Posts Tagged ‘hobby’


6.1 The Home Sewing Front

May 2, 2010

Here are pictures from the Home Sewing Front

Kelley from the Pioneer Quilter has issued a May Mayhem challenge which I am taking. Kelley wants us to quilt 15 minutes every day in May.

I had to practice for about a week to make sure I could discipline myself in quilting every day. Brye asked Kelley if we had to sew every day or we could double up one day instead. Kelley responded that she wasn’t going to sit in our living rooms, but progress was progress.

So I came up with the Drill Sergent idea:
“Okay you quilting scum. Get out the needle and give me fifteen stitches! Don’t even think about putting down that project, you still have 10 minutes left, you filthy maggots!”

Image courtesy of wikipedia

Here are my May Goals for May Mayhem (found in big tent Brye Lynn’s subgroup)

1) Finish the embroidery for quilt guild (two small 15 minute sessions should knock this out)
2) Complete the tote bag in time for the swap deadline
3) Finish fans on quilt, cut and applique corners down
4) Get an idea on quilting pattern for the fan quilt (perhaps trace it down & deciding backing fabric for it)
5) Cut out and finish one more applique piece for the sunflower quilt
6) Find another hand project for work (only if #5 is done).
7) Craft more podcasts in May than in April. Oops!

Guess What?  While waiting for Audacity and Podbean I found two sessions of 15 minutes in the past few days to finish goal #1!

Progress on April 24th

A couple of long sewing sessions – one watching television, and one sitting on my newly cleaned off porch got me mostly finished by yesterday afternoon.  Here is the finish!

Next project!


3.9 SQ Podcast Episode 8 – What’s that word?

January 22, 2010

 Podcast Feed     

Although slightly unusual for a science/math/quilting blog and podcast, I want to focus on vocabulary.      

Screen Capture from

Occurences with complex vocabulary in technical disciplines    

What is it about all this scientific and mathematical vocabulary, notation, jargon, acronyms?  Is it there to make us smarter and understand more or is it there just to confuse us?  The following are some scientific examples of extreme vocabulary (look at your own risk)    

In math you have all the integral signs and the large sigma and the n-notation everywhere.      

In physics, essentially you learn the greek alphabet, math, equations everywhere!      

Chemistry is no better, with all the organic chemistry notation.  For example one diastereomer is trans-3-methylcyclopentanol (I have no idea what that is used for, but it looks complicated, right?)  The other enantiomer is cis-3-methlycyclopentanol in case you’re wondering.    

Biology for me was hard due to endless lists of vocabulary.  Just opening one page in my book gives me: squamous cells, cuboidal cells, simple epithelium, stratified epi…… (okay I’ll stop here!)    

With terms like this, its easy to stop in your tracks and run the other way.  Sure.  Go ahead.  See ya next podcast and post if you follow suit. But for a vocabulary adventure, keep reading.     


Eschew Obfuscation in the English Language and what to do about vocabulary intimidation     

But you don’t encounter intimidating vocabulary only in the science classroom.  Or in any classroom.  There are things all around us that cause us to feel intimidated just by saying them out loud.     

The English language being one of the great intimidators.   The existence of the word irregardless.  Spelling bee words.  A new (to me) phrase brought to my attention by one of my commenters:  Eschew Obfuscation    

After doing a little bit of research, I found out that “eschew obfuscation” means “avoid confusion“.    

Sometimes intimidating vocabulary can be used (like I did with the science words) to intimidate you.  Or as Timelady says: “sometimes (people) genuinely do not realise that it is unreasonable to expect others to understand such words – perhaps they are (using) technical jargon, abbreviations, acronyms”. 

Do I feel that a lot of people in my life do this on a regular basis? – NO.     

Do I feel that quilters have such a crazy complicated vocabulary such that they cannot express their meaning to me in a way I can’t understand? – Also NO.    

If someone does intimidate you verbally, Timelady says to counter with something to the effect of: “oh I don’t know what that word means.  Could you tell me?  Thanks for increasing my language skills”.     

To avoid confusion when writing, an Eschew Obfuscation website suggests to   

  • write simply
  • write concisely
  • assume the reader is naive
  • use the active voice
  • present tense
  • positive language
  • common language
  • avoid acronyms
  • organize thoughts sequentially and logically

(a few of these I have to work on myself.)    


Possible confusing vocabulary in our hobbies    

With hobbies of any kind, science fiction, fishing, quilting … etc. there is usually a learning curve to understanding the hobby.    

  • Learning product and equipment names can seem confusing to use.  Materials used in creating a project have their own names, brands, and acronyms. 
  • Other times it is a specific technique that is being demonstrated, and a skill that has to be learned. 
  • Sometimes abstract concepts are best described with a certain word or phrase like “color value”, gradation, contrast.  Some of these techniques are simple in idea, but also complicated such that it takes a lifetime to master.
  • Space saving when communicating is facilitating our use of acronyms and symbols.  Text messaging, tweeting, and constant communication is shortening our words and ideas to “WIPS” “UFO’s” “HSY” (haven’t started yet – heard by me first on Annie Smith’s Quilting Stash). 
  • Referring to loved ones as DH, DD, MIL, …. is necessary sometimes to protect privacy. 

The reason I haven’t pursued crochet and knitting is the pattern and symbol notations used in patterns as space savers.  I see the pattern notation, don’t take time to analyze it, and put the project down, never to start on it.  I COULD figure it out if I had the desire to learn, but for now I’ll just do quilting with its visual blocks.     


The above picture is a Screen capture from  


Strategies for overcoming intimidating vocabularies  

Once past the apathy, here are specific strategies for increasing vocabulary (in quilting or other):  

  • Dictionaries, lots of dictionaries. Ruthann has dictionaries everywhere. Christine has dictionaries at work and at home. I use or or to learn about things I don’t understand.
  • iPhones (with access to and Kindles have places to look up vocabulary too, so you don’t have to carry around a large dictionary everywhere you go.
  • Listen to Podcasts, listening to complicated words spoken several times gets you familiar to the words and ideas.  This makes it easier when you actually do the technique or use the product.
  • Watch Videos – Same as podcasts – gives you exposure, ideas, lets you see and hear together what is meant by various techniques and words
  • Write the word down several times – in context
  • Make up your own story or your own sentence 
  • Ask someone who brings it up to explain, then give them an example sentence or situation and see if you understand (my personal favorite a lot of times)
  • Learn the root words, prefixes and suffixes.  That organic chemistry compound earlier can be explained in its parts. For non-chemistry examples: hetero- means different, chrom- means color, epi- means above -graph means write …
  • Use word clouds to gain familiarity. Create your own on Wordle or Tagul.
  • Google search – or your favorite web search engine.
  • Post on a forum about what other people know. People are generally helpful enough to answer your questions.
  • Use mnemonics to help your brain link common terms and objects to more complicated ones



Screen capture from    


Do teacher-type techniques for extreme vocabulary learning (like for tests when you HAVE to know words)   

  • Make it fun. Create word crosses, word searches, and puzzles at discovery puzzlemaker site
  • Matching quiz. Write or copy the list of words and the list of definitions and paste each into two separate columns in a word processing or spreadsheet program.  Then alphabetize all the words alphabetically, and alphabetize all the definitions reverse alphabetically.  Do a matching game.
  • Create flashcards.  Used this to demonstrate the idea of stoichiometry in equations.  Physically moving something around helped with movement and learning.  As quilters, we move around the parts of our quilt blocks – that is similar to how to learn balancing equations.
  • Create a blog about a new word or idea.  Chances are that teaching someone else something will help you learn it better yourself.  Blogs are good for this.


 Something fun    

I hope you enjoy a little crossword that I created using words from Quilt University’s own Quilt Glossary.  You can find the PDF below.    

Go to Wordle and Tagul for your own word designs (having trouble with embedding links on my blog somehow)    

How about a 

 Some Vocabulary podcasts I found (listened a lot to Grammar Girl – very good podcast!)    

Here’s my First Completed Quilt!    

This quilt was done from Carol Doak’s Your First Quilt Book, ribbons pattern.  Most color and quilting decisions made by Carol Doak.     


The completed quilt above and a bit of quilting close up below,    


and if you didn’t see it last week, a close up of the binding    


I need to read more carefully Jennifer Ruvalcaba’s episode notes next time for the binding, or not worry about the sleeve so much.    

Additional Resources    

Quilting Dictionary Sites   

 Brawndo website from the movie Idiocracy (not endorsing the product, but look at all the marketing!)  
What do you think about dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO)? 


Special thanks to my encourager commenters: Jill (e-mail), Jill (post on blog), Colleen, Debby, Ingrid, Reeze    

Thanks also to my other new commenters and e-mailers: Sister Diane, Ann, TimeLady, LabMom, driftwood, Kathy, Dru, Tuxedo Designs, Leah Day, Michele Foster, Lana, Ruthann, Christine, Peggi, Christine, Marion    

Specifically check out    

the Scientific Inspiration post from LabMom    

the fibonacci quilt tutorial from driftwood    

the Scientific Quilter Origin story on Quilting Gallery


2.6 Podcast 5 Don’t be afraid

December 14, 2009

Podcast Feed    

 As I’ve seen in many students (adults & me included), there seems to be a point when learning a new technique seems scary, whether its science, math, or quilting even.    


Fear of learning new techniques is risk of doing something that could have negative consequences upon failure, whether that is unsatisfactory results, public humiliation, or loss of time and/or money.  Perfectionism is praised by quilt judges and peers, and so getting points to match up can become a priority for quilters and the possibility for not reaching that perfectionism may cause quilters to stop trying new things due to their lack of confidence – or rather their fear. How do quilters motivate themselves to move past the fear and see the rewards of learning to be greater than the risk of failure?   

 Follow me on my audio journey (i.e. speech) on how to combat the fear by listening to my podcast.  An outline of my speech is as follows below, so you know where I’m headed on the podcast.  I hope this is helpful to more than just me.   

Focus on techniques learned 

  • Give yourself easy technique
  • Give yourself permission to fail (see Make & Meaning)
  • Focus on the process rather than the result
  • Many different types of techniques out there – maybe your technique is different than your neighbors (not mentioned in the podcast – oops!)
  • Try every new technique at least once

Set reasonable goals 

  • Create smaller versions of larger projects
  • Keep goals high enough you don’t get bored or don’t feel accomplished
  • Give yourself enough time and resources to complete your goals
  • Give yourself permission to brainstorm without judgement

Seek help and encouragement from others 

  • Confidence of others can motivate you to do your best
  • Good mentors inspire rather than intimidate
  • Seek online tutorials or resources from someone who has “been there and done that” (see Within a Quarter Inch)
  • Get a list of FAQ’s from quilters who have more experience with the technique
  • Don’t get intimidated by other’s goals and accomplishments – use them as springboards for your own goals

Use discipline to get better at a new task 

  • “Get your butt in the chair” (see CraftCast)
  • Don’t talk yourself out of it
  • Setting deadlines may help motivate discipline and practice
  • Practice makes perfect
  • Use muscle memory, weather physical or mental, to help get you through techniques

Other ideas for stumbling blocks 

  • Have the desire to learn the new task before trying
  • Psych yourself up for new projects
  • Create tutorials for others to help you ‘really learn’ what you’re doing – blog about it!
  • Give yourself time to digest new material

Something Else to Think About 

Higher level of needs and thinking is where the categories of creativity and problem solving lay.  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that to obtain these needs other needs of food, shelter, etc need to be met first.  

Ruthanne asks “Why aren’t we creative?” (see Mirkwood Designs  specifically episode 1 ) and we should strive to reach those higher levels of needs as much as possible in our lives.  Looking at the level just below creativity and problem solving is esteem and confidence and respect – the main part of my podcast today.    


Maslows Needs from Wikipedia


As I always say: Be creative and think about what you’re doing.  Get to work on those higher levels of thinking and get out there!  

Additional Resources mentioned in the show:   

Thanks to my commenters

  •   Debby, Deb, and Annie Smith

Keep experimenting! 


1.4 SQ Podcast Episode 1 – What is the Scientific Quilter?

November 10, 2009

 This is the first episode of the Scientific Quilter Podcast.  I am still working on technical issues, so any patience and/or help would be appreciated.

Podcast feed

The completed applique quilt top mentioned in my podcast that took 4 (5) weeks to complete.

Baltimore Style Applique Quilt Top

The pictures of the other projects I am working on will have to wait – I have to spread out my pictures so it looks like I am doing a lot with only a few projects in place!

Here is some places that I mentioned in the podcast.  I will have a whole list on the side of the blogs I follow in the future, but since I mention these in the show specifically, here they are:

Quilting & Crafting Podcasts

Hand Embroidery Websites

Podcast Specific Websites

Thanks for looking and listening.