Archive for the ‘Chemistry’ Category

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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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2.9 Podcast 6 – Chemical Christmas & Christmas Memories

December 20, 2009

Podcast Feed

This Christmas I have 3 (4) ornaments to share with you.  One chemistry, one yarn, and two fabric wreaths (variations on the same idea).

The Chemistry Borax Crystal Snowflake Ornament

Growing crystals from super saturated solutions is something that you can do easily with household products.  A supersaturated solution is one that you force a liquid (typically liquid solvent) to dissolve more solid (called a precipitate  solute) than it typically can hold.  Most of the time, heating a solution can force the solution to dissolve more solids, and then as the solution cools, the solids come out of solution – sometimes in the form of crystals.  Alton Brown says that even fudge is a crystal structure, so crystals are found everywhere this time of year.

To grow borax crystals

Materials

  • several pipe cleaners
  • something to cut pipe cleaners (NOT fabric scissors)
  • a string or fishing line
  • a pencil or pen
  • a wide glass jar
  • hot (boiling) water – just enough to almost fill up the jar but not too full
  • Mule Team Borax laundry booster
  • (You can substitute sugar crystals for borax, but I think they take longer to crystallize)
  • (I wonder if you could substitute fabric pieces for pipe cleaners.  If anyone does this, I’d be curious to know)

Procedure for creating crystal snowflakes (or you could do a star of david, or other object you want to crystallize)

1.  Cut the pipe cleaner into sections to create the crystalized shape

2.  Tie your fishing line or string around one side of the snowflake.

3.  Place the pencil across the top of the jar such that your ornament hangs in the jar without touching the bottom. 

4.  Any snowflake too high up will not have water on it, and thus may not form crystals.  Make sure the sides don’t touch the jar either for more perfect crystals.

5.  Remove the snowflake once you get it to the right height in the jar. 

6.  Add water to the jar near the top (or you can put this in a microwave safe measuring cup that holds the same amount of water as the jar). 

7.  Microwave for at least three minutes.  If you’re worried about superheating your water, place a chopstick in the water as it sits in the microwave.

8.  Use a hot pad or towel to CAREFULLY remove the jar from the microwave.

9.  Add borax crystals until you can’t get any more to dissolve and start to see borax staying on the bottom.  This takes a lot of stirring and a lot of patience.  I had to remelt my crystals after the first night because I was too impatient and I thought I had enough borax the first night. 

10.  Keep adding and stirring, and if you need to, carefully pour off some of the excess water so you don’t spill over onto the floor.  Remember that the snowflake is also going to displace some of the water so you may have more liquid than you realize.

11.  Add the food coloring to the jar, and then put in the snowflake into the jar.  (the following picture shows too little borax dissolved to get a good result.  Add more borax than this.

12.  Wait overnight at least for the solution to cool to room temperature.  If you have multiple jars / snowflakes you could try putting one in the fridge (be careful!) to see what type of crystals form.  Crystals forms differently with different amounts of starting temperatures and cooling rates.

13.  Take a paper towel and place the completed crystal on the paper towel giving it time to dry.  This snowflake you can see a little bit of blue tint to it with lots of crystals.

 Another ornament I made this year

The dragon boat ornament from Jennifer Ackerman-Heywood at CraftSanity.  I had black yarn available, and I used a piece of cardstock and cut out her template on her site.

Christmas Wreaths made from fabric scraps

Styrofoam Wreaths – Wreath Variation #1

  1. Take a styrofoam wreath shape – cut out from various styrofoam leftovers from presents!
  2. Take scraps of fabric 2 inches square or so – pinked edges look nice here
  3. Wrap the fabric right side towards a pencil
  4. Dip the pencil in Elmer’s glue (or maybe Eileen’s tacky glue)
  5. Stick the fabric into the styrofoam
  6. Repeat the process until the wreath is completed

Wire Wreath – Wreath Variation #2

  • Bend a wire hanger or pipe cleaner into a circle

  • Use small strips of fabric, cut into sections
  • Tie each section of fabric around the wire
  • Repeat for all the fabric pieces around the outside of the wreath.

   

This particular wreath is a little messy.  With more time and patience, these can look quite nice.

Other chemistry christmas ornaments to try

Additional Resources

Christmas Memories

One christmas memory from each of the people in my immediate family that is no longer with me.

Grandpa – Polka music (Watch out it’s loud!)

Grandma – Cross stitched snow globe angel – Free Design at Black Swan Designs

Mother – Lighted candle angel

Grandma – Amazing Grace church

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2.8 Podcast 6 Preview – Chemistry Ornaments

December 18, 2009

Yeah I think I’m addicted to this podcasting thing.  This should be a nice (maybe short?) crafty podcast where I talk about chemistry ornaments.  I never got to doing much physics ornaments because usually we were completing our catapults this time of year.  Projectile ornaments!  Wouldn’t that be fun?

For this ornament that you will probably have time to complete for next year (or this coming week if you hurry, but you have to wait for an overnight step). 

Not so much for quilting though.  Although I did revisit a wreath idea that I remember helping with that had fabric patchwork pieces, which may almost count for quilting.

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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

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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.