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?



Post-Project Blues

The Irises quilt is finally finished.  Based on “Irises” by Stephanie Parker (issue 49 of Fabrications: Quilting for You), this project has taken me two years to complete.  Since I last posted about this quilt I have quilted around each element of each flower and bound the whole thing.  Here is the finished quilt:

Completed Irises Quilt

While I am very pleased with the way it looks and can’t wait to hang it on the wall, I can’t help feeling a little sad that it is finished.  I always find completing a project such as this bittersweet.  However, there are always dresses to stitch, and I already have vague plans for my next quilt.

Back to School

September has brought us all back to Earth with a bump.  It’s been back to school for Workerbee, and Littlebee1 started primary school this week while Littlebee2 is going to “big girl playgroup” in the mornings.  All this will give me hotly anticipated child-free time in the mornings for smocking and craft.

Hmmm.  So far my mornings have been spent assembling flat-packed furniture, cake decorating (it’s been a big birthday week in our house), in fact doing anything but sewing, despite the many projects I have up my sleeve.  Still, it’s early days and I have good intentions!

Earlier this month I visited the Great Northern Quilt Show with my mum.  As well as spending more than I should on lovely fabric I was greatly inspired by the many wonderful quilts on show.  I am determined to finish my Irises quilt.

The quilt is based on “Irises” by Stephanie Parker in issue 49 of Fabrications: Quilting for You.  It is made up of 11 small panels and one large, each with an appliqued iris made of lots of small pieces of fabric.

small panel, before stitching

I chose a mixture of real and pretend batik fabrics and am really pleased with the result.  I fused the designs with bondaweb, then stitched around each piece with invisible thread.  This took months.  Now I have given the panels borders and pieced and sandwiched the quilt.  I am now quilting around every piece….watch this space!

large central panel

with the borders

the assembled panels