Archive for the ‘Physics’ Category


14.0 Quilting ‘Actual Stars’

March 17, 2011

A couple of days ago on my personal facebook page, I posted a design I had happened to see on an antique geometric website.

The name of the block intrigued me, Castor and Pollux.

Two ‘actual stars’ known by western society as the two brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini, which have some Greek Mythological roots.

I then decided to tackle EQ7 again, downloading the Castor and Pollux picture from the website above:

and superimposing this picture onto a 10 by 10 grid.

Tackling EasyDraw again, I came up with a very pink variation of the block, and gave myself something that I could paper piece (in theory).

My final version of this block actually has more lines than this (from what I can see here, it’s not putting all the lines in to show the paper piecing version.

Here is my printout of the block, black and white (no color ink)

And since each block is four of the same ‘sub blocks’, here is a sub block printout with notation.


And I thought of a quilt pattern for this block.

So 4 subblocks in a block, and 16 blocks in a quilt.  This is definitely a Long Term Project!

If I decide to do it.


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.


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.


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:


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


11.8 Help me get into Geek Craft Blog

February 6, 2011

I made cookies for breakfast yesterday (fun) before having to go to work (on a saturday – not so much fun!), but in doing so, I think I crashed myself with all that sugar.

I have been a little sleepy as a result.  Yawn.  No sewing, nothing but cleaning out my inbox.  Yuck.

… Anyway, is there any possible way I could ask for your help?  ….

A week ago I submitted my “Make it Sew” project to Geek Crafts (about page here) to be considered to be uploaded on their blog.

I received no reply, and no mention of this on their site … yet.  I am hoping there is just a long waiting list of projects.

I don’t know why I have wanted this to show up on their site, but somehow I do!  Perhaps it’s not cool enough?

I mean, how much more geeky can it get … you have star trek – a science fiction program, AND you have science, in a cute pun of scientific spectra – “dilithium spectra” (well 2 lithium spectra anyway).

I have already submitted once on my own, but if anyone else would like to help, here is the submit a geeky craft link to their site.

And just put in the following text for the website: “” and say how geeky and cool it is.

If you decide to help, thank you.

If not, I’ll just go along with my geeky self here.  Thanks!

– Darla


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.


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).


11.0 Stellar Quiz

January 25, 2011

I wasn’t sure when I pulled out this fabric if I could do it.

This fabric is called “space: the new frontier” by benartex.

Looking at the fabric, I thought, maybe I could remember them. My old friends.

I remember a few that I don’t see on here (I think). The northern crown (corona borealis), the big dog (canus major).

And one of these, I wonder if the lines aren’t drawn slightly differently.

There was a king and he was a group of 5 strong stars of a pentagon and you can see him near the twins in the night sky. I always thought he looked like a house, so the “kite looking thing near the center,” I wonder if that’s him, which is not exactly how the lines I knew were drawn.  If that’s not something else I am forgetting.

The constellations aren’t grouped together correctly on here, I can’t pick out the summer triangle, nor the winter triangle.

The arc does not “arc on to arcturus,” and then does not “speed on to (spica?)”

Canus minor is a stretch because it is 1 strong star, one medium brightness star, and perhaps one very faint star.  But I usually only remember two stars.

Anyway, here are the ones I thought I knew (without looking it up anywhere):

Did I get it right?


10.15 Design Wall-Err Sewing Machine

January 24, 2011

Who needs a design wall when you have a ‘design sewing machine’?

It’s easier to picture how this project will work when draped on the sewing machine.

This is some of what I’m envisioning.  I still need to border the lithium spectrum, cut out the background and Make It Sew letters (not sure what color for the letters yet)

Maybe this fabric?  Not sure, large pattern could be lost in the small letters.


And still have to transfer the letters to fusible – I’m not hand stitching those letters I don’t think.  I could always “not applique” and just machine quilt, but I think I’d rather have a section of color (something other than just black) there.

I also had planned on the lithium going front and back, but now I am wondering if I could dilithium both in front.  Probably best to be in the back as originally planned.

For the inside, I am thinking some of the leftover burgundy fabric I have.

 You can’t see it, but the black on the top of the machine is several long strips of black-on-black fabric.  Don’t know why, but that it is.  Have more of this black on black that could be used as a background if it doesn’t get used on this project.

If you want to see the design ‘wall’ (for those purists out there), here it is.

Can’t wait to get back and work on this, but for now, bedtime, then work, then going out tomorrow afternoon, then the cycle continues again, but replace going out with playing Civilization.

May be a few days.


10.14 Podcast Episode 21 – Make it Sew

January 23, 2011

Podcast Feed

Not much new to report here. Check out yesterday’s post about my Make it Sew project.

Included in the podcast this time:

  • The Android, The Captain & The Meek Engineer
  • how science fiction characters are like quilters
  • a description of the Make it Sew project
  • a request for quilters to take parts of several ideas and meld them into something new
  • the home sewing front (you’ve had a front row seat to this on the blog)
  • personal stuff about work, myself, and how I’ve been getting out of a funk

Additional music

mevio’s music alley


10.13 Make it Sew Idea

January 22, 2011

I have an idea that involves:

1) a sewing machine

2) a spectra (lithium anyone, or rather, dilithium?)

(found at This site)

3) a popular (back then) science fiction television show

(found at This site insignia stencil)

4) inspiration from a picture from icanhascheezburger

(found at this site)

Here’s the start of the idea!


Thanks Pam, for being geeky and in doing so, inspired this idea!


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: