Quilt Stories · Rose Cards · villa rosa designs

Food, Quilting, and Math

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

Now that the summer season is almost 2/3rds over, I hope you are taking the time to have a little fun, whether that means having a cookout in the backyard or going on a vacation somewhere exotic, make time to have fun with your loved ones.

Me, I love summer cookouts, picnics, and family reunions! Yes, I know these events are all usually about the food, but if you knew my family, you would understand that food is always a central part of any event or get-together. Over the years, I have tried to incorporate quilting into these events, too. Usually, I take along some portable hand-sewing project — binding or hexies. This is a great way to break the ice from starting a conversation with a far away relative or someone new. Quilting brings people together, just like food. And I am deliriously happy when I can have both together!

We even have snacks at my quilt guild meetings! Do you like my vase of wildflowers? I picked them from alongside the road.

Quilting and Math

I am thrilled that I’ve been getting some quality time with my sewing machine recently. Finally. And every time I design a quilt on my computer using Electric Quilt 8 software and then create the quilt in fabric, I am still completely amazed that everything goes together!

Quilting is simply a form of math. Have you ever thought about it that way? Every time we use a ruler, a template, or follow a pattern, it’s all about the math. Maybe we don’t have to do all the figuring when using patterns or templates because someone already did the math for us, but it’s still all math.

My stash of rulers.

I find it ironic that after all these years, I work in a field that is so completely immersed in math. I can still remember all the struggling I did to understand math after I finished Algebra 2 in 8th grade. Geometry was a total disaster for me. Why did I have to prove that a square was truly a square? Ugh. Thank goodness for teachers like Mrs. Hank, who was my math teacher for 5 out of 6 years of high school (excluding that awful year in geometry). Mr.s Hank would be totally amazed that I do math everyday. And I even like it. Now.

Thanks, Mrs. Hank!

Later as an undergraduate at Allegheny College, a private liberal arts school, I found the only science/math cluster available that did not require taking any math classes — archaeoastronomy! My cluster of 3 classes included 2 astronomy classes and a physics course with a lab component. It was like I was allergic to math for a long long time and suddenly quilting cured my allergy! I am not afraid to say — I LIKE MATH. I’m thinking of getting a t-shirt made to celebrate quilting and math……what do you think?

As a quilt designer, when I start a new project, I fire up my Electric Quilt software. I usually start with a favorite simple quilt block in a friendly size because not only do I detest measurements like 5 and 7/16th, but why would a design a project that requires that kind of cutting measurement in the first place? No one would buy my patterns. To see more about my design process, go HERE.

Once I’m satisfied with my design, I print out the cutting information from EQ8 and I get started making the project. While I make the project, I write down notes such as how many strips to cut in what size. Then after I make the project, I write the pattern. Through this process, I’m using lots and lots of math! Yes, I actually have to write the pattern, EQ8 does not do that, it’s up to the designer to translate the design into words.

Here at Villa Rosa Designs, I create diagrams and write patterns for other designers or for special projects. Sometimes I have to sit down with my pencil, paper, and a calculator to figure out or double check the math. Quilting and math go hand-in-hand. Without math, there wouldn’t be any quilting!

I find it a little sad and quite humorous at the same time that historically, quilting has been considered to be a woman thing. Today, more and more men are getting involved in quilting, whether as designers or as makers. They have discovered the amazing partnership between math and creativity/art that quilting offers. And besides, quilting is for everyone!

So for the rest of the summer, make sure you have some fun.

Eat. Quilt. And do math.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

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