Archive for the ‘Other Crafty Scientists’ Category

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19.0 Rachel’s Genome Quilt

August 27, 2011

You gotta take a look at this quilt.

Longtime podcast listeners / blog readers may know that once upon a time I was inspired by Beverly St Clair to create a genome quilt.  Well, I have this very elaborate simple looking quilt idea that never went anywhere, but a pattern & an idea. It’s coming (probably), but I don’t have a gene to start with yet.

But this got me into contact with Rachel.  Rachel is a PhD student in Melbourne Australia & she sews fantastic clothes, and also quilts, which she blogs about both these passions at My Messings blog.

I have loved watching Rachel’s sewing come along over the years, but nothing as spectacular of a project as THIS – Rachel’s Genome Quilt!

Rachel’s quilt is filled with A’s, C’s, G’s & T’s, in code.  Each turn of the half square triangle represents a specific base.

The gene used in question: mouse integrin beta3

I love the subtle gradation of the aqua colors through the quilt, which really gives this quilt a lot of interest.

To the random observer, this quilt appears to be a random draw of half square triangles, but I’ve seen pictures of the blocks being sewn down, Rachel’s diagram of her final quilt done in sections, and now we get to see the finished piece.

A lot of preparation, planning, and persistence prevails here with this quilt.

Rachel takes the time to link back to all her past journey of the making of the quilt in her final blog post, so you should go over there and take a look at this quilt!

The back is pretty great too. (reminds me of electron orbital shells actually)

But the one thing that needs to be finished in order to tie all this meaning with all this beauty – a label.  So, I’m guessing that’s the next stage of the quilt.

It looks great, so go and take a look at what my blogging friend has done!

Well done Rachel!

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18.2 Tutorial: Tangram-esque Fabric Puzzle (via Beauty All Around)

August 11, 2011

I saw this little “42 piece toy” blogged and I had to reshare it with you. Squares and triangle shapes, 42 mini quilts that are turned under become a toy / puzzle. This looks like a lot of fun! Those of you with bright colored charm packs or fabrics, here’s an idea for you and kids to enjoy!

Tutorial: Tangram-esque Fabric Puzzle This is one of those projects that's been on my mental to do list for a while, like before I had my Pinterest boards, or I would be able to tell you exactly when and where I saw it. (Oh Pinterest, how did I ever get along without you?) I did pin a similar project as soon as I saw it, but this was months after the original inspiration struck me. Curious yet? After tumbling the idea around in my head, I finally cracked down and did it, and rather t … Read More

via Beauty All Around

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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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16.0 Now THAT’s a planet!

June 7, 2011

I occasionally get Craftster updates and this time I saw this wonderful patchwork planet.  From the Froglin Faffing blog.

Reminds me of me, where the planning goes one way, and then at the end uses pure luck to complete it.  Nice graph, nice organization, I love squishies with a purpose.

What’s best?  Most fabrics are from her stash!

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6.8 Machine Quilter’s Showcase Pictures Part 1

June 8, 2010

Last month I went to the Machine Quilter’s Showcase in Kansas City.  This may be discussed in the podcast a little bit (no – not ready to record the rest yet – voice still bad).  Since I haven’t been recording, lets just put up gratuitious (but yummy) pictures of quilts that I will take a long time to gain the excellent skills shown here.  Very different being at a national show vs. a local show, but at the same time – not.  Hard to ‘xplain.

This time I was BAD BAD BAD in getting credit for what was due each quilter so I don’t have any names of quilts and quilt artists, but if YOU happen to see your quilt in this post, comment below and I’ll try to get it in a corrected post later.

1) Thread painting at the beach.  Black quilt.  All the color done with thread.  Awesome!

More thread painting of parrots!

More thread painting (I think) of geisha.

2) This quilt was white to start with and details were colored in by the quilt artist!

Subtlety of red and purple on this quilt.

3) I saw a listener’s quilt – Vicki’s mouse’s eye quilt – in person.  Boy the beading on that was amazing!  I was speechless to see something I had seen on the blog in person.

4) Photographs and real objects for inspiration.  I loved this cat picture quilt with picture board.

5) Many spirograph style quilts, many done on black.  Takes me back to the 80’s and little gears with numbers on them. 

6) Color study.  The following quilts I liked particularly for their color choices.  Who says some colors don’t mix?

Purple and red awesomeness. 

The triple nine patch convinces me that I can do aqua (one of my favorites) with red and it can be striking.

A veritable conglomeration of colors on this quilt just make me smile.

Lime green has a place next to purple if needed!

And the background on this shows that not every quilt needs to be backed with white (or variation) or black (or variation) to be effective.

… that’s all for today.  I’ll break up this eye candy into several posts so you can have some continued quilty goodness for the week!

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3.3 Podcast 7 Fun with Fibonacci

January 3, 2010

  

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A wonderfully simple, but visually pleasing mathematical topic is called the Fibonacci sequence.  

 What is the Fibonacci sequence?  

 Before you go running off to Wikipedia to find out (it’s somewhat scary – I’m warning you), let me explain Fibonacci here first.  

 The Fibonacci sequence is a series that can continue on forever (something to occupy your kids of school age for a period of time that can add multiple digits – challenge them to find the first 20 or 30 Fibonacci numbers and they’ll stay occupied for a while to give you sewing time).   

  1. You start with the number 1 and the other number 1. 
  2. Then you add the two numbers together: 1 + 1 = 2
  3. Then you add the last two numbers together: 1 + 2 = 3
  4. Then you add the last two numbers together: 2 + 3 = 5
  5. …   3 + 5 = 8
  6. …   5 + 8 = 13
  7. …   and so on … the numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 …. are the first numbers in the Fibonacci sequence

Personal Fibonacci influences 

Where did I first learn about the Fibonacci sequence?  Square One Television 

 Square One was an educational television program in the late 80’s that helped kids learn math.  There were several other shows that held my interest at this time such as:  Mr Wizard, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Braingames (on HBO), Encyclopedia (also on HBO), which focused on science, geography, brain puzzles, and vocabulary respectively.  

 On Square One, at the end of every episode there was a segment called ‘Mathnet’.  On Dragnet Mathnet, they were detectives that used math to solve crimes, and on one episode (series of episodes) there was a parrot that kept saying “1, 1, 2, 3, 5, eureka”.  It was the Fibonacci parrot.  Listen to the episode to hear my rendition of the parrot and some songs that I sing wonderfully that I embarrass myself for the sake of math.  

Fibonacci in Quilting  

The best example of a Fibonacci quilt that I found was on the blog Christina Creating  

Fibonacci quilt from Christina at Christina Creating

The colors, the contrast, the borders and the binding are just incredibly wonderful in this quilt!  Its informational, educational, visually appealing, square, AND well received by the recipients!  She talks about the process in her favorite quilt post.  No wonder it’s one of her favorite quilts!

Because I missed it the first time, here is a direct quote from Christina Creating about the inspiration for the quilt that she made:            

“I got the idea from the article “Pythagorean Tree” by Diana Venters in AQS’s American Quilter: Ultimate Projects (vol XIX, no 5, 2003).”  I have not been quilting all that long, so do not have access to that article (without going to the library I would guess they may have it).  If you’re into mathematical quilting, look up Diana Venters.            

Inspired by christina’s quilt, I played around in Photoshop a little bit and got a rough draft of a few quilts (or quilt block).  I turned on the grid to help with lining up in Photoshop (go to view / show / grid) 

 

Then I added several of these blocks together and changed some of the colors  

What an easy baby quilt idea this could be?  You could sew strips together of the different colors and just cut and sew them fairly easily. 

Here is the edges of the Fibonacci that shows the grid created by this quilt.  Maybe this would be good fabric pattern? (or not?) 

 

If instead of doing strips, you could do squares of each type.  This is (my) monochromatic version of the painting on the Square One / Mathnet parrot episode. 

You could also use the Fibonacci sequence to find visually pleasing border widths.  If you are stuck on several borders and knowing what widths to use for these, try Fibonacci numbers. 

For example, have a 1 inch border next to a 2 inch border next to a 3 inch border.  Or try a 2 inch border next a 5 inch border or a 1 inch border near an 8 inch border.  

I found a few other mathematical quilting sites along the road              

Including a challenge for mathematics quilts from 2006.         

 

Fibonacci in Nature 

Not all Fibonacci is straight lines and architecture.  Naturally you find Fibonacci in sunflowers.  I am NOT going to count them, but supposedly there are Fibonacci numbers of 34 and 55 on the following sunflower. 

 

 When you stop and look at things that you don’t normally pay attention to, you can find some unusual ideas, depending on how deep you actually look.  After mentioning Fibonacci and doing some Wikipedia research, and seeing tons of sunflower pictures, I stopped in my tracks when cleaning one of my dishes (by hand) and saw the same type of pattern – a Fibonacci pattern on my dish!  Amazing!  Did they purposefully make 13 little “dents” in each spiral?     

 

A natural spiral found in sea shells is shown here with this Wikipedia drawing.  

And if you divide the Fibonacci numbers in this way you get the Golden Ratio, which is also visually pleasing: 

  • 5/3 = 1.5
  • 8/5 = 1.66
  • 13/8 = 1.6
  • … on and on … until you get 1.61

The golden Ratio gives you a visually appealing relationship of 1 on the short side and 1.61 on the long side – many greek architecture follows this golden ratio rule of design. 

Additional Resources

A very comprehensive study of the fibonacci sequence with many pictures and ideas 

Go to Craftster and spread the word there on the quilting podcast posts        

Quilting & Crafting Podcasts mentioned in this podcast 

If you’re mathematically brave, head to the Wikipedia sites on Fibonacci and golden ratio

Thanks to my commenters this week!        

Keep Experimenting! 

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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!

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1.9 Podcast Episode 3 Color Chromatography & Crochet Cell

November 28, 2009

 

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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

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1.8 Podcast 3 Preview Color Chromatography & Crocheted Cells

November 24, 2009

What does a coffee filter or white fabric, markers, isopropanol, a bird drawing, have in common? 

Something I saw on Craftster from user: IamSusie  and the following post: Sharpie Dye Color Bursts gave me another experiment idea.  IamSusie got the idea from Happy Things and she saw it on Steve Spengler Science.  If you click on any of the links, you can see the Color Chromatography in action. 

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.