Geek Quilt

If you have read my about page then you will already know that I am a bit nerdy.  This post may remove any doubt.  My latest quilt project is the periodic table of the elements.   Mendeleev’s table puts into order the stuff of the world, the universe,…everything dammit! (OK, physics geeks, I concede, not everything, but the tangible stuff anyway…).  A thing of such beauty (sorry this post does not contain a single un-geeky sentence)- I was inspired to recreate it in a quilt.

Believe it or not, I am not alone in this.  A Google search reveals a profusion of periodic quilts – some very didactic and, well,  charty,  some eye-catching and colourful.  All admirable and, yes, a tiny bit nerdy.

I went down the colourful route – I had been saving a lovely set of striped cottons with this project in mind.  It is a work in progress – I have pieced it but not yet sandwiched and quilted it. Here is the quilt top:

I am pleased with the colours – representing alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals, poor metals, metalloids, non-metals, halogens, noble gases, lanthanides and actinides.  The stripes run vertically except for the elements which have only synthetic isotopes.

I wanted the chemical symbols on the quilt, but discrete – nothing that shouts “time to learn!” (and yes, I know I’m already halfway there with this choice of subject matter).  In the end I machine embroidered the pieces with small letters in multi-coloured thread:

Now I am wondering how to quilt it – do I simply quilt in the ditch along the chart lines or do I quilt a motif to the squares to add texture -maybe a circle?  I can’t decide.  Any suggestions gratefully received!

Every geek has a favourite element (go on – admit it – you’ve had a soft spot for one of them since secondary school!).  Here is mine:

Which is yours?