Posts Tagged ‘math’


18.7 SQ Episode 030 – Angles in Quilting: Part C Polygons

August 21, 2011

Podcast Feed

We’re back with more angles in quilting, and we’re tackling the 5, 6, & 8 sided figures – pentagons, hexagons, & octagons respectively.

What more can be said about these blocks?


  • These blocks provide lots of challenges to piecing.  These shapes are not typically pieced the same way as triangles and quadrilaterals.
  • Account for a much smaller share of the quilting pie than triangles and quadrilaterals.
  • Think of the general ‘shape’ of the block overall due to coloring or outlining stars of specific points

Techniques used for these block colors other than piecing.

  • applique onto the background
  • set in seams (yuk say most of you)
  • english paper piecing
  • adding two blocks of smaller # of sides together to create these shapes
  • subtracting part of a square or rectangle to create these shapes
  • (foundation) paper piecing and cutting back a specific angles

Star blocks

5 sided star has 10 sides, 6 sided star has 12 sides, and you guessed it, 8 pointed block has 16 sides!

How to avoid set in seams

Adding two blocks together or subtracting from the corners of a block.


  • house block (square + rectangle)
  • cut off the top two corners of a rectangular sashing block
  • dresden plate w/ curved bottom side


  • two trapezoids (half hexagon in quiltspeak) – likely isosceles
  • 6 triangles (isosceles or equilateral)
  • weather vane piece (squished pacman block) either pieced w/ square & 2 triangles OR two parallelograms butted next to each other
  • irregular hexagon, one central triangle, and 3 triangles on the outside could be scalene, isosceles or other based on the shape
  • piece of sashing with all 4 corners removed, with the corners on the thin side meeting at a single point
  • album / autograph block – square with opposite corners removed.


  • 8 isosceles triangles together in the center (think spider web or kalidescope)
  • remove all 4 corners from a square shape with the points on no sides matching

Some quilt blocks from EQ7

Pentagons & “pentagon influenced shapes”

Hexagons & hexagon influenced shapes.

Octagons & octagon shapes.

Other things of note:

And look at my Journey Steps on the floor.  Doesn’t look big enough, does it?

Need to do more.

Also you need to go to SeamedUP and sign up to put in projects.  And encourage me to do so too!

And friend me at SeamedUP, scientificquilter. 🙂

Additional Resources:

Pentagon 3D shapes

Pentagon flowers (not 3D), look like GMFG, but more complicated – very pretty! where you find many different card stock weight precut polygons of all shapes.

Link to english paper piecing video (watched w/ the sound off -don’t ask why-, hope it’s helpful)

Don’t you wanna say this in text after this episode?  Here’s hoping that I remember what this means later and that I didn’t inadvertently spell something that is commonly thought of as BAD.  If so – sorry, blaming innocence here.


Send me 1 and a half inch light batik strips if you are looking to downsize your strips. (comment or

To see the first 2 podcast show notes in this series, go to Part A: Triangles, and Part B: Quadrilaterals.

Additional Music:

Mevio’s Music Alley

  • Maori King by Greg Johnson


18.3 SQ Episode 029 – Angles in Quilting: Part B Quadrilaterals

August 13, 2011

Podcast Feed

Now we’re looking at 4 sided figures in quilting – Quadrilaterals!

We have lots of kinds of Quadrilaterals from geometry class

Prallelogram Family

  • Square
  • Rectangle
  • Rhombus
    • Diamonds!
  • Parallelograms

Other Quads

  • Kite
  • Trapezoid
    • isocelese trapezoid
    • regular trapezoid
  • Random Shaped Quadrilaterals


  • all 90 degree angles
  • all equal sides
  • vertical, horizontal and diagonal symmetry
  • is a rectangle
  • is a rhombus
  • is a parallelogram
  • usually no bias edges


  • all 90 degree angles
  • opposite sides are equal length
  • opposite sides are parallel
  • vertical & horizontal symmetry
  • is a paralellogram
  • usually no bias edges

(green is squares, yellow is rectangles)


  • all equal sides
  • opposite sides are parallel
  • diagonal symmetry
  • is a parallelogram
  • potentially some bias on 2 sides usually
  • quilters call these diamonds


  • opposite sides are equal length
  • opposite sides are parallel
  • no symmetry necessarily unless special case above
  • potentially some bias on 2 sides usually


  • adjacent sides are equal length
  • opposite angles are equal
  • diagonal symmetry one direction
  • lots of bias edges
  • one definition could make a kite = a rhombus
  • one definition says that the shorter length does not equal the longer length

(dark red = parallelogram, pink = rhombus(diamond), blue = kite)


  • one set of opposite sides are parallel
  • no particular symmetry
  • cut a corner off a rectangle or square
  • created from strip sets

Isosceles Trapezoid

  • adjacent angles are equal to each other
  • one set of opposite sides are equal length
  • symmetry along one axis
  • created from strip sets and/or isosceles triangles

(trapezoid = black, both isosceles and regular)

Four sided quilt patches are everywhere!

Crossing the Streams is ‘BAD’.


If you like exploring 2D figures, and you like books, and you like podcasts, check out Flatland on CraftLit.


Ecosystem notebook from Barnes N Noble

A4 sized Grid notebook



(This is funny too, not in episode)


Mevio’s Music Alley


17.9 SQ Episosde 028 – Angles in Quilting: Part A Triangles

July 31, 2011

Podcast Feed

It’s All about Triangles & Quilting!

We pay homage to one of the cornerstones of quilting – the lowly triangle!

Three sides, three angles, three major descriptions of triangles.

1. Scalene triangle

  • 3 different length sides
  • 3 different sized angles
  • typically used in setting triangles
  • easier to paper piece
  • no lines of symmetry – cannot accidentally flip the block over to fix a mistake
  • can be a right triangle (one angle = 90 degrees)
  • typical triangle found in math class 30, 60, 90
  • can be called half rectangle triangles in quilting

Found in:

  • tilted blocks (as setting triangles)
  • wonky blocks
  • mariner’s compass blocks
  • palm blocks
  • birds of paradise blocks

Eye searing pink blocks are just SOME examples of scalene triangles in these blocks.

2.  Isosceles traingle

  • 2 equal length sides
  • 2 equally sized angles
  • most commonly found in quilting
  • Half Square Triangle – HST
  • Quarter Square Triangle – QST
  • one line of symmetry, flip around the ‘odd’ angle
  • can be a right triangle (HST, QST, flying geese)
  • how you cut could have one bias edge (the hypotenuse) or two (the shorter legs)
  • typical triangle found in math class 45, 45, 90
  • triangle with an acute ‘odd angle’ – kaleidoscope block

Found in:

  • pinwheel
  • broken dishes
  • flying geese
  • ohio star
  • hourglass
  • square in a square
  • friendship star
  • spool
  • maple leaf
  • kalidescope …..

Look for the black triangle to see some of the isosceles triangles in these quilt blocks (there’s many many more)

3. Equalateral triangle

  • 3 sides equal length
  • 3 equally sized angles
  • least commonly found in quilting
  • 6 triangles can make a hexagon block
  • all angles are 60 degrees –  no exceptions
  • 3 angles of symmetry, flip around any angle
  • guaranteed to have 2 sides of bias edges

Found in:

  • thousand pyramid blocks
  • chevron designs
  • strip pieced hexagons
  • tumbling blocks
  • bordered thousand pyramid blocks


Look at the yellow any block to see the equilateral triangle (assuming the image doesn’t get squished somewhere)

Triangle Math Websites:

Home Sewing Front

Working on periodic spiral quilt – mostly basted, now need sewn together

Need an outline behind the spiral for it to stand out from the background

Exothermic quilt – see previous post about my place on this quilt as of a week ago.

Exothermic quilt on point:

Design decisions to make on the exothermic quilt:

  • Borders are GOOD – do NOT fix them
  • On point or not?
  • If so, have to fix coping black/ grey inner border
  • How much more black fabric to buy?
  • Paralllelograms in the middle stay or go?  – it provides good movement, but too much of a distraction??


  • a 5 x 8 sized graph paper notebook for sale?  If so, what brand, where are you finding them, have you seen them online?
  • I would love a notebook this sized to carry around more easily!

A MUST HAVE book for anyone wanting to hand / machine quilt with specific designs:

501 Quilting motifs: Designs for Hand or Machine Quilting from the editors of Quiltmaker Magazine

  • Takes one motif and slightly changes it, multiplies it, rotates and flips it,
  • gives dimensions on block size for motif found in book.
  • looks easy to trace and adapt
  • great resource
  • hardbound
  • spiral inside

If you want to Swap Charm (5 inch) squares, go to this swap on Swap – Bot:

I’m willing to join if there is a good & healthy number of people in the swap!

You have until Sept 2, 2011 to make your decision!


From Mevio’s Music Alley



15.3 Going in Circles

April 30, 2011

I just saw a blog post about sewing perfect circles.

And she’s a ‘math nerd’, and something about the labeling the circle angles really appeal to me!

Image is from Cut to Pieces blog

This image is just a board to create when you may be dealing with making a lot of circles at a time.

The post is long, but so worth it, because it has a high level of accuracy when finished.  At least, it looks like it would produce high levels of accurate results.

Here’s the link

Perfect Circle Tutorial


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.


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


3.3 Podcast 7 Fun with Fibonacci

January 3, 2010


Podcast Feed       

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! 


2.6 Podcast 5 Don’t be afraid

December 14, 2009

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 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.