

I call this “coin quilt” design “Noble Metallic Spectra” (Chlorine isn’t noble gas, nor metallic, but I like the name anyway).  The symbol names in red at the bottom could be stitched as embroidery or quilting on the quilt itself.

As mentioned in the podcast you could do this as a coin quilt and consolidate the blacks (and maybe some of the colored bars) together, or you could do bias bars as the colored strips appliqued on top.

Letting my imagination run away from me, I produced a ring quilt using the polar coordinate filter on Photoshop.

This one I call “Medals of Elements” because its Copper, Silver, and Gold and traditionally medals are given as copper, silver, and gold (and they were my favorite crayon colors growing up).

Maybe I should draw up a “pattern” for these and become a scientific pattern designer?  Well first I have to create the quilts to know if they will actually work.

Additional resources

Bleach dyes websites from Deb

Websites to check out of other quilting podcasts mentioned in the show

Thanks also to my commenters

  • Janetsnina, IamSusie, Deb, Kelley, Ruthann, Lauretta6, Janet

Feel free to let me know about your scientific adventures in quilting or other crafts!

Keep experimenting!

EDIT:  I created an item with an embroidered spectra – a Sewing Machine Cover.  Find the link here!